Analysis and Ratings: Wolves v Wigan

Is there a life after Christmas? I remember asking myself that last year at about this time and we seem to be in the same predicament this season. And of course there is! We are no pigs we are Wolves, Foxtrot -Foxtrot-Sierra. There was a life last season after Christmas and there will be this season – despite all people on different boards saying otherwise.

Actually our play in the 1-2 defeat was not so different from how we played against Birmingham City. We have not become the worst team in the world overnight as some might conclude after reading on the web.

But a couple of players did not reach their normal standard against Wigan. And the Tykes also played better and were much more lethal going forward when turning play than Blues. That made us more cautious going forward and we didn’t have enough players in the box when attacking in the first half. Sad but true.

And as our team lacks that tall target player the long balls, some of them very good and on target – coming from behind (often from Nenad Milijas) – didn’t get the reception they deserved at the other end. Sad but true.

On set pieces Christophe Berra came up to give a hand – or a head – but his killer instincts and precision in attack is simply not there to help the team scoring. Sad but true.

But we almost succeeded in level the scores up. You could say we were a not given penalty or an acrobatic Al Habsi save from a point, really. Sad but true.

But the main thing is of course our lousy defending. We haven’t got the stability in the defence. Our organiser, leader and inspiration in the defensive shores is still out injured and we have no substitutes to put on with those qualities. Sad but true.

What shall we do then? Just continue to be sad and curse all and everybody around us. Maybe that will help your piece of mind somehow, but it sure want help Wolves.

We still have players like Doyle, Mancienne, Mouyokolo and Craddock – players who were first-eleven players last season – out injured. When they are back we will have a selection and can fill the weak positions with more quality.

I also count on that we will pick up a couple of quality players in the January window that can strengthen the team in selected positions. But we have a good team already.

What about the manager then? Is his selection and tactics to the point? Sometimes they are and sometimes not, but that goes for each and every manager.

Against Wigan I believe he should have played Jarvis and Fletcher earlier on to get a goal. Edwards and Ward didn’t have a bad game, but they offer something else.

But the two goals in the back then. Could they have been prevented? Well, not by McCarthy for sure. It was due to individual mistakes and – as I said above – a lack of leadership and skills among the back four. And at the moment we have no substitutes for them, really.

And where do we go from here? To take it out on Liverpool on Wednesday, of course. We have everything to win in such a game!

To the ratings, then. And I hope this want be too depressive a reading. 😆

Hennessey – 6 – Didn’t have much to do and couldn’t do much to prevent the goals.

Zubar – 5 – Clearly out of form. Was especially dreadful in the first half and I counted to three big mistakes. As we now know how well he can play this was really something I cannot accept from him. He may have played himself out of the team and played in Foley on his best position.

Stearman – 4 – Two big individual error leading to the two goals conceded. But actually he did at least two more errors of the same magnitude but luckily Wigan failed to score on them. It’s not easy to take on one of the best strikers in the PL, but he got to do better than this.

He looks sort of awkward and out of place peddling back when an attack comes and often finds himself on the wrong side of the player he is marking. Mistakes he and the team can’t afford to make in the highest tier. I’m yet again starting to doubt that he is a central defender for the Prem.

He was better in the second half, but then it was too late. We just got to have Craddock back in form or sign a proven central defender for the right spot – probably both.

Berra – 6 – Still quite stable and he handles one-on-one situations and marking of a forward much better than Stearman. But he seem to lack the leader qualities of Craddock and cannot take his role to stablise the whole line.

Elokobi – 5 – Went missing in the first half. Mainly because most of the forward play from Wigan was through the middle or the other side. In the second half he was much better and went forward and engaged in play much more. Maybe because of instructions from McCarthy or that he was told that he was going to be substituted later on.

Foley – 6 – A little lost in the middle sometime – mainly in the first half – but became more active going forward in the second. But his passing and crossing were not as good as usual. Is the burdon of captainship taking it’s toll on him?

Milijas – 7 – Made a number of good through passes and long passes to the box, but though the delivery with his left foot was accurate the receiving was poor. And he fought well and not without success defensively on the middle. In the end of the first half and in the second he went forward much more and his free-kick was worth a better destiny.

Last year after the Boxing Day match against Liverpool I wrote that ‘Milijas and Jarvis are the sole creators today’. That was not totally true yesterday – but let’s say they still are the best creators. Nenad Milijas – or Ned as Mick and the lads call him – is Paddytheflea’s Star Man.

Edwards – 6 – Works very hard, but sadly it seems that he still only has breath to do what he does for one half of the game. Maybe he is wasteful with his energy and shouldn’t run on every ball as he does, but try to preserve it?! Should have been subbed after the first half as we had the next player on the bench with brisk legs willing to take them on.

Jarvis – 7 – As I said I wanted to see him earlier on in the game. The Wolves play got a boost when he arrived on the pitch and he inspired the rest of the team to go more on attack. A couple of good crosses – among them the one leading to the Fletch goal – and he took the Wigan defenders on and succeeded in passing through the defence on occasions aswell.

Hunt – 6 – Always active and running – both in defence and going forward. But sometimes still a little bit sloppy. Takes the set pieces very well and creates much. It didn’t click in this game, but I’m sure it soon will.

Ward – 6 – As in the game against Blues he started as a striker and ended up at left back. And as in the game against Blues he did well in both roles – probably better in the striker one. But we don’t know yet if he is really capable of scoring. Should have had a penalty when he was brought down in the area. Some good cooperation with Ebanks-Blake aswell and he is a workhorse for sure. But is it wise to play him before our proven £6.5 million striker? I’m not so sure.

Fletcher – 7 – And I’m sure that Fletcher wanted to tell McCarthy that he is the one who should play beside Ebanks-Blake from start. And he got a goal to prove that he is right.

But McCarthy is looking for more than a goal in a striker. Can Fletcher participate in play and work defensively as intense as Ward – and nowadays even Ebanks-Blake – does? On the other hand it is goals we need so in my book Fletcher should play from start – at least until Doyler is back.

Actually Fletcher only played for twenty minutes so he shouldn’t be rated, but I make an exception this time because I want to address this question and say my mind.

Ebanks-Blake – 6 – Very good in the first half, but he went a little missing in the second. Was involved in the goal scramble before the Wolves goal and had a couple of chances of his own, but no one very well taken. Had some good one-two going on with  Wardy, but sadly they didn’t manage to get the whole way through the defence. Maybe a little less devoted than in the matches preceding this one.

UP THE WOLVES!

Paddytheflea

Highlights of the match HERE

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~ by paddytheflea on December 27, 2010.

13 Responses to “Analysis and Ratings: Wolves v Wigan”

  1. There is a theme in your assessment, a no of players were off form especially in the first half.Lethargic,little signs of any running,poor ball control etc.Frankly as professional footballers, they were a disgrace.Your man of the match,Milijas,did not want to know in the first 20 minutes,he did improve in the second half.One can only assume they had too much pop the day before and had certainly not trained properly in the previous fortnight.Wigan showed how it can and should be done.The result was bad but the performance was awful.

    • I’ve seen it twice now and when you see the games a second time they always tells a different story to the live performance.
      That is because the first time very much emotions are at play inside yourself and you augment things or diminish them. The second time you can see things clearer and more objectively.

      wigan started well and according to Martinez they did especially prepare to take charge in the begining – or at least not giving us the chance to do it. They were successful in that, I’m afraid. They were very good at stopping Milijas at first aswell. but I believe thathe was our best player over all on the day.

      You can argue that they should have played better, but at the end of the day the result was dependent on two players who didn’t show up yesterday. If they had we would have got at least a point, probably three.

  2. PADDY,They were ring rusty and gave nothing like the application shown against the Blues.How many misplaced passes,balls out of play due to bad ball control.Did you not see Milijas strolling in the first 20 minutes.The mocking laughter of the banana boys at our many mistakes.I saw it live,then Football first and MOTD.The only conclusion I can draw is that it was a Sunday hangover for too many of our players.Many fans travelled in diificult conditions to get to that game,and the players didn’t bother to turn up.They had better turn up on Wednesday.

  3. Things improved in second half when Jarvis and Fletcher entered the field.
    It’s not easy to be a distributer without any wings to deliver to. And Zubar is as Paddyflea mentioned totally out of form and needs to rest. I expect MM to make some changes against Liverpool.

  4. Forget all these calls for McCarthy’s head. Mick ain’t going anywhere……until November.
    Wolves meanwhile are going down in May.

    Stick with Mick they say?
    More like Stuck with Mick.

    But hold on, Mick somehow manages to get a result when his back is against the wall. Will he turn it round next game or at West Ham? Will Morgan still sit on his hands if we get spanked at Anfield by his once beloved Pool?

    Just not good enough….

  5. Are you sure you’ve seen the game twice? You don’t even know what the score was (it wasn’t 0-2 (see para 2)).
    By Wednesday evening Wolves will have played every team (except the sh*t) once. If you look at the 7 teams directly above us we have managed to gain only 5 points out of a possible 21. Many of those games were played when we had a mostly fit squad and 3 of those points came from the Blues match when we had the least number of fit players available. Lets not pretend that this is anything other than relegation material, the team are incapable of doing anything other than disappoint us and it is very frustrating driving up from London to see a match effectively end after 15 minutes for hte umpteenth time this season.
    I doubt Wolves will persuade anyone decent to come and rescue us in the transfer window but I pray that if we do it will “Premiership” players who can fill in the positions that are crying out for quality.
    At the end of the day, if we can’t beat the teams around us (and we clearly can’t with this squad) then we will go down.
    Perhaps its time for Big Sam to come to the Mol.

    • Sorry bout the error, Finsbury, but as our goal didn’t mean squat I guess I kind of left it out. I’ve changed it now.

      I have a friend who did about the same stats about our matches as you. But I pointed out that last year we did manage to win against the supposedly better teams and lose to our peers aswell. And this season everybody seem to win against everybody – regardless of table position.

      We will be in the relegation fight for sure. Like last year. But we are not doomed yet and I know that there is some good quality football in our lads – we saw it last season and we have seen it this one aswell. We will take points against the so called better teams answell as our likes, I’m sure.

      And we will get better as the season unfolds. We did last season and Arsene Wenger gave me the answer on why. We have more young developing players than most teams and they will develop more and faster than elder players and give us an advantage in the second half of the season.

      We are only 5 points down from the 15th spot we occupied at the end of last season and have half of the season left. The fans are over-reacting for sure and McCarthy and the lads will sort it out, I know it.

      I don’t approve of the quick fix and rescuing football of Big Sam. I like it the 3M (Morgan-Moxey-McCarthy) way. To build a club, a squad and a team up from the base and for the long run. With sound economics and organisation in every detail and to take the young and hungry and develop them to a real team and not a legion of mercenaries.

      That will mean some backlashes and everything will not go smooth from day one to year ten, but we´re getting there and if you look since McCarthy came to the club we have had a fantastic development on every level.

      To keep that going I believe we benefit from having the same mangement. Look at ManU, Everton and Arsenal. They have the formula for success and I think that we follow that example. And, you know, McCarthy will develop and evolve aswell. You learn by your mistakes and make better.

      Having a new manger every year disturbs the coninuity and learning curve for the players and every new manger will do every mistake again and again. No. I want coninuity and development with 3M!

  6. To me it’s not MM’s tactical dispositions that are questionable. To me this season, the first half of it, has been a failure because of our moves on the transfer market and injuries (yes, it’s an excuse for low budget teams like Wolves). It’s always difficult to predict how our newcomers will perform, and how long it will take, and with Zubar, Hunt, and later Craddock injured we’re hardly strengthened compared to the last seasons team. MM makes a lot of changes, and in some games our tactics exclude presumed first team players from our first eleven, but all the injuries doesn’t make it easy for MM. It’s still very obvious that we lack depth in our squad, and that we are very vulnerable to injuries.

  7. Players deserve several chances, but not numeral. Stearman out. Put Elokobi in the middle while waiting for Craddock or Mancienne. Ward playing up front instead of 6.5 mill Fletcher ??? Hello !! Fletcher`s scored 5 in how few matches ? And leaving our very best player, Jarvis, on the bench ??
    To many crazy decisions made by MM, in my upinion.

  8. I think the points gap is small enough this season that we could make it out of the relegation zone – with half the season to go I don’t think it’s over yet as some appear to think and I do think we have some decent players to get us there when all are fully fit. What worries me is that Craddock may not be back until Feb; we need to attract some serious quality at the back now; and being bottom of the table we may struggle to attract the right players.

  9. The reason Jarvis warmed the bench last match was because of an earlier injury. And Ward played ok.Fletcher deserves more playing time, especially in matches were our performances are so weak as in the first half. Our starting lineup were way too defensive. Bia was on the bench and should in my opinion have started. He’s the same type of player who knows how to challenge and come to crosses (very similar to Jarvis). Ismael is another alternative.

  10. Sorry I’m a little late with this one!
    Agree with the Milijas/Jarvis analysis about creativity. That said, only Ned can put the ball on a 10p piece from 50 metres. I am concerned about the way he is now being used. When he came back into the side, he was taking all the important free kicks and corners, in addition to firing in shots on goal left right and centre. Great stuff.
    Now he plays deeper, and Hunt seems to have taken over a lot of those duties. As yet Hunt hasn’t inspired the way Ned does, and if we don’t watch out Ned will be back on the bench again, whilst Hunt continues to be ineffective with that role.
    You made the point a while ago that we get lots of corners, as we did on Boxing Day, all of which are useless. I don’t think they would all have been if Ned had taken some of them!
    I hope that MM doesn’t continue to let Ned drift out from what he was doing so well, I really do, and certainly not in favour of Hunt.

    • I am not as critical to Hunt as you, Peter, but I do agree that Ned should be an alterntive much more frequently then he is at the moment.

      And on corner kicks I have seen Milijas almost always standing all alone in perfect position about ten yards out when everybody else is packed in close to goal. Why doesn’t Hunt – or whoever takes the corner kick lay it to him? I’m not at all pleased with the set pieces lately, as you have read, peter, but Hunt is not bad at it at all. But in some situations Milijas is a much better alternative, I agree.

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