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!