Analysis & Ratings: West Ham v Wolves

This was not at all what I expected this Wolves team to do. What a lousy start to the new year.

In the first half the tempo was missing among most Wolves players and it was West Ham that was the better playing team cutting through our midfield like knife in butter.

It stands clear that everybody in this team has to play on the very top of their skills – like they did against Liverpool – otherwise they will be punished, and that they were.

Interestingly enough not in the first half – when Wolves played at their worst – but in the second when they upped their play. Both goals from West Ham came in periods when Wolves played well and were on the attack.

But that’s not so surprising, really. We are very vulnerable for counter attacks – especially from the flanks – as our full backs are not speedy and canny enough to take care of attacks coming from the wings.

And I also believe that our inner midfield is formed in a way that makes it easier for an opponent to get through fast. Both Foley and Milijas can be seen as attacking midfielders and they were doing just that – attacking, when the counter attacks came – leaving the door open for West Ham to score against play.

So if you see someone mentioning ‘individual errors’, don’t believe him. In fact our defence was not that bad against West Ham at all. Especially our central defence was brilliant and took on Piquionne and Cole very well.

But when they are able to attack with pace through our midfield so many times without being stopped it’s hard to stop them from getting some chances at goal.

I’m not at all pleased with Wolves open play in the game. Most of our chances were created from set pieces and there were only a period in the beginning of the second half when we played well taking the ball swiftly forward on the ground from defence to their penalty area getting some very good chances.

And – as usual – we didn’t score on our set pieces either. We got many corners, and I have complained on how they are taken before. But this time some of them were really good and they varied between long ones to the back post and some to the first or in the middle. They even played one short, allowing Milijas to take a shot, which he, however, sadly placed high over the bar.

The big difference when comparing this game to the Liverpool clash though, was that we didn’t succeed in taking West Ham on early and get in their faces. With Parker as the general of their midfield we just didn’t get to them. Foley and Milijas did weigh too light for this and watching this game you wonder how they could manage to dominate in Liverpool.

With both Hunty and Jarvy not in their best either, the game could only end one way, really. That’s my explanation for the fact that we got beaten, anyway. Too many players didn’t play at their best – especially on the midfield.

The question is if Wolves should use other tactics when playing away against team in our own league, so to speak. Maybe it should have been us coming on fast counter attacks taking the points home? Just a thought.

But the year has just started and we have til May to crawl up from the gutter of this league. So we are by no means counted out yet. Let’s look at the ratings.

Hennessey – 7 – A performance over par. He saved us on a couple of occasions and that is exactly what a good goalkeeper should do.

Zubar – 5 – As I’ve written before. Ronald is not in form and he makes mistakes. Anybody can get a ball on his knee who bounces into the net, but he was late on that one as he was a couple of other times when defending. Going forward he was actually better than in previous games, but on a couple of occasions that meant Stears standing in for him.

Stearman – 8 – Did a great job stopping the West Ham forwards and in my opinion he should not be given that yellow card. He is hard as steel when tackling, something many West Ham players will feel today, I’m sure. But he’s honest in his play.

And he really saved Wolves in the first half when he blocked a shot on the goal line. Fantastic! Towards the end of the game he tried hard to press forward, but it was too little to late. The main reason for us losing the game was not – as I wrote above – our central defenders not doing their jobs. Richard Stearman is Paddytheflea’s Star Man.

Berra – 7 – Nearly everything that goes for Stears goes for Berra aswell. Together they managed to stop lots of attacks. But Stears did that little extra this time.

Elokobi – 5 – Like his companion defender on the other flank he does not look to be in top form at the moment – not in defending and not going forward. Lost the ball too easy on a couple of occasions.

Foley – 5 – He tried hard as usual, but his running looked a little aimless at times. Was not the link between defence and attack that is necessary to make Wolves work as a team. A couple of times I found myself longing for Henry, and that is not a good sign.

Milijas – 6 – Was not any better than Foley in the first half, but he bettered himself a little in the second. Had a couple of chances to score, and should have taken them better.

Hunt – 5 – Didn’t get into the game at all. Looked lost and weak. Some good set pieces as usual, but that’s all. Maybe too hard matching lately?

Jarvis – 6 – This is my second rating below seven for Matt this season. Looks pleased with getting an odd corner nowadays and clearly has a dip in form. Didn’t run at all as much as he uses to and looked frustrated and without a clue. Got a couple of crosses in, though.

Ward – 6 – Didn’t get the right balls to work with for most of the time. Had a shot or two on goal, but nothing dangerous. The forwards clearly suffered by lack of service from behind.

Ebanks-Blake – 6 – Same. But even his defensive work didn’t have the impact it had against Liverpool. Missed a clear chance to score and had a couple of others aswell. So in the positive is that he is in the right place at the right time. I want him to score against Chelsea!



~ by paddytheflea on January 2, 2011.

15 Responses to “Analysis & Ratings: West Ham v Wolves”

  1. A dissapointing result indeed. I have only seen the extended highlights on Sky Football First. Agree there were too many players not up to their game – Hunt, Jarvis, Elokobi, Zubar to name a few. I still think we did enough to get at least a point from this and that Rob Green was man of the match says it all. ‘IF’ SEB’s header had gone in instead of hitting the post…who knows…but football is all about what if’s.
    Now we look forward to Chelsea on Wednesday to put some more points on the board.

  2. I think you are a bit hard on Foley and Milijas, Paddy. Ward and Hunt in front of them and Zubar and Elokobi behind them were awful on the day–all four would only get 4 from me. If Foley looked a bit aimless at times it was because Ward and Hunt were not getting into good positions. Both West Ham goals came from crosses from their right where they making hay out wide. And there’s a gormless aspect to Zubar–he’s sometimes accident prone and should never have given away that own goal. It was obvious early on that Hunt was way out of touch, and he should have been subbed early for Edwards with the latter bolstering the central midfield. I also think you are a bit kind on Berra–Cole could easily have had a hat-trick. Wolves’ progress depends on Zubar and Elokobi finding some form or being replaced in the January transfer window. In my opinion, this is much more urgent than buying a central defender.

    • No, Nippy Lobo. Zubar and Kobi were weak against Liverpool aswell, but the difference then was Hunty, Foley and Milijas fighting and playing very well.

      On the other hand Pool didn’t have players like Parker and Sears. They dominated midfield and going forward against us. Perhapse we could get the upper hand on midfield because Pool was not at their best.

      I agree about Hunty. He really should have been replaced at halftime latest. Elokobi and Zubar has always had troubles against fast wingers, but at their best they can compete. But I tend to agree that it may not prove to be good enough and we are in need of new signings in those positions.

  3. Paddy, as much as I agree with most of the things you said I cannot agree with you when you said: “Foley and Milijas did weigh too light for this and watching this game you wonder how they could manage to dominate in Liverpool”.
    As you know every match has it’s story and this was a different match from the Liverpool one. If we expect the team to play all matches like against Liverpool then Wolves would be up there with United and City.
    As one can see Wolves have 18 points, six coming from teams in the lower half of the table and 12 from those in the top half. So now Wolves are due a win or a draw against Chelsea on Wednesday. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
    Wolves already beat Man. City and Liverpool and were unlucky not to get a point against Man. United and Arsenal. Come on you Wolves give us something to shout about!

    • You certainly got a point there, Alfred!
      And a rather encouraging one at that, as we meet some clubs from the upper echelons of the league next. What this league has shown us so far is that we sure can beat anyone and that we will snatch points from the very best.


  4. As I told you last time Paddy – why oh why spend £6M on s atriker only to leave him warming the bench and play a £0.1M at best utility player as centre forward. Presumably we will have to wait until Doyle returns and then Ward will take George’s fullback spot. In the meantime if Ward stays as a striker then we can look only in one direction – relegation. Sad but true – and though I have been a staunch supporter of MM his overwhelming support of this very limited player will have taken us there.

    • I agree with McCarthy that he cannot put on a player just because his signing fee is high.
      Wardy proved that he was the right man to play against Liverpool by scoring and doing a very good game.

      Against West Ham he was not as dominating. My guess is that he will be back playing on left back soon, though.

  5. as soon as wardy went back to left back . . . we were finnished, west ham poured everything down that side of the pitch . elokobi had played well again up untill the first goal and mick should have left him on and swapped ward for fletcher earlier. ward was poor all game

  6. im getting worried about doyler … anyone know whats going on ?

  7. I applaud the surprisingly upbeat nature of the bulk of these posts. However, I fail to understand why.

    The Euphoria from Anfield quickly doused by a return to form coupled by piss poor team selections, make me wonder where th next points will come from.

    Chelsea? CHELSEA ???? You are having a fookin laff mate.

    • Wolves has taken 12 of our 18 points to date against the top teams and we nearly snatched points from Arsenal and United aswell. We are not at all against chance against a Chelsea team that doesn’t play to their standards. Especially as we play at home.


  8. To me Milijas looked like one of the best players on the field. A couple of passes were so accurate, world class. It doesn’t help much when we didn’t have the players to capitalize from them. Westham did their homework and neutralised Jarvis, and when that happen we seems pretty toothless, we doesn’t create much. Some transfer rumours are circulating about Hammill, that he’s on the move to Wolves. He’s the same kind of player as Jarvis, and if he could take with him the confidence he plays with to premiership, we would have two capable wingers ready to make havoc. If we could get Keane back to the Black country also, our amount of creativity in the team increases further. And with the possibility of D.Wheater strengthening the defense, and Paul Green or Arca (I’m really crossing my fingers that MM goes for Arca) strengthening the depth in the central midfield position. If these rumours were to come true I would say we’ve been successful in bringing in the type of players we actually need to survive and to strenthen our first team.

    • The Hammill rumour started because of McCarthy was there and watched a game, Karlir. He probably watched Hill and the rumour makers saw their chances to once again connect Hammill with a move somewhere. Another winger is the least thing we need in my opinion. But some of the others you mention could be interesting.

  9. Bearing in mind our injury list at the moment I feel we are doing remarkably well! With Kevin Doyle, Jody Craddock, Karl Henry, Michael Mancienne, Steven Mouyokolo, Michael Kightly and Adlene Guedioura all injured and (bar Mouyokolo) first choice regulars. I just want to know if MM has been running down black cats in his car recently!

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