Analysis & Ratings: Wolves v Chelsea
There was a clear theme in the team that Mick McCarthy picked for the Chelsea game. He picked the pacey players who he knew could ran for the whole game.
And they sure did! When they check the stats for the length and speed the players ran it will be top of the season for almost all of them. And it paid off. I’m so delighted that it paid off!
Perhaps you can say that Wolves were lucky to score in the fifth minute of the game. And I would agree with you. But if you take into account the bad luck we have had all season, getting opponents goals in the back early on, payback time was long due.
There were nothing wrong about the Hunt corner, though. It was tight and Kobi made some sort of maneuver with his leg that may have distracted some. But it went right at Bosingwa who probably tried to get it out but instead tapped it into the own net. But if he hadn’t touched it I’m sure that Fletch would have scored, cause he was right behind him.
I’ll bet there weren’t many who thought that this early goal was going to be decisive for the game, though. Especially not from the play in the second part of the first half.
We held the play up very well in the first part, but after 25 minutes or so Chelsea started to press on and the Wolves midfield sat in the knee of the defence. But miraculously they managed to hold on to halftime. I guess it was a combination of bad precision of the Chelsea players and good defending by the Wolves players, to be fair.
I knew that Wolves could not fend Chelsea off from scoring if we played the same way in the second half as we did in the latter part of the first. And McCarthy and the players probably knew it too.
One thought from me was that he should opt for a fifth midfielder instead of one forward, but he played the same team. But the midfield were a little faster, a little stronger and passed the ball a little better and by that they held up the ball better and the Chelsea chances were not so many – or at least not as frequent – as in the first half.
In fact Wolves gained some initiative on several occasions and counter attacked with some astute – if not result. Chelsea threw in everything they got and holes opened up in their defence and when they got tired they made mistakes that our players took advantage of.
And Wolves could do that because they were the hardest working team on the British Isles at the time. They pressed the holder and marked every player and were in their faces all over the pitch. Makes me feel very proud!
The flanks – who have not worked too good lately in my opinion – were perfect both working forward and defending on this evening. It was like we had a pair of wing-backs on each side working together up and down in perfect harmony. Terrific!
The inner midfielders worked their socks off and in the second half they could hold up play better than in the first and didn’t sink back as much.
All through the game Berra and Stears were like a wall in the way of the Chelsea trio, trying to force their way past them. Often without luck. Sometimes they only managed to disturb the world stars a little, but that was enough to make them miss the goal or a final pass.
Looking at the stats I’m sure that Chelsea had most of the play, the shots, chances – everything – but that doesn’t tell the tale.
Wolves were the team that wanted the most and fought for it to the last drop. And – as I said earlier – that paid off. With three points that takes us up over the line. And – maybe not the least – with a confidence that they can take with them to the upcoming games.
I want to give some praise to manager Mick McCarthy before the individual ratings. As I said above he picked the right kind of players to play this game. The runners. And he substituted Doyler and Fletch with fresh legs for counter attacks and to hold the ball up. Perfect. But I hope that the Ebanks-Blake injury is not of the worst kind. O.K. To the ratings, then.
Zubar – 8 – Before the game I was a little worried about this position. Zubar has not shown his best lately, but today he was terrific. He was one of the best Wolves players in the first half and took many intitatives going forward.
Cech had some problems saving his shot just before the corner in the 4th minute, so he could very well have been a goalscorer aswell. Then he would get another point and if he thinks more about positioning and security he would have a tenner. But he was really good working together with Jarvis on the flank.
Stearman – 6 – Solid and hard working, but his passes was not the best for the evening.
Berra – 7 – Solid and hard working aswell, and his passes was much better. Looked as he had more to do than his companion and he did it very well. Some very good tackles.
Elokobi – 9 – I had pen and paper in my hand as usual and nobody got as many markings as Big George. And they get a marking from me when they do something good. Kobi was very much involved in play – both going forward and defending. Sometimes he misses too many passes, but not tonight.
He was all over his flank and combined well together with Hunt and Foley and also with Fletch and Edwards. And together with Hunt he fended off many Chelsea attacks. He got seven clearances to prove it. Big George Elokobi is Paddytheflea’s Star Player!
Jarvis – 7 – Back in good shape and working all over the pitch. Very useful in defence tonight and moved the ball forward a lot as usual. But there were a couple of bad crosses that he could have taken better and given our strikers chances.
Edwards – 8 – Absolutely essential to our efforts tonight. Better in the second than in the first half, but worked very hard in both halves. The kind of box-to-box player that’s needed in a match like this and he is fast in getting back and attacking.
Foley – 8 – Our stand in both as a Captain and in the engine. And he did a match almost at par with the one against Liverpool. The spider in the web that portions out the ball and gets the engine running smooth. A better passer than Edwards.
Hunt – 8 – Outshone Jarvis today. Especially in his defensive play. And his corners and free-kicks were well taken, except maybe one. Could have scored a second if not for the bar (tempted to give him a nine). Worked like a horse and was sometimes unfairly fouled. One of the very best.
Fletcher – 6 – Didn’t get that involved, I’m afraid. Maybe the wrong kind of player for this type of game? Problems in receiving the ball with his back to the goal and defender behind him. But tried hard and did his part. Got a pass from Doyler after about an hour and had free space straight to goal, but he didn’t notice.
Doyle – 7 – I could notice that he was a little rusty from start and he missed some passes, but later on he showed what he can do for us and straightened up his play. As usual he works more like a midfielder than a striker in a match like this. Had a shot on goal, but it was not so well taken. Anyway. Very good to have him back!
UP THE WOLVES!!!