Analysis & Ratings: Manchester City v Wolves
Even if I didn’t expect anything from this game a bit of disappointment still lingers in my brain in this late hour. Wolves lost it with 4-3 – fair and square – but we lost the game with style. And to make a crude and short match analysis this early on – what differed between the two teams today at Eastlands was an Argentinian world star and his magic.
The first half was Wolves. Maybe the best half I’ve seen a Wolverhampton Wanderers team perform in my lifetime. And I’m pretty old for a flea, mind you.
Many reporters to the media will say that City underperformed in the first half, but that’s simply not true. There are two teams in a match and Wolves dominated the game by pressuring the Manchester City team high up the pitch and attacked very well and were very successful in holding the ball in the team and marking out our opponents.
Therefore it came as no surprise when we took the lead after twelve minutes when Milijas persistence paid off in front of the goal. It was well-earned and it gave the team a push and it was a self-confident team that continued with the same tactics throughout the first half. And we had calls for more.
One of many decisive moments of the game came when Jarvis had a great chance to make the Wolves lead two against nothing. Unfortunately City defender Kolarov could make a fantastic last-minute block to Jarvos effort to keep them in the game, really.
The next decisive moment came when the light blue men were lucky enough to level at the very end of the first half. It was a deflection on a Wolves player and Hennessey – a giant in the Wolves goal for the day – could do nothing about it. We deserved to have a lead after that perfectly executed first half – maybe by two goals – but we were back where we started.
Maybe Mancini said something to the Manchester City players at tea time to make them change their game some when attacking? Tevez was very good in the first half, but was more of a team player and a passer of the ball then. Maybe he wanted to set up the new guy Dzeco for a goal and didn’t go for it himself? Or maybe our defence did a terrific job stopping him. No maybe, I’m sure they did.
But now he showed everybody his quality as a striker when he did a magnificent solo number and dribbled his way through three Wolves players to put the ball into the net to bring the home team into the lead.
There are only a handful players in the world that can do something like that and I would have enjoyed it immensely and even celebrated the fantastic number as a piece of art if it had not been done against the team I love.
Maybe – and very probable – Wolves should have calmed their heads after that goal instead of rushing forward trying to get a quick equaliser as soon as possible. We forgot to defend properly and the home team – now with better confidence when on top of the game – had more space to play their attacking game.
And after the third and the fourth goal in the back – both with a Tevez trademark stamped on them – it looked as if they could walk all over us, and the Wolves play in the first half could be explained as a simple twist of faith if it wasn’t for a Wolves team still trying and a great Zubar effort that was worth a better destiny than ending up hitting the crossbar.
The substitution of Ward for Mouyokolo and the Zubar switch to the left back gave Wolves a little more energy and speed on both flanks in the attacks. And hungry Wolves continued to go forward despite the low odds to get something out of the game. That is commitment!
And a harsh attack from former Wolves defender Lescott on Doyle in the area earned us a penalty. Doyler made no mistake and somehow everybody thought we were in the game again – despite still being down with two goals away against one of the best teams in the world with only 22 minutes left to play. That says something about how competitive and hungry the Wolves team looked now.
And with five minutes of ordinary time Wolves got a reward in their close to impossible task. In a goal scramble our fantastic defender Ronald Zubar could score the third goal. Three goals against Manchester City away. Just think about that for a minute!
There was to be less than ten minutes left of the game with extra time after that goal and Wolves were not at all without chances to score and take a point. You could see the redness of Mancini’s face peak and wonder how thin his neck will look tonight when he takes his scarf off.
Wolves actually came close with a shot by substitute Mujangi Bia – who looked very good when he came on for a tiring Jarvo – but it was blocked. In the end Wolves – who in my opinion deserved better after their efforts, tactics and skills – had to leave Manchester with nothing from this very entertaining and well-played game. Well done, team!
To the ratings :
Hennessey – 8 – Made some crucial saves that kept Wolves in the game. We are very fortunate to have two top-of-the-league goalkeepers in the team.
Zubar – 9 – Back in full after his injury and better than ever before. Fantastic in defending aswell as in attack. Drives the team on when turning play from the back. Just the player we need to cover the way from defence to attack faster.
And he has firepower in his feet aswell as a head with good precision and force. What more can you wish from a Wolves player? A couple of goals and some luck, perhaps? Ronald Zubar is Paddytheflea’s Star Man!
Stearman – 6 – Stopped many attacks when he had time and he faced in the right direction. When he is chasing or have to run backwards the mistakes comes.
Berra – 7 – Was the leading figure in the defence in the first half and delivered the ball very well aswell as he hindered Tevez and others to get through. In the second half he lost a bit of momentum and maybe some self-confidence.
Ward – 6 – Did some good work in defence, but I believe he backs off to deep when defending. When Zubar took his position in the second half both defending and especially attacks became better.
Jarvis – 8 – Was very good in the first half and the creator of many attacks through very good set pieces and crosses. But the very good City defense seem to tire him some and in the second half he was – rightly so – substituted by Mujangi Bia who did a very good job and he looked as he had put on som muscles since I saw him last. Good to know that we have a ready to run back-up to Jarvo and Hunty!
Jones – 6 – With Foley (and Edwards) out injured and Henry not yet ready for 90 minutes Dave was the only choice for the important inner midfield role beside Milijas. I want to say that he did cut it, but I can’t say he did. He is a god passer of the ball, but not good enough at defending in a 4-4-2 formation. But he was lucky to have the next player at his side today.
Milijas – 9 – Did it all in this game. Helped out in defence often aswell as going on the attack and scoring and assisting everybody going forward. A giant and an engine in the best sense of the word. Together with Zubar he was the most influential player in Wolves today and the man who held it all together. Close to the star. I’ll give him a small one. 😆
Hunt – 6 – Although hard-working he makes a lot of mistakes and is sometimes sloppy with the ball and with bad timing. His work effort makes up for much, but I know that he can do better than this.
Doyle – 8 – He is even better than before his injury now. Looks like when he was at his best last season. We will need that in the coming months.
Fletcher – 7 – Looks a little weak and slow sometimes, but he did some very good moves in this game and pressed high up together with Doyler to hinder City from building up play. Combined well with Doyle going forward aswell, but I miss SEB some.
Came off for Henry after the Doyle penalty. Midfield became more compact and allowed Jones and Milijas and our wing-backs to go more on the attack the last twenty. Attacks that almost resulted in a draw.
Highlights in the right margin as usual