Analysis & Ratings: Newcastle v Wolves

Typical! Just when you think that the problems in the play of Wolves has been sorted out and corrected a dip comes, and this was a big one.

There were nothing to say about the team selection. McCarthy played the right eleven – the ones I knew he would play in my pre-match article. He played them in what I picture as a 4-1-4-1-formation with Henry as the defensive inner midfielder and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake upfront.

I also knew that Newcastle would have a lot of ball in the game, but as I saw the rerun and the figures 72-28 of possession for Newcastle – I believe it was in the first quarter of an hour of the game – I was astonished. Whenever Wolves got hold of the ball they immediately made a wrong pass or just kicked it far up the pitch for Newcastle to collect and start another period of possession.

Wolves have to nurse the ball more when they have possession, in my opinion. They started to in the second half, but then it was too late. The ball was far too often in the hands of Newcastle in our area of the pitch and we could not keep it at all or keep it up the pitch for enough time to create any pressure.

That was the nature of the environment in which Newcastle created their first goal. It was bad defending, yes, but it was also a goal waiting to happen. Wolves did not fight for dominance, nor marking close enough or high up enough to hinder the Magpies from getting the upper hand in the game.

Add to that the sloppy play of everybody in the back four and you will get the recipe for disaster. After the first goal in the back McCarthy took the right decision by bringing Fletcher on for Milijas and by that changing to a 4-4-2-formation.

That gave us a little more bite going forward – Fletcher immediately made an impact by finding Ebanks-Blake with a couple of flick-ons – but the sloppiness in the back-line continued and another row of mistakes made the Wolves players go to tea two goals down.

Actually they could have gone to tea laughing, as Ebanks-Blake went very close just before the Newcastle goal and those moments were of course decisive in the game. The difference between one all and two in the back are massive.

Wolves didn’t seem to be prepared for the onslaught of Newcastle at the beginning of the second half. In trying to get forward to get a fast equaliser they left the back door open and the third by the home team – a questionable goal because of Lovenkrands in an offside position –  was the last nail in the coffin for us.

Over forty minutes left of the game, but Wolves never came seriously close of challenging the Newcastle lead. We played much better now – partly because Newcastle let us, partly because we were chasing a goal – and we got one. It was beautifully mastered by O’Hara who found Jarvis on the left and he spotted the free-standing Ebanks-Blake in the area who without hesitation surpassed the ball into the net.

The difference between that successful attempt and the ones that didn’t work out was that it was made with pace from behind and before the Magpies defence had the time to close out our scorer in the middle. If Wolves could learn to counter-attack in that manner away from home much would be won, but I’ve only seen it a couple of times all season. Why?

Wolves had chances to score another, the best one by Fletcher just a minute after the 3-1 goal but he hit the post with his header. A double chance after 70 minutes was worth a better destiny as Berra blocked a O’Hara shot that was on its way into the net. A goal in either of those opportunities and we would have been in the game again.

Instead Newcastle managed to get a fourth one in on a counter-attack in the dying minutes of the game. A deserved victory for the home team, who took their chances and had a better defensive play than Wolves. A very heavy loss for Wolves, but I believe that we can take a couple of positives from the game.

Kightly came on for Hammill with 34 minutes left and did it well. Still not match-fit of course, but he looked good at times and will be an asset for the team in the seven games left to play. The cooperation between Fletcher and Ebanks-Blake looked to klick. Fletcher flicked the ball on to Sylvan in excellent positions a couple of times and the 4-4-2-formation did show its advantages. To the ratings.

Hennessey – 6 – Made a couple of good saves and managed to find both Sylvan and Steven with his kick-outs. He looked frozen in his steps on the first goal but it was mainly caused by defensive errors. Looked a little shaky at times, but who wouldn’t with that defense in front of him.

Foley – 4 – Involved in all goals in the back and could have done much better defending. This is the first match in ages that I’ve seen him lose his nerves and touch and ability to place himself right. A disaster.

Stearman – 4 – Also involved in all four. Was never in the game.

Berra – 5 – A little better than his side-kick but not at all good enough. Had problems with Ameobi all through the game, but helped Elokobi a lot as usual.

Elokobi – 4 – When he is bad he is really bad. With the body strength he possesses he should have no problems taking on Ameobi or whoever is thrown against him. But he does not seem to know how to use it. Becomes ball-watching and unaware of the threats behind his shoulder.

Henry – 5 – I know that he cuts angles, screen them off and all that. He is also an important guy in the build-up play, but far too often he is placed too far from the action, often between two players instead of marking one, leaving our defenders with two guys against one.

Hammill – 7 – Had a good game again and were very much involved in the first part of the game. Was cut down by Nolan when he had broken free to make a goal. Had some good crosses as usual but usually disappears in the game after his good starts. But now Kightly was ready to replace him.

Kightly -6 – In his first appearance for 17 months in Old Gold and Black he managed to get two shots at goal in 34 minutes. Not bad at all. And he had the best passing success of all – 94%. But he is not yet fully match-fit and made mistakes when he chased back trying to catch Guitterez from scoring their fourth.

O’Hara – 6 – Had a difficult task to try to hold up Wolves play and start a build-up play when nobody else seemed interested in holding the ball. The Magpies owned the midfield through the important parts of the game. With a couple of well taken free-kicks and the deep pass to Jarvo he gets the sixth point from me, but his overall play was not good enough.

Jarvis – 7 – Did not make himself recognised that much during the first part of the game but made a good come-back in the second when he was the best player in Wolves. He is a nationally known player by know and they are dubbling up on him to try to prevent him from breaking free and crossing in from the left. He had a couple of shots that promised more too, but no luck. With very few candidates for the price Matt Jarvis is Paddytheflea’s Star Man.

Ebanks-Blake – 7 – On the verge of getting through the Newcastle defense on numerous occasions. With a little more pace and skills he will get there, I’m sure. The goal was a well taken one touch thing, almost instinctual. More of those! He is worth the little star as an encouragement. He has big deeds in store for us. I’m sure.

Fletcher – 6 – Came on before the half hour in an attempt to catch up with the Newcastle then one goal lead. Immediately made himself known by his flick-ons that reached Sylvan in dangerous positions. That promises plenty for the future but sometimes he seems a little weak and not good enough in man-to-man play against the Newcastle defenders. And I reduce one point from him for not scoring on that open opportunity when he hit the post. Should we play 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 in the future? I would go for Fletch and SEB upfront at home, but at the same time don’t want to miss out on the magic of Milijas. Most of you probably know who I would drop instead. Fletch get’s that bouncing ball price. 😆


~ by paddytheflea on April 3, 2011.

17 Responses to “Analysis & Ratings: Newcastle v Wolves”

  1. It is difficult to asses the importance of the Fletcher substitution. It seems like our possesion increased, but whether it’s a result of the substitution I’m not sure about, or how it affected the defensive play. We were very vulnerable defensively. The whole team, exept the strikers and our wings, had an off-day… lacked agression.

    – The match confirmed Ebanks as the striker of choice when Doyle is injured. We should have had a penalty. Fletcher played ok and could’ve scored on the heading.

    Nice to have Kightly back. He played ok, played it safe. Now when Kightly is back we could play Hamill in an attacking midfielder position.

  2. Good report paddytheflea, on the nolon incident I beleive he should have got a red card, it was cynical and he knew what he was doing, also I believe we should have had a couple of pens, but hey when do we get a pen unlike the unmentionables who got two?
    The defense have let us down to many times this season and have lost us an hell of a lot of points, at home we might as well go for broke and play 4.3.3 and 4.5.1 away.
    Ah well bring on next week-another “must” win game has they all are I suppose.

    • Thank you, johnwolf.
      Yes, myabe we had a call for that red on Nolan, but not many referees seem to give them in those situations.
      I checked up on the offside rules, thinking about their third when Lovenkrands was offside in the first, but didn’ get the ball until later. It is not offside. At least not after 2005 when they changed the rules about that. The Wolves playesr should be instructed not to let a player go too far away from them on such occasions.

  3. yes but what a weekend . what a credit to football and drinking those geordies are . we could all learn from them . we drank and partied from friday till this mornig . plenty of banter and not a punch thrown . fantastic weekend pity about the result

  4. Paddy tell me where it says that an attacking player can stand two yards beyond the last defender and still be considered onside when a ball is played to him ? I was amazed at the lack of complaints from the Wolves defenders.

    The game was a must win for both of us and if you’d known how much apprehension there was in the Toon before this game you would have gone all out from the start. As it was you let us off the hook and for that we’ll be eternally grateful 🙂

    Good luck for the rest of the season, your home form should get you more points than you need unless the others around you start pulling rabbits out of their ar**s

    • The answer to your question is – unfortunately – that he was onside when he was played the ball, and that since 2005 when the rules changed it must be very special circumstances before a player who is clearly offside, but doesn’t get the ball, will be fouled for it.

      We didn’t play a good game yesterday at all, I’m afraid and I’m starting to get a little worried about these dips in form and if Ebanks-Blake doesn’t scores more goals on his chances. But we have Everton and Fulham at home next and I expect every man to do his f**king duty! 😆

  5. Was it a case of St Mick’s tactical shortcomings coming in view once again (gosh, it’s been so long), or, as he puts it, just a bad day on the oriface?

    Fact is, there only one Wolves player who can play upfront in a 4-5-1 and make it work, and without Kevin Doyle I suspect we just won’t cut it. By that I mean minus Doyle we won’t cut it playin with the lone striker.
    Time to go 442 and just go for it?

    What yesterday did prove, without any shadow of doubt, is that we can’t rely on any other bloody team to slip up. No, looks like we can do that for ourselves.

    Meanwhile, Everton next week, 11 points from last 5 games…St Mick needs to get em’ firing again, and quick….

  6. Unfortunately this was a return to the early season performances from Wolves – lack of control in midfield and woeful defending at the back. Since O’Hara had joined I thought those sort of performances were behind us.

    The games over the last month or two have been nothing short of amazing but Saturday was really disappointing. I just hope that this doesn’t dent the confidence levels of the squad for the next couple of games. For most of the season our back 4 have been the weak link and this weekend 3 of the 4 had a real stinker. It was probably the worst Foley has ever played in a Wolves shirt, Stearman too. Elokobi, who had been so improved over the last few months, also looked really suspect. To make matters worst most of the results went against us Saturday as well. Too many performances like this could be fatal given the current league situation.

    Moving on from this game I would definitely say it’s time to go 4-4-2 and be more positive to ease the pressure on the back 4.

    p.s. It was lovey to see Kitley back 🙂

  7. “The answer to your question is – unfortunately – that he was onside when he was played the ball, and that since 2005 when the rules changed it must be very special circumstances before a player who is clearly offside, but doesn’t get the ball, will be fouled for it”

    OK I realise that if a player is in an offside position but he’s not interfering with play that he needn’t be ruled offside but surely when he becomes active the fact that he’s used his “offside” position to gain an advantage should be taken into account if he’s later brought into play and scores ?

    “Committing an Offside Offence
    A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:

    * interfering with play
    * interfering with an opponent
    * gaining an advantage by being in that position”

    Anyway we were helped enormously by that goal because we might have “wobbled” at 2-1 but 3-1 gave us some breathing space.

    As I said before lets hope you stay up as I’m sure there are 3 teams worse than Wolves. Wigan being one of them !

    • It’s that ‘gaining an andvantage’ rule that was specified in 2005. Before that the referees could interpret it themselves and it was used very broadly, as you seem to want it used. But since then it can only be used under very specific circumstances and they unfortunately do not apply to the situation before their third goal.

    • Perhaps this will shed some light:

      • Thank you, CHN Robert. I believe it was where I read about the change of the ‘gaining an advantage’ rule.

  8. Poor defense = errors = Goals.
    As much as I like big George he is not a prem league player.
    Berra looked way off form and should be dubbed ‘Huggy Berra’
    In what was always a difficult match we failed because of our defensive frailaties.
    Having said that, there was no service to Jarivs in the first half, something we rely on.
    SEB did a good job up front but we missed the excellent hold-up play of Doyle, something we have to rectify if we are to survive.
    Good to see Kightly get a run out and that time on the pitch Saturday will help him a lot.

    • Yes, I believe that without Milijas in the middle Jarvis will get less service – especially if Kobi is playing as bad as he did Saturday. But he has had some good games aswell. But he has a very low lowest level. It may be a good decision to bring on Craddock and move Stearman to the left back position. What do you think about that?

      • Well Paddy, I would bring in Craddock – an old head will be useful on the run in – , I dont know about Stearman at left back, right back in place of Foley, and put Ward into left back? My thinking on this is Ward is technically superior to George with regards to passing/final ball etc and would be able to provide Jarvis with better quality balls.

        So I would play

        Stearman Craddock Berra Ward

        Kightly Milijas Henry O’Hara Jarvis


      • Could work, but I don’t believe that Kightly is ready to start a game yet and Hammill is doing just fine. And at home I would prefer to play a 4-4-2-formation. Maybe like this:


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