Analysis & Ratings: Wolves v Tottenham
What went wrong? Many Wolves supporters probably asks themselves this question today, but it is the wrong question.
Wolverhampton Wanderers played very good football yesterday, probably the best they’ve played this season. Only the result and some individual errors and shortcomings says otherwise, but of course the result is the first concern in the Premier League.
We did meet a Tottenham team full to the brim with skills in every position and we managed to be their equals almost all through the game. Before the first goal – or at least in the first half – Wolves in my opinion even played better than Spurs. We should be very proud of our team!
How come then that we lost the game with two goals against nothing? Pure chance? No. Firstly we didn’t score on the chances we had (Henry, Johnson a.o.) but Spurs did on theirs. They did that because they have more players in their team that have the ability to decide a game and they have paid loads of pounds for them.
A very generalised analysis, perhaps, but none the less very true. Players like Adebayor and Defoe don’t grow on trees and they are highly paid for a reason. They are the difference between the top six teams in the league and the rest for their teams, because of their ability to take their chances and score and also to create chances out of nothing.
When it comes to composition of the team, team-work, strategy and tactics I believe we matched them well. Our ability to keep the ball and go to attack was as good as theirs and we also defended well. In fact I rate one of our defenders as the best player on the pitch.
To make it all work our forwards has to work hard defending, though, and that takes its toll physically. Plus they may not be in position right away when we take over possession and go to attack.
I had hopes that Wolves would counter-attack with pace in my pre-match article. In some extent they did, but more from the middle than the flanks. O’Hara, and Kights and others, did well going forward in the deep or center the ball up the pitch.
The lack of clear-cut chances from the Wolves forwards tells me that they are not in top form yet and that the Tottenham defence did very well. Both Doyle and Fletcher can and will do better as the season get more mature.
Despite letting in two goals our defence looks our best unit at the moment. Johnson works hard and commands the back four and is an impressive figure in the middle and Berra looks more and more like his perfect partner in battle.
The best part of the back four was our players on the flanks, though. Ward was a pillar both in defending and going forward in the first half and Stearman… Let’s just say I’m deeply impressed before going to the ratings.
The bottom line is that Wolves did very well against a very good Tottenham team and if we instead of them had got the first goal the outcome would have been different. That’s how little it was between the teams, but Tottenham had the players to decide the game and they took their chances.
Hennessey – 6 – Actually had very little to do saving-vise but did no errors. Could do nothing about the goals. Maybe one could question if kicking the ball high up so often are the right tactics. It seems to me that the opponents gets possession more than Wolves, but that’s no critique of Hens. The tactics comes from management.
Stearman – 9 – Wow! Didn’t put a foot wrong all game defending. That deserves high praise in a match where so many world stars are involved in the other side. His quota of successful passes was also very high (84%). He played it simple and often back to Hens, but it’s more than allowed for a defender to do that. Security comes first.
He snatched the ball from attacking forwards at least five times and he also made five succesful tackles. With no close competition he was the best player on the pitch and I’m delighted to name him Paddytheflea’s Star Man!
Johnson – 8 – Has in a very short time become a hero on the Molineux and he was impressive again against Spurs. Headed the ball away on numerous occasions and went very close to score. Kept world stars at bay and was always in their backs when the ball was kicked up the pitch from the Spurs defence.
The only question-mark I have is about his dealing with the goal situations. I’m not sure, but at least at one of them he could have taken a step forward to trap the opponent offside. So it looked to me anyway, but I have to take a closer look on a video to be sure. Anyway. Johnson deserves the jumpy smiley thing!
Berra – 6 – Did very well throughout the game, but slipped at one of the goals in the back. Can happen to anybody. goes together well with Johnson and the others. Close to a seven.
Ward – 7 – Maybe our best player in first half. Both going forward and defending. Now I can see why McCarthy didn’t find it necessary to go out on the market for a left back, something everybody thought he would do first thing. Stephen Ward was a bargain when he signed from the Bohemians and his strength seems to grow for every day now. Ward can collect the little star in my office!
Henry – 5 – Every family has a child that seem to cause a lot of trouble. At the start of the game it didn’t look like it was to be Karl Henry this day. He almost scored in one of his first touches of the ball in the game. If he had he would have one more point from me, but not more.
He looks uncomfortable and nervy when he has possession and many times when opponents attack him he loses faith in himself and sometimes also posession. I counted to three times in this game and at every time Spurs could go to attack and cause problems to our defence. That’s not the way to cover for our back four. Harsh words, I know, but we got better alternatives on the bench.
Kightly – 6 – Doesn’t look to be totally comfortable with the tempo and in possession yet, but he’s getting better with every game he play. There were glimpses of the old Kights yesterday and I for one want to see more!
O’Hara – 7 – After the three in the back line already praised Jamie was our best player. Very nice crosses to Fletcher and Hunt that was worth a better destiny than to come to nothing. Got a very good engine and runs for miles in a game. The only reason he’s not one of the specially mentioned today is that he lost possession to Adebayor in the first half, almost causing a goal in the back from that sloppy error that gives him a lower rating.
Hunt – 5 – Almost came through to goal on his own early on in the game, but otherwise he was not the energetic player we are used to love watching by now. Very little possession and apart from that occasion and a couple of runs when he didn’t catch the cross from O’Hara he made no real impact. He can do much better!
Doyle – 6 – Very good at helping defending from midfield, surely an important task against a Spurs team with Modric and Parker in the middle, but totally lacked chances on goal. Very good in the first half, but faded in the second. Almost a seven.
Fletcher – 5 – Loses too many battles against defence players. Why? Is it just lack of form or lack of skills? Or does he need to go more often to the gym lifting weights? Hopefully he’ll improve as the season comes along and give us the goals we know he can manufacture.
Jarvis and Hammill came in for Kightly and Hunt the last 15 minutes, but had no impact on the game. Vokes came in for Fletcher the last ten, but was invisible.
UP THE WOLVES!!!
Link to highlights in the right margin as usual (as long as it works) 😆