Analysis & Ratings: Manchester City v Wolves
There is no doubt in my mind that the mistake by Wayne Hennessey turned out to be the major decisive moment in this game, but it could easily have been one of the two shots that Wayne parried in the first half of the game instead.
A decisive moment in our favour could also have been the penalty and red card following the Guédioura shot and drag down of Doyle if Wolves had played their cards right. There’s a lot of ifs and if nots in a match and that’s of course part of the charm of the game.
Mick McCarthy finally got the formation right and I salute him for that, even if I still wonder what happened with Ned Milijas. With five in the middle from start and Edwards and Hunt playing instead of Jarvo and Hammill Wolves had the right defensive shape to take on the onslaught of Manchester City.
Their first real chance didn’t arrive until the fifteenth minute, but after that we were in trouble a couple of times. Wardy saved us in the 19th when the rest of the back line was unorganised following a corner and a counter-attack by the blue team.
A couple of minutes later Hennessey made one of his fantastic saves on an Aguero shot and he made another one on another counter-attack minutes before half-time. I remember myself wondering if it is such a good idea to bring both Berra and Johnson to the box on set pieces, leaving our own box undefended for attack.
After all they are not our brightest stars going for goal at the other end. Being tall is not everything and both of them has proved that a number of times now. We did a fantastic first half when it comes to defending, though, Stearman also saved us when he blocked a shot and our two in the middle looked solid when in position.
In the middle I noticed a couple of wasteful passes by Hunt and Guédioura that started counter-attacks by City and O’Hara missed a couple of shots and crosses, but we played against one of the best teams in the world and to fend them off and leaving them goalless for 45 minutes is an achievement, and we didn’t have to park the bus to do it.
Wolves had next to nothing going forward, though, and when we had a set piece we wasted them. At one time Henry played back to Hens from middle of the pitch when we had players waiting for the long ball in the box. I didn’t know if to laugh or cry.
My first notation from the second half is that Doyler was sloppy meeting a pass and it ended with a yellow card for him when he tucked the shirt of former Wolves player Lescott. That incident, I believe, shows that he is not in form. Meeting the ball and holding on to it is normally when he is at his best in the game.
A couple of minutes later comes the decisive moment when Hens looks to have all the time in the world to bring the ball up field, maybe the problem was that he thought so himself?! Keepers make mistakes too, unfortunately, and though it was very wasteful I’m shure most fans understands that, even as he went from hero to zero in the blink of an eye for some.
Wolves reaction to the goal in the back was positive and you could almost here that they wanted to revenge one ball in the net with another. Stears is a player who almost always tend to react in that manner, going forward with the ball himself, maybe lacking skills of an attacker, but not heart.
A couple of minutes later Wolves gets a free and everybody’s waiting for the ball in the box, but it’s not well taken again and the hopes are sinking once more. Even more so, of course, when Silva gets a shot in from outside of the box and Kolarov gets it into the net from Hens reflexive save.
Hammill is brought into play for Edwards, probably on grounds that Ed has run himself to the ground, he usually does that and I would imagine it’s even worse against a team of Citys’ caliber.
Almost out of the blue then comes the Guédioura shot from just outside of the box and Hart has problems holding it, despite it looks rather easy and in the middle of the goal, but it’s hard and maybe with a little spin. Doyle is in the right place, sniffing the chance, and goes forward only to be brought down by a blue shirt containing Kompany. The referee points at the penalty spot immediately and for the first time in the game the Wolves faithful has something positive to look forward to.
Hunt makes no mistake with the penalty and Kompany gets his deserved red card. It’s two against one and hope is back in the main seat. Looking back it’s obvious that we should have made the team a more attacking side right away. With twenty minutes of eleven against ten we would have had a greater chance to score with Jarvis and another striker.
Those changes were made, but with only six minutes, or eleven with added time, left it was not enough for them to make an impact, even if I believe Jarvo had something going on when he was on the ball. He was well taken care of, though, with Johnson doubling up on their right back.
On extra time the same Johnson took a shot from 25 yards out and it was game over. The lasting feeling from the game is, despite us losing it, that Wolves had them on the hook for about twenty minutes, but didn’t manage to reel them in. And that we can be consistent defensively all over the pitch with the right formation at play. To the ratings.
Hennesey – 6 – Impossible to rate. He was at least an eight in the first half and making a big mistake on their first and a little one on their second which makes it a four in the second half. Does that make sense?
Stearman – 7 – Battled hard and with Edwards helping out he managed to fend most attacks off. 92% passing success is very good. He, like Wardy, saved us once from a certain goal in the back and gets an extra point for that.
Berra – 7 – A lot of heart and skills aswell. Takes the easy pass and that’s the right way to go by, realising your limits. Played back to Hens four times, but its’ better than giving the ball to a blue shirt with a lethal counter-attack as a result.
Ward – 7 – Had a hard day on the job with Richards doubling up with Nasri on him. They got away with it a couple of times, but he had good help from Hunty. He like, Stears, saved us once from a certain goal in the back and gets an extra point for that. Was more involved when Wolves got a bit more forward when Jarvo got on.
Henry – 5 – Already wrote above about him playing home to Hens after the free and it’s a point off for that. Otherwise he was not too bad and helped out very well in defence.
Guédioura – 7 – As Henry he played a more defensive midfield role than we are used to see him at and he did that well, except losing the ball on a couple of occasions. Unlike Henry he always looks at a way to go forward with the ball and to get a shot in. He misses a lot of them, but he got one on goal and it resulted in the penalty and sending off and he gets an extra point and the little star for that!
Edwards – 6 – Played more as an extra right back than as a winger, which was exactly what was needed in this game. Cane close to score in the first half and was useful to crowd the midfield, not letting City through on his side. Replaced by Hammill after their second goal to gain more power going forward, but we didn’t.
Hunt – 6 – I’m not convinced that he has the form to play from start. Sloppy passes that gave City opportunities to counter at least three times in the game, but also some good moves of which the penalty of course was one. For that he gets an extra point. Like Edwards he played very much a defensive role in this game. When Jarvo came on we showed tendencies to go more forward, but it was much too late.
O’Hara – 7 – Played right behind Doyle, but as we were pushed back by City he didn’t get to the chances we all hoped for. He was, though, the engine of Wolves and led the team trying to get forward. Four shots at goal, but only one on target.
O’Hara had more ball than anybody else on the pitch and he didn’t lose it often (90% accuracy). I believe he is coming to form now and when played in his best role, as he did on the day, he will be very useful against the lesser teams in this league. Jamie O’Hara is Paddytheflea’s Star Man!
Doyle – 6 – The fact that he was in the right place at the right time and did the right thing saves him from getting a rating under average. I’m not convinced that he should lead our attack when Fletcher is back, though.