Analysis & Ratings: Wolves v Wigan Athletics
What relief! Mick said that Wolves owed the fans a win and they gave it to us, maybe not with excellent and convincing skills and play, but with determination, persistence and resilience. That’s o.k. by me, because what mattered today was the three points at stake, nothing more nothing less.
Having said that. I’ve spent much of this weekend by watching Premier League football on TV and if I compare the Wolves-Wigan game with most of the other games, I’m sorry to say that the quality of play by both teams were the worst in this round. It’s no surprise that it was the teams with the lowest form in the league that met each other, sometimes it looked like Championship or even League One football.
It was nervous for both teams of course, so much was at stake, and maybe that partly can explain Wolves lousy passes and all mistakes made in the middle of the pitch, but hardly all of it. Actually Wolves played one of the worst games of the season, at least the first half, but we met the arguably weakest team in the league at the moment. So that and a few other things explains why we bagged it, despite our shortcomings.
Luck is one factor. We had luck that Rodallega is totally out of form and missed a sitter, when alone with Hennessey half a minute before our first goal. Nothing wrong with our goal, though. Doyle made a perfect cross and O’Hara an equally perfect run to meet the ball at the perfect time to score.
We had chances before that aswell, when Edwards went close and Hunt, who also had a clear call for a penalty when he went down in the area. Why did he get up? Probably because he thought he could score despite going down for a second. The other penalty call was a clear hand on a Latics player in the area. So we deserved the lead, but also at least one penalty.
Instead Wigan got one just before half-time when Hunty tackled from behind. It should have been given, but so should Wolves incident at the other end. So they went out for half time tea and probably some hard talk about trying more to hold the ball in the team, not making so many mistakes.
One huge reason for Wolves scoring two goals in the second half was Jarvis entrance into the game. Guédioura was arguably the weakest link in midfield and had to go, everybody around me noticed that he didn’t click today. As I wrote before the game I thought McCarthy would bring on one of our out-and-out wingers already from start and it may very well have been a good idea.
The players we played from start today and against Manchester City form a rather defensive outfit and we needed some more creativity and speed going forward. Jarvo brought that to the team without sacrificing any of our defensive powers, really. His first two touches on the ball were actually deep down in defence, helping Ward out with Moses.
One thing I really liked about todays game was Wolves play in the box. When Henry bursted forward with a lions heart to the by-line there were a whole pack of wolves yearning to smash the ball in the net and they were not going to be stopped by anything or anybody. That’s the spirit of the hungry wolves coming back again and that’s what differed us from Wigan today and I’m delighted! 😆
Even better, we actually did it ones more ten minutes later. The first time it was Edwards who had the last touch of the ball before it reached its goal and for the third goal it was Ward. That doesn’t matter much, though, and I’m sure the lads agree on this. It was team-work that finally brought the fabulous Al Habsi down on his hands and knees and it was exiting and beautiful to watch.
After that the match was practically over. Wolves contained Wigan very well the last half an hour or so. We didn’t let them come close to score many times and that’s another thing that differed our game from their. Confidence means soo much for a team and it stood very clear that we had loads of it now and the Latics had nothing.
Many of the players redeemed themselves by their participation for the goals, as many also underperformed in play elsewhere on the pitch – especially in the first half. I hope they realise that this team has much to work on in the international break to look and act like a Premier League team of som stature. A team that can fight for a spot in the middle of this league. Rejoice for this win, though, you have made many supporters happy, me being one!
Hennessey -7 – A very good performance. He even parried the penalty, but sadly didn’t have a chance on the rebounce. Reached Doyler ten times (!) with his kicks. Berra and Johnson played back to him many, many times (six each according to stats). Part of the tactics I’m sure, and maybe not so nice to look at, but it works when we have such a good kicker of the ball. Close to an eight.
Stearman – 7 – I wondered what the fuzz was about towards the end of the game and it was a Wigan player taking a spit at him. I would advice him to take it as a compliment. He managed to keep the Wigan forwards out of the area most of the time and made no big mistakes and they probably tried to throw him out of mental balance so that he would get a red card. Stearman was one of a few who actually had a good game to his standards in play today so he will get the little bouncy smiley!
Johnson – 6 – He nearly made a mess with a bad pass to Henry after twenty minutes or so. It started an attack by the Latics and a goal-scramble when they went close. Lucky they weren’t as resilient as Wolves in the penalty area. Otherwise he was o.k. but – as always – his passing over all could also be better.
Berra – 7 – Very close to score on a perfect header. Fantastic save by Al Habsi. If that ball had gone in I would have given him the big star, that’s how good he was today. Always fighting hard and today was no exception. Contained Rodallega at all occasions except one, when the for today Wigan winger thankfully missed a sitter.
That drags his rating down a point, I’m afraid, but in play Berra was one of our best players and this was one of his best games at Wolves. He will get the Little Star!
Ward – 6 – Wardy is one of the players I talked about above when I wrote that some of the players redeemed himself by participating on the goals. He didn’t play as well as we are used to see him do this season. The effort is of course 120%, but he had problems with Moses and Rodallega and a full-back I’ve forgotten the name of.
Many wrong passes by him and he didn’t look comfortable at all. That mostly said about the first half. In the second he played better. He seem to click extremely well with Jarvo for some reason. They get energy from each other and performs splendidly both going forward and in defence. An extra point for Wardy’s activity in the area and the well taken goal, but a question mark for some of his defending today.
Henry – 6 – Many similarities with Ward. Had problems in the first half, like many others. You already know my doubts about Henry generally and he did not surprise me in first half. At one time he tried to take the ball down with his back to the play in our own penalty area when a Wigan forward went very close to take the ball and score. It didn’t happen, but why didn’t he just kick the ball away. Still looks insecure with the ball at times.
All that changed in the second half and it was his run to the by-line that made the goal. That surprised me a lot and I want to see more of this new Henry! He also made a good rescue in defence towards the end of the game. With three in the middle he is often playing the role as defensive midfielder well and it’s smashing that he can contribute so well when going forward aswell!
Edwards – 7 – Went close already in the second minute and we all thought, wow, this will be easy, but we were mistaken. Played more in the middle than on the wing as all expected, but he did this very well. He had four shots at goal and one went in, as we all know. Also did win the ball back four times and he made our midfield better than Wigan’s, especially in the second half. And this time he played all game.
Guédioura – 5 – I’m sorry, Adlène but you were the worst player today and deserved to go out at half time. The passes were lousy (only 58% correct) and you almost always lost the ball going forward, but you also battled and snatched a couple from Wigan. Clearly not in form, though, or possibly not suited to play on the wing as he did most of the time when he was on. Substituted with Jarvis the second half.
Jarvis – 7 – Jarvo is back! With a vengeance. Him coming on in the second half changed the game to our advantage. At least it looked like it to me that he was that key figure, the lost piece in the puzzle that made the picture clear. He started his game by brilliantly winning the ball twice in defence and gave Ward a wake up call. He broke through to the left to the by-line, copying Henry’s great effort earlier and made our third goal with a little help from all his friends in the box and the match was won.
Maybe he has rested himself to form now and is up to it and can play to his standards, which are very high. It certainly looked like it today and I’m sure he will be among the starting eleven again after the international break. Jarvis shares the little star with Berra in this game. Welcome back! (Oh, by the way, best passer of all in stats)
Hunt – 6 – Started well and went close twice early on, but something happened after twenty minutes or so and at the end of the first half he made a tackle in the area that resulted in the Wigan penalty. He was, though, involved in a goal in the second half and gets an extra point for that.
O’Hara – 8 – Together with Berra and Hennessey he was our best player already in the first half. As I use to say to those who are in doubt of his capacity, yes, he makes mistakes, but everybody who has that much time on the ball is bound to make a few. Mostly of what he does on the ball is good, though, and the first goal was extra so.
I had a hunch that O’Hara would perform well today, you could see that he was coming to form in the game against Manchester City and now he let it all out. Good for him! And for the future of Wolves this season. He is now allowed to play in his favorite role and it shows. Jamie O’Hara is Paddytheflea’s Star Man!
Doyle – 6 – He played a beautiful cross to O’hara for the first goal, but he also missed a lot of crosses. As I wrote beneath Hennessey he targetted him correctly ten times, but Doyle is not in the form yet to take care of the chances he gets on the ball. He didn’t play bad at all, but I know that he can do much better and have done for us before.
UP THE WOLVES!!! (now 13th) 😆