Analysis & Ratings: Wolves v Aston Villa

Everybody knows by now that its like riding on a roller-coaster to be a fan of Wolves, but this game gave me a ride I’ll never forget. I was totally exhausted afterwards and it felt like I’d been out there with the lads for 90 minutes.

Already against Spurs there were two players that took command over the rest in the team and were the ones that moved the ball forward. Kightly and Frimpong did that again against Villa and what we witnessed last night was a balanced Wolves team for the first time in years, with strength in the forward moves, in the inner midfield and two wingers ready to explode like race horses from their boxes on the flanks.

Jarvo and Kights – Havoc & Mayhem – were back again and the play looked like when they ruled the Championships. I have no doubt that it was an in form Kightly that provided the spark to the rest of the team and Frimpong followed example and provided him with the balls and shelter fom the storm.

The Berra mistake in the box, the penalty and the goal in the back only made the team more determined to show what they could do and the only surprise was that it took so long for them to score the equaliser. It was like watching a team playing in trance and everything suddenly clicked. Wolves went forward wave after wave and they also had the strength to press the Villa defence for minutes with corners and clever passing. Excellent!

The first goal was a fantastic curl by Kightly, who else, and ten minutes later the inspired Johnson contributed with an assist with a header that Edwards flicked into the net. Wolves were in the lead, but they didn’t stop playing because of that. With another goal in that inspired run we would surely have taken all three points out of this game. Nobody believed anything else at this stage of the game. We had total control and everything smelled like roses.

Expectations were high at boveril-time although some probably were worried that the team would back down and try to defend the lead for 45 minutes. Tendencies in that direction could also be sighted. Kights didn’t get forward and our attacking power was not at all at the same level as in the first half. Why? Villa made a change at halftime. Agbonlahor was sick and had to go out and McLeish had an opportunity to strengthen the left flank of his team by bringing on Warnock on left back, pushing up their security risk Clark to midfield. The heydays for Kightly were thereby over.

The same Clark though redeemed himself a little by taking care of a fatal try to clearance  by Jarvis and found Robbie Keane in an excellent position with his pass. He fired a volley and Villa had levelled the score.

Shortly after that Wolves looked good in attack again, trying to get the lead back, when Frimpong gave everything to get his head on a ball to the left close to goal when Petrov hit his head with his boot. The unfortunate Frimpong had to be stretchered out and the second big threat going forward for Wolves was gone.

Uptil then i saw our chances of winning this game as very good, but Frimpong had been our engine in the game and it was impossible to replace his spark.

Milijas came on and although he played a good game his style of play is nowhere near that of the energetic young Arsenal player. Jarvis came to life as Milijas strengthened his side of midfield with his presence and passing and he had a cross in to Kights in the area, but he didn’t manage to head it at goal.

Instead we had to witness the former Wolves academy player Robbie Keane collecting a brace with a superb shot from 20 yards out. I would say that he was lucky and I don’t believe he can do that again if he tries a hundred times, but he is a very skilled player on his day. So misery struck us and it would get worse.

An incident occurred when Albrighton and Henry were locked together, or clearly put Albrighton locked the leg of Henry with his hands. Henry couldn’t control his anger and kicked Albrighton in the chest to get free, but the referee was only steps away and correctly by the book gave him the red card. Idiotic by Henry as he destroyed the chances for Wolves to get level with Villa and maybe still win the game.

With ten men we still pushed on though. We attacked mostly from the left with Jarvo, Ward and Milijas playing the ball up between them, but the team was weakened an the attempts were stopped by the Villa defence. From balloon to brick in 90 minutes, that was how it felt in my body anyway.

Summary. As I said in my pre-match article we do have the players to stay up in this league and they showed that with aplomb during the first half. With Kightly and Jarvo on the flanks and Ward and Foley supporting them we can pose a threat going forward to any team. Hopefully the injury of Frimpong is less grave than first understood and he can continue as our engine. The loss of Henry for three games does not bother me. Milijas can fill his role and I hope Henry will find himself on the bench, out of the starting eleven, when he comes back. Actually the balance of the team will be even better with Milijas and Frimpong in the middle as Milijas likes to play to the left and Frimpong to the right.

In my pre-match article I was very negative about the managing of the team by Mick McCarthy. That still stands, but he did nothing wrong yesterday. It was bad luck and individual mistakes that made our downfall, but the way the team played the first half gives hope for the rest of the season. This team play way too good to go down!

Hennessey – 6 – Found Fletcher with kick-outs many times and I like that he practised the art of throwing out the ball to Foley and others in this game. It looked though that he could have done better on the first goal by Keane. I take a point off for that.

Foley – 8 – An excellent feed of Kightly in this game and an 89% of completed passes tells us what we have lacked in the team when he was out injured. With him in the team we can play instead of kick the ball up the field and that changes our entire game. Foley is by that one of our most important players in the run in, but for now he will have to do with the little smiley. Oh, and he filled in for H in the middle very well too.

Johnson – 8 – A cliff in defence in this game as against Tottenham. Clearly in form now and also an assist, just what we need in the run in. He and the next man has to practise better passes though.

Berra – 5 – What was he thinking? Or he shouldn’t have at all, just kicked the ball up the field. Sunday football defending! The worst passer in the game too. Luckily Johnson stepped forward in this game to make our defence stronger. Hopefully he will get back to his normal self pronto.

Ward – 6 – Maybe the only one with a better second than first half, but I believe that was due to the strengthening of the left side when Milijas came on. He can do better!

Henry – 4

Frimpong – 8 – I’ve said most of it above, but what a catch this young man is. Just what the team needed. From a Minis engine to a Ferrari engine-wise. We got a taste of what he could do against Tottenham and now he played out. I really hope that he will be back in full throttle already against Liverpool. His cooperation with Kightly was excellent and they went forward together as soon as they had the opportunity. What a difference a player make! Frimpong will get the little star. If he had played the whole game he might have been given the big one.

Milijas – 6 – Came on for Frimpong with half an hour left and played much better than in the cup against Birmingham. Had a lot going with Ward and Jarvo on the left and I hope to see more of that in the coming games. He must be better at passing the ball, though, and his famous left foot seem not to be in shape.

Kightly – 8 – He is not lightning fast, but he sure has the spark and the creativity to cause havoc among opposition defence. As I said above we now have our flying wingers back from the glory days of the Championship and – with the right backing –  they have gathered the strength now to do the same thing to Premiership teams as they did then and there.

Perhaps he had an easy task with Clark in the first half and found it much harder with Warnock, but with a couple of games more he will be a lethal threat to any defender and he showed us his special skills by scoring a beautiful goal yesterday aswell. MM has tried many solutions to copy the success of Jarvo and Kights on the flanks, but nothing is as good as the original. Michael Kightly is Paddytheflea’s Star Man!

Edwards – 7 – Sometimes he disappears from pay, but then he pops up again from or in the box. He did that at the right moment in this game just after I had cursed him for not scoring on a sitter. Works hard all over as usual, but can he beat the competition of O’Hara when he is up and running again, hopefully against Liverpool?

Jarvis – 6 – A point withdrawn for giving the ball away prior to the second Villa goal. Outshined by Kights, but clearly also inspired by him, at going forward, of course, but he had some good spells when Kights was blocked in the second half and in the first half aswell. A little taste of what we could have if everything works out in the future.

Fletcher – 7 – Didn’t get many chances at goal in this game as he was heavily guarded by the Villa defence, but he did what he could and he was excellent in working back and fighting for the ball, sometimes getting it, at midfield. When he gets it I’ve noticed that he is very good at those deep passes trying to find a running Wolf between the opponents defenders. Will score against Liverpool, of course, he always do against the big teams. 😆



~ by paddytheflea on January 22, 2012.

20 Responses to “Analysis & Ratings: Wolves v Aston Villa”

  1. Yeh, another roller-coaster ride! Some great football from Wolves in the first half. Outstanding play from Kightly and Frimpong. Idiotic from Henry. Superb strikes from Keane. When I saw the penalty incident I thought that ‘Huggy’ Berra just slipped and that caused him to catch Bent, thought then it was harsh, still think it was. In Frimpong we have an outstanding talent and not only is he a forceful player but he is technically way ahead of anyone we have in our squad. Hope he recovers soon. So pleased to see Kightly back in the form we know he can produce. Henry needs to get his head checked, he played really well until he lost it – stupid is far to kind to describe what he did. Milijas – I like him a lot but he spends most of the time passing sideways/backwards ala Henry. What has happened to those defence splitting passes we used to see?
    Things are looked pretty bad for us at the moment. Let’s hope we can get some points on the board very soon otherwise were f**ked !

  2. A fantastic match indeed! It is a long time since we created so much good football and created so many chances. Breath taking! And it reminded me, as Paddy pointed out, about the time we dominated in championship. And the main reason for this is, in my view, the player material and not the manager.

    I agree with you on most of your points. A map over Kightly’s involvement suggests that he didn’t get enough passes in the second half to deliver a similar performance as in the first half. The first half his area was filled with arrows, while in the second half only a couple of arrows. The writer of the article suggested that it was the central midfielders that failed to feed him with passes.

    With O’Hara back we have a strong central midfield. What is the best constellation? Frimpong, Milijas, O’Hara or Frimpong, O’Hara, Edwards?
    I agree with you that O’Hara is better that Edwards, mainly because of his deadly shots. On the other hand I believe Edwards played better than Milijas. A choice of luxury. And it gives the manager options throughout the match.

    I was a bit amazed when MM substituted in Stearman instead of Jonsson. Jonsson has on two occasions showed that he has the ability to balance the midfield very well.

    • 1ohnson was not on the bench and I don’t agree with you about him. He is not good enough.

      • I think it’s difficult to assess him by the two games against Birmingham. In the last game against Birmingham, after he was taken off, everything just fell apart.

      • A player from the Scot Premier League from a team other than Celtic or Rangers has very slim chances to go directly into a PL team, Karlir, and I’ve seen nothing that changes my mind about that from him. He will need to step up his tempo and toughness with a lot of training. Next season, perhaps.

  3. Reasons to be cheerful first half: atacking flair from Ffrimpong & Kightly (although he struggled with his first few crosses & passes); good chances created for Fletcher, Edwards & Jarvis. I hope Frimpong recovers for next game!

    Some concerns still to be addressed: need a midfield creator & organiser (Milijas not the answer, he has a poor creative pass completion record, also poor pace & stamina for marking & tracking players); need a solid partner for Johnson (Berra lacks assertiveness & skill); Jarvis at fault for first two Villa goals (like a cat on a hot tin roof defensively, in possession, with body between player & ball, he should draw free kick or throw-in/goal kick).

    We now need 22 points from 16 matches (around 5 or 6 wins, we currently have 4 from 22!). This means action NOW, both in transfer/loan market and on the pitch, please Steve Morgan!

  4. Firstly, I am no fan of Karl Henry. What he did yesterday was unforgivable and probably lost us the game although the loss of Frimpong was the turning point. On the plus side, providing OHara and Frimpong are available in ten days time it will solve McCarthy’s midfield selection dilema which most of us think is bleedin obvious anyway. Just want to say that what Henry did was not as bad as Van Der Vart in the
    last minute of the first half last week and of course Song previously. Lampard scores in three consecutive matches instead of serving a ban.
    Where is the justice ? As we sing “If that was us you’d sent him off !”
    Thank you sevlow for stating the penalty was harsh. I thought I was a lone voice on that issue.

  5. Was Jonsson on the bench ?

  6. Villa fan here.
    I agree with your assessment Paddy.
    I thought Frimpong was excellent and was running the show until the kick in his face. It’d be great for you if you could get him in for keeps (I don’t know if he’d be available?) and I hope he’s not out for too long.

    And Kightly crucified Clark in the first half. Nice to see he’s back for you.
    Indeed with a bit more luck you could have scored 4.

    Henry cost you the game though, what was he thinking???

    Tbh, I thought you were unlucky and probably should have won overall.
    If you can keep up those types of performances, I’m sure you’ll be ok.

    Good luck for the rest of the season.

  7. Sorry but Frimpong was the star player. While Kights played a good 30mins in the first half it was Frimpong who created the space and chances. Once he has gone we looked doomed an so it was Kightly was static and kept holding his back-I can only assume he had taken a knock.
    As for the Manager he chose the best and most logical side but the subs made zero sense and the team lost all cohesion and formation. And as for having Elokobi on the bench it says all you need to know about McStubborn, that one of his cronies lost us the game seems a very sad but predictable conclusion to an otherwise brilliant game.

  8. For the first time, saw enough in this game to think Wolves have a chance of beating the drop this season – Frimpong has such energy and belief that coupled with our flying wingers, I can see us creating enough chances to win games. Henry – yes, it was a stupid thing to have done, but he was in the middle of a passionate Midlands derby and was sorely provoked by Albrighton. I’m not making excuses for the guy – but think the personal vilification he is receiving across various boards is just totally over the top. Henry will be an important figure for Wolves for the rest of this season. If we want to maximise the forward play of Frimpong, then we need somebody liike Henery in front of the defence. Really hope that he doesn’t become the target of the boo-boys as it will be completely counter-productive, and that he gets the opportunity to atone for a split-second error of judgement.

    • It is still early days but prognosis suggests that Frimpong will be out for at least 3 months 😦

      • That was grounded in early information that he had a broken jaw and was simply not true. No broken bones and no eye damage and he will be up and running very soon again.

  9. Largely agree with your assessment – we played some super stuff in the first half so we know what we are capable of now! And the two Keane goals – or the second definely – were goals that defences far better than ours would not have been able to do much about, they were just a piece of superb individual skill. Apart from that and the penalty Villa never looked like scoring. Think maybe we need to get Craddock back ASAP as it seems too much of a coincidence that the last two seasons our defence has improved dramatically with him in the team. Oh and I know he wasn’t on long today but could someone please explain the offside rule to SEB as he clearly hasn’t a clue!

  10. No, boys and girls – sadly this is the season we go down. Transfer window about to close and all we sign is some also-ran midfielder from iceland. I just cant comprehend why we have allowed this complete idiot to drag us down.

    • Even you must recognise that the performance of Kightly and Frimpong Saturday offered the team something extra and that their input can change our possibilities to stay in this league, Ad Mant. I will remain undecided about our destiny until we’ve played Liverpool and Rangers next. And it’s not about us haven’t got the players for it. If something its about management.

  11. Mr Flea, It was a markedly improved performance 1st half saturday. i do not argue this. The sole reason however was Frimpong. Remove Frimpong from the equation and we fell apart. Frimpong is merely on loan and currently injured. Back to the same old same old til he is back.

    Expect karl henry to come straight back into the side. Some decidedly icelandic unknown is the only purchase. We are, without doubt the team in the worst form and do you honestly think pigheaded mccarthy has a clue to fix it?

    I admire your resolve, I really do, but the muppet must go, even if we get relegated, he has contaminated our Prem campaign and turned Wolves fans against each other.

  12. Of course, he wont go…
    The three Ms are as thick as thieves each one scratching the others back…
    mick gets to dick about with a premiership football club
    moxey gets fat bonus cheques to feed his fat face
    morgan scoops premiership revenues and gets first dibs on all building projects associated with the club…

    What a great deal. for them.

  13. Maybe we need to stick with Mick even if we go down. The reason – how many “big name” managers tried and dismally failed to take up before MM arrived. Hopefully MM can keep the squad together and get us back first time – and then I think we need to look seriously at if he can take us any further. However we also need to bear in mind that none of us know the budget he’s got to work with for transfer fees & wages which may be hampering what he’s able to achieve.

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