Analysis & Ratings: Wolves v Blackburn
The first anger after the game have given way for the usual disappointment and despair. It’s not a good idea to write abut the game when still upset and angry, even if it’s probably more interesting to read, because your senses gets distorted by the sentiment in action.
Yesterday I wouldn’t be able to write that Wolves measured up well to Blackburn and that with a little luck we could have taken points in the game. In the first half we had as much of play and chances as Blackburn and who knows what would have happened if Doyler had scored on his chance early on? At the same time I must say that many of the players didn’t play to the highest of their known abilities and that bothers me.
Our formation worked well though and we looked fairly solid in the back, despite some semi-dangerous attacks from Yakubu and Hoilett early on. We started as the best team the first twenty or so minutes, but my notion was that we lost more and more of the initiative as we lost more and more of the control over midfield as the match went on.
Before the game I would have thought that Davis was our weak point in the inner midfield, but as it unfolded it was O’Hara and Edwards who didn’t perform as well as expected. Perhaps because both of them are struggling with injuries and aren’t totally fit.
It’s very significant for Wolves in this period of Premier League play though, that a young medfielder who played with a league one team a few days ago can play a dominating role at our midfield much in the same way as Frimpong did when he came from reserves team play to boost our team.
I‘ve told you again and again during the years that the weakness of Wolves and what separates us from being a team in the upper half of the PL is our weak inner midfield. This game and many other games prove that I’m right and for those of you who hope for some player who didn’t play yesterday to step in and sort it out I just have laughs and headshakes as an answer. The problem should have been dealt with years ago, but was a blind spot for our former manager and still costs us every week.
The stats for Davis are excellent. He didn’t miss a tackle and he nicked the ball from the opposition many times and two of them got yellow cards trying to stop him from playing. His performance also corroborates another critique of our former management. The fact that they have not given young players from our own academy enough chances.
We have a whole generation of excellent footballers already shipped out to other clubs, not getting a deserved chance to break into the team and we risk that another generation of even better young players going down the drain because of mismanagement. I still hope that TC will have a different view than McCarthy on this, but I’m not at all sure. It’s only under the knife he has taken in the excellent Davis.
A few weeks ago it looked like Wolves had plenty of choices on the wings. Now it looks like crises as Kightly doesn’t measure up and Doyler doesn’t look as a winger nor as a striker when playing at the right side of field. Voices have been heard to take Hammill back from Boro and I agree to that. The problem is that we have to wait until the end of this month before we can do that according to the rules written into the loan-out agreement.
In the meantime my choice for the right wing would be our own young Anthony Forde. At the moment and with the right support he can perform better than both Kightly and Doyle at that position in my opinion. Or maybe Hunty is on his way back, I don’t know but something has to be done about it pronto and TC now has a chance to prove that although in McCarthy’s management team he hosts a different view of our young ones.
I believe that Zubar was the wrong choice for right back and may have had an impact on the performances of Kights and Doyle. With Foley at right back they would have had better service and would have been more free to go forward. Zubar is no master at positioning nor at the passing game and I frequently asked myself where he was when Blackburn attacked at his side and Stears had to face it alone.
Ward and Bassong at the other side had great problems defending against Hoilett and Stears had a handful with Yakubu, but they were actually not to blame for the goals in the back. Bad marking on the throw-in (but not from Doyler as some writes today) and a seemingly unstoppable young Hoilett in very good form were the reasons for us letting in two goals, but not necessarily for us losing the game.
For us to know why we lost it we have to look further up the pitch. I almost got as red as Morgan in my face watching us play the ball back and forth between our midfielders and the back four without gaining any ground on several occasions yesterday, as most of this season and seasons before. It often ends up with somebody getting under pressure and giving away a bad pass making us lose the ball.
We have to find that fast path for the ball up the field with as few passes as possible. We are not Barcelona nor Arsenal and our players does not have the skills to play the ball around for fun and keeping it in the team forever. Wolves must play to the skills that the players possess and to play it around in our own half is suicidal and will always backfire.
At the moment, and for most of the last four years, our left side is the only path going forward that works and that is because Ward and Jarvis knows that as few passes as possible between them when running forward is the most efficient and secure way to get to the other side. No brainer, really!
In this game we had too few attacks and too few in the box when attacking. It looked like we were playing a 4-1-4-1-formation, but Edwards and O’Hara didn’t dare to go forward too far and Doyler was on the wing while Fletcher worked all over the pitch and sometimes not even he was to be found in the box when needed.
Are we so nervous to let one in at the back that we have lost the ability to attack even when one or two goals down? Sadly that could be the case and after each loss we can read about the team contemplating about how to strengthen the defence. Such analysis could be counter-productive in my opinion.
I’m not gonna comment about the protests against this or that, as I believe it gains nothing, called for or not. We are Wolves and we still have as good a chance as the other four teams in our mini-league to stay in the Premier League. Statistically it’s 40% and I would not hesitate to put a tenner on us staying up despite us losing yesterday.
UP THE WOLVES!!!
Hennessey – 5 – Not much to do about the goals and other than that he didn’t have much to do when it comes to saves. I’m not sure though that he is active enough in telling the players to mark at set pieces. Maybe he is to nice and has to swear and shout at the players to mark everybody in and just outside the box. Use your authority, Hens!
Zubar – 5 – Not my first choice as right back. 67% passing success is far to low and he is often wrongly positioned when the opposition attacks. Many proposes that he should be played as a winger. Maybe worth trying, but Foley is the better right back.
Stearman – 6 – Works very hard and had a hard fight against Yakubu yesterday and I would say he won it, despite being in trouble many times. I could understand TC not playing Johnson in this position and Stears did well replacing our out of favour captain. Stears gets the smiley!
Bassong – 6 – Looked more solid than Berra at the position and is a better footballer in my opinion. Works well together with Ward and Jarvis and has the potential to play even better at the run in.
Ward – 5 – Insecure at defending, giving the ball away a couple of times. Still a threat going forward together with Jarvo, but missed a couple of crosses aswell. Not in form, hopefully he will get back into it pronto.
Davis – 7 – An excellent first in the Premier League, One I believe we wouldn’t have witnessed with McCarthy still in charge. Honours to TC for having the guts to play him, after all he had a couple of other choices. With 5 out of 5 succesful tackles and two scoring attempts created while having one himself he was by far our best inner midfielder in this game and he was much more physical than Henry is (23 succesful tackles in 23 games played this season by Henry).
Just what we have missed in midfield, with or without Henry playing. He also caused two of the Blackburn players getting yellow carded while roughly trying to take the ball from him. Good work and good luck in the future! David Davis will get Paddytheflie’s Big Star in this game – his first in the Premier League – hopefully of many to come!
Doyle – 5 – He is clearly no winger but we didn’t have much better options for the position. The delivery was not tops with Zubar playing on the right back and he may have done better under other circumstances. Nevertheless he had chances at goal both as a winger and later when we went 4-4-2 as a striker. With some luck he would have scored one or two and then his ratings would have gone up.
O’Hara – 4 – Was all oer the place as usual. I had hoped that he would occupy a more forward role just behind Fletcher, but he was more of a box-to-box player in this game and with a lingering injury he clearly couldn’t pull that through without horrible errors and being absent in or just outside the box when needed. Rightly played and fit O’Hara is a very accomplished footballer, but he was neither and not yesterday.
Edwards – 5 – Also back from injury and maybe he couldn’t do himself full justice. Were though wrongly picked by the referee twice for fauls and was playing well in most of the first half when he was going forward more than O’Hara, which surprised me at first. Replaced by Milijas who had a few very intelligent deep passes, something I miss in Edwards. Both Edwards and Milijas had chances on goal and Milijas should have scored one late in the game.
Jarvis – 7 – Our only player being a real threat to Blackburn in this game. Looks like he is the only in form player in Wolves at the moment, besides Davis. With more players in the box and the players in the box being more concentrated and with more quality in their last touches Wolves would have scored a couple on his crosses. He missed a couple of them, true, but his accuracy was still high as is my rating of him. Matt Jarvis gets the little star!
Fletcher – 5 – Could hae done better in this game, but was left alone against the Blackburn defence in many cases. As I wrote above sometimes he drifts away too far from his main position and task, though. Putting in a shift for the midfield is great, but it is goals that we want from him firsthand.
Paddytheflea (Who has promised to stop moaning and will support his team to the end of season!)