We´re on our way
As I said in my analysis a couple of weeks ago this Wolves team own the potential to climb right back up to the Premier League. The defeat by six goals to Chelsea doesn’t change my estimation of the team a bit. Why not so? Well, there are many reasons to that.
Firstly, we played the European Champions away with our second team, totally unused to play together in an ordered fashion. The reason most of them were starting was to rest our first team players for more important games, like the ones up-coming against Sheffield Wednesday and Crystal Palace.
Teams not trained together will ultimately perform under par when it comes to set pieces, which we did in the first half against Chelsea, getting behind with two goals very quickly. With a young and partly inexperienced team that was enough to take their spirits down against such a huge team as Chelsea.
Enough said about that. The League Cup is not what it once was and even if, its not at all our main goal this season. The league is and that is what counts and matters. We have done very well so far in my opinion, despite seven newcomers, a new manager with a partly new idea on how to play the game. Solbakken is an interesting fellow and I am inspired by him and I believe the Wolves players are aswell.
In fact I was inspired to write this article by the article at the official site where he explains how he works with the players tactically to give them more tools to win the games. Mind-boggling, really! Imaging McCarthy having tactical briefings with the players explaining to them how to react in certain situations and pointing out that there are many ways of reacting to different situations and there are some ways that are better than others to get forward and achieve situations that will lead to goal opportunities.
I’m not saying that McCarthy didn’t have any tactical briefings with the players, but I very much doubt his skills in this area and the very fact that Ståle and the club are revealing how our new manager goes about in this area says to me that there has been major changes in the management of the team to the benefit for the players and the development of how they play and think football.
But something we must recognise is that these changes will take time. I believe, despite the Chelsea-game, that Solbakken already have achieved to stop the defence from leaking goals en masse. Not by changing personnel, but by changing the way the defence connects to the midfield. they are working closer together now and everybody is involved, have a task and feel responsible.
Some players describe it as we are “narrower”, but that doesn’t mean that the wingers are not allowed to go forward wide, just that the team acts more compact as a whole and there are fewer “holes” between parts of the team. When the forwards and the midfield moves up the pitch the back four follows and when they defend they do it more as a unit, without panicking. Not at all times, no team is that perfect, but more so than before.
Without a doubt its Doyle and Ebanks-Blake that will be the ones to have the head responsibility to score our goals this season. They both have proved their worth in this division earlier and I rely totally on them to bring most of the goals necessary to win games this season. Ziggy and Noble are two young and up-coming replacements who are already better than most of the strikers in the Championship and both are capable of breaking through this season. They will have many chances to do that as Solbakken have to rotate the team with so many fixtures coming up in a short time.
I’m exited about our midfield for the first time in years, apart from the time when Frimpong was a guest at the club. Doumbia is not only exiting going forward, but also very stable at defending and he has improved holding the ball and passing it around already. Henry is back and has a cooling and stabilising effect needed as we have Sako and Pez at the wings with – hopefully – Ward and Foley acting as wing-backs pushing up the field.
With Foley back in contention I regard the team as complete to take on the challenge against any team in this league. Wolves looks solid, well balanced and ready for the first time this season – and maybe for the first time in a couple of seasons, really. The team badly needed someone to take the ball up the pitch and I regard Foley as one of the few with the skills to do so. What I really wanted was a midfielder with those skills, but Foley will sure do and he is the last bit of the puzzle.
So, without my usual green board and gadgets I can present a very probable first eleven for the game against the Owls as this:
———- Ikeme ———-
Foley – Johnson – Berra – Ward
Pez – Henry – Doumbia – Sako
—– Ebanks-Blake – Doyle
And how will this team fare against an Owls team with former Wolves striker Jay Bothroyd leading them and former Wolves legend Dave Jones managing? I believe very well. I hope, on home soil, they will act sooner than react and take the game to the oppositions side and score a couple early on. My hope is though that they will not think too much on tactics to forget to fight, cause every game in the Championship is about to fight to your teeth in order to achieve the only thing that matters to both the players, the club and the supporters – a victory and three ponts. No pussy-footing!
UP THE WOLVES!!!