Wolves: So Little To Show For So Much Effort.
Another Premier League game, another defeat and you’d be mistaken for thinking Wolves were a side struggling to play football. Oddly, Wolves have lost the last 3 league games when they probably deserved so much more for their efforts. After running Fulham so close at Craven Cottage, with two defensive slip ups gifting the hosts all three points, Mick McCarthy was honest in his criticism. His team had thrown the game away by simply switching off.
The winner goal in that match was a free kick from Dembele in injury time and it was dissected to distraction all weekend to show the wall splitting opened up the opportunity to score. There’s not much a manager can do when his defensive wall turn their backs on the free kick. As soon as they did that, they offered the chance to increase, losing all control all on the ball at that point. At least facing forwards, they have an idea where the strike may end up.
The following week, Wolves travelled to White Hart Lane, as Tottenham’s spluttering season continued. With good memories of the ground after last years 1-0 win, the visitors once again took advantage of some wayward finishing to take the lead. Spurs huffed and puffed for the best part of an hour, but it was an unusual tactical change that turned the game. Spurs brought on Alan Hutton, the attacking right back and he was involved in the penalty that gave Spurs a chance to get back in to the game.
Wolves simply couldn’t deal with the full back marauding down the flanks effectively and Spurs kept knocking, scoring another 2 goals include a rather fortuitous 3rd, score by Hutton, with a deflected loop over the goalkeeper. Another excellent display undone in 13 minutes by a lack of nous and experience.
Today continued the theme, desperate to impress the home fans in a West Midlands derby, Wolves pressed and pressed and then got undone on the counter attack. Once again they failed to turn possession in to real opportunities, with a large slice of luck allowing them to get level. It could be a concern that Wolves are taking games to sides but not being able to convert the opportunities or create enough clear cut chances to actually get the goals their performances perhaps deserve.
Similarly to Stoke City and Bolton Wanderers, Wolves have begun to seek to add some silk to the steely play they showed us last season. By employing the high tempo, pressurised game, Wolves were able to unsettle some more illustrious opponents. Now, by trying to entertain slightly more they are beginning to leave to many cracks for teams to exploit. Yet, despite losing 3 games on the spin, there is no need for hand wringing at Molineux.
The performances have been positive on the whole and should be taken with a pinch of salt. The league is still oddly tight, especially after Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester City and one win can send a side surging up the table. As Blackpool have shown, this season is nothing if predicatable. Wolves will probably win games playing a lot worse than they have in the last few weeks, so the need to keep positive is crucial for McCarthy and his players.