Much like the education centres around the country, Wolverhampton Wanderers broke up for their Christmas break on Tuesday with much to ponder over the festive period as they reflect on what they have taken in this season of giving and in Mick McCarthy’s case how good will may not be extended to ALL men…
Two teams with contrasting styles, ideology and fortunes came head to head at Molineux as Wolves hosted their second home game in three days against Norwich City. The visitors still very much ‘living the dream’ buoyant from two consecutive promotion campaigns and exceeding all expectations in their return to the English top flight whilst the home team were punching well below their weight, teetering once again ominously above the dreaded relegation zone and showing little of the progress that once assumes comes naturally as the seasons go by in the Premier League.
In wake of their latest home disaster against Stoke City, Mick McCarthy was heralded for making a long overdue change to the starting line up as Sylvan Ebanks-Blake returned to the starting line up to replace the not only goal but shot-shy Kevin Doyle. The spirit was good natured before kick off as the Molineux crowd’s winter blues were lifted by the return of their favourite number 9 who’s plethora of goals propelled them out of the Championship and into the promised land. Paul Lambert stuck by the principles that have bought him so much success so far this season by sticking with a standard 4-4-2 formation with the attack spearheaded by Welsh international Steve Morison and this seasons unlikely hotshot Grant Holt.
With all the circumstance and consumerism that comes with the Christmas period we often forget the very religious standing that underlines the whole occasion. Mick McCarthy got a message of biblical proportions after just 12 minutes of the contest in the form of a ‘Surman’ on the mount. Andrew Surman a talented midfielder who suffered an unpleasant season in the Premier League under McCarthy as I’m sure others can relate to – finding it hard for his face to fit, playing second fiddle to arguably less talented players in the same position returned as if it was written in the scriptures to haunt his old boss whilst proving that he does indeed belong at this level. The comedy of errors had rolled over from Saturday as blown coverage down Wolves’ right flank and non-existent marking in the area allowed Surman, not famed for his headers, an easy nod from close range.