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Was Defeat Against Bolton the First Nail in Wolves’ Coffin?

Photo by TGIGreeny

After 92 minutes at the Reebok Stadium, Wolves were looking set to earn themselves a creditable draw. After 93 minutes Bolton had nicked a goal and had escaped with all three points, condemning Wolves to their 15th defeat in 24 games.

The point earned from the 0-0 draw was beginning to look like a necessity on a night when all around them were picking up points. West Ham were winning at Blackpool, Birmingham were holding Manchester City and West Brom and Wigan played out a 2-2 draw on Tuesday.

What will worry Mick McCarthy and Wolves fans the most is their apparent willingness to reach for the self destruct button and settle for a loss when holding on for a point looks like the easier option. Ronald Zubar’s absent minded back-pass meant that last night was the ninth game this season that Wolves have conceded in the last 10 minutes.

As with most of their games this season, Wolves held their own and put in a performance which was far from abject. But a defeat seemed well and truly on the cards after Kevin Doyle hit the post inside the last ten minutes of the game. Wolves don’t create many chances, so when they do its imperative that they take them. So after Jussi Jaaskelainen was saved by his upright I just had the feeling that Wolves would pay for missing that chance – a hunch which proved to be correct…if only I’d put money on it. The only positive that Wolves can take form last night was the impressive full debut of Adam Hammill.

Wolves’ next two fixtures see them face Manchester United and Arsenal – things don’t get any easier. The only glimmer of light that can emerge form the prospect of facing the teams currently lying first and second in the league is that Wolves’ best displays have undoubtedly come against the top sides this season. John Terry said that Wolves were as good a team as they’d played all season home and away, they were within minutes of hanging on for a draw at Old Trafford and wins against Manchester City and Liverpool show that Wolves really aren’t a bad side when they put their minds to it.

But the biggest and most prominent reasons why Wolves find themselves bottom is their simply awful record against the teams around them. Wolves have only picked up eight points against the teams currently in the bottom half of the league and have already lost home and away to Wigan. Needless to say a team can’t rely on beating sides in the top six to stay up.

After Wednesday night I can’t help but feel that Bolton have hammered the first nail in the Wolves coffin, and Manchester United and Arsenal could have knocked in numbers two and three by 5.00pm next Saturday. However, every time I resign myself to Wolves being relegated they go and do something crazy like winning at Anfield and when I cast my mind back to last season I remember that it was their form in March and April which secured their safety.

Wolves have the talent to stay up, but what remains to be seen is whether they have the concentration and genuine drive to do so. Wolves’ final 12 games are all what you class as ‘winnable’, but whether they will or not is anyone’s guess.

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  1. James

    February 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    HAHA! Down with United!!!!

  2. James

    February 5, 2011 at 12:21 am

    Man city fan here, Wolves really appeal to me. I’ve a soft spot for old fashioned teams.

  3. Lamby

    February 4, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Yes, Fulham supporter here. I have not seen a lot of Wolves. I did see them against us and it was such a negative, physical, holding, pushing game from them that finished with Henry pulling Zamora down into a scissor kick to break his leg. It was such a typical shut down the midfield, hack anybody with a bit of skill, slow the game down, then hoof it forward.

    But then Wolves pull out a different, more attractive game plan against other teams. The thing is, I think Mick want to play they attractive passing game, but he does not have the resources to do it and they lose games (hence their record against bottom 10 teams,) but he seems to get the points from the negative style of play.

  4. Jon Sharp

    February 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Have to say I have enjoyed watching Wolves this season. Teams with shaky defences are often entertaining to watch because they don’t have any option but to try and score goals at the other end. I found the Bolton/Wolves game to be quite exciting despite the low scoreline. Blackpool are an excellent example and have been thrilling to watch all season. Unlike Wolves, Blackpool have been successful in scoring alot more goals which makes up for their poor defensive record. If Blackpool lose their golden touch however, and if Kevin Doyle finds his, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wolves and Blackpool switch places by the end of the season.

  5. Adam

    February 4, 2011 at 9:04 am

    I have not watched a ton a Wolves this season but when I have watched them they have played some decent stuff, but have lacked that quality in the final third and they are leaking goals. I think Matt Jarvis has been a revelation and any team in the league would be lucky to have him in their ranks. If they do indeed go down- I am sure there will be no shortage of interest in him.

  6. jason paget

    February 4, 2011 at 12:48 am

    Lamby, what a tit u r. Wolves have been good value this season, putting in some excellent performances against the likes of liverpool, chelsea and who could forget the 2 games v man city? As this report identifies Wolves failings have been against surrounding teams, to say they would not be missed is bull.

    • Karl Sears

      February 4, 2011 at 5:14 am

      I absolutely agree Jason. At times Wolves have been great this season, the only problem is that when they’re not great they can be dire. Their inconsistancy is a major issue, over Christmas their 6 game form record read: WLWLWL, but since that they’ve lost three in a row. It seems like having the tag of ‘favourites’ for a game works massively against them and they are unable to deal with the pressure of expecting to win

      • trickybrkn

        February 4, 2011 at 7:08 am

        Maybe he’s talking about Wolves style. Henry is already been labeled as a thug. Forcing Mick to come out and defend Wolves style of play to the media…

        Used to be a lesser team would come out kicking and use negative tactics to beat a club. Mick’s never been known for that, right?, must be why he is one of the most beloved men in Ireland and the UK. Everybody loves Mick. right???

        sorry folks, but Wolves are a bounce club that win by any means necessary. I’d rather Blackpool stay up. They at least attack and play football.

        I won’t miss the upsets, the broken legs and Mick.

        jog on.

  7. Howard

    February 3, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Wolves have played some very good football this season and have been unlucky at times, like yesterday against Bolton. I always prefer to see teams like Wolves who go for it and put on a good display stay up. However, it’s the points that count and unfortunately I think Wolves will struggle to stay up this season.

  8. Lamby

    February 3, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Good riddance. Wolves and Karl Henry will not be missed.

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