Connect with us

Leagues: EPL

Wolves 3-1 Wigan Athletic: The Day Wanderers Stopped The Rot

Editor’s note: Since the memory of last weekend’s Premier League football is still fresh in our minds. here’s a match report of Wolverhampton’s win against Wigan — a match of big importance due to the implications on the relegation zone. The report is courtesy of Chris Machin, a regular contributor to EPL Talk (and a massive Wolves supporter).

It was never going to be a classic. In historical proportion it was more of a David vs David than a clash of the titans. Two teams that had inadvertently combined to amass just one point between them from a possible 42 in the past seven weeks of Barclays Premier League football.

Ranked 19th and 20th in the form table, and only a touch better in the actual standings, Wigan Athletic were riding uncomfortably on a seven game losing streak with only one away goal all season and the same amount of points on the road. They met Wolves with one single point from the previous seven games and without a home win since the second week of the season. At Molineux last Sunday, something had to give.

The signs were all there for the gold ‘n black faithful. Needless to say they were far from encouraging. Wigan Athletic had been very much a part of Wolves’ previous two survival scraping seasons. However they had managed to take the maximum six points from their previous two Premier League visits to Molineux. In addition to this was the well documented recent point-free miseries of the Lancashire outfit. Sod’s law dictates that when a team are looking to shake an unwanted monkey from their backs, that ‘Wolves away’ is the perfect place to do so. Finally there was the baffling conundrum that Wolves’ fans have had to deal with throughout the previous season and the beginning of this, the failure to take points where they are expected. For example, to beat the teams around you in your home games. Queens Park Rangers and Swansea City have already feasted from the Molineux table as newly promoted sides. Perhaps more worrying was the lacklustre performances churned out in these ‘must-win’ games. With all this in mind, you’d forgive a Wolves fan for his or her pessimism.

Wolves went unchanged from their previous outing at Manchester City, with a 4-5-1 set up largely due to their lack of striking options with fitness woes continuing to get the better of Steven Fletcher and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. A little mysterious (but then again we would expect no less of Mad Mick) was the selection of David Edwards/Adlene Guedioura on the right wing whilst ‘out and out’ wingers Matt Jarvis and Adam Hammill had to settle for another bench warming role. There was also continued faith in a back four which has looked decidedly amateur at times so far this season.

Roberto Martinez opted for a variation of the 4-3-3, with former Wolves man David Jones joined by Ben Watson and Mohammed Diame as a central 3, whilst strikers Rodallega, Moses and Di Santo were deployed in attack.

I’ve decided to mix things up a little and borrow from my American influences and offer a play-by-play style report of the days action, mainly due to my recovery from an appendectomy allowing me a lot more time to break away from the furore of sitting in the stands and make some real notes as the action unfolded.

Here is a breakdown of the play as it unfolded, with all the ups and downs, contradictive emotions and mood swings experienced during last Sunday’s Jekyll and Hyde showdown.

2 mins – The first shot of the game came following a long ball out of defence from Wolves. David Edwards took a touch past Alcaraz and shot low from the edge of the area, comfortably beaten away by Al Habsi.

4 mins – The first major talking point of the afternoon. Winger Stephen Hunt collected the ball on the edge of the area, beat the Wigan defender en-route into the area, was clearly caught by the on rushing Wigan goalkeeper but admirably choose to stay on his feet, regained his balance but the chance came to nothing. It’s safe to say a penalty and a card would have been inevitable had he taken a tumble.

7 mins – The first sign of continuing joy down the Wolves left side for Wigan became apparent. Victor Moses on the right side of the Wigan’s attacking trio picked the ball up on the flank, took on and beat both Ward and Hunt but was finally stopped in the area at the expense of a corner.

The opening 15 minutes was filled with pretty uninspiring football. It was clear to see why both teams have and will more than likely continue to struggle this season. Wolves continued to revert to the long ball lottery. Where on earth was Kevin Doyle up to this point?

16 mins – Stephen Hunt delivered his first telling cross of the afternoon from the left flank, finding David Edwards 6 yards out but his header went wide. Edwards seemed to be drifting from his position on the right side of midfield in search of his natural surroundings, Guedioura was having to fill in for him and Wolves were lacking in this area.

19 mins – The first error of note is typical of the mistakes being made by Wolves this season. Johnson hit a blind pass out of defense, putting Karl Henry in danger. Henry lost possession (where’ve we heard that one before) to Hugo Rodallega who advanced but let Wolves off the hook with a tame left footed poke from the edge of the area which trickled straight at Hennessey.

In the ten minutes of inactivity to follow, the lack of atmosphere was making the real noise around Molineux. With a distinct sense of foreboding in the air, the tension in the silence suggested a crowd that was growing increasingly worried about their side’s fortunes. Wigan’s build up play was patient, whilst Wolves was tentative. Both sides showed a lack of ingenuity and quality in their approach. Frustratingly it seemed obvious to everyone else except the players that long balls aimed at small targets just wassn’t going to work.

30 mins – Golden chance for Wigan. Richard Stearman’s naivety got the better of him once again as he tried to dribble the ball out of defence. He failed to take on and lost the ball to Franco Di Santo who swept a perfect ball over the heads of the two Wolves centre backs. Rodallega’s touch is perfect as he set himself from 6 yards with only Hennessey to beat. He proceeds to slot the ball wide of the left hand post and provides Wolves with a major let off.

31 mins – GOAL!! Football’s unforgiving lessons came to the dance. A golden chance spurned at one end turned into a goal at the other. Kevin Doyle’s fear of getting into the box paid off as he advanced into the right channel and pulled the ball back across the box for Jamie O’Hara to slot home from inside the six yard box. Three goals in 4 games for the summer signing from Spurs. The celebrations that followed were notably one of relief rather than ecstasy. The atmosphere was soon subdued after the goal as the fans know logically that they cannot rest on their laurels.

40 mins – GOAL!! Wigan continued to expose Wolves on their left side again and again. Full back Emerson Boyce skipped past a spectating Stephen Ward on his way into the area. He was then bundled over by Stephen Hunt in an attempt to dig Ward out of a hole and the inevitable penalty was given. Ben Watson with a 50% penalty conversion rate this season stepped up and fired tamely straight at Hennessey. The ball ricocheted back out, luckily to Watson, who slotted into an empty net. All square.

43 mins – A spell of pressure from Wolves in response to the goal saw a number of decent crosses sent into the Wigan area that were dealt with by the keeper and his defence. After the latest cross was cleared out right to Jamie O’Hara, he swept it back first time on the half volley forcing Al Habsi to parry low near his left hand post.

The half time whistle was met with little reaction from the crowd. The TV commentator quoted that the match was “delicately poised” for the fans of both teams. It must have seemed more ‘ominously suspended’ as they could have only have feared the worst after a lacklustre first half coupled with their recent experiences.

A scrappy affair was to be expected. The two teams far from mirroring each other in their approach. Wigan utilised their three central midfielders as part of a possession game, neat and tidy and constantly passing but without any real joy. Wolves were much more direct but nevertheless predictable in that they did not show anything that would have worried Martinez up to that point.

200+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
  • Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
  • Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
  • Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
  • Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
  • Price: $4.99/mo
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more

Pages: 1 2

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Leagues: EPL

Translate »