I’m a firm believer that you get the results you deserve. Today we have exactly that – lots of plaudits and no points.
Wolves played an excellent game and, have they capitalised more on (say it softly) first half domination at the City of Manchester Stadium, could have come away with more. When Milijas scrambled home a blocked shot on 12 minutes, it looked set to be a very long game for the Wolves fans. And so it proved, although in a more entertaining, but ultimately frustrating, way than certainly I was expecting.
The first half an hour was all Wolves and had we been able to get a second – with a poor shot in an excellent position from Jarvis the most notable missed opportunity – things may have played out very differently. As it was Kolo Taure get the credit for forcing home a 40th minute equaliser (although I had it down as off Dave Jone’s arse), and the teams went in 1-1 at half time. It was a disappointing goal to concede, especially as the corner from which it resulted was avoidable, but these things happen.
Worse was to follow defensively. Credit to City, and especially to Carlos Tevez (but with points deducted for the neck-warmer – seriously City are even producing these branded now!?) for attacking play that we could not live with but: 2nd goal – someone put a foot in please; 3rd goal – the worst, with the ball travelling the length of the pitch without even an attempted tackle (if you’re interested, here’s a diagram of where defensive tackles took place or, rather, didn’t). Realistically we could have been down more and were lucky for a couple of misses after defensive errors. But to go on about this any more than I already have would be unfair on a day when the whole team deserves fulsome praise for an astonishing fightback.
At 4-1 down I knew by now we’d keep trying but no one I think in that stadium was expecting the nail-biting last 10 minutes City must have suffered. A passing debt of thanks is owed to old boy Lescott for a definite, but stupid, penalty to get us back in it. I was pleased to see Doyle slot that home. A second goal can only help him. But after that the Wolves team kept fighting, with Zubar bagging a third, and Mujangi Bia unlucky with a deflected shot that could have gone anywhere. A Wolves team to be proud of despite the result, and despite the fact we’re back in the drop zone.
I’d like to finish with my four key observations from the game:
- Midfield: A commanding performance from Milijas again, and Jones made a reasonable return to the team. Jarvis may not have been as outstanding as earlier in the season, but still caused problems. The quality of his crossing has dipped again a little though. Here’s a picture. It does confirm my impression that Hunt had an exceptionally quiet game (he also gave away at least two completely unnecessary free kicks), although he was key to two good moves – Jarvis’s first half miss and the penalty incident.
- Great to see Geoffrey Mujangi Bia come on and look to make an impact. I believe he did enough to warrant longer on the pitch next week.
- Zubar: Keeps improving, and a great force going forward, always looking to get in the mix and today hitting the post scoring our third. Still prone to defensive lapses.
- We’re in the bottom three, so there’s no point saying if we keep playing like this we’ll be ok – we have been and we’re still where we are. Nevertheless, small improvements – defensively primarily – are certainly all that are needed at this stage, and Mick and his team are perfectly capable of delivering them.