Wolves 1-1 West Ham: No wonder Van Damme wants to go back to Belgium

Written by World Wide Wolfie on October 17th, 2010

There’s no such thing as a ‘must win’ game at this stage of the season, but this one came as close as it can. It was also very much a ‘should have won’ game.

In the first half Wolves played, on the whole, confidently and fluidly, were creating all the chances were only denied a bigger goal margin by a couple of good saves from the otherwise uncertain Robert Green in the Hammers goal.

In the second half we conceeded an early penalty (soft but fair; unnecessary from Foley) to give them the goal they needed, and then stood back like rabbits caught in the headlights as all the good work of the first half unravelled. It was only a debatable hand ball decision in the last minute that avoided the scoreline having a more familiar ’2-1; goal conceeded in final minute’ shape to it.

Mick McCarthy assessed the situation thusly:

I’m pleased with the response after [the penalty] because West Ham played well and took the game by the scruff of the neck and we had to show all the battling qualities that we hadn’t showed in the first half because we were all over them…And when you have a penalty given against you in that situation it’s always going to change things.

This worries me, because it misses the obvious point that this result is not just about West Ham, who looked very, very poor in the first half, suddenly finding their game. This result is very much in keeping with a larger pattern of Wolves second half capitulation. Look, I’ve drawn a graph of our goals for/against in each half this season to point out the obvious:

When things go wrong, reach for the bar chart

When things go wrong, reach for the bar chart

We’re playing rather well in the first half, and rather badly in the second half. This was obvious on the field yesterday.

In the first half we were passing the ball, closing the opposition down and always looking to attack. There were four or five Wolves players in the box several times on the attack.

In the second half we were timid, never moved to offer the player with the ball a decent pass, and there was rarely more than one player in the box when we looked to attack; more usually, there were none.

West Ham did raise their game (starting from a very low base point) and we were always likely to spend more time defending, but we had attacking chances and never looked like we really believed. Substituting Fletcher for Van Damme can only have contributed to this strangely negative reaction. Van Damme played fine, but the game was there for the taking, and surely Ebanks-Blake deserves more of a chance after a good start to the season – the five minutes he got was not enough to judge. Perhaps the fact that in the end we were lucky not to lose justifies the timidity of the substitution, but I’d be more inclined to say that the substitution was at least part of a wider mentality that led to us nearly losing.

Onto the individuals. Doyle was the standout player for me, if only because of the contrast to his usual excellence. We shouldn’t have to rely on him as we did last season to drag the general standard of the team up, and judging from this performance, we won’t be able to anyway. He looked fed up.

As a general rule, everyone played much worse in the second half than the first. Jarvis in particular was excellent in the first half, useless in the second. Berra deserves a good word and Mancienne was sound – he harried the opposition well in the midfield in the absence of Henry, kept up his level of performance in the second half, and is the only player I can remember trying to run forward with the ball (why, oh, why don’t we do this more often – we see enough of it against us every week). Ward continues to be good at the last ditch tackle and terrible at backing off until he has to put in a last ditch tackle to save the game. Edwards battled and ran, and on a poor day, was one of the better players on the pitch, and was certainly one of the more positive in the second half. I’d have been interested to see Milijas play though.

So we stay second from bottom with a bit of a difficult run of games coming up (I think that’s what you call Chelsea – Man U – Man City – Arsenal). Can we turn this around? Judging from the first half performance: Yes. Judging from the second half performance: Down by Christmas.

I’m worried if McCarthy doesn’t acknowledge that there was a problem with our team yesterday, and it’s not just that our opponents wake up in the second half. There was a clear lack of confidence to attack, even in the face of our evident superiority over the opposition in the first half. At this point, we can’t rely on a run of good results to get some confidence into the team, so the Manager needs to persuade them fast that they can win games like this, even when bad things like conceeding a penalty occur.


9 Comments so far ↓

  1. Paddytheflea says:

    Yes, I believe you’re right. We gave the air and hope. We should have stayed in attacking mood.

    But I’m more positive about the upcoming games. We have nothing to loose now. Let’s go for it!

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    • World Wide Wolfie says:

      Hi Paddy, I really want to think the team can surprise me in the next few games (and one thing we know about Wolves is they do like to surprise) but they looked so dejected yesterday I don’t think they’ll believe they can do it. Whatever happens, say 4 points from the next four games would be a stunning return given the opposition, but not a great return given where we are in the table. Still, thanks for the positivity – I haven’t been more annoyed about a game for quite a while.

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  2. Paddytheflea says:

    Hmm. We gave THEM air, damn it!

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  3. Karlir Johanarnt Kristjanson says:

    Why not use Milijas on the left or Jarvis on the right. Milijas could’ve been our Beckham – great left foot he has.

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    • World Wide Wolfie says:

      I’m torn on Milijas. Like I say, I want to see him in the team – he’s shown moments of class that have been pivotal in several games. At the same time, he’s looked pretty anonymous in almost as many games, and McCarthy sees him play a lot more than me. He hardly looked world-class against Notts County. On the other hand, since none of the rest of our team looks that either, I would like him to be given another chance.

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  4. Ad Mant says:

    Time for change. Sick and tired of seeing that same woeful, “jam packed with favourites” back 4 week in week out

    O’ Neill please.

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    • World Wide Wolfie says:

      In reality, I don’t see we have anyone reliably better than the ‘favourites’ who played yesterday. Milijas, dunno; Van Damme, probably, but he’s got his own problems. Elokobi? Actually, if Mouyokolo is fit, I’d like to see him, but don’t know if he’s an improvement or not as he’s yet to make the first team.

      The lack of options is the result of transfer failings as well as injury, no doubt, but I don’t think now is the time to try and get someone different in.

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    • Pinar says:

      Hey guysGlad to hear you’re all still enjoying the wesbite and our dirty chats One more week until my internet will be set up in my new home and then I will be back on the blog more often and setting up the webcam, so I can have some full un-restrained filth with you guys, can’t fucking wait!!!!! I’ll be looking in to starting the webcam on adultwork.co.uk to start with and will then look into getting the webcam set up on my site after that and also what girls may be up to joining me for some fun The dp fun video should be going up on the site any day now (my web guys tell me they are converting the format for me now, whatever that means!!! I’m not good with the tech stuff!!) I will make sure it’s on this week for you guys. It’s gonna be wanktastic A couple of you guys mentioned you had difficulties getting through on my phone a little while ago. There have been a couple of instances where the phone had logged itself out and I hadn’t been alerted straight away, so some calls didn’t connect. I’ve learnt how to read our phone system and spot if this happens to make sure myself this doesn’t happen again. So far, it hasn’t!! In fact I’ve been making sure I answer each call as quickly as I possibly can so as there is no hanging around for you guys!!! I value all my regular callers, as you guys are a large part of what has kept me going through these tamer/more restricted, times by giving me the amazing and individual phone sex that we have. So I’ll always make sure I give you my best Pablo, thanks for your first blog message on here. Have been loving being your bitch All holes waiting for you and arse in the air tonight, if you’re up for it??!!Wolfie, glad you liked the but plug vid and hope you will enjoy this next one just as much. Have missed you on the phone lately though!!!!Paul, glad you liked the video too!!James, sooooooooooo glad you’ve enjoyed the new pink and black boots. New white ones on the way in a couple of weeks for us the christen per your blog message I hope Peter, I’m not doing 2 for 1 s on the show at the moment as we can’t really interact with each other at the moment with the way offcom is, so I find it a bit pointless .. I wouldn’t be able to resist touching the other girl up and then they’d just take it off screen anyway lol!! As for the knickers if they’re too small I’ve been getting in trouble or they don’t let me bend over anyway, so I have to find a balance or just think fuck it and take them right off!! Will always do my best for you!! As for the pics, as soon as I am shooting at my photograohers studio I will get him to print them for me. That shouold be some time in September. I will send the thong with a squirt of my perfume, but as discussed before, the thong will be washed as I don’t send back worn thongs.39 steps, thanks for your juicy dirty poems and naughty calls. Always a pleasure G man, special shout out to you too. I know you still call when you can and it’s always a lovely surprise when you do Getting ready for a night of fun and phone filth with you tonight guys. Hope to play with as many of you as possible. My pussy’s starting to drip as I type, ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm can’r wait to get phone fucked Big luv,JJ xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  5. JoeWolf says:

    Agree 100% with comment about substitution n 2nd half timidity, Van Damme was not signed as a right sided midfielder.. (nor Ward as LB or Mance as midfielder for that matter altho that last one worked OK-ish on Sat.)
    But look at the age and experience of that post-Jody back 4 and you have to say they did a great job in circumstances. Just that prem is a very harsh learning environment and that was one of our most winnable games…

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