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COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY

From my seat: Wolves (A)

By Ken Buckley :  27/03/2010 :  Comments (16) :
Another point toward Europe from a largely disappointing game due to some woeful finishing from a hatful of chances created. The omens were not good before kick off when our talisman Arteta was not in the line up and as the game panned out his undoubted qualities were missed and as the game went on I thought other players missed his influence.

From the off Wolves had the first chance from a cross that was side footed wide then for the next fifteen minutes it was all Everton and that period on its own should have seen us out of sight but for some poor finishing. From what was to be the best move of the game after only 5 mins Pienaar played a great one-two with Saha and got to the bye-line, looked up and picked out Osman all alone six yards from goal but instead of putting his foot through it he merely scuffed straight at the keeper.

Then the Wolves defence failed to clear a throw in properly and the ball fell to Osman who fired wide. Another good run down the right from Neville saw his cross expertly dummied by Pienaar for Saha to trickle one to the keeper. Then a move down the left saw the ball fed to Osman but his shot had all the pace taken off it from a deflection and the keeper picked up.

After this passage of play where we really should have at least been two up Wolves seemed to sense we were not in scoring mode and came more of a force going forward and had passage of play that kept our defenders on their toes but we dealt comfortably with the threats posed. Our next effort came when Osman did well down the right and his cross was headed out to Baines but from distance he did not get the power to test the keeper who gathered comfortably.

I then, for a brief moment, thought we would score when Distin strode out of defence and delivered a superb long diagonal ball that Saha controlled beautifully on his chest and turned took a couple of paces and sent a 20-yard rocket that beat the keeper but not the crossbar. Wolves came back just a little as half-time approached but with nothing more than a shot over and a tame free-kick that went straight to Howard.

Half-time and it was incredible the score line was 0-0 and many a fan thinking this may not be our day.

The second half was a bit of a scrappy affair where I thought we were too anxious and snatched at things instead of weighing up options and Arteta’s absence became more acute. We did however create some chances and early on Osman made a good run down the right after Heitinga had won the ball for him, he put in a cross right on to the head of Saha who somehow managed to miss the target maybe he was to aware of the centre-back bearing down on him.

We then got a free kick which Baines hit the wall with the ball deflecting for a corner from which Cahill headed wide. Rodwell powered into a good position for a shot, he kicked the ground as well as the ball and that trickled through to the keeper. Wolves then had another spell and twice they fired over from presentable opportunities and when the giant fullback Zubar got in down the right and cut inside Heitinga only to smash it powerfully over I started to think the unthinkable that after all our chances they might fluke it.

The game was now more end to end but in frenetic fashion and Pienaar found himself in good positions twice but first he his shot struck a defender and the next one he miss-kicked and on each occasion he had better options either side of him. Wolves attacked in numbers and deep in the box Heitinga got a foot in and then an almighty scramble took place where anything could have happened but the outcome was a Wolves player skying one over the bar much to the relief of all assembled.

With just over ten minutes to go the manager swopped Saha for Yak without any reward and just before the end Gosling and Bilyaletdinov replaced Rodwell and Osman which almost brought a reward when a cross found Gosling with just the keeper to beat but he seemed to delay long enough for the keeper to pounce on the ball and in doing so left Gosling a hobbling passenger, why he stayed on I don’t know because he looked in some pain.

Then right on the death from a melee in the box Cahill used the bicycle kick to beat the keeper but it lacked power and a defender cleared from near the line. Final whistle and the end of a most disappointing and frustrating game.

Overall I thought we played well until it came to finishing, we certainly created chances and played some good football in patches. The pitch looked bobbly which may have hampered some of the passing but it certainly was not to blame for the chances missed.

Before the game we had a young lady belting out songs via an overloud PA system and by the end of the game I wondered if her efforts had put the influence on our players shooting boots.

MotM was difficult to call as no-one played badly yet no-one really stood out and made a difference, I thought perhaps Distin and Baines were as consistent as anyone but I wouldn’t argue with anyone’s choice. Still plenty to play for as a Europa place is still achievable and with four out of the last six games at home why not?

West Ham next and providing the kit man can find shooting boots and Arteta is available we should be up and running again.

It’s a strange old game. UP THE BLUES

Reader Comments

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Ray Robinson
1   Posted 28/03/2010 at 09:13:38

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Ken, pretty much sums up well a frustrating afternoon. On another day, we'd have won 3- or 4-nil. By the way, only three of our last six matches are at home, so prospects of Europe are not quite so rosy (but definitely achievable).
Franny Porter
2   Posted 28/03/2010 at 10:25:57

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We would be dangerous if we had a striker.

Saha always seems half-fit to me... and I think I've given up on the Yak.
Ken Buckley
3   Posted 28/03/2010 at 11:20:09

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Thanks Ray... three home, three away. I went by the wallet fixture list that was given out at the first home game and it shows Blackburn Home when it should be Away.
Keith Glazzard
4   Posted 28/03/2010 at 16:26:19

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You're right about Arteta's absence Ken. Even though we made enough chances to boost the gd there was, not sloppiness exactly, but a lack of tightness without the principal conductor.

One positive - Wolves came into the game on a surge, getting well-deserved results from good play and a positive attitude. Although it feels like a defeat, yesterday might have been a real upset. Below our best, we still were way too good for them.

Distin gets better and better doesn't he?

ps — Who was Capello looking at yesterday? Baines of course. Jagielka perhaps? Neville? Could Rodwell, even at this stage, interest him? And here's one for TW - he must have noticed Osman's work, and his skills.
Keith Glazzard
5   Posted 28/03/2010 at 17:14:30

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pps - I've just read that someone read that Capello was there to see Arteta! Mikel, not having played for Spain, is eligible to play for England, it seems.

Good enough by far, but I doubt that, although from Donastia/San Sebastian, our fave Spaniard would drop his ambition for the king's shilling.
Gareth Hughes
6   Posted 28/03/2010 at 20:04:02

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Keith, I think that Capello would have noticed Osman's woeful finishing and crossed him right off any list he had. Osman is not England class, Lampard who scores 4 goals in one game, most definitely is.
Brendan O'Doherty
7   Posted 28/03/2010 at 20:46:51

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Arteta can stay well away from England thank you very much Keith. We don't want him getting involved with that WAG scene and getting tapped up by players from the top 3.

He's too good for them anyway!
Thomas Christensen
8   Posted 29/03/2010 at 12:49:42

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Ken, lovely piece. We missed Arteta, I was thinking while the match was running that he really is a massive value to the team. There was a cross that ran along the ground and Pienaar stepped over it leaving Rodwell to hit a tame shot.

As the keeper was picking it up I thought to myself, I wonder if it is that type of attack which has been created for Arteta and Heitinga (both with a lovely shot on them) instead of Rodwell. The reason I say that is because I've noticed us performing the step-over routine since Arteta's return.

Capello would be looking at how Baines plays away from home, it is going to be between Baines and Warnock for the England 1st 11....

With Chelsea hammering AV 7-1, it is a shame he was at the Bridge to see Warnock and Co have a stinker!!

Up the BLUES :)

Keith Glazzard
9   Posted 29/03/2010 at 14:34:26

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Brendan - couldn't agree more.

Gareth - I think that Capello would have noticed that Osman isn't a Lampard or Gerrard. Personally, I don't mind that. I do think, however, that Leon is capable of knocking two penalties in.

Ken - thanks for the lift. I'll stop now.
Anthony Hawkins
10   Posted 29/03/2010 at 15:03:13

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From what I saw of the game, all our shots were really tame and lacked any sort of power. Even Cahill's bicycle kick which almost trickled in before some last ditch defending.

What's going on there?
Paddy Francis
11   Posted 29/03/2010 at 15:14:14

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Keith - totally agree about Distin, he's improved so much over the last few weeks, really settling into a reliable squad member, maybe more.

Although I wish he wouldn't add to the players who are promoting our "quiet" push for Europe. If all of our players, ex-players and websites keep shouting out how "under the radar" we are, we're not really udner the radar at all are we?!

Having said that, the Hammers can expect a proper hammering on Saturday - if we score in the first 20 mins, we could win 5 or 6.
Keith Glazzard
12   Posted 29/03/2010 at 16:35:15

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Ricard Jolly in The Guardian (I guess he's midlands based) made Osman MOM - "Like Pienaar ... neat touches and combined well ... with Baines".
Dave Wilson
13   Posted 29/03/2010 at 19:38:02

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Yep had a little chuckle at that myself Keith. It's amazing how many unbiased reporters, players and telly pundits recognise Ossie`s talents.
Keith Glazzard
14   Posted 29/03/2010 at 19:56:06

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Correct Dave.

If Leon was playing for a couple of Spanish teams I can think of - not the big buyers of non-Spanish players, although the South American connection blurs that - he would be a local hero.

Don't get me wrong. You have to be muscular and strong as well as skillful to make it there. But they wouldn't believe his stamina. A regular part of the Spanish game they call "la lucha" - the fight, the battle. Ten minutes or so when you go all out to score. When a mate of mine over there asked me what it was called in English my blank stare back at him said it all "Ah, da de toda" he said. Give it all. What we are, justly, famous for.

It's no coincidence that Ossie scored as good a goal as can be scored, against Larissa. Lower level opposition for sure, but European. Wouldn't have happened against Rochdale.

David Hallwood
15   Posted 30/03/2010 at 11:11:00

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If you ever go to another team’s website it’s amazing how they laud some of our players, Cahill for instance is universally admired by even the sky 4 supporters and Osman gates a mention as well, some reports have even said that he should be in the England squad. I suppose supporting a team is a bit like marriage — familiarity sometimes breeds contempt and to end with another old cliché — you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
Martin Mason
16   Posted 31/03/2010 at 04:33:30

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Just read an article on Sky Sports that Martin O'Neil is rumoured to have left Villa, possibly Celtic bound. Please guys, don't wish Moyes gone because it could happen and another fringe team like Villa would obviously welcome him. He would be bound to be back with American money for our best players.

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