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COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY

From my seat: Wolves (A)

By Ken Buckley   ::  06/05/2012
 16 Comments (Last)
Two points dropped from a game that drove this fan mad as we produced the football that should have ensured a comfortable victory but a combination of poor first touches and lack of shots when we were in the box did for us.

Wolves were on course for equalling a Premier League record in losing 10 home matches on the trot and the faithful were confident we would help them achieve this but Wolves showed a defensive defiance that frustrated and in the end thwarted our quest for a goal: last-ditch tackles, bodies thrown in abandon to block shots and passes put up a barrier which meant, for all our excellent approach play, their keeper was rarely extended. Perhaps if they had produced this determination in previous matches, they would not have been Championship bound.

A first half saw the Blues dominate and flowing joined-up footie led to opportunities in the box but Wolves used a sort of funnel system that thwarted us time and time again. Pienaar schemed and probed once again underlining why it would be productive if a deal was possible in the summer. Jelavic and Faddy both went close before Osman was floored just inside of the box with the ref just feet away but he just shrugged and waved the play on. Since the diving controversy of a few weeks ago, refs seem quite unwilling to give any decision at all.

Pienaar then picked out Jelavic with a superb through-ball, the Croat strode on and planted the ball home only to be hauled back for offside, a decision that has since proved to be wrong. In that first half, Wolves seemed to be of little threat except from a couple of set pieces.

Half-time and the chat was centred on how on earth we were not at least three up. Also, the Wolves fans 'Gallows humour' in sort of celebrating relegation in song and verse. They did have time though to produce the tired 'Sign on' song by way of a taunt.

The second half was not much to write home about. We pressed but, without the urgency of the first half, it was as though the players expected a goal to turn up, such was our superiority; but expectancy is one thing, fulfillment needs to be worked hard for...

We had chances and none more takeable than when the excellent marauding Hibbert put in a superb cross that a man of Fellaini's height should have done much better with than heading over when afforded a free header in the six-yard box. Jelavic took a free-kick that had the keeper scrambling to his near post to parry away. Pienaar sent one over the bar as he shot whilst falling.

The game started to peter out as Wolves pressed when they could and did create some chances that ended the same way as ours had. A game with nil-nil written all over it was what we were now watching.

Before the end, Jelavic missed a great chance after being put through by Fellaini, when one-on-one with the keeper, he dragged the shot wide. In his present form, you would have wanted the ball at no other's foot. Stracqualursi, on as sub for Faddy, did have the ball in the net but the goal was ruled out for offside by Fellaini.

So the game ended in a disappointing draw and we left the ground leaving the Wolves fans to do whatever you do at your last home game when you have been relegated. MotM: Jagielka

Overall, best described as disappointing. We were miles ahead of Wolves and only managed a nil-nil which surely give Board, Manager and players food for thought as we will soon enter that summer transfer window which produces much talk on the OS and media but often ends up as just that; just talk.

A look at the bench today screams out for action but, being without money, the horse trading needs to start sooner than later. If we need to sell to buy then let's do it early and hope we get top dollar for our sale and the manager sign gems for buttons. Sounds fanciful but the state of the club as reported leaves little room to manoeuvre. I think in the main the fans understand our position but more and more would like to see some early action to at least give hope that we will look that bit stronger next term. Over to you, Board and management.

Newcastle next and a win will see us finish in 7th place and above our neighbours. To me, finishing 7th is far more important than bothering about the neighbours as it represents extra money and a bit of it just might go to the manager to trade. Newcastle are in good form but so are we and I am looking forward to a win from a tight encounter.

See you there to find out.
UP THE BLUES

Reader Comments

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Andrew Presly
285   Posted 07/05/2012 at 01:41:27

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Good report as ever Ken. Hope you're on the mend.

Osman, Hibbert, Jagielka and especially McFadden, Straq and Gueye......in the name of Christ, Allah, Buddha, Preki and Howard Kendall, please just go! Go!

To see Round trying to explain it all afterwards and saying he would have been delighted with 7th at the start of the season was the final insult. We will never win anything under these people.

I'll be booing certain people during the lap of honour next week, including Moyes. Not good enough.
Eric Myles
287   Posted 07/05/2012 at 02:32:12

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The second half reminded me of the second half of the semi. It was a complete change of mindset from the first half, like someone said well it's half time and we've got a point, let's hang on to it.

And the problem I can see next week is we'll go into the game against Newcastle knowing a point will secure seventh and play for the point and get carved up by Cisse and Ba and Cabaye.
Anto Byrne
288   Posted 07/05/2012 at 02:37:25

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A wonderful Hibbert cross on to the head of Fellaini and over the bar it went. Wolves parked the bus and we just huffed and puffed.

I noticed that Barkley was on the bench and didn't get a run and Cahill came off for Magaye. I would have liked to have seen Drenthe running at the defence but he is not one of Moyes's favourites, so it seems. IMO both Vellios and Barkley should have started and then changed it around after an hour.

Let's hope Chelski put The Victims to the sword once more this week and we wrap up 7th.
Peter Barry
295   Posted 07/05/2012 at 06:08:28

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With Moyes We're Bust he's a Dour Dire Defensive Tactically Inept bottler - and they're just his good points.
John Ford
297   Posted 07/05/2012 at 06:24:54

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A fair report ken, leave the overreaction to others. Fair point too re transfers. It would be good to do any dealing quickly. We should have won yesterday which was disappointing, but hopefully Kenwright wont be sitting on his arse thinking all is well.

Our good form is very fragile, because we don't have strength in depth. One or two key players lose form or get injured and we're an ordinary side again. We're skint so Baines is the most likely cash cow, we surely cant let Fellaini or Johnny go.
Sam Hoare
300   Posted 07/05/2012 at 07:16:58

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Disappointing but we had a perfectly good goal disallowed and a stomewall penalty turned down. Just one of those days...

Cahill continues to look pretty ineffectual when starting and our squad is thin. Imagine what would happen if jelavic was injured and we didn't buy pienaar....once again moyes needs to try and unearth some cheap gems in the summer.
Ray Robinson
315   Posted 07/05/2012 at 09:02:57

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No pace to in midfield get behind players or dart through the gaps. Norwich and Swansea have such players on limited budgets, so why can't we? A game we should have won 3 or 4-0. It's games like these that frustrate me to the point of despair.
Jim Hourigan
328   Posted 07/05/2012 at 09:51:37

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Today typified Moyes' approach to football - play players who will run around and show enthusiasm without producing quality or being effective - Cahill, Osman, McFadden and Hibbert. He buys players of this ilk and is very uncomfortable with players who are unpredictable, possibly inconsistent but who, when they are given confidence, can turn a game - Pienaar, Gueye, Barkley, Drenthe and even Baxter. A team full of either type is not a good balance and obviously loading us with workhorses will lose fewer games but make us draw a lot more.

Mikel suffered a bad last 12 months following injury, but his creativity alongside Pienaar was the most enjoyable football under Moyes. We had neither at the start of the season and the football was dire. Pienaar returned In January and there has been a distinct improvement - him being cup tied needs no more comment. But 1 man cannot do it all and for Moyes to rely solely on him shows his fear of creativity and his reluctance to gamble on anything creative. Osman might have quick feet but look at the stats, for a midfielder he has only created 3 goals this season and scored the same - that in my book is not creative nor is it an acceptable return.

Until Moyes gets a balance of flair, pace and workmanship and accepts that winning one game gets us more points than 2 shocking draws we are faced with more of the fare served up at Wolves. Despite all the possession real chances were few and far between and their goalie was in truth not very busy. Percentage football is all we will get, to not beat a relegated team and to have so few real chances against the worst defence in the league sums it up - not a knee jerk reaction this was just more of what we get on a regular basis so why are we surprised?
Derek Thomas
329   Posted 07/05/2012 at 10:21:52

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Exactly Jim; % football, KITAP1, Pragmatic, call it what you will. It's the default position. Money or no money, how you go about it on Matchday DOES make a difference.

Spot on; 2 draws ( especially if, all things considered, it was there for the taking ) gives you 2pts...net gain +2

1 win gives you 3pts plus a spare game to maybe get another 3 pts...potential net gain 6pts.

QED
Eugene Ruane
334   Posted 07/05/2012 at 11:14:28

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You can add to "poor first touches and lack of shots" woeful choice of and/or execution of final ball.

To be fair, not just in this game, even in some of the recent games we've won.

With a few of them, there's some shocking decision-making when it comes to picking that last 'decisive' ball.

We have possession, there's a lot of good movement, the ball is moved around well and then it seems a timer goes off in some heads that says "Well the time for this bit of possession is up, I have to play it, even if I know it's not on"

But.....we/they DON'T have to play it.

There's NO rush.

The 'trick' is keep it.

Keep moving, keep IT moving and space WILL open up.

Giving possession of the ball away without being FORCED to, is (imo) a crime.


John Ford
338   Posted 07/05/2012 at 11:38:46

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Agree Eugene, and actually at our best we can hold the ball well, but Id prefer we went back or sideways, keep the ball (and start again) rather than a speculative ball/cross.

This conversation would'nt have been possible though before January, as we were were pretty clueless. Progress at least..
Derek Thomas
341   Posted 07/05/2012 at 12:21:42

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You can't play without the ball.

The Blue fullback is trapped with the ball at his own corner flag surrounded by 6 of the rs opposition.

Q) Who is the attacking team blue or red?

A) Blue! he has the ball, you can't score without it.
David Hallwood
352   Posted 07/05/2012 at 12:45:21

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Good report as ever Ken, and I think everyone's being a touch unfair, because of poor decisions by the officials we sould've been comfortably ahead by half time, and judging by the extended highlights at no time did we look under the cosh.

It was two points dropped, but you can also look at it as a point away from home albeit against a piss poor side.
Steve Higham
365   Posted 07/05/2012 at 14:13:04

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How Sraq event gets on the bench amazes me - Velios is 100% better -one fall out with Moyes and his career seems over. The amount of times Straq got caught offside was a joke.Once he came on the balance of the team was lost.
So much for Barkley getting game time.Barkley should of replaced Timmy. and Baxter should have replaced Jimmy Mc.
Was disappointed leaving the ground as already stated two points lost.
Jim Harrison
494   Posted 08/05/2012 at 02:36:01

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Just stats I know, and stats can be manipulated either way. Wolves match Shots 18 to 7,on target 10 to 1. Those are not the figures of a team playing not to lose.

Wolves are relegated. On paper we should have smashed them. But last week this team put 4 past the much hyped Swansea. United only managed 2 against the same opposition.
Anto Byrne
001   Posted 10/05/2012 at 02:04:00

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On reflection perhaps the KITP1 would have been the better tactic, forcing Wolves forward and opening space to exploit on the counter. Of course you need pace in the side for this to work effectively, er um who?

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