The man whose goal secured Wolves’ promotion secures their survival

24 04 2010

Wolves scored their first goal since they played West Ham in March.

The man whose goal got us promoted a year ago, today scored the goal that realistically kept us in the Premier League.

Sylvan Ebanks-Blake’s header nine minutes from time cancelled out Ryan Nelsen‘s first half goal to send the Molineux faithful into delirium and ulitmately onto the pitch at full time.Wolves never really got their game together today but Stephen Ward‘s left wing cross was met by substitute Ebanks-Blake who headed down into the net via the post from six yards. In his post match interview with Sky Sports, Mick McCarthy wouldn’t admit Wolves were safe but I think the 5,000 or so fans on the pitch would tell you otherwise. He said: “We’re nearly there,” McCarthy told Sky Sports. “It makes it difficult now (to be relegated) as Burnley have to win all three games.“But, as the announcer kept saying, we’re not safe yet – we can’t celebrate. If the others don’t do it for us, we’ll go down to Portsmouth and then we’ve got Sunderland and we’ll try and get the points then.” Man of the match: Sylvan Ebanks-Blake – After a ‘mixed’ season Ebanks finally scored a goal from open play for Wolves. The crowd were just as happy to see a goal at Molineux. Yesssssssssssss!!! Flops of the match: The fans – I was going to give this to Stephen Ward before he set up our equaliser. Instead, i’ll give it to the fans – what a bunch of idiots. What’s the point in running onto the pitch at full time. I hate to see it when clubs do it on the telly. Fair enough if we’d won the the league but we haven’t. We’ve narrowly escaped relegation.Referee: Mark Clattenburg – replaced the scheduled appointment of Lee Probert and had an okay game. Could have given Blackburn a penalty in the first and maybe should have dismissed Morten Gamst Pedersen but the Geordie had a decent game.Tonight’s updated table will look great to Wolves fans this evening. Unless Burnley win all three of their remaining games and Wolves lose both theirs, then Premier League football will return to Molineux in August. 

14 Bolton 36 -25 36
15 Wolves 36 -23 35
16 Wigan 36 -34 35
17 West Ham 36 -18 34
18 Hull 36 -41 28
19 Burnley 35 -37 27
20 Portsmouth 36 -33 16
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Wolves’ Relegation Permutations

22 04 2010

Wolves' last three games are all against lower half opposition.

After Hull’s defeat to Aston Villa last night, Wolves can now secure their Premier League safety this weekend with a result against Blackburn Rovers. Here are this weekend’s crucial fight for survival fixtures…

Saturday, 24 April.

3.00pm

Wolves vs. Blackburn

Hull vs. Sunderland

Sunday, 25 April

3.00pm

Burnley vs. Liverpool

If Wolves win against Blackburn…

And Burnley lose then Burnley can no longer catch Wolves meaning they can only finish as low as 18th.

And Burnley draw then they will still not be able to catch Wolves. A draw would leave the Clarets nine points behind Wolves with two to play.

And Burnley win then Burnley cannot catch Wolves but could be in touching distance of 17th placed West Ham.

And Hull lose, then Wolves are safe in the Premier League!

And Hull draw, then Wolves are still safe in the Premier League!

And Hull win, then bar a huge slide in goal difference in the final two games Wolves will still be safe!

If Wolves draw against Blackburn…

And Burnley lose then they can no longer catch Wolves.

And Burnley draw then they will still not be able to catch Wolves.

And Burnley win then Burnley can catch Wolves if they win both their remaining games (vs. Birmingham (A) and Tottenham (H)). They could also catch if they won one game by a huge scoreline and drew the other. Wolves would have to lose both games for this to happen.

And Hull lose, then Wolves are safe in the Premier League!

And Hull draw, then they would have to win both their remaining games (vs. Wigan (A) and Liverpool (H)) with Wolves not picking up any points!

And Hull win, then Wolves need to equal or better Hull’s results for the remaining two games.

If Wolves lose against Blackburn

And Burnley lose then Burnley can no longer catch Wolves.

And Burnley draw then they will could still catch Wolves but would have to score a stack of goals whilst winning both games. Wolves would have to not pick up any more points.

And Burnley win then Burnley can catch Wolves if they win both their remaining games (vs. Birmingham (A) and Tottenham (H)).  Wolves would need a point

And Hull lose, then Wolves are safe in the Premier League barring a huge slide in goal difference!

And Hull draw, then they would have to win both their remaining games (vs. Wigan (A) and Liverpool (H)) with Wolves not picking up more than a draw out of the two games.

And Hull win, then Wolves need to pick up one point in their last two games to survive.





Ronald Zubar talks about the Stoke City battle

14 04 2010

Zubar has now cemented his position as Wolves' right back.

Wolves defender Ronald Zubar has admitted his relief after securing a point against Stoke City on Sunday.

The Frenchman says he has never experienced a game of that nature before but thinks the team defended very well.

He said: “I’ve never played in a game like that before, I couldn’t believe it! But Stoke do well and I have nothing bad to say about them at all. They work very hard and they do very well with that way of playing.

“And they have got 43 points so that shows how hard they are to beat – they can’t be lucky all the time. They score goals from playing that way and it’s very difficult to defend against.

Rory Delap does very well with those throw-ins – it is more easy to defend a corner than one of his throws. The ball comes in so quickly and it changes direction in their air as well, so it’s very hard for defenders.

“Thankfully, Jody and Christophe did superbly well heading all those balls out. Stoke came to win and it was a real battle, so we were all very happy with a point.”





Wolves’ goal drought making my season ticket the worst value of the decade

12 04 2010

Doyle is Wolves' top scorer this season with seven league goals

After yesterday’s bore-draw with Stoke, Wolves have now scored just one goal in the last 760 minutes of football at Molineux. Wolves have scored once at Molineux this year, a David Jones goal against Tottenham in February. Overall, we have only hit the back of the net ten times in 17 games so far – an average of 0.59 a game and the worst in the Premier League.

Back in 2003/2004 (our only other Premier League campaign) we scored 23 goals in 19 games; winning seven.

This season’s efforts have hit a resounding low for a club that normally scores goals with ease. Maybe I’m still on a goal scoring high after last season’s tally of 44?

Anyway, here’s our record since I got a season ticket nearly a decade ago:

Year/Games played/Goals

2001/2002: 23/33

2002/2003: 23/40

2003/2004: 19/23

2004/2005: 23/40

2005/2006: 23/24

2006/2007: 23/33

2007/2008: 23/31

2008/2009: 23/44

2009/2010: 17/10

You could look at it in a number of ways:

  1. We have missed good chances – Sam Vokes against Manchester United and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake on numerous occasions have denied Wolves from getting on the score sheet.
  2. Change of formation – The mid-season change to 4-5-1 (or 4-3-3 as MM prefers to refer to it) from 4-4-2 significantly reduced Wolves’ chances of scoring by playing only one striker against two centre halves.
  3. Better quality defences – Obviously the calibre of defences that Wolves will play against rises each year and this season there has been a big jump due to us playing in a higher division.

It was after missing a glut of chances that Ebanks-Blake lost his and Wolves’ second striker place to a midfielder and McCarthy has refused to change back since.

When going forward we only have Kevin Doyle who looks like scoring and even he has only scored seven times. In Kevin Foley we have a man who is filling a gap. His shooting technique is not great because he is a defender at heart. He has been unlucky with efforts that have come back off the woodwork but you would not bet on him scoring given the chance.

On the other side you have Matt Jarvis. For someone with pace such as his you would expect a better goal return but the little man has not delivered. Shooting is not his best attribute although he has improved significantly since his arrival at Molineux nearly three years ago.

In the centre Wolves have recently played two defensive midfielders in Karl Henry and Michael Mancienne who are not expected to get goals but the man in front of them e.g. Dave Jones or formerly Adlene Guedioura, Nenad Milijas and Dave Edwards should be chipping in. Sadly not, the four have mustered just four goals between them this campaign.

On the flip side, away from home Wolves have scored 18 goals. That is more than Liverpool have scored (14) in 6th place. If we could keep goals out at the other end we could have finished top half.

It looks as though we are going to get through this season by scoring a minimal amount of goals. However, if we are going to put up a better challenge next season we need to get some players in who have a good shooting ability from midfield. Then if we do still opt to play 4-5-1 at least we know we have people who can shoot from range given the chance.

Why do you think we’ve scored so few goals? Leave your comments below.





McCarthy: We could challenge the top teams in eight years

10 04 2010

McCarthy took over at Wolves in the summer of 2006.

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy has been speaking about his long-term plans for the team but says it may take eight years to begin to challenge with the top teams. 

However, McCarthy thinks the league’s top four are pretty much untouchable and Wolves must be realistic when setting targets.

He said: “My long-term ambition is to help Wolves stay in the Premier League and build on it. I’ve no desire to go anywhere else. I love the club. I love where I live. We all want personal gratification. But that’s a by-product of staying in it. I get some pats on the back.

“We’re never going to compete with the top four. How long have Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal been doing it? No one else is competing with them anyway. If Martin O’Neill and Harry Redknapp can’t compete with the top three, why do we think we can?

“The one thing that stands out in my mind is Alan Curbishley leaving Charlton after making them a top 10 team. They weren’t happy with him. They wanted to be better. All the soundbites when he left. B****cks.

Before today’s Premier League games, Wolves lie five points clear of the relegation zone and McCarthy wants to eclipse what David Moyes has done at Everton.

He said:“Grow up and understand where your position in life is. Kick against the trend and beat one or two of them along the way. Everton have done it. They are as good as anyone we’ve played but it’s taken David Moyes eight years to build that team.

“If we’re in the Premier League in eight years I’d love to think I’ve got a side like Moyesy. I live in the area and care how fans feel. Their desires and opinions don’t match reality. You end up in Disney World. I’m in the real world.”

My verdict: A pretty good assessment from MM as per usual. With the right investment we can push to be at least a decent mid table side in the next few years. It would be interesting to see how things developed past that point.

What do you think Wolves’ realistic target could be over the next decade? Leave your comments below.





Jody Craddock insists morale is still high in Wolves’ squad

7 04 2010

Craddock was loaned to Stoke City and looked set to leave Wolves last season before coming back and cementing his place in the team at Molineux.

 Wolves defender Jody Craddock has labelled Saturday’s narrow defeat to Champions League flops Arsenal as the “hardest defeat to take this season”. 

Craddock is set to make his 500th league appearance against former loan club Stoke City on Sunday but the defeat to the Gunners was a sickener for the 34-year-old. 

Craddock said: “It was bitterly disappointing – for me, it was the hardest defeat to take this season because we’d done so well. Yes, we were under the cosh and they’d had some chances, but we’d done brilliantly to hang on in there, especially with 10 men. 

“You get to 90 then almost 94 minutes and you think that should be the end of the game and we’d held them. So to lose it so late on was horrible. 

“But that’s why they are where they are and we took it on the chin and we’ll get on with it – I don’t think that will affect confidence. To have held them for so long at the Emirates shows how far we’ve come but it also shows how a game can change in a split second.” 

My verdict: It was horrible to see Wolves lost the game in that way but as Craddock points out the players have taken it on the chin and will get on with it. Let’s hope it’s the only time a late winning goal is conceded this season. 

*Sylvan Ebanks-Blake was on target for Wolves reserves in a 1-1 draw with Fulham last night. 

What do you think about Jody Craddock’s performance this season? Leave your thoughts and comments below!





What position will Wolves finish?

6 04 2010

Now that Portsmouth can no longer catch Wolves, in which position do you think Wanderers will finish? Wolves will be fighting all the way as they know an extra £500,000 is on offer for every place higher.