Writer: DJ Wolves
With Watford losing 5-0 at Anfield on Wednesday evening it meant Wolves climbed a place back to 7th in the Premier League on goal difference. And they will have the chance to consolidate that position on Saturday when Cardiff, who have now fallen into the relegation positions, come to Molineux. That is depending on whether Wolves repeat what happened at the end of November when they lost successive games to Huddersfield and Cardiff.
After going 8 games unbeaten there has to be some disappointment that only 1 point was secured from the away games at Bournemouth and Huddersfield this week. In neither game did Wolves play with any fluency and they will be hoping to get back to their best this weekend.
The Bournemouth game will be remembered mostly for the refereeing of Roger East who was castigated by both sets of supporters on the day. He issued a yellow card within one minute, although that was one of his better decisions. In total there were 10 yellow cards handed out, 3 penalties awarded that were all questioned, and the most blatant penalty of all, a handball by a Bournemouth defender, not awarded. With regard to the Wolves performance, it was patchy at best with a number of players below par. Those included Patricio, mostly for his poor kicking, And Dendoncker who had his least effective game since coming into the team. The best part of the game was the opening 10 minutes that they completely dominated. But they were never really in the ascendancy once Bournemouth went ahead and were hanging on at the end after Josh King, fortunately, missed his second penalty. There were some positives from the game though as Moutinho was outstanding and Coady, Boly and Jonny all played well.
At Huddersfield, it was a really disappointing performance with little attacking threat for much of the game. They also allowed the home team to play the game at their own pace by not pressing them effectively, and as at Molineux in November they made the opposition look a lot better than their league position suggests they are. Full credit to the home support who gave fantastic backing to their team considering their hopeless league position. But again there were a few Wolves players below par on the day including Bennett, Neves and Jimenez. There were also surprise substitutions on the day. Wolves were enjoying their best period of the game midway through the second half with the home team pinned back in their area for long periods and the runs of Jota, in particular, causing many problems. It was surprising then that Jota and Jimenez were both taken off as was Moutinho. That took the pressure off Huddersfield and they started to make inroads themselves, leading to a last minute winner. One positive to come from the substitutions was that Gibbs White had his best showing for some time.
Next in line are Cardiff at Molineux on Saturday and they will doubtless be out for a battle as they look to avoid the drop to the Championship. Last season’s game at Molineux was certainly a battle with the visitors conceding foul after foul with an amazing number of off ball incidents to test the refereeing. No surprise if we witness a similar approach this weekend. Barring fatigue I would expect an unchanged Wolves team on Saturday despite below par showings in the recent away games. That line up has a good balance and they wouldn’t have gone 8 games unbeaten if it wasn’t working. If there is to be a change then many would like to see Adama Traore given a chance after some promising showings in recent games, particularly when placed on the right flank.
Just ten games to go now in the season and a win on Saturday will be important to set the team up for a run in where they look to secure a top half finish in the table, and hopefully maintain the push for a 7th place that could lead to European football returning to Molineux next season. There’s an exciting FA Cup draw against Man Utd that’s captured everyone’s imagination also, but for now, the focus has to be on keeping going in the league and crowning a fabulous first season back in the top flight.