By Tom Bason
April 23 2016
The least surprising result of the day was confirmed as Wolves drew 0-0 with Rotherham, for the fourth successive Molineux goalless stalemate.
- I've missed the last few games as I was away in China, and to be honest, had very little interest in staying up through the night to follow the games. So I'm writing this having not seen a match for a few weeks, and I might write some things in here that are new to me, but everyone else has been saying for weeks.
- first of all, it looked like Kenny Jackett actually tried to do some interesting things with the defence. Dominic Iorfa kept his place at centre back, with Danny Batth restored alongside him. It looked to me a little bit like Jackett had got out the DVDs of Barcelona circa 2009, and thought he'd have a go at that. Both fullbacks had licence to push forward, with Sylvain Deslandes particularly looking to attack in all situations. As the fullbacks pushed forward, Conor Coady dropped back in between Iorfa and Batth to give that extra player at the back and try to ensure that the defence isn't out numbered when possession is lost and the attack inevitably breaks down.
- now, it may have escaped your notice, but Wolves are not Barcelona, and as such there were a number of issues. Firstly, Coady was the player asked to drop in. As a Scouse midfielder, the comparisons to Steven Gerrard are inevitable, and there are definite similarities. Unfortunately, the Gerrard qualities that Coady has most been able to replicate are his worst ones; the lack of tactical nous, the inability to play with the head rather than the heart, and the belief that the Hollywood ball should be played at every opportunity. In essence, the complete opposite of the best player in the world to play that role, Sergio Busquets. Coady kept dropping back between the centre backs to take the ball, before launching a long pass that almost certainly did not reach the intended recipient. It was noticeable though, that on a few occasions Coady dropping in gave Batth and Iorfa the cover the bring the ball out of defence. I'm a big fan of seeing defenders doing this, as it can disrupt opposition midfielders who then suddenly have an extra body to deal with that they were not expecting.
- The second issue was when we lost the ball with, with Deslandes and Matt Doherty up the pitch. When Barcelona played this, they would spread Busquets, Carlos Puyol, Gerard Piqué across the width of the pitch. But you could throw a blanket over Iorfa, Coady and Batth, meaning that there was acres of space for Rotherham's wide men in behind our fullbacks. Early on, it looked like Rotherham would get some joy from this, with George Saville perhaps fortunate not to earn a yellow card early on desperately covering as the referee instead deemed the Rotherham player had dived. I don't think that this was particularly helped by the fact it was Iorfa who played at the right sided centre back, and Batth was on the left for the first time I can remember (if you think that this doesn't matter, ask Roy Hodgson). Batth, unsurprisingly was reluctant to drift over to the left flank, and would have been completely out of his comfort zone.
- We played three men in central midfield, with Coady the deepest and George Saville and David Edwards in front of them. I'm not sure I can remember a more depressing midfield trio. I actually like Saville, and am a fan of getting left footers into the team to open the pitch up, but here we have a midfield that is selected on their physical abilities, and not their abilities to pass a football. Saville appears to have an ability to get onto the end of things in the penalty area, but I'm not really sure what the others are ever going to contribute in the final third (if you take out Edwards' season in League 1, by my record he has 21 goals and 10 assists in 203 games for club). I kept looking over at the bench , and seeing Kevin McDonald and Jack Price, two players who are happiest with the ball and know how to keep it.
- Further forward, James Henry played on the left, with Bright Enobakhare on the right. With Deslandes getting forward so often, the onus was not on Henry to play on the left, but instead come inside and look to be the creative influence behind Joe Mason. On the other flank, with Matt Doherty not quite so attacking as Deslandes, Enobakhare spent a lot more time out towards the touchline. For most of the game, I couldn't help but wish that Henry and Enobakhare would switch roles. Enobakhare has very little experience playing on the right wing, and would have been far more at home with the more free role in the middle afforded to Henry. Conversely, Henry would have been fine on the right wing. I don't understand why there was no thought in swapping them.
- I think that given how much I've discussed the players, the amount of action that happened should be obvious. We had a couple of good chances; Edwards scuffed a chance wide that he should have left for Saville, and Batth's header from a Henry corner was flicked onwards onto the bar by Joe Mason. Mason had a couple more chances in the second half, one in particular he should have better with, but the match as a whole was poor. One bright spark was the performance of Jed Wallace when he came on. He lost the ball poorly at times, but for me looked bright and was always looking to do something. He was one of the few players involved today who I would be happy to be around the first team squad next season.
- this is my last report of the season, I am in South Africa for the final match. And it might well be my final ever report. I don't know whether it's just a sense of apathy towards to the team in general, but it's becoming more of an effort to write these. Maybe I'll return in August with a renewed sense of vigour, but I'm not going to hold my breath. If this isn't final one, then thanks for reading, and I hope you've enjoyed the reports over the last few years
Quote:an angry wolf
You were right what you said on the other thread pete about the club going down the pan. We may not have been liquidated but for many like AT, me and others the passion has gone possibly never coming back.