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Wigan Athletic 0-1 Wolves

By Tom Bason
April 25 2015

It's the hope that kills you.   Wolves today kept its playoff dreams alive with a 1-0 win at Wigan Athletic thanks to a Benik Afobe goal halfway through the first half.

- Kenny Jackett reintroduced Jack Price into the starting XI after David Edwards played there last week against Ipswich. However, Edwards kept his place in the first team, being asked to play on the right hand side of midfield. While there were rumours pre-match that we would play with a midfield diamond, instead it was a fairly standard 4-4-2, with Benik Afobe floating around in behind Nouha Dicko.

- Wigan, however, played a 3-4-3 formation that was able to nullify most of Wolves strengths. Wigan were able to dominate down the flanks – their 3-4-3 gave them a wingback and a forward on each flank, rather than a fullback and a midfielder. This gave them the attacking impetus, with Wigan’s wingback not needing to track Edwards and Sako on the flank due to the spare man in defence. Wigan’s front three also gave Dominic Iorfa and Scott Golbourne something to think about, with Jermaine Pennant and Bo-Kyung Kim always hovering around. But Kim and Pennant didn't play as orthodox wingers, instead drifting inside to the areas in front of Richard Stearman and Ethan Ebanks-Landell, looking to probe. Pennant and Kim supported the central striker, James McClean well. It was obvious that McClean was looking to target Ebanks-Landell, often drifting to the left to get one on one with the young defender. Ebanks-Landell on occasion got too close, and had a tendency to dive in too early, but always had the pace to recover if necessary, and generally had a decent game.

- The three at the back meant that Wigan could man mark Dicko and Afobe, with the knowledge that James Perch was always available to sweep up. I particularly thought that Harry Maguire, a player that Kenny Jackett actively pursued last summer, had a good game and was generally able to keep Afobe reasonably quiet. Yet, the one time Afobe was able wriggle free he punished Wigan, turning home a Bakary Sako free kick for what was ultimately the winning goal. But from open play, both Afobe and Dicko were watched tightly, and weren't able to hold on to the ball. Wigan’s three man front line and four midfielders made it difficult for Wolves to really get hold of the ball, starving Dicko and Afobe of service but when the ball did reach them, any danger was inevitably snuffed out.

- Wolves scored with pretty much its first attack of the match, and it is difficult to remember too many opportunities to create anything in the first half as Wigan controlled much of the match, albeit without every really forcing the returning Tomasz Kuszczak into a save. But the game opened up on 56 minutes as Marc-Antoine Fortuné was introduced for Dutch midfielder Willem Kvist. Wigan switched to a back four, as Fortuné went upfront, McClean moved to the wing, Kim was reassigned as an attacking midfielder and James Perch became a midfielder. It's not a coincidence that while this gave Wigan an extra man going forward, it left them 2v2 at the back with Dicko and Afobe. Almost immediately Afobe broke free one on one with Scott Carson, being denied only due to him controlling the ball with his arm. As Wigan pushed further and further forward, desperate for an equaliser, we were happy to leave Dicko and Afobe on the halfway line, being marshalled by just two defenders. We had opportunities to increase the lead, and certainly looked more like than scoring towards the end than Wigan did – Edwards had a header from a Sako corner well saved by Carson, Kevin McDonald hit a weak effort straight at the goalkeeper, before sending Dicko one on one with the goalkeeper in the inside left channel, but Carson stuck out a boot to tackle the striker as he tried to round the goalkeeper.

- With us failing to get that second goal, Jackett started to try to shut up shop. On came Kortney Hause and Kevin Doyle for Dicko and Sako, with Golbourne pushing forward into midfield as Hause slotted in at left back. This gave us a back four of Iorfa (age 19), Ebanks-Landell (22), Stearman (27) and Hause (19), with an average age of 21.75. I can't think of many younger back fours, in football never mind for Wolves. Any takers? At the other end of the experience spectrum, Doyle had a chance to secure the points, beating Carson with a header that was cleared before Edwards was able to tap the ball in. Wigan attacked at the end without really ever having a chance. I was a little surprised that with Kuszczak in goal, they didn't go more direct as he always looking liable to drop something.

- Finally, pre match there was a minute silence for the 30th anniversary of the Bradford fire disaster. This was spoiled by numerous Wolves fans still in the concourse below the stand singing, and walking out into the ground chanting. They were, of course, told in no uncertain terms to shut up, but the issue was that they didn't know there was a minute silence happening. Given that I'm certain clubs have a tannoy system underneath the stands and for outside the ground, if a minute’s silence is happening, it should be announced to everyone in and around the ground, not just to those in their seats.

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Wigan Athletic 0-1 Wolves
Discussion started by Wolves , 25/04/2015 20:21
25/04/2015 20:21
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2015:05:02:17:47:00 by toomb.

25/04/2015 23:31
that pretty much summed it up tom, but its all to little to late for me, great opportunity missed this season, in the last 3 games we have been nothing short of rubbish, again lack of investment cost us

Cheshire wolf
26/04/2015 22:21
A very objective report Tom, and pretty much how it sounded on the Wolves Player commentary.

Regarding the noise made by fans during the one minutes silence, the same thing happened at the start of the man City vs Villa game, again seemingly involving people who were not aware of it taking place.

28/04/2015 09:15
Cheshire wolf
A very objective report Tom, and pretty much how it sounded on the Wolves Player commentary.
Regarding the noise made by fans during the one minutes silence, the same thing happened at the start of the man City vs Villa game, again seemingly involving people who were not aware of it taking place.

It's frustrating. It was mentioned a Fans Parliament after Sir Jack's minute silence, and Wolves said in future it would be announced over tannoy outside the ground as well, so everyone was aware

toomb's twitter

28/04/2015 12:13
Problem is the tannoy system inside molineux often sounds like an eastern Romanian 1940s broadcasting terminus which was actually mentioned I believe in the last but one parliament as an issue that needed to be fixed. The clubs response was it had to "fund these things by itself".. in other words Morgan is so tight he wont allow fans to listen in comfort to scores/ health and safety etc on match day so unless lip readers were watching Mr Shouty man giving out warnings in person or had binoculars in the stands watching his lips move with a ventriloquist relative close by to translate it's no wonder many fans were unaware of it.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2015:04:28:12:17:02 by tumbleweedwolf.

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