Another game, another three points on Saturday for us as we continue our assault on Reading’s Championship record and as we hit the halfway mark we are on track for 108 points if we match what we have achieved in the first half of the season. That beats their record by two points, but I think we should be aiming for one better than that and I have a firm belief that Nuno will be going for what I want. If we win every game from now until the end of the season, we will hit 123 points and with the way Nuno sets us up to focus on one game at a time, there’s no reason why we can’t reach those dizzy heights.
Reflection on finally beating Mick
Nuno 1-0 Mick. We had struggled to beat Mick since we had got rid of him after the embarrassing loss in the Black Country Derby; it was almost as if Mick had a personal vendetta against us as if there was some bad blood after his sacking, which, all in all, there wasn’t. Mick set up not to lose against us which was exactly what Sunderland did and it worked for Chris Coleman’s side, but, the difference between the two is that McCarthy’s side weren’t compact or well drilled enough to halt us. One thing that is rather difficult to fathom is that Ipswich did have the second best-attacking record before they visited Molineux, yet their defensive record is the worst in the top half of the Championship, so why would you set up not to lose and just not go for it? On reflection, it’s easy to see why Ipswich’s support is dwindling as they only brought 600 on Saturday and even if you take into consideration that it was the last Saturday before Christmas, by Ipswich’s standard, it is piss poor.
The game itself was far from exhilarating as is becoming a bit of a pattern, nevertheless, every game can be like that if we carry on winning. The first half pretty much went over my head as it was basically a training game and we would keep the ball; pass, move, pass, move, waiting for a gap to appear in the Ipswich back line. Disaster almost struck within the first ten minutes as Jota got taken to the floor and even though he hasn’t scored in a few games, he is still by and far our biggest attacking asset so would have been a major loss, but the young Portuguese starlet got back up and was giving as good as he got which meant I could finally breathe again.
Conor Coady decided to test Ruddy’s reaction speed as he played a goal kick out to him, Coady decided to play it back to him with some extra zest and it very nearly ended up putting Ipswich 1-0 up, luckily Ruddy remembered how to play with his feet as he cleaned up the mess. The goal was a rare moment of brilliance in the opening period as Jota played the ball across the pitch to Cavaleiro who brought the ball inside and found the bottom corner to give us the familiar 1-0 scoreline. That came not too long before the interval which meant that as we went into the break, all we had to do was not concede in the second half and we would make it eight wins in nine.
Second half was much the same as the first half, we kept the ball and bided our time as we waited for an opportunity to pounce and I’ll be honest, not many opportunities did come, but we didn’t need them as we were already in the lead and it was down to Ipswich to try and break us, not the other way round. It was a half of pure control as we had 63% of the ball, and restricted Ipswich to only one shot on target which Ruddy could have saved with his eyes closed. In terms of us going forward, there were two moments which could have extended our lead, if we were on point; the first one came to substitute Helder Costa who was played in by Ruben Neves but he mistimed his shot which was a shame because if it had gone in, it would have been a work of art. The last opportunity came to Romain Saiss who also defeated the offside trap but his header went past the post when he really should have done better.
That was that another 1-0 victory and another step closer to the Premier League.
On the whole, our back three is ace and that is really evidenced by the fact that we have kept the most clean sheets in the division and have let in the least amount of goals, but I just want to give a special mention to Willy Boly who is scarily good. He is, quite literally, head and shoulders above everyone on the pitch and he makes it look so easy; I’ve not seen him panic once and his distribution is nearly always spot on. Since he has come back from injury, it’s not a coincidence that we haven’t lost and in the last nine games, we have only conceded twice, which again, coincides with him being in the team.
Later on today we travel to the New Den to face a Millwall side who have only lost three times at home so far this campaign and they have ex-Wolves boys George Saville and Jed Wallace in their midfield who will undoubtedly have a point to prove. Today marks the first time we play a team for the second time this season and first time out against Millwall we came away with a 1-0 victory courtesy of an early goal from Diogo Jota; the game was pretty much put to bed when Millwall had a man sent off with just under half an hour left.
This will prove to be a difficult game as Millwall are strong at home, but you have to feel that if we get into our rhythm and get an early goal, it could be three or four. In their last two games at the New Den, they’ve faced arguably ‘better’ teams in Middlesbrough and Sheffield United, yet they came away with six points and Nuno will be conscious not to make the same mistakes that the now departed Gary Monk and United boss Chris Wilder made. On both occasions, Millwall had less than 40% possession which suggests that they are operating on the counter-attack so it will be interesting to see how the game plays out because we tend to play on the counter as well.
Two games left
I said in my write up before the Ipswich game that if we won our next three games then I would be convinced we are going up, so now we have two games left and that if we both it will see us at the twenty-five game mark with sixty points and if we somehow manage to balls it up from there then I will give up on life itself, I think.
All things considered, if I was a betting man, and luckily I am, I’d be backing Wolves to win and both teams not to score @ 2/1.