Stoke, Swansea & Stourbridge – A Week Of Wolves

Paul Lambert got appointed as Stoke manager yesterday and I would feel sorry for Stoke fans but I don’t like them so it is going to be amusing to watch them suffer at the hands of him. The only bit of advice I can give to any Clayhead reading this is that it does get better no matter how dark it will seem at times under Lambert. I’d expect Shaqiri to be either sold or consigned to the bench and some good old cloggers to be bought in the transfer window. Ben Marshall is doing nothing at our club Paul if you fancy him? I’ll end my little bit about Lambert by saying he is the worst manager at Wolves in the last twenty years with the exception of Dean Saunders who I don’t think will ever be beaten in the shithousery department and how he has got another job, let alone in the Premier League is a mystery to me.

Stalemate in Yorkshire

The game against Barnsley was one of the most frustrating games in a while because we just couldn’t score, that’s the short version. The longer version is as follows: Barnsley held us to a draw as they got a valuable point as they look to stay in the Championship; they defended admirably but they offered very little going forward with their manager happy to settle for a point and judging by the response at the end of the ninety minutes, so were their supporters. How shit must that be? Being happy with a draw at home where you’ve barely got out of your own half? If/when we get promoted, fuck it, when we get promoted, if we play like that against anyone and get a point at home, I can assure you, I’ll be saying what a load of bollocks it was.

The first half was somewhat of a snoozefest as we kept the ball and waited for any gaps in the Barnsley back line, we found a gap once and Costa put it into the top corner, however, he was judged to be offside and it did seem like the officials got that one right. In the second half, we were more dangerous and we scored again, but once more, the linesman judged it to be offside, this one was a little more dubious. According to whoscored.com, they’ve got it as Costa being offside in the build-up to the goal which is nigh on impossible considering he ran from behind their defenders, but never mind, we go again. In all honesty, we wouldn’t be having this conversation if Jota didn’t miss an open goal from six yards out, but he did and we are, live with it.

Stats don’t mean everything but, just to give my point some substance, we made over 150 more passes than them, had over 160 more touches of the ball than them and if you look at the heat map from the game, Barnsley have only some very, very light colouring in our penalty area. Surprisingly, Douglas had the most touches of the ball on our team which wasn’t all to do with set pieces but it does a show a clear pattern to the side we were trying to go down, which is the opposite to what we normally do. Maybe that was the difference. Maybe.

Reserve Football

I want to stress that I’m not saying we should have B teams in the footballing pyramid, nothing of the sort. What I am saying is that we need to bring back good old reserve football. Keep the under 23 league for what it is but run a reserve league alongside it because then it will be a proper competitive game, regionalise it, do what you want with it, but just bring it back, please. Reason I bring this up is because we lost in the Birmingham Senior Cup last night to Stourbridge, which isn’t the be all and end all of my life, but when I think that our lads are ‘full-time footballers’ and theirs are probably up at 530am to do a day job, then come home, have some scran and put the kit on to play. Why are we losing?

I understand that Stourbridge’s pitch is going to be nothing like the carpet turfs they are used to playing on but for fuck sake, some of the lads who started for us and not long been recalled from loan spells at Football League clubs, so how on earth can’t they do it against Stourbridge, who are two leagues below the Conference or whatever it is called nowadays. So, what I propose is the reintroduction of a reserve league which will mean that the kids will have more opportunities to play in ‘proper games’ and it will mean that clubs won’t have to loan out so many players as there will be two teams. Not a perfect solution, but it’s a damn sight better than losing to Stourbridge in the cup.

Up for the Cup?

A couple of exclusions from that game against Stourbridge last night gives you the indication that the likes of Goncalves will be involved against Swansea, presumably on the bench again. One player who I’m not sure can play is Jordan Graham as he wasn’t with us for the initial fixture but is now back with us after we ended his torrid loan spell at Fulham early. Hopefully, he can as it will mean Doherty can have a rest as one would guess Nuno would play him at RWB. No sign of the elusive Ofosu-Ayeh. No sign at all. The last word was Nuno saying he’s still not fit.

If I was the manager (one day) I’d be playing my first team in this, get the win and then set up a fourth-round tie against Notts County. I’d love to send a message to the Premier League by walloping them three or four nil which I do think we could do with the likes of Neves and Jota playing; I mean we beat Southampton with our reserves, imagine what we could do with our first team. I’d probably also sacrifice our league position for a cup win which would mean European football next season, in fact, there’s no probably about it, I definitely would. Not too sure how popular that would be when we lost in the final on penalties.

Swansea tomorrow and Forest on Saturday, two games we should win, whether we will or not remains to be seen. The Swansea game will suit us because it will actually be a football match which will be good for all to see, the Forest game, on the other hand, will be a completely different kettle of fish. Karanka will set his side up not to lose which we seem to be struggling with a little bit recently, but I’m sure Nuno will have it all under control as we carry on with the demolition of the Championship. All aboard the steamrollers!

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