Downbeat Wolves meet upbeat LionsBy: DJ | November 26th, 2012
Wolves meet Millwall at Molineux on Tuesday evening and in the Championship current form tables, covering the last 8 games, that represents a clash between the team bottom and the team top. Wolves have secured just three points from their last 8 games while Millwall have got 18. And that run of games has seen the two clubs virtually swap places in the league with Millwall now in a play off position whereas Wolves have slipped to a lowly 17th.
The South London team had quite a poor start to the season losing 5 of their first 7 games, but they are now unbeaten in 11 games and have won 5 of the last 6. They have conceded only 2 goals in those last 6 games which included a 4-1 success away at a Forest team that deservedly won at Molineux at the weekend. Wolves have had FA and League cup successes against the Lions at Molineux in recent years but league matches have been even between the teams with the last 12 games producing 4 wins for Wolves, 4 for Millwall and 4 draws. Wolves will be dreading Andy Keogh scoring on Tuesday following on from former players Mark Davies and Adlene Guedioura finding the net for their new teams at Molineux this season.
As for Wolves it’s a case of where to now? There is a danger that more players could miss Tuesday’s game through injury with Doumbia looking in need of a rest and Pennant having limped out of the game on Saturday. Most alarmingly Sako will also be subject to a late fitness test. All that added to Henry serving the last game of his suspension and the likes of Peszko, Boukari and O’Hara still being out injured. So there are excuses for Wolves but supporters are starting to get divided into two groups on the back of the poor run of results.
There are those that believe Solbakken does not have the players to adopt the style he wants to play. That the club will be better off in the long term and they are prepared to be patient while the revolution evolves. And that after the January transfer window when more players of his choice have been brought in we will see a marked improvement that will result in further steps forward at each transfer window thereafter when the rest of the McCarthy deadwood is cleared out. We will then see the benefits of a manager that proved his ability by dominating Danish football with Copenhagen and took them to the latter stages of the Champions League gaining successes over Man Utd and Barcelona along the way.
After the recent poor run there are those however with a growing concern that it could all go pear shaped, and has started to already. That Solbakken talks a good game, but that is not replicated on the field. He has a group of players that won this division when they were last in it, plus some players added in the Premier League years, plus around £4m of his own signings plus loans from the top flight French league. And he is not getting the best from what is available. Also that the style is far from a modern passing game but is defensive and ponderous and unlikely to succeed. Furthermore that the time Solbakken spent at Koln last year which ended in relegation is proving to be more of a guide to what can be expected than the successful years in Copenhagen.
The style of football is probably one of the main concerns at the moment. Wolves are certainly not an entertaining team to watch and when the results also aren’t coming there is little to be positive about. The defense is looking vulnerable and conceding twice every game despite the fact that the two central midfield players are playing defensively to protect them. That added to the wide players adopting a narrow position means there are rarely players in space when they do look to attack and as a consequence there is a paucity of creativity for the strikers to feed off. And if Sako had not scored or created two thirds of the goals scored then being one of the lowest scoring teams in the division would stand out even more.
It would certainly be helpful if results improved over the next month so that the club has the confidence to allocate funds in the January transfer window. If Wolves are close to the wrong end of the table at Christmas that may not be a foregone conclusion, and more and more people will have edged towards the negative side of the fence.
Three points on Tuesday and a lot of the faith would be restored and maybe we will look back in the spring at the autumn period being the low point of a promising first season for the new manager. But Solbakken will know as well as anyone that unless results improve soon the pressure from the media and fans will only grow and make his job more difficult in the months ahead.