Wolves remain in top six for nowBy: DJ | October 24th, 2012
Just one point from the two games so far this week away at Huddersfield and at home to Bolton but Wolves remain in the top six and have the chance to consolidate that position when Charlton come to Molineux on Saturday. More than a quarter of the way through the season already and its gone as well if not better than most Wolves fans were expecting back in the summer.
The Solbakken team will not score as many as the team McCarthy managed when they were last in this division, but neither will they concede as many. The big difference in approach between those two teams is the midfield set up. Karl Henry is the common thread but in the McCarthy team he played alongside a more attacking player in the centre of midfield, and then there was usually Kightly and Jarvis playing as orthodox wingers in an attacking looking set up. In Solbakken’s team it’s Doumbia in the centre with Henry and although a different style of player to the skipper, he also plays deep in a holding role that has given the defence additional cover and made the team much more hard to break down. And the wider midfield players, Sako and Peazko, now Pennant, play narrower than orthodox wingers and although they do get into the wide positions when Wolves have the ball, they add to making sure there is less space for the opposition to play in the centre of the park.
As long as Wolves remain promotion contenders then the supporters will back the managers efforts to make Wolves a more solid team. But when he took off both strikers at Molineux last night and replaced one with a defender it showed that bolstering the defensive numbers is not always the best way of holding a lead as the ball just kept coming back at Wolves as they had little to offer in the attacking half. And as an attacking force Wolves have a lot to thank just one player for so far this season.
Bakary Sako made his debut for Wolves in the League Cup tie at Northampton where he came on as a sub and scored an excellent late goal. The following weekend he made his league debut at Cardiff and although Wolves lost he scored their only goal directly from a 30 yard free kick. Then followed his home debut against Leicester when his free kick found the head of Ebanks Blake to put Wolves ahead, and then from his corner Doyle flicked on for Stearman to finish. Next up was a trip to Ipswich where Sako’s free kick was turned into his own net by Smith. When Doumbia added a 2nd it was the first goal Sako had not been involved in since his debut, and he was not involved in either goal in the 2 goal win at Peterborough. Then it was Sheffield Wednesday at Molineux where Sako got the only goal of the game directly from a free kick. SEB scored Wolves only goal in the home defeat to Palace but Sako was at it again with an excellent winner at Blackburn. He then set up SEB’s goal at Huddersfield and both Doyle’s goals against Bolton on Tuesday. So Sako has scored 4 and made 5 of the 13 goals Wolves have scored since his debut.
Wolves will be concerned then if the Malian is selected for his country for the African Cup of Nations that runs from 19th January to 10th February. Doumbia is also eligible for the same country. The draw was made for the first stage of those finals this week and Mali face Ghana, Niger and Congo. They will need to finish in the top two of that group to qualify for the later stages. The players will miss a minimum of two and a maximum of 4 league games during the competition although previous participants have come back in need of a recuperation before returning to league action.
But for now we wait to see if Sako can provide another crucial contribution at home to Charlton at the weekend and whether Kevin Doyle can now start to add more regular goals to his otherwise excellent all round game after his double on Tuesday. Whatever happens the fans will be willing for Wolves to go forward to the final whistle and adopt the old adage of attack being the best form of defence.