Wolves stick to the losing habitBy: DJ | August 18th, 2012
A new league but still the same outcome and Wolves have a bad habit to break and it’s a habit of losing that many relegated sides find difficult to get out of. A win at QPR in McCarthy’s penultimate game in charge is the only win Wolves have managed in 2012 and we have to hope they break that hoodoo and also get their first Molineux success of 2012 during the next week.
All through the summer we have been following the words of new manager Stale Solbakken and watching the pre season games to get a feel for what might be different under his leadership. And the one common theme has been a narrow midfield that makes the team more compact and hard to break down and gives a solid spine down the middle of the park. So surprise surprise when we get to the first league game and he sends out a standard 4-4-2 with two wingers in a set up that could easily have been a McCarthy selection;
Zubar, Johnson, Stearman, Ward
Forde, Henry, Doumbia, Jarvis
Doyle, Ebanks Blake
Leeds were the better team in the first half with McCormack constantly getting in behind Zubar on the left wing. The home team almost went ahead when centre back Austin sent in a header from a corner that Ikeme did well to block on the line and then a real goalmouth scramble ensued with Wolves escaping after a few blocks. And when McCormack got through not for the first time Ikeme did well to block his effort. But Leeds were ahead in the 17th minute when McCormack got through again on the left and his cross was turned in on the far post with a diving header from Becchio.
Wolves were producing some neat passing and Doyle and SEB were linking well together without forming a goal threat. But wingers Forde and Jarvis were not making much impact and there were no real signs of an equaliser throughout the half. Leeds lost midfielder Green through injury who had been doing well on the right with El Hadji Djouf the sub.
There was a tactical change at half time for Wolves with Forde replaced by Slawomir Peszko who looked a livewire on the right side. He got through from a through ball by Henry with the full back slipping and leaving the Pole with a free run into the area. But he was possibly too unselfish and his pull back to Doyle was misplaced. Wolves went on to dominate large parts of the second period with Leeds replacing a striker with a defender to try to hold on. Sigurdasen came on for SEB and looked lively, and Jarvis finally made an impact in the late stages of the game. He got passed his full back and got in a good cross that Peszko headed into the side netting. Then after cutting infield he shot wide and then Peszko had the last chance but blazed over. A final substitution saw Stearman come off to be replaced by Edwards with Henry dropping into defence. But with the help of a number of fouls, injury hold ups and possession football from Diouf the home team held on fairly comfortably.
Ikeme – had a really good game with some confident catches of crosses
Zubar – never really got to grips with McCormack who regularly got in behind him
Stearman – no significant mistakes but so many of his clearances went directly to Leeds players
Johnson – had a steady game
Ward – generally steady defensively but not able to get forward as much as usual
Forde – one or two decent moments but doesnt look ready yet for a regular starting place
Henry – struggled to get much into the game as Wolves were outnumbered in the centre of the park
Doumbia – same as with Henry but there is certainly promise there
Jarvis – didnt cause any problems for the defence until late on
Doyle – made some good runs but rarely looks like scoring
SEB – held the ball up well and many flick ons between him and Doyle came off, but no chances created for him
Peszko – a lively second half but might have made more of a couple of half chances
Sigurdarsen – a decent cameo and look forward to seeing more of him in the coming games
Edwards – came on late and got involved well in the game but blasted over from his only shooting chance
Not a surprising defeat and there is promise in the Sobakken approach with a considered passing game. The three new signings all showed promise and there may be more of a goal threat with them established in the team. But Wolves only managed one shot on target all day and the defense is still looking vulnerable, so plenty of work for the new manager to do. Home games now against Barnsley on Tuesday and Derby on Saturday, and a boost and a win or two is certainly needed from those games.