Throw followed throw followed throw followed….
A dire performance by most, in a game we didn’t necessarily need the points from, Pulis set his stall out for a 0-0 with the selection of Whitehead on the right and two target men up front, the pain started from the teams being announced and I’m still feeling it now as we dissect the many talking points from the closest game we have to a derby.
Maybe Pulis thought this was a meaningful derby, that Wolves would be baying for blood to beat their neighbours from across the way, the truth is, they are more or less safe, we had nothing to play for and they have scored an alarmingly low number of goals at home. With our own safety ensured for a third term in the top flight, it was therefore even more disappointing to see the team selection when most fans were keen for a bit of experimentation, when else can you do it?
The team in front of the back 5 were awful with a couple being worse than most, we really, really, really missed Fuller, we seem to be completely toothless without the talismanic Jamaican. As much as it pains me, I’ll go back into that dark place I’ve tried to put the game to recount my thoughts on the individuals concerned..
Manager Rating – 3 – I was really disappointed with Pulis for this one, the selection said it all, Lawrence dropped after scoring a goal that was so important to him, Kitson paired with Mama and Whitehead ‘accommodated’ on the right. Now was the time to try something new, now was the time to get Tunny on the pitch and find him a place, the Turk again sat on the bench watching the woeful Mama in front of him, if it’s any consolation Tunny, we felt the same. The substitution of Kitson (instead of Mama) was met with howls of derision from the Stoke faithful and the subsequent talking up of Mama’s game incredibly transparent as a slight to Mama’s knockers, Tony being Tony will defend the indefendable to justify his decisions and his latest defence of Mama is another such pained example of this. Sidibe’s injury and his subsequent replacement by a midfielder made this even more of a poor decision.
Sorensen – 7.5 – Tommy had one hell of a quiet match, much like last week so his main challenges of the afternoon were staying awake and alert and he had to be as a late free kick was pushed out in front of him to later claim. A third clean sheet in a row is testament to the great Dane and the defence in front of him – well done to them all.
Huth – 8.5 – Man of the Match – Robbie had a great game and from the start marshalled Wolves’ most potent threat in Jarvis up and down the left side. He still likes to get handsy but is very, very clever in the way he positions himself throughout – a contender for Player of the Season.
Faye – 8 – Could have had a hat trick, another 90 mins for the big man, it would have been great for him to have buried one of those chances. I just hope he stays fit for the remainder of the season, that said though, he would be the one player I would drop to get Shawcross back into the team with the England Defender eager to stake his claim for a seat on the plane to South Africa.
Higginbotham – 8 – I could just copy and paste the last few reports on Danny, another good solid performance from Higgy in the middle. Consistency and reliability personified.
Collins – 8 – Growing in stature with every game, it’s really going to be interesting to see who gets dropped to accommodate Shawcross’ return. Found wanting on at least one occasion but made some good tackles and treated us to a cracking nutmeg, not bad for a centre back come full back.
Here comes the pain…..
Whitehead – 6 – Ineffective would be kind…Deano suffers out wide and this was no exception, could have easily had a penalty in the first 30 seconds, he was wasted out on the right and very rarely did we attack down that side.
Whelan – 5 – One of Glenn’s worse games of late, blind passes, stepping on the ball, giving it away, caught in possession - two long range shots bumped him up to a 5…time for Deano to come back into the middle.
Delap – 6.5 – I imagine his arms were hurting more than his legs at the end. Broke up play well and put in a couple of decent balls from wide positions.
Etherington – 6.5 – Matty never really got going, although a couple of his deliveries looked dangerous, no-one got on the end of them. With the alarmingly immobile front line and lack of options across the middle there was too much pressure on the left winger.
Kitson – 6.5 – I thought Kitson did ok before he once again tired and really think it should be him in the deep striker role. Was eager and willing in his duties but like anyone up front, struggled with the lack of service. I think he needs a full pre-season and more of a run to judge him properly. I think he DOES have a future and as long as he stays interested could be the Mama replacement as I guess efforts to replace him elsewhere will prove as futile as the last 3 windows’ attempts.
Sidibe – 4 – Not good enough. We all know Mama isn’t a goal scorer, I can even forgive him the miss but his all over effort, the one thing he DOES (or did) bring to the table just doesn’t seem to be there. We used to see this athletic, bounding giant of energy winning every header week in week out and the truth is, he isn’t there anymore – Craddock et al had him in their pockets all day long and if he isn’t doing the basics of helping the team like he used to, what is he doing on the pitch? He should have been the one substituted and Pulis got that one wrong, a decision made even worse by him going off injured 2 mins later and Pulis replacing him with a midfielder. I have stuck up for Mama before because of that work and that industry but I think today was the straw that broke the camel’s back for a lot of fans and I fear that the dissenting voices will get louder and louder and that’s not fair on the player himself and there’s only one person who can save him that inevitable humiliation.
Tuncay – 5 - Should have been brought on for Sidibe not Kitson. Struggled once he was isolated by the midfielder for striker substitution, he barely touched the ball, and when he did was brushed off it all to easily or passing into space. Tunny was probably the unluckiest one from that particular decision..
Lawrence – 6 – Came on for Sidibe and joined the midfield ranks of mediocrity in trying to supply the lone Turk up front