ESPN Soccernet - Correspondents - wolves
soccernet blog
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Posted by Daniel Pountney on 05/16/2011

It's time to invest in some brown trousers because it has all come down to one game to save our status in the top flight of English football. At Molineux next weekend we will witness the most important 90 minutes in the club’s recent history.

There are all sorts of connotations with other clubs’ results on the final day of the season but we are one point clear of the relegation zone after the win at Sunderland so what we must do is clear. Win the match and Wolves will be a Premier League outfit again next season.

So we’re in pole position having won our last two games and the other teams in the relegation mix all have difficult fixtures. Blackpool go to Manchester United, Wigan go to Stoke and Birmingham travel to Tottenham. They could all lose and that is what the form book points to.

However, when you consider that United could field a weakened team having won the league and with the Champions League final looming, and that Stoke have just lost a cup final and are not really playing for anything significant in the league any more, it suddenly looks a little harder to call.

Then there’s our game to consider. Most of us thought Blackburn would be safe by now but they are still scrapping for survival. If they lose to us next weekend and Birmingham and Blackpool win, they’ll be down. So what once looked like a comfortable fixture now looks a lot harder. So it will be nervous but we’re still in the driving seat, and in fine form.

Steven Fletcher was magnificent again on Saturday. He has found his best form at just the right time. The whole team played well in fact with Jody Craddock standing out in defence while we were under the cosh in the first half.

My nails were getting shorter and shorter for those first 45 minutes and at half time, it looked bleak. Sunderland had looked the better side, we were drawing 1-1 and Blackpool were winning. Consider how bad it would have been this morning if we hadn’t taken over the game in the second half. We would be second bottom with only relegated West Ham below us.

So what Mick McCarthy said and how he changed the tactics was crucial in that half time break. The first thing he did was to get the defence to push out further.

Anyone within a 10-mile radius of Molineux would have heard him bellowing the instruction out to the defenders in the first half but it was only in the second 45 minutes that they seemed to grasp it fully. He must have drummed that in to them in the interval and it worked with the threat of the pacy Sesegnon reduced in the second spell.

He also brought on Jarvis who made the difference going forward. He crossed for Fletcher’s goal and we were on our way to a vital three points. It’s this kind of decisiveness that we’ll need against Blackburn, that and another hard-working and intelligent game from the players, and some rousing support from the fans.

If we get that then this tortuous season will be rescued and we can look forward to coming back stronger next season.


Follow ESPNsoccernet's Football Correspondents on Twitter

Comments

Posted by Terry F. on 05/16/2011

Mick has a good, and bad, habit of relying on form. I was shocked that Jarvis was left off the starting 11, but his quick insertion made me feel somewhat better. His play led to what ended up being the deciding goal. Sticking with Mancienne also proved a poor choice as his weak defending gifted Sunderland their goal and he almost gave them another goal. We need to go back to Berra or Stearman for the final. We need a strong back four playing with no mistakes. (Adding Berra or Stearman there doesn't automatically make for that!). I would choose Berra, but he simply needs to play smart and not take stupid fouls. Perhaps he's unable to?
It think the key is the team play. Our best 11 have not exactly gelled. Fletcher plays better when he's the featured striker with Hunt and Ward as support, but Doyle's a better player with Jarvis feeding the crosses. I'd go: Foley, Craddock. Berra, Elokobi, Jarvis, O'Hara, Henry, Guediola, Doyle and Fletcher.
Hunt first off the bench!
Go Wolves!!!!

Posted by Johnny Thunder on 05/16/2011

I'm gutted that I can't watch the game but I'll be watching Blackpool for sure. I'd think the networks would want to carry games like Wolves v Blackburn over games between teams safe from relegation. This is the most exciting final day of the season I've enjoyed since I've been a fan of BPL. I hope to see both Jarvis and Doyle starting this weekend.
GO WOLVES!

Posted by Bemused Wolf on 05/16/2011

Terry F. Leave out Hunt ? Bring back the serial shirt puller in defence ? For a change I'm glad its Mick picking the team on Sunday.

Posted by Giovanni on 05/16/2011

Only one consideration: we have to mantain the same concentration against Blackburn, without making mistakes in defence (i know it's early to say it, but we need more quality in that zone: Craddock is not eternal and Mancienne is now the mere shadow of the talent-boy we knew in Championship).
In short, the other results, ask us to win against Blackburn, taking an eye on the other matches (so, only Fletcher with Doyle ready to go in).
Hi, ho and good night.

Posted by RoversFan on 05/16/2011

What a game this will be. I support Rovers, but I like Wolves a lot and sincerely hope they stay up. While my club's safety is my first priority, I would hate for Rovers to be the team to send Wolves down, if that is the result. Best of luck to you, and I'll be crossing my fingers that we both survive!

Posted by Terry F. on 05/17/2011

I love the comment re: Berra, "serial shirt puller". He is! For the talent I feel he has, I did comment on his stupid play. He has more talent, though, and really, Mancienne has conceded two bad goals in the past three games. We don't need that in this important final contest!
The problem with Hunt is that Jarvis plays best on the left wing. That's why I put him on the bench. You can bring him in fresh as a sub, and move Matt to the right then. Simply put, Jarvis is better than Hunt.

Posted by John on 05/18/2011

I would start Jarvis and leave Mancienne out, its a tough call not to start Doyle, however Fletcher & Ward have been fantastic, its great to have quality like Hunt & Doyle on the bench & ready to go. Just can't wait for Sunday, so many possibilities.

Posted by Steve Corbett on 05/18/2011

I live in Sydney Australia and have followed Wolves for years and read every match report and watch on Pay TV when they show Wolves. I download matches featuring them when I find a link. It will be gut wrenching stuff on the weekend. Yes we are in 'pole position' but I agree with the comments of Daniel above. Brett Emerton plays for Blackburn. He is a Socceroo. I will be awfully annoyed if he scores to send Wolves down! Matt Jarvis must start and what a comfort it is to have Jody Craddock back in the defence. I have all fingers and toes crossed but if Wolves play to their best potential safety ia assured. They must be positive, go forward, put balls into the danger area and Fletcher and Doyle will do the rest. Is it a full moon on Saturday night before the game? Ha

  Post your comment
Name:
Email Address:
Comments:
characters left