It was looking like doom and gloom for Wolves when Daniel Sturridge took advantage of Ronald Zubar’s errant backpass on February the 2nd to hand Bolton 3 points that left Wolves bottom of the Premier League.
Ending Manchester United’s Unbeaten Run
That results was followed up with the first defeat of Manchester United’s Premier League season, meaning the home fans at Molineux this season have seen their side beat both Manchester sides and Chelsea – meaning Arsenal are the only top four side not to have fallen victim to Mick McCarthy’s side in the West Midlands this season.
This weekend, Matty Jarvis’ goal earned a valuable 3 points for Wolves that moved them up to 18th in the league at the expense of Birmingham City, and now only 1 point below Aston Villa. That goal and Jarvis’ performances this season have earned in his first England call up ahead of England’s upcoming games with Wales and Ghana. Manager Mick McCarthy will be hoping the international break has not come at a bad time for his side.
It is Mick McCarthy who will be deserving of praise should he lead his side to safety for the second consecutive season in the Premier League. The former Republic of Ireland and Sunderland manager has put together a hard working side that warranted their victories over top four sides this season.
An honest manager who gives a good pre and post-match interview, McCarthy has the trust of his team, something that cannot be said of his combatant in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Aston Villa. Gerard Houllier has fallen out with a number of his squad members and the fans were vocal about their disappointment of his management skills, or seemingly lack of.
Wolves are only 3 points short of 12th placed Fulham whom they host towards the end of April. 12th place won’t be on Mick McCarthy and his players minds right now, but rather any place in the top 17 will do.
Wolves have a favourable run in, or at least one that sees them in control of their own destiny this season. After a trip to Newcastle on April 2nd after the international break, they host Everton and Fulham in back-to-back Premier League games. There are trips to Stoke City, Birmingham City and Sunderland left on the list, before hosting West Brom and finishing the season with a home game against Blackburn Rovers. A lot of “6 pointers” as the media will describe.
Lack of Goals
Without having a regular goalscorer up front in any of their Premier League seasons, even going back to the disappointing 2003/04 season with Henri Camara, Kenny Miller and co, Wolves are battling for their results. This season, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake leads the way with 6 goals, while both Kevin Doyle and Steven Fletcher have 5 each.
Defensively, Mick McCarthy made the decision to drop Marcus Hahnemann in goal after the American had failed to keep a clean sheet in 14 appearances. His replacement, Wayne Hennessey has kept 5 clean sheets in 16 games. The young Welshman has looked solid in goal, as he did when he was their starter in the Championship. This without the experience and leadership of Jody Craddock who has missed most of the season through injury.
Inspirational January Signings
Inspired January signings Jamie O’Hara and Adam Hammill may not have brought as much attention as those signed by West Ham before transfer deadline day, but they’ve been a big part of the change in fortunes of the inaugural UEFA Cup runners up…