Five talking points from Sheff Wed 0 Wolves 0

Wolves produced an excellent performance to claim a point at high-flying Sheffield Wednesday.

They spurned several chances at Hillsborough and saw an obvious penalty claim turned down.

It kept up Wolves' good recent away record as they started 2017 on a positive note.

But what did we learn from this Yorkshire encounter? Wolves correspondent Tim Spiers picks out five talking points from an entertaining stalemate.

Positive point

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Nottingham Forest v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Richard Stearman's form has been a positive point for Wolves.

Wolves began 2017 as they began 2016 - travelling to the home of a promotion favourite, keeping a surprise clean sheet and earning a positive result.

Kenny Jackett's Wolves went to Brighton on New Year's Day last year and won 1-0. But that performance - a proper backs-to-the-wall smash-and-grab job where Jackett recognised Wolves' limitations and put 10 men behind the ball - was very different to this.

Wolves went toe to toe with Wednesday and played better football than them. If this was a boxing match they'd have won on points.

There were positives all over the pitch. The back four were excellent, in particular Richard Stearman.

Jack Price was the standout midfielder of both teams, Connor Ronan's debut was deeply impressive, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson looked back to his old self and Joe Mason was a constant threat.

Just a shame he can't score from three yards, eh? Yes, Mason provided what will surely be Wolves' miss of the year despite it only being January 2.

But overall he got in more shooting positions than Nouha Dicko has in his last two or three appearances. And he, as at the start of the season, combined nicely with Bodvarsson.

Wolves, of course, should have had a penalty as well. It was a decision of quite remarkable incompetence from referee Simon Hooper. The ref told Paul Lambert that Keiren Westwood played the ball...but he was yards away from touching it. A staggering error, one sadly typical of the declining standards of referees in the Championship.

That shouldn't detract, though, from the fact Wolves should have won this game, with or without the 'penalty'.

Improvement

Wolves sheffield
Wolves were in charge against Wednesday and that's an improvement from the previous fixture.

When Wolves played Sheffield Wednesday in late November for Lambert's first home game in charge they were comfortably beaten 2-0.

Barry Bannan and Fernando Forestieri ran the show for the Owls who, if they hadn't eased off, would have won by a larger margin.

Contrast that with yesterday. Wolves played with confidence and kept Bannan and Forestieri's influence to a minimum.

The same could be said for the two QPR games. Yes Wolves won at Loftus Road and lost at Molineux, but in the first game they took advantage of a red card and only started to create chances when QPR took risks at the back. At Molineux they controlled the majority of the game and were unlucky to lose.

There are many signs of improvement for Lambert. Take the Cardiff defeat out of the equation and Wolves haven't played badly for more than a month - since they last faced Wednesday.

The next Robbie?

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Connor Ronan is a promising talent who shouldn't be ignored.

A hugely talented Irish teenager full of flair with a slight frame makes his first start for Wolves and produces a deeply impressive performance...

The comparisons with Robbie Keane are inevitable and yes Connor Ronan deserves to be mentioned in the same breath - that's how good he is, aged just 18.

With Lambert talking him up so much in recent weeks it was no surprise that Ronan earned his full Wolves debut, and also no surprise that he took to the Championship with apparent ease.

Playing on the left of a midfield three, Ronan grew into the game and was no passenger. His free kick led to Wolves' penalty appeal and his pass led to Mason hitting the post. He played his natural game - and his team mates had the confidence (and respect) to regularly give him the ball.

Ronan has played in the number 10 role or on the flanks as a youth player but long-term is position may be central midfield. Either way his - and Wolves' - future looks very bright.

The fact he replaced a £7million record signing and the team didn't look weaker for it tells you everything you need to know about Ronan's talent.

Kudos to Lambert

Lambert incredible
Paul Lambert should get plenty of credit for the work already done at Molineux.

He was greeted with a squad of 30 first-team players when he arrived at Molineux.

But Lambert has still found space in his squad for two youngsters in Ronan and Bright Enobakhare.

That's a decision that takes guts. He has eschewed more experienced pros in favour of giving youth a chance, despite Wolves flirting with the bottom three, backing up his statement that if players are good enough they're old enough.

The Wolves boss could easily have turned to the likes of Joao Teixeira or Jed Wallace to play the number 10 role lately, or brought George Saville or Prince Oniangue into midfield yesterday.

But he believes in Wolves' youngsters. The next generation are as good as he's seen in many years, Lambert has stated.

To turn to them already shows great faith and sage management - and bodes well for Wolves' future. It's something his predecessor Walter Zenga ignored at his peril.

It also suggests the above four players might not be at Molineux for much longer.

Molineux meltdown

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Sheffield Wednesday v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Danny Batth has had some stick, but looked solid against Sheffield Wednesday.

Talking of showing faith, Lambert did exactly that in Danny Batth yesterday and was rewarded with a clean sheet.

Batth endured two poor games at home to Bristol City and QPR, playing his part in all four goals that were conceded in those two games.

At Hillsborough, though, he looked a different player. And that's becoming something of a recurring theme, not only in Batth but the whole back four.

Wolves' defensive rearguard has been much more composed, assured and organisation away from Molineux of late.

As the below table shows, Wolves are scoring far more at home but also conceding far more.

On the road they're playing to a game plan, they don't look nervous in possession and mistakes are being kept to a minimum.

In fact without the second half at Cardiff they'd be unbeaten in five away games having conceded only one goal

So why the Molineux meltdown? Are Wolves too open and attacking? Are the players struggling to cope with the pressure of a home crowd? Probably a bit of both. If Lambert can replicate Wolves' away results at home Wolves will start climbing the table pretty rapidly.

LAST FIVE AT HOME

Won - 1

Drawn - 1

Lost - 3

Scored - 10

Conceded - 13

Points - 4

LAST FIVE AWAY

Won - 2

Drawn - 2

Lost - 1

Scored - 5

Conceded - 3

Point - 8

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Comments for: "Five talking points from Sheff Wed 0 Wolves 0"

Sir Billy Quiet

The improvement is real, this team is well organised and motivated but unlike KJ's team last season, this side have a real desire to get forward and create chances.

Lambert is working out which players he wants for the future, lets hope the clear out can be quick and we don't end up with a 'bomb squad again.

Ronan was like a breath of fresh air to those of us shivering in the stands at Sheffield..........

Sharmwolf

Cup run anyone???

Play a strong side a give it a go.

Stoke will field a weakened side no doubt and their first team are struggling so why not have a real real go at them

Hoof Hearted

Went to the Sheffield Wednesday match and sat incognito amongst the home fans. I won't pay for a ticket to have to stand up on a perishing cold day for all the match with our lads.

I heard frequent remarks about the quality of Ronan and the Owls fans were not aware that it was his debut. Ronan was a revelation - strong, tricky, intelligent with a very high work rate. The man of the match. He reminded me of Mark Davies, only much better and that's saying something.

FRANKO

Wolves played very well in this match, and this was beyond doubt, the most entertaining 0-0 I can remember.The Owls fans didn't agree though, and all of the callers on radio Sheffield bemoaned their team.One of them said Wolves should have won 5-0 and another said 5-1.To be fair almost all of them agreed that Wolves were the better team.

There were some really good performances from pretty much the whole team.If I had to single players out for not doing very well it would have to be Costa and Cav, which is strange because they are normally the best players.We just didn't have any luck at all yesterday, hitting the woodwork twice, and being denied the most blatant penalty you'll ever see,and then of course Masons miss which had to be seen to be believed.

However, all in all a very good performance.Credit to PL, you can now see his influence on the team and its only early days for him.Conner Ronan wow ! what a prospect he could be, has a look of Johnny Haynes about him, but there are probably not many of you that would remember him.

Onwards and upwards UTW

Hednesfordwolves

SBQ how much are Wolves paying you for your comments? It is early days yet to assess Lambert. We are very inconsistent in every position. You make out you know everything and are always right. Why are we so good in yours eyes and yet we are 16th in the league?

Sir Lupi

It's called being positive and supporting the team.

Maybe it's because of fickle fans like you In the crowd, Wolves don't play as well at home?

Sir Billy Quiet

Wolves don't need to pay me for being positive about the team I have been supporting since 1967?

Some people can only ever be negative, what a waste of money paying to watch the Wolves so you can moan about it until the next time.

chris h

1967! So Sir Bill you were a late comer, then. Jumping on the bandwagon of a successful promotion season. I am sure you enjoyed the introduction of a certain Derek Dougan early in '67. Oh for a player of that calibre playing upfront for us today. If you could tell him our strikers had not managed a goal between them from 22 Aug until 3 Jan ( and still counting) he would turn in his grave.

Sir Billy Quiet

Chris - Dougan would have had a hat trick in both the QPR and Sheffield Wednesday games but only if Wagstaffe was putting in the crosses........

Hednesfordwolves

I don't understand SBQ's comments, lets be realistic we are in 16th place, we are so inconsistent especially at home, you talk so much about past players when it was all so different so start talking about the present not the past.

Farmer Ted

Hednesford, All you say about today's team is true...but it's more exciting than last season's and there's are signs that things are gradually improving although at times it seems it's three steps forward, two steps back.

HOWEVER, remembering teams of the past, great players, famous victories ( and defeats) with fellow Wolves fans and football people in general is why we love this bloody frustrating game; it's part of what we do. Moaning on and on only about the short comings of today's Wolves makes Jack a dull boy.

Hednesfordwolves

Our home form has been terrible and no player has really excelled and yet we play better away. Lets give these young players Ronan and Bright more playing time and lets our home form gets better. After 10 more games we can then see what Lambert is capable of.

The Flying Winger

Hednesfordwolves, it would also go along way if the home fans didn't boo the players at every mistake / half time, I know it's a two way Street and some performancese have been dire but Lambert has done better with what he has and encouragement is now the name of the game.

I am more encouraged that goals will happen now Mason is fit.

Hednesfordwolves

Lets hope you are right but what about that miss from 3 yards, good strikers should never miss those sort of chances.

Sir Billy Quiet

Good strikers always miss chances ask Shearer and Lineaker...........

The Flying Winger

Not totally true, big Chris owned up to one on Football Focus and I'm sure there are a few more.

Wolvereeeen

The ball came down fast and mason was running in at it, hitting him to basically fly up from his knee or wherever. The hype surrounding the miss is a pointless distraction. As if he has become a useless forward because a crazy ball flew off his body the wrong way.

Hard to believe it went the way it did, but it did. End of.

Not Convinced

I think mason had more time than he realised - if he had controlled the ball first , then all he would have had to do was to tap it in like a gold putt from 2 yards - shame obviously .

Shewolf1943

We play better away from home .... speaks volumes. Too much pressure put on players from some so called supporters.

chris h

It isn't that She is it. At home we are open, prone to the counter attack . Against QPR we could have settled for the draw, but instead went for the win (rightly so) and left the back door open. Silly mistakes don't help and we need to cut them out. Nothing to do with the fans in my opinion.

Shewolf1943

Chris this is exactly what my son said to me. Although I am unable to attend now, I remember the first twenty minutes the fans were full of enthusiasm, and if nothing happened you could hear the stirrings in the crowd. Perhaps I have this one wrong, if so I hold my hands up.

The Flying Winger

Yes it is chris.

Capelwolf

One of the skills of coaching is motivating the players. Build Conor Ronan up. On match days send him onto the pitch where he can perform with confidence, skill and within the tactical role given to him. The text book doesn't and shouldn't say don't overplay him. He is young, fit, and important to Wolves. He is no good to us sitting in the stands. Rooney played every game from age 16 onwards and if he is burnt out now at 31, then what a 15 years he has had. This boy showed yesterday he is ready. Play him, and when he is injured, leave him out. We have uncovered a gem and I for one do not want to see a Wolves team without him in it while he is fit and under contract to us. I only want to see our best XI on the pitch and he is part of it. Up the Wolves

Not Convinced

actualy it took courage for lambert to play connor ronan - on the face of it not the ideal game for him to make his debut ; this could have back fired had wolves been beaten 3-0 but it appears that he added a bit of flair to our dare I say slightly pedestrian midfield - presumably the injury was just a painful knock (and not the dreaded cruciate ) .

Hednesfordwolves

SBQ you live in the past its a different ball game now!

Wolf1966

I've been dismayed by he negativity on here, and especially following the QPR game. When Lambert arrived the team there was a total lack of confidence, and stringing passes together was hard work. Caveliero was a shadow of the player we have now. I'm sorry to say this but anyone who can't see the improvement under Lambert doesn't understand the game.

Sir Lupi

Jack Price has also had a new lease of life and Stearman is looking like getting back to his best.

PL Just needs to get one of his strikers firing on all cylinders....nevertheless....I feel a corner has been turned with this team of late, so credit to Lambert for that.

MikeyBear99

I wasn't there but it sounds like Master Connor is that in the making...a master! I agree he needs to play as much as he can and as he's young rest him when he needs it!

I still think we should try and persuade young Jordan Rhodes to join us!

I think his golden boot can fire us to the play offs but I doubt if anyone listens to me!

BeeCee

Mikey.

Jordan Rhodes is presently at the Villa training ground...!