Fulham 1 Wolves 3 - five talking points

Wolves made it a perfect week after beating play-off hopefuls Fulham 3-1 at Craven Cottage.

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Andreas Weimann celebrates his goal with Ben Marshall

Goals from Ivan Cavaleiro, Andreas Weimann and David Edwards gave Paul Lambert's team all three points.

It was Wolves' third win from three matches and moved them to 16th in the Championship table, five points clear of relegation.

Who made the difference for Wolves? And what are their survival prospects now? Wolves correspondent Tim Spiers picks out five talking points.

What a week

It was Harold Wilson who coined the phrase ‘a week is a long time in politics’.

Well if Harry was a Wolves fan he’d surely have amended it to reflect the rollercoaster that this club throws up week after week – and never more so than from March 11 to 18, 2017.

Just a week ago Wolves were one shanked shot away from being dumped in the relegation zone by Rotherham United, a team that have earned a paltry 17 points from their 38 matches.

Had that happened, they would have travelled to Brentford on Tuesday under immense pressure to win their game in hand. Everything changes when you’re below that dotted line.

Instead, Wolves clung on to victory against the Millers, produced their best 90-minute league performance of the season at Brentford – and then topped it all off by beating the ‘best footballing team in the division’ according to Paul Lambert, by three goals to one.

It means they won three games in a row for the first time since January 2016 and gone four unbeaten for the first time since August.

The three goals they scored also made it 19 in just five matches against Fulham.

All of a sudden safety looks more likely than relegation.

Life on the road

Wolves now possess, believe it or not, the fifth best away record in the Championship, as opposed to the 22nd-worst home record.

If the majority of their remaining nine matches were on the road you'd say they had a shot of finishing in the top half, let alone merely avoiding relegation.

Unfortunately, though, six of their final nine matches take place at Molineux, a ground where they’ve won two of their last seven, both 1-0, against dreadful Rotherham and a very poor Villa side.

Wolves are a different team away from home. One that plays with freedom and purpose and looks like scoring goals.

For four successive away matches they’ve been the better side, unluckily losing to Reading, drawing when they should have won at Ipswich and now beating Brentford and Fulham.

It’s clear where Wolves’ offensive strengths (soaking up pressure and playing on the counter-attack at pace) and weaknesses (an inability to play through and break down a defensive team) lie. But they can't sit deep and let the opposition play at home. The onus will be on them to attack Cardiff, to attack Nottingham Forest.

And that’s why, despite a perfect week of three wins from three matches, Wolves aren’t safe yet.

If – and it remains a big if – they can transfer their away form to Molineux, then Wolves will wrap this up pretty quickly.

Catch Costa and Cav if you can

The return of Ivan Cavaleiro, who last started at Molineux in that Villa victory, should make a big difference in that regard.

He was inspirational in a free number 10 role at Craven Cottage and has the ability to unlock any Championship defence, counter-attack or no counter-attack.

Cavaleiro was inspired, but the performance of Helder Costa topped that. His two magnificent assists were of a quality that Fulham simply couldn’t match.

Kortney Hause was exceptional at the back, while Danny Batth had his best game for weeks. Lee Evans kept things tidy and offered great protection to the back four, while the relentless David Edwards did the same and contributed to two goals, reaching double figures for the season and sending a gorgeous chip over the back line in the build-up to the second.

In fact no one played badly, they all deserve praise.

But Wolves probably wouldn't have won this were it not for their magical Portuguese duo.

Fearsome foursome

That’s what’s been the key for Wolves during their successful five days in the capital – the freedom and creativity of a confident front line.

The defence hasn’t been a serious problem since the Zenga era and the midfield have stayed fairly consistent, but it’s been their floundering attack that has cost Wolves.

With Edwards in his more effective role in central midfield rather than the 10, Wolves had a marauding front four that regularly interchanged and were given licence to play with freedom.

Ben Marshall and Andreas Weimann also impressed, again.

The classy Marshall is clever in possession, does his fair share of defensive work and knows how to win matches at this level. For Weimann – a ‘freak of nature’ in terms of his work ethic according to Lambert – it’s two goals in two appearances as a central striker. Those kind of stats are unheard of this season.

Yes, it’s all starting to click. In his fearsome foursome Lambert has a formula for goals and survival.

With Dicko and Bodvarsson on the bench and Jordan Graham and Joe Mason to return in the coming weeks, Wolves' attacking options suddenly look very handy indeed.

Prescient Paul

All throughout Wolves' nightmare losing run Lambert repeatedly stated there was no need to panic, little needed changing, the tide would turn.

He kept a calm head amid the mini meltdown - and that was transferred to his players. That was evident at Brentford when despite having 22 shots to 7 and still being 1-0 down, they didn't let their heads drop.

It suggests they have faith in their boss, too.

"It's not rocket science," Lambert said on Saturday. "All that was missing was the finishing. Was there a clear message to change? No there wasn't. You can't keep dominating matches and not get the rewards, it doesn't stack up.

"It's funny, you get the usual nonsense when a new manager comes into the club.

"You get one or two results, you go and beat Liverpool and Stoke and everyone thinks you're great, you lose a few and everyone wants you out. I never get too high or low. But I never once felt under stress because I knew how well we were playing."

The boss seems to have been stung by the harsh criticism that came his way. Can you blame him? Lambert finally delivered a victory last weekend after an awful winless drought - and was booed.

Yes he's made mistakes and failed to solve the Molineux conundrum (albeit from what is still only four months in charge), but the Scot deserves praise for the mini turnaround he's overseen.

He took the shackles off his front four at Craven Cottage and implemented a perfect game plan, restricting space for Fulham's classy midfielders and playing them like a fiddle on the counter.

The Scot should also be lauded for the two signings he made in January, with Marshall and Weimann now consistently making a contribution.

He will now look to make the run-in as stress-free as possible. The sooner safety is secured the sooner he can begin looking to next season - and a crucial summer for key additions in the transfer market.

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Comments for: "Fulham 1 Wolves 3 - five talking points"

chris h

Digressing, I have a couple of favourite Harold Wilson stories, never mind the week in politics or the Pound in your pocket (we all know what he mean't by that , the Pound was still worth 20 shillings or 240 pence, he just never got round to saying he wouldn't buy as much. Just like now with BREXIT).

1 Reputedly, at his first Cabinet meeting after winning the General Election he said to his newly appointed Cabinet Ministers, 'does any one have a copy of our Manifesto', some guy of course had. Wilson took it off him and locked it away in a drawer and said 'that is the last we will be needing of this'. This is probably not true and 1960s fake news.

2 A colleague and mate of mine after attending a beer festival and being somewhat worse for wear, was taking some air walking along a platform waiting for a train at Leeds station. He heard a voice 'train's late youth'. My friend who was/ is a Labour supporter looked up and it was Wilson.' They cannot blame you this time ,Sir'. he said. Wilson immediately replied' they would if they could'. This is a true story my mate proudly showed me the autograph which was appropriately on a copy of that day's Daily Mirror.

Now't to do with the Wolves, but Tim did make reference to Wilson.

Black Country Wanderer

I doubt there will be many Corbyn anecdotes around in 50 years time Chris

Jake

Oh my life, chris h isn't a Corbynista is he?

It would explain a lot.

chris h

Wrong again, you are very good at that, Jake.

chris h

Stevie, That of course is the 1000 billion sterling question. One thing is for sure in a lot less than fifty years most of the old blinkered never had it so go good generation who voted in droves out ( not me ) will long have departed. Whilst the young kids who in the main (you check the voting figures) will still be around and living with the consequences.

Ritchie

Chris, I bet they don't have to endure what our generation had to contend with, I voted against the common market and bearing in mind we only had 400,00 unemployed. When we went in, two/three years later we had 2million and manufacturing in this country particularly the west Midlands was decimated. And not to mention three recessions....

Jake

Still getting relegated are we chris?

Even on Friday you were still banging on about it.

chris h

Steve, ' Bet they don't have to endure what our generationh ad to contend with.'

1 No national service call up. My dad was inWW2 and grandfather was in WW1, at the coal face. Me, I've had plenty of nice holidays with a bucket and spade in Europe, plus

2 free education

3 tax relief on mortgage

4 benefit of silly house price inflation

5 whilst I am at it, huge general inflation helped me pay off my mortgage

6 child allowance for the kids

7 tax incentives for my pension.

8 a job for life and then a decent private pension.

Yes, compared to previous generations and the next generation we have had it really tough (not). What a pity we have left future generations with a shed full of national debt and with BREXIT we have given them a weak currency, potential lack of inward investment and a threat to 45% of our exports. Us' Baby Boomers 'will go down as the legends of waste. And by the way before we joined the Common Market we were classed as the sick man of Europe whilst on the evening of the Referendum we were the 5th biggest economy in the World (slipped to 6th overnight due to the currency drop).

Ritchie

Yes Chris, my family endured the same. Brexit will not dump those days on anyone and in actual fact, and in my opinion the UK will thrive, let's hope we both live to see it my friend...

derbyshirewolf

Ritchie, apologies for adding late to this thread, but two points:-

1) Chris is correct, and you not so, when you talk about tough times for the post war generation. History shows, as Chris has pointed out in a number of ways, that we have been the most cosseted generation of all, compared to the difficulties faced by younger people now. I'm perfectly willing to argue this viewpoint in some detail if you insist, but on a personal level my two boys, both of whom have first class honours degrees, work abroad because their economic and financial opportunities are so restricted here.

2)Your inference that it was the decision to join the E.E.C. (as it was then), which brought about the huge economic down turn of the 1970's is also completely wrong. Check your history, and you will find that the O.P.E.C.decision to massively hike the price of crude oil by restricting supplies, post the 1973 war of Yom Kippur, had an infinitely greater effect on your life, and mine, than any decision to join Europe.

Time, and prejudiced thinking must be addling your brain old chap! U.T.W.!!!

Ritchie

Nor will people be moaning about Brexit.

Old Wulfrunian

Chris h, continuing with your digression theme, another famous quote from Tory PM Harold McMillan to the British public in the late 1950s "You've never had it so good".

Then of course, if they are to be believed, are the Winston Churchill insults, including:

Nancy Astor: “Winston, you are drunk”. Churchill: “And you, madam, are ugly. But I shall be sober in the morning!”

Nancy Astor: "Winston, if you were my husband I would flavour your coffee with poison".

Churchill: "Madam, if I were your husband, I would drink it"

Churchill talking about Clement Atlee: “A modest man, who has much to be modest about….”

Churchill talking about Ramsey MacdDonald: “We know that he has, more than any other man, the gift of compressing the largest amount of words into the smallest amount of thought”.

Don't worry folks, it's only to pass the time before our next game in 12 days.......

chris h

Old Wulfrunian, I think I had the same book re Churchill quotes, but it went to the charity shop the other month. No doubt about it Winston played a massive part in ensuring we kept fighting Hitler, rather than negotiate a deal (sort of pre BREXIT) that some of his right wing colleagues wanted at the time. The Daily Mail was complimentary about Hitler in the early 30s and did an interview with him in the '20s, might even have paid him.

We all owe Churchill a debt for wartime leadership, but another quote from him,not in the book of course, of the striking miners in the '20s he said' make them eat grass'.

As for Atlee he may well have been a modest man, but someone who introduced the National Health Service did not need to be so modest. Of course no one could accuse Churchill himself of modesty.

No Sweat

Another Churchill nugget from the days when the practice of homosexuality was still not lawful:

Churchill: 'I hear the member for Anytown was apprehended in Hyde Park on Tuesday night... with a guardsman.'

His Cabinet Secretary: 'Unfortunately that is correct, sir.'

Churchill: 'Very cold on Tuesday night, wasn't it?'

CS: 'It was indeed, sir.'

Churchill: 'Mm...makes you proud to be British.'

Not Convinced

young churchill sitting an exam at harrow :

question was 'write briefly on the future of coal in the uk ' , so churchill wrote 1 word ,

'smoke' .

(dont know if he passed but maybe he did as he became pm )

No Sweat

The drunk/ugly jibes are usually attributed to Churchill and Bessie Braddock but, regarding Attlee, Churchill at the time of the post-war Labour administration was heard to remark 'An empty taxi pulled up outside the Palace of Westminster and the Prime Minister got out.'

When Nancy Astor was campaigning in her Plymouth constituency with its many naval dockyard workers and seamen, she knocked on doors chaperoned by a senior naval officer in uniform. One door was answered by a small girl and, when Nancy asked whether her mother was in, the reply was 'No, but she said if a lady calls with a sailor they've got to use the back bedroom and leave ten bob.'

Bleydh

Harold supported Huddersfield I think.

Black Country Wanderer

Yes the main talking point has to be can we start playing at home?

With 6 out of the last 9 at the Mol we should be laughing,but instead we are apprehensive to say the least

If it means winning then just keep it as it is,let the opposition come to us and hit them on the break,no one will be moaning if we get the couple of wins we need, no matter how we play

Theres a difference between having a game plan, and playing how we did against Rotherham, with no one playing well, and seemingly no idea how to beat the worst team in the league

The fans have to get off the teams backs, and get back to the kind of support we saw when Zenga was here,then even when we played poorly for spells the crowd were buoyant, and it helped the team no end

Leicester played this system last season,ignoring possession stats ,and hitting fast and hard on the counter, it worked pretty well for them I think,and they weren't booed too many times were they?

CoRnIsHWoLf

The onus is on us to attack at home! Unless the opposition are desperate for points, most will be happy with the draw! And should we concede first they will simply sit back in numbers & look to hit us on the break. We need more than hoofing up to our 'small strikers' in the hope that we pick up the second ball. We are too easy to play against at home. We need to give our 'clever' players the ball on the floor. The likes of Costa, Cav, Gibbs White & possibly Bright, to pass around them. Their quick feet could open up defences or at the very least win us some free kicks around the area.

Jake

It is a very difficult challenge for a team, at any level, and against any professional opposition,to have to win a football match.

The Rotherham game was all about ifs and buts - everyone threw there toys out of the pram after the game and I could hear people whining on the way out of the ground about the performance. People seem to forget that our £13m man missed a penalty, albeit one he won. Goals change games - we may have run up a better score had we scored at that point.

But the bottom line for the Rotherham game is - we won. Lambert was proved right in his set up and it has worked wonders since.

old gold barmy army

BCW. Id be happy to watch them play at home the way they do away if it meant results that kept us up. Lets hope PL gives the front 4 the same licence to roam for the remaining games. If its working don't change it. How many of the 21000 would think the same is any ones guess. It would seem the boo boys would boo whatever.

CoRnIsHWoLf

It's more difficult to 'roam' when most of the opposition team is camped in the last quarter of the pitch!

les

Wolves don't have the 22nd worst home record. They have the 22nd best home record ie the 3rd worst.

rwbridge

metaphysical man!

CoRnIsHWoLf

Great week & much needed.

Scoring goals has long been an issue, not properly dealt with since the loss of Sako & Afobe. Dicko's long layoff meant the weight of expectation was bound to be carried by him when he returned & we should, in reality, not expect to see the Dicko we know to return until he's had a proper pre-season under his belt. That said, even with Weimann signing permanently, we need to buy a recognised goalscorer in the summer.

To say 'the defence hasn't been a serious problem since the Zenga era' is being too kind. Yes, they have shown they can play well together on occasions, blockng well, clearing their lines, but anyone who watches them will say they always look like they have an error in them. It's that inconsistency that has to be put right in the team. We know there are some very young players in there still learning their trade but our defence carries more 'young players' than most & therefore a lot of potential errors. If we are to be serious about going for promotion next season we have to ask ourselves, can we cut out or limit the amount of errors we're making or do we sacrifice some of our youngsters for more 'reliabilty' at the back?

& then there's the Costa factor. Bigger clubs will come calling in the summer........what will the lad do?

AucklandKiwiWolf

First of all,let's get the points required for safety.Then finish as high us possible in order to provide a springboard for next season.In the close season clear out the deadwood and make quality signings and then go for automatic promotion.Still a week is a long time in football.

tamworthwolves

2 games at home under Lambert I was fuming with his team selection and tactics. Birmingham and Rotherham, both games I was tempted to leave before the final whistle but have never done it and having suffered the games I cant see it getting worse.

Since then PL has turned it round and the players have shown desire and team spirit. Costa and Cav have made a huge difference to the team along with Lamberts 2 January signings.

As a side issue, media speculation is 2 manager's have been singled out to replace PL in the summer. Now I'm not a Lambert fan just yet but he has shown glimpses that he knows what he's doing for the good of the club so surely he deseves at least a full season to prove his worth.

Jake

Replacing Lambert before he is given time and funds to prove himself would be utter madness.

The owners have already shown themselves to be capable of such madness so lets hope they are beginning to realise this game isn't as simple as they may have first thought.

tamworthwolves

My thoughts too Jake, splasing cash is great on quality but whoever is pulling the owners strings got it so wrong with Zenga and poor bulk signings in the summer Lets hope its lesson learned!

stortolupino

can`t afford to get carried away and have to remain focused. The break has perhaps come at a bad time.

Warnock next up who has been something of a nemesis in the past and I`d like to stick one over him more than just about anyone. With our home form I`d almost settle for a point to keep the unbeaten run going. But lets hope we can transfer the away form to Molineux

Jake

I can see us doing well in our remaining games. I would back us to beat Cardiff, Forest, Huddersfield and for that matter Brighton. The division is weak - outside the top two there is nothing there although I expect Villa and Derby to join us and possibly Leeds in the top 6 next season together with the best two of the relegated clubs.

I think we will finish the season on a relative high - but the debate then turns to improvements.

Imho we need two new centre halfs - we need to let Williamson go if he isn't going to be fit week in week out. I would also move Baath and Price on as neither of them are good enough for a top 6 finish next season.

Farmer Ted

Now that a lot of the pressure has been eased, not completely gone, but much better the squad have a wonderful chance to show the home crowd that they are capable of playing decent football. Lambert playing Cavaleiro in a free role may just be the key to breaking down teams that Park the bus...and we have a striker with a 100% record!

Rotherham have had it and probably Wigan too. Sadly it looks like Burton will join them, they have Huddersfield, Newcastle, Blues and Barnsley away with Villa, Ipswich, Leeds and Reading at home. Tough!

FloodlightWolves

Six talking points - the sixth being that lime green away strip.

I'd like the management to explain why we choose colours like these.

Do we get extra revenue from the shirt manufacturer for wearing such a colour?

Definitely a talking point.

Bleydh

Old Gold is the colour. If there is no clash then please wear it.

No Sweat

I recall a Wolves manager (can't remember which) a few years ago saying that the team wore the change strip more often than was apparently necessary so that the players got more used to it and that strips for each game were decided at the start of the season. I notice that when Wolves are away to a team wearing black shorts they wear an all gold, or rather orange, kit if they don't wear the slime green.

While on the subject there was a match when Man U started in a grey strip only for Ferguson to change it at half-time as he said his players couldn't see each other. I would think being difficult to spot could also be an advantage. Allowing a mid-match change seems surprising but of course Fergie's influence over referees was legendary.

Old Wulfrunian

I haven't researched this because I prefer to work from memory. I think the match in question was at Southampton when Man U where hammered 6-3 (or thereabouts) while wearing a grey strip. I'd be surprised if they changed the strip at half time but I do recall Ferguson criticising it afterwards and I don't think they ever wore it again.

wolverhampton70

Could not understand the change of strip certainly no clash of colour with Fulham strip but if you look at pictures the Fulham goalkeeper wore a almost same colour top to the Wolves strip,colour clash??

Kwolves

Glad someone else spotted this. It was absolutely crazy! How the referee allowed it I don't not know. Just another sign that football isn't what it used to be. How clubs can wear strips like that instead of their real colours and then clash with the opposition keeper is beyond me. It's up to us not to buy the rubbish - mat be next year we should have a campaign just to but the home strip!