Last home game of the season and nothing much to shout about. Overall, a similar performance as we’ve seen in the past few months and it’s clear we need a big summer transfer window to improve next season.
First half was a shambles, we let Pukki get in behind four times, three of those on Boly’s side. He deserved his goal in all fairness but Ruddy needed to react quicker. There was no way Pukki could shoot anywhere else due to the bodies we had trying to block but it was poor defending anyway to let him get into our box so easily.
Second half was much improved, largely down to Chiquinho’s introduction. We were much higher up the pitch and able to win the ball back in positions that allowed us to transition into attack quickly.
Bit of a scrappy goal from us but Toti Gomes being so aggressive on corners helped us, it was a nice cushioned header from Ait Nouri though. We almost scored shortly after with Chiquinho playing an unbelievable cross and Neto forcing a great save, he loves whipping the ball in, maybe sometimes he can look for the pass inside but his crossing looks very good so far.
After that spell of 10 minutes once we equalised, the game went quite flat. It was a nothing game but it would have been nice to end our home campaign on a high of some sort.
The players looked so deflated at full time and I can’t really blame them. We went from potentially breaking into the top four, confident of finishing top seven to going on an absolutely awful run, relegation-like, and can still potentially finish as low as 11th if a few teams below us win their last games.
It’s obvious there are some players leaving in the summer, some we know more about than others. Neves being upset at the end means he could be off which would be heartbreaking but I can’t blame him, he should be playing at a way higher level than we can offer.
We seriously need to spend well this summer, feels like the end of an era with a lot of our players who we’ve had for a number of years which of course is a shame but all good things have to come to an end eventually. Just hope we can get it right in the summer so we can be ready for next season at the beginning and give everyone some hope again.
At the start of play we still had a slight chance of obtaining European football next season. I cannot imagine what message it sent to the rest of the team where sentiment seems to have clouded judgement and Ruddy – as good a keeper and club servant as he is – was chosen ahead of Jose Sa to presumably bring the curtain down on his Wolves career and have the chance of a final farewell. To me, that said that the season was over and the club had given up on any chance of finishing in the top seven and to me that was horrifically wrong.
Looking at Bruno’s record, it seems to be very reminiscent of his short term reign at Benfica where after a very impressive start, he was sacked after a record of two wins in 13 games including five straight home defeats (remember this is Benfica who my 89-year-old housebound Aunt could win the league with). His record with Wolves mirrors it with a great start including some notable and historic wins but the last 13 games have seen three wins, two draws and eight defeats – a record that is nothing short of relegation stuff.
But has he had a chance? Not sure and this summer will be key whoever is in charge as, for the umpteenth time, we lacked conviction, a plan, commitment and any idea as to how to break down the worst team in the Premier League.
Not good enough – nowhere near it I am afraid and things need to change and change quickly.
Good job its only Liverpool next week......
We have been a whole lot worse and we have been with them every step of the way and no doubt that will continue but at present it is not a pretty picture at all.
Another underwhelming home performance, as we walk our way to the season’s end.
This does worry me when you think about how we will start next season
The form since end of February has been awful. It looks likely that the team will be much different come August, but I still have fears about Bruno’s ability to get the best out of those players at his disposal.
We were too slow in possession during the first half. A common fault during this poor run of form. Time and time again Pukki broke through our cumbersome defence to shoot on goal. On the fourth occasion, he scored.
We put cross after cross into their box without a gold shirt anywhere to be seen. Again, a common aspect of our play.
Bruno has failed to deal with both of these failures which have been obvious to us all.
I’m not convinced he’s the one to take us forward. It wouldn’t bother me one way or the other if he was to leave next weekend.
The introduction of Chiquinho for the second half made an immediate and positive difference. This begs the question why didn’t he start? We equalised with a scruffy goal on 55 minutes.
Norwich have been relegated with a goal difference of minus 56. It is criminal that we played a further 39 minutes without adding a winning goal. That’s three games against Norwich this season without a win and only one goal scored.
There’s nothing more to be said about the game itself. Chiquinho gets my man of the match.
I think it’s the last time we will see a few of these players at Molineux. Ruddy, Saiss, Boly, Neves, Moutinho, Jimenez “could” all be leaving this summer.
We should be doing everything possible to keep Neves and build the team around him. I’d also give Moutinho another two years; with a coaching element to it. I’d sell Hwang and take any money we can for him; he’s simply not a footballer. Those responsible for signing him six months before his loan finishes should be leaving too.
On to the end of season finale. This was very poorly organised. The end of season awards and the players lap of honour were, just like the game, damp squids. Probably the worst one I can remember other than in relegation seasons. Poor show from Wolves. There are so many things wrong behind the scenes. It’s worrying!
Yet again we found it a struggle. We started with a positive approach and had some good periods of play, but they did not last long enough. Many of the things we have come to rely on are not looking quite so solid right now. The ball over Boly’s head, Jonny’s tackling and possession and the pace of Coady. Even Neves continues to look below par since his injury.
We have had trouble with Norwich already this season and so it proved again. Pukki was able to negotiate our defence single-handedly and it was just a matter of time before he scored.
Thankfully we did have a couple of energetic players. Namely MOTM Neto who reminds us of what we have missed. The ‘second coming of Jota’ needs more playing time to get up to speed. Ait-Nouri also brought a positive spin when he advanced forward. A neat finish, and a rare headed goal, was good reward for his endeavour to create opportunities in the final third.
Bruno made an early change and Chiquinho gave everyone a lift. His introduction coincided with our best period of the game when it was our turn to pin a side into their own half.
The result is likely to cost us a league position or two and was fairly typical of our home form all season. Let’s hope for better next time around.
Quite a paradox on the face of it; Wolves sit comfortably placed in the table occupying a position most of us would have craved for when the season began. But the home form in terms of both results and performance has been deeply unsatisfying.
Nine defeats and few dominant displays have indicated that the players seem to find the expectations of home games more a burden than an inspiration. Molineux rather than being a fortress has been more akin to a sandcastle with the tide coming in and rapidly at that.
The initial defeats against both Spurs and Manchester United were desperately unlucky. In both games, Wolves were the better outfit and played with pace, flair and vibrancy giving us real cause for optimism and endorsing the words of Bruno Lage who had stated that he was intent on playing attacking, front-foot, pacey football with the emphasis on positivity.
Unfortunately, the missed scoring chances in the two games became a portent for the season as a whole. Next time out against Brentford, we were woeful and it has been an abiding endurance test ever since. A slow laborious build-up, a lack of imagination and large constipated sections of games when we seem becalmed and wholly unable to be even remotely expressive have been the main features of the Molineux experience this season.
It has made spectating hard work in the extreme with the creditable league position we have sustained the main consolation. We are concluding this season in a desperate run of form and signed off on Sunday with another depressing dirge against the worst side in this league.
Last Wednesday, Manchester City eviscerated us with a superb display that we could only sit and admire. Of course, we didn’t help ourselves with a loose formation that saw the peerless De Bruyne granted the limitless freedom of Wolverhampton. If he had left Waterloo Road with a gold-leaf embossed scroll from the Town Hall signed with a flourish by His Worship the Mayor granting him full, unfettered accreditation to all areas of our city, it would have been unsurprising.
Naturally, free to roam with access to all areas, the great Belgian gorged himself insatiably. To gift as many opportunities to Teemu Pukki as Wolves contrived to do yesterday is a different matter. Mercifully, he wasted a plethora of gifts and cashed in only once. Surely any competent Premier League team which Norwich palpably are not would have sent us packing, tails between our legs yet again on the back of a hammering similar in size to that inflicted by City.
One of the most alarming facets of this disintegration of our season is the disappearance of the defensive solidity that won us so many points when we were competing as fiercely as any team in this league. Assurance has been replaced by confusion and worryingly with each passing disappointment, this squad and its set-up, its sense of direction and erratic tactics all appear unfit for purpose.
The season-long timidity in front of goal continued unabated right to the last; perhaps out of embarrassment, we stirred ourselves to exert serious pressure after the interval and a touch fortunately secured an equaliser. Norwich appeared ripe for the taking but we didn’t maintain the impetus and the home season ended as it has panned out for the majority of the time in unfulfillment and frustration.
It’s disconcerting going through the turnstiles for home games full of trepidation fearing the worst regardless of who the opposition might be. All season at Molineux there has been the nagging fear that Wolves will come up short; fail to be assertive and seemingly never conjure up any sort of barnstorming start to immediately send the visitors onto the back foot.
The fans have stuck loyally with the players but we’ve hardly been royally entertained, in fact it’s been a huge stretch on the patience. It’s glib in the extreme to say we must improve next season as that is blindingly obvious; how we achieve it is a whole lot more complicated.
I won’t fondly recall much of my trips to Molineux this season. That said, one to savour was the delightful chip the outstanding Ruben Neves deposited past Watford’s Ben Foster; it was a glorious piece of skill and indicative of the input of a player who has been magnificent this year. But two visitors will stick in my memory; the free-kick that James Ward-Prowse rifled past the brilliant Jose Sa was staggering.
Sa is a fantastic goalkeeper and Wolves ultimately won the game, so his look of utter bewilderment given that we took full points was highly amusing! It was an incredible strike.
But tops must be De Bruyne; I’ve been fortunate to see some truly great footballers at Molineux over more years than I care to remember, many of them in gold shirts, and this guy ranks alongside all of them. A fantastic professional blessed with lavish ability and the killer instinct, massively self-confident and ruthless in his application and determination to win.
Last Wednesday with Wolves reeling and devastated by his brilliance, he picked up a booking because he simply wouldn’t allow any Wolves player to better him in a single unimportant challenge even though City were already miles out of sight. A rare talent; football at its pinnacle. I don’t think he will be signing for us this summer but maybe when he comes next season it might be to a revitalised Fortress Molineux! What we could have achieved with just a respectable home record; such an anti-climax!