chris humphries reports on wolves 2-0 loss at west ham
I have been looking forward to this match to see how we move on from the Man City match, the loss of Collins due to suspension and then inexplicable decision to move one of our most creative players to the back four led me to look forward to the line-up announcement like a naive and innocent child on Christmas morning waiting to open the front room door.
Then as the clock struck for the half hour past four , the truth appeared as Bruno handed me a lump of coal and shoved it up my proverbial.No centre back to replace the missing Collins just the addition of Nelson Semedo pointing to potentially us watching Jonny play at centre back!!!!!
This is going to be a very inspiring move or one that is likely to help Bruno understand the meaning of P45- as I started this article by reminding us that the festive season is just round the corner maybe Bruno will be driving home for Christmas??? That’s the end of my early Festive references!!!
Once the game had started with West Ham kicking off it was clear Neves at centre back again, a bad choice in my view, there are a lot of issues spouting from this choice, we not only remove a fantastic midfielder from his role but also do absolutely nothing for the confidence of our other centre backs.One positive of this formation is that it relieves Ait-Nouri of some of his defensive duties.
Early few minutes were tight and then out of the blue Podence let fly with a long range shot that West Ham’s keeper parried over the bar. Then after good work from Ait-Nouri, Nunes broke through but he sliced his shot across the box off to a throw in.
Wolves have started well in the first ten minutes and Jonny finds room to have a shot which Fabianski parrys over the bar for another corner.
Wolves were very busy and playing the ball around nicely and with 10 minutes gone have had 3 shots to West Hams nil. As the game settled down it looked more like a back three with wing backs Ait-Nouri and Jonny.
After 14 minutes Neves got pulled out of position and dragged down West Hams Italian forward Scamacca resulting in the dreaded yellow card being issued which means we will be playing Chelsea without Collins and Neves.
Bit of muddled defending allowed Jarrod Bowen to unleash a shot which Sa could only parry into the path of Scamacca who couldn’t finish.
Another note of concern follow shortly as Pedro Neto calls for treatment which results in him having to go off for treatment but doesn’t look comfortable .
Wolves have an attack after good work from Ait-Nouri and Nunes resulting in a foul on Semedo and a free kick to Wolves. Guedes takes the freekick and it’s dangerous but goes through the box with no one getting the final touch.
West ham break and Moutinho concedes a free kick and takes a yellow card the West Ham effort is wildly hit over the bar, and at this point Neto has to leave the field to be replaced by Adama. Not a bad thing in my opinion noting Neto’s performances these last few weeks.
Following the substitution Jarrod Bowen opens up some space which allows Soucek to cross into Cornet who makes a mess of his chance.
25 minutes have now passed and the game is still very tight with Wolves having the better of the play and just shading the game. Wolves play the ball around nicely at times and do so again with Moutinho spraying the ball out to Semedo but he cant control his effort. Nice work from Ait-Nouri again sees Adama on the left his cross is cleared the ball gets to Jarrod Bowen who causes some panic and the ball breaks to Scamacca on the edge of the box who rifles the ball past Sa. 1-0 West Ham after 30 minutes.
Maxwell Cornet goes off injured and Wolves head down to the opposite goal line and earn a corner which is defended easily. Fornals comes on as sub and immediately fouls Guedes but the free kick breaks down with Jonny’s pass too powerful and going out for a goal kick.
West ham then have a half chance as a left wing cross heads out to Soucek who pulls onto Ait-Nouri but heads wide, that’s a weakness I hope doesn’t get exploited.
Wolves have had 85 percent possession since conceding but have done absolutely nothing with the ball.
Guedes does well and his shot is deflected to Ait-Nouri with the keeper to beat he passes it to a defender stood next to him and the wolves attack breaks down and West Ham clear.
Bowen is causing wolves lots of problems and Soucek is pushing from midfield into space which Wolves need to stop.
Podence tries his luck from long range which Fabianski saves and the stadium announcer lets us know there is four minutes injury time left not much happens during this period and the referee blows his whistle for half time.
Second half is underway and Wolves don’t seem too willing to trust in Diego Costa as this stage, I hope he doesn’t get the chance to come onto the field after the game has got away from us!
Wolves start the second half and push into West Ham’s back line until Moutinho overruns the ball which allows West Ham to attack but Scamacca pass goes horribly wrong.
Wolves then try a long ball which Podence gets on the end of and Wolves win a corner which amounts to nothing.
Then Adama gets on the ball on the half way line and goes on a trademark run which ends up amounting to nothing and then Adama gets on the end of a pass and shoots on the volley but it bounces just wide.
A passage of play develops that sees West Ham press and a lucky deflection sees the ball fall to Bowen who finishes fantastically past Sa at the near post. 2-0 West Ham.
From the kick off Wolves get the ball to Ait-Nouri who’s shot goes out for a corner which again wolves squander.
On 56 minutes Costa joins us in place of Guedes who I though had played reasonably well if perhaps somewhat isolated until this point. Costa’s introduction sees Adama move onto his more favoured right and immediately puts a cross over that causes confusion in the West Ham box and Nunes has a shot charged down. Adama goes down the right again after working well with Semedo and crosses but Fabianski cuts the ball out from reaching Costa.
On 65 minutes Scamacca is replaced by Antonio, play is a little stagnant now but Wolves get the ball to Adama and his first time cross is placed right on the spot for Costa who heads it agonisingly wide.
Another smart move by Wolves sees Podence and Ait-Nouri teaming up well but Podence’s cross is too near the keeper.
Wolves go forward again, Diego Costa is a focal point and Adama get’s space but fires over the bar. Wolves attack again and Costa gets into good space and lays the ball across to Podence who scores but the ball from Traore is too late and Diego is offside.
Bruno makes 2 more changes, Semedo and Nunes off replaced by Campbell and Boubacar Traore to chants of you don’t know what you’re doing from the Wolves fans.
Diego Costa again is getting on the end of things and on 76 minutes the ball drops to Campbell who controls it well, pushes into the box and fires just wide.
Costa again gets the ball in the box and gets it out to Campbell on the left who delivers a cross, come shot that goes between the West Ham defence and goalkeeper which they all leave nervously.
Ten minutes to go and the questions need to be asked by Wolves, can they do so?
Wolves continue to press, Costa has made a difference but Wolves still can’t seem to make clear openings. Adama sets himself for a cross which goes behind for another corner which is delivered badly and cleared.
Another ball into the box which Costa again gets on the end of and the ball falls to Ait-Nouri but he can’t make anything of the chance.
86 minutes gone now and West Ham are protecting their lead and their box well.
The referee declares three added minutes of stoppage time just as our captain and leader makes another tackle in the box to prevent an attack – I don’t want you there Ruben I want you in midfield using the ball!
A poor, poor performance from the team in an attacking sense, this far into the season I still don’t see what our plan A is, I don’t see that we even have a plan B. This is down to coaching, playing square pegs in round holes is acceptable in certain aspects but playing a world class midfielder as a centre half for a full game when you have the option to change is a bad inditement on this managements team tactical and technical prowess I feel that now it is time for a change.
man of the match
I can’t think of a single player in this game as I don’t think any of them had a decent game so i will give that award to the only player in a Wolves shirt who seemed to have any positive affect on our game and that was Diego Costa.
Team Rating 5 – only because of our ability to retain possession, if we hadn’t kept the ball so much I would have given it a three!
ARTICLE BY CHRIS HUMPHRIES
Chris Humphries is a Season Ticket holder at Molineux who has been supporting Wolves since the mid 70’s. His other interests include Formula 1 and Rallying.