Craig hickey looks at the things we learnt from wolves v palace
Another test against a flourishing team who have been boosted by the return of Roy Hodgson, so what can we take from this game…?
1. Fans are the 12th man
Julen Lopetegui and the players realise that our support can drive them on but ultimately, they need to keep their end of the deal tonight. The games on an evening against teams who have a long journey such as Palace, can lack atmosphere. It wasn’t going to be easy for us all to get here early, work, travel, traffic etc. The first half lacked the boisterous volume they wanted albeit the early 3 min own goal which was greeted by delight by the Molineux faithful but the half time beer worked and the place rocked for long periods of the 2nd half, set up by a gutsy, stubborn performance to get the 3 points we needed.
2. Diego Costa is getting better
A player who when he first signed looked way off the pace. Now he looks leaner, fitter, stronger and shows his qualities every game. You can see the class and awareness to be in the right place for a pass. Surely, he is worth another year? Let’s not forget that he is a strong character on and off the pitch and this shows with the respect he gets from his team mates. Diego demands high standards from his team and leads by example, let’s not forget his age but that has not held him back the last few weeks, Vamos Diego!!
3. Lemina is a tough cookie
Mario Lemina is picking up some niggling knocks every game, some may ask questions regarding his fitness and why does he keep pulling up in games. This guy is a tough cookie, he gives it out and takes it back and he gives everything in games, he breaks up play, tracks back and surges forward at pace. He is going to take some kicks, but he just keeps bouncing back, he has been one of the leading driving forces in our positive performances.
4. Wolves do get penalties
At last we can say we got a penalty and it wasn’t down to VAR, referee Robert Jones was adamant that Sam Johnstone cleaned out Pedro Neto and didn’t ask for a VAR check. I cant forget the other 92 minutes of his officiating which at times was infuriating due to Crystal Palace falling over when breathed on. We will take the spot kick though at this critical time, even if its been weeks overdue!
5. Chinos are cool and its dinner again for the players
Stupid as it seems, Julen is becoming renowned for wearing his Chinos and roll neck jumpers during our wins, even I wore mine last night. I say wear them every game until May 28th, he could even get a sponsorship deal from a top brand to wear them every week, Champions League next year? I know….but we can dream.
6. The Lopetegui Factor
Its not an exact science or is it? Winning football matches in the Premier League is tough and you can’t win em all but you can set out a style of playing etc and try to achieve as much as possible. If we were all truly honest, we make mistakes at work and in life but that’s how we learn to move forward. Against Crystal Palace we worked hard and battled to win the game, its not easy but if you look at the stats for Julen, he gets it right more times than not. The clean sheets we are having of late and the closing down of games, in particular at home.
The statistics can prove it but in short since he took over JL has taken 27 points from 18 games, prior to that it was 10 points from 15 games with Lage and Davis. If we had continued with the ratio from the first 15 games we would be on 25 points by the end of the season, relegated. Now were looking at about 44 -45 points that we could achieve based on his record at Wolves, that’s The Lopetegui Factor.
ARTICLE BY CRAIG HICKEY
A 53 year old season ticket holder in the Steve Bull stand. Go along with my two young lads who love the Wolves and so far, the positive times. Long may it continue.