Wolverhampton Wanderers, Molineux Stadium
Saturday 28th October, 5:30PM
Live on SKY SPORTS
Starting Prem Positions:
WWFC 12th P9 W3 D2 L4 GD-4 11 Points
NUFC 6th P9 W5 D1 L3 GD+15 16 Points
The Wolves support are nicknamed ‘The Dingles’ by their Midlands neighbours. The name is taken from an erm uncomplicated family that featured on British soap Emmerdale in the 1990s. They also possess a pretty grim accent.
This Saturday sees us back on the road and back to the nitty gritty of the Premier League. Next up it’s Gary O’Neil’s recently resurgent Wolverhampton Wanderers. And here’s Nick Clark with your matchday preview…
Having exhibited ebullience (bordering on outright bullishness) in my Dortmund preview, I think it’s best I return to type. I’ll admit it: United were flying and I got all giddy and that. Pride came before my fall, and it’s a lesson learned. Don’t be optimistic. It rarely ends well.
With that in mind, I’ll look ahead to our latest televised fixture…
Our hosts have clearly profited from Bournemouth’s poor judgement in the summer. Mr O’Neil took over the temporary (then later full) reins of the south coast minnows following a nine goal reverse at Anfield, and it looked a mountainous task to keep the Cherries in the Premiership. However, he guided them to safety, and was rewarded with a ‘Dear John’ following a 15th place finish. Harsh.
It looked another tough task, as Wolves had just endured an unenjoyable campaign with esteemed outgoing coach, Julen Lopetegui, citing a lack of transfer funds as the major problem. The incoming O’Neil has however had some early success; last time out, he had the satisfaction of turning over his recent charges at the Vitality Stadium by 2 goals to 1. They’ve also brought in Matheus Cunha, Jean-Ricner Bellegarde, Santiago Bueno, Matt Doherty, Enso Gonzalez and Tom King, whilst Tommy Doyle has joined on a season-long loan from Manchester City. All in all, spending circa €90M. So, I’m not entirely sure what Senõr Lopetegui’s beef was, and frankly I don’t care.
It’s not been all plain sailing for the Old Gold’s though. A significant result was turning over Pep’s Galactiocos 2-1 at Molineux, but they’ve still only managed wins in a third of their nine games. We need to keep an eye out for Hwang Lee-Chan; he may have unwittingly assisted Maxi’s spectacular equaliser last time out, but he’s getting himself amongst the goals these days.
Any-road… on to the Mags.
For me, Wednesday night was a weird watch. Yes, Dortmund are well-drilled and used to playing in the Champions League, but we were way off it for about an hour, particularly in the centre of the park. We naively played into their hands time and time again, attacking with abandon, losing possession cheaply and then suffering a few hairy moments as they countered rapidly with men over. It was only a matter of time before one of these rapier-like forays succeeded, and then it was always going to be an uphill task, especially in those worsening conditions.
I happily give Eddie praise 90-odd percent of the time, but I’ve got to call it as I see it. Even at the risk of being told to give ‘my heed a wobble’ off nameless Geordie Twitter/X handles, this game had a few unwanted similarities to the Liverpool defeat. Against the Mersey Reds, we kept on attacking gung-ho when we were already a goal up v 10 men. The result of that was they twice won the ball cheaply in midfield, and got in behind us. On Wednesday, our opponents desperately needed 3 points, but in a similar fashion, I believe we played into their hands by attacking in a somewhat desperate fashion. I’m sure it was great to watch for the neutral, but the Germans were the only ones to profit.
The Champions League is fucking class when you’re dicking PSG 4-1, but less so when you lose two of your squad to naughty-looking injuries and you’re defeated 1-0 in the pissing rain. Add to that, with Tonali’s incoming ban, we are suddenly looking a little light.
Amidst the hysteria, those of us a bit longer in the tooth knew these days were coming. It’s how you bounce back that matters. Ask Alan Partridge. So, Saturday evening presents a big challenge for the lads.
Wolves are more rested. They’ll fancy their chances. We are, however, a resilient bunch. Without European football stretching our squad, I’d have fancied our chances more, but I’m gonna plump for the same result as last time out. 1-1.
Finally, a quick message to you corporate types who’ve suddenly jumped to the front of the away queue: be wary of the big molten ‘W’s’ in front of the away end (side). I know you won’t be aware of them. They’re hotter than the sun.