IBO Reporter : Spot51
|Sky were obsessed with some other game in That London, so not much was gleaned from the first hour of their broadcast. Seb Hutchinson was commentating, aided and abetted by former Wolves player, Don Goodman. Neither Manager had any notable insights apart from both feeling their sides had played better than their results suggest. What was clear was that BOTH sides were desperate for a win.
Wolves now wear Castore kit and today opted for an untidy grey and gold. Wolves kicked off and were immediately at it. The ball was worked up the left, then played to Raul. He laid it into the run of Semedo on his right and the Portuguese stung the palms of McC with his shot. The keeper then came to catch Moutinho’s corner. MoE and Marcal ran into each other on 3' and play was stopped while both were seeing stars. The Medics determined neither was concussed, so both were able to play on. On 5' Kilman played a dodgy square ball which Saints pounced on. MoE hit a firm shot but straight at keeper Sa. Saints next attack saw KWP fouled and we got a free kick. JWP crossed and Bednarek’s header was caught by Sa. The game didn’t flow, as both sides had trouble keeping the ball. Most of these turnovers were in midfield, so rarely led to any excitement. Raul briefly got a sight of goal but Salisu blocked him.
MoE looked most likely to create for Saints, but when he finally played in Ché, the forward was offside. Neither side was threatening to score. A Podence cross was easily dealt with by our keeper and when Redmond finally got a cross in, there were no R&W shirts near it. If anything, Saints were “on top” but failed to cause Wolves any serious problems. On 27' Raul was clattered and stayed down, but he’d already be flagged offside. He was also able to carry on. A minute later, Romeu gave the ball to Raul but, in typical fashion, pursued the Mexican and won it back. On 29' Saints had a shot on target, but Adam’s effort was so tame, Sa just bent down to pick it up. This was NOT a great advert for EPL football.
Saints kept at it and, on 37', Tino was body checked as he tried to get forward. JWP’s free kick was headed away by Semedo. The ball dropped towards Alfa who executed a difficult volley which kept rising and probably landed in the Northam car park. On 40' the lively Tino delivered a decent low cross to the near post, but Saiss got there at the same time as Ché and blocked his volley.
From the resulting throw in, Saints lofted the ball into the box, where Redmond gathered, turned and slammed it into the roof of the net. As he turned away to celebrate, he saw the lino’s raised flag and replays confirmed he’d been well offside. Moments later Sa was a bit too casual at the back and turned over the ball. At last Adam hit a decent shot but, sadly, straight into the keeper’s gloves. On 43', Raul won a corner, but Saints cleared Marcal’s cross. Nothing of note occurred before Andy Madley blew for half time: 0-0, but not in a good way!
You know the first sign of madness? Keep doing the same thing and expecting different outcomes. So, why neither manager made changes at half time is fecking unbelievable!
Saints kicked off towards the Chapel end and again looked to be getting forward more. Indeed, on 49' JWP was inside the box with the ball at – or rather under – his feet and it rolled gently to the Wolves keeper. The sight of Traore warming up encouraged Wolves forward where they won a corner. Moutinho’s cross was cleared, but the ball was recycled to Raul whose shot was blocked by Adams. Up the other end, Redmond won a corner which JWP took. His cross was headed away and the ball was played back in, straight to Sa once again.
Saints then created a couple of decent chances. Adams and Armstrong worked the ball to Tino, whose low shot was turned round the post. JWP’s corner was headed out again, but Romeu won it and found MoE. He hit a powerful shot which Sa blocked and reacted quickly to foil Adams closing in. As soon as the original shot bounced back Adams was flagged offside. Wolves then got forward, but Salisu won the ball back setting Saints forward again. Tino was again involved, setting up MoE whose shot was blocked – by Adams’ arse FFS! Sa collected the ball and looked downfield. Both our full backs were slowly jogging back, unaware the keeper was going long. His kick sailed beyond them leaving Raul running with Jan to contest the ball.
I first saw Raul Jimenez at Wembley in 2012 when he came on for Peralta in extra time in Mexico’s Olympic ¼ Final v Senegal. Leading the line for the opposition was one Sadio Mane. Mexico won that 4-2 and Raul came on in both the semi final victory over Maya Yoshida’s Japan and the Gold Medal win against Neymar’s Brazil.
He left Mexico in 2014 spending a season with Atleti in Madrid before (at the behest of his Agent, Jorge Mendes) going to Benfica. The following year he completed his move and spent 3 seasons in Lisbon, scoring 18 times in 80 games, while becoming Mexico’s centre forward of choice. Mendes organised his loan to newly promoted Wolves in 2018, where he scored 13 times and was signed permanently for €38M. He carried on scoring regularly for Wolves until last November when, in a horrible clash of heads with Arsenal’s David Luiz, he broke his skull. His season was over and he has been gently re-introduced to Wolves First XI this season.
Raul is a World Class striker and was always going to get back to scoring eventually. Sadly, on Sunday it was against us. He brushed aside the challenge of Bednarek, drove past Salisu before checking back inside. Bednarek went past Raul as he turned and stuck the ball beyond McCarthy. It was a beautiful goal, worthy of winning any match – especially one as poor as this. 0-1 to Wolves.
Saints huffed and puffed. Romeu set up Adams who fired right at Sa. He and Redmond were then hooked, Ralph sending on Broja and Djenepo. The latter showed greater ambition than had Redmond but nothing much happened until the Malian was fouled by Moutinho. This gave us a free kick in a decent area, but Sa read JWP’s intentions and caught his shot at the near post.
Traore eventually arrived on 70' replacing Podence. He went wide right, but KWP was soon hauled off with Long coming on instead. Djenepo was now nominally our left back and to his credit he often dragged Traore the way he didn’t want to go. Despite us continuing to dominate the ball, Wolves were never stressed. Their 3 big defenders won everything in the air and Saints gave no impression that they could break them down if they kept on till supper time.
They kept trying though and a ball from the left found Long in front of goal As the ball arrived, so did one of their centre-halves, blocking the ball for a corner. As usual, a Wolves head was on the end of it. On 83' Djenepo’s shot deflected off Saiss. Another corner, another Wolves clearance. FFS! Hoever and Neves then replaced Semedo and Hwang, but Saints kept plugging away with no reward. When the 4th Official hoisted +6' on his board I already wanted it over. Don Goodman rightly named Raul his MoM, but the Mexican really should have put the game out of reach if he’d squared the ball to Traore rather than try to beat McCarthy at his near post.
A rush of Wolves players feigning cramp encouraged the Ref to play 8 more minutes but, at last, he brought our suffering to an end. That was a dreadful bloody match. I’m not saying I’ve not seen us play worse (I have), but for this group of players to deliver such an inept and uninspiring performance fills me with dread. All the hard work expended in 3 of our 4 recent draws was just tossed away against a side with 4 recent defeats.
Man of the Match
The only class performances came from Wolves players. Raul was great and their defence and goalkeeper never gave us much hope. On our side I toyed with naming Nathan Tella who didn’t tarnish his reputation on the bench but, if I must nominate someone who played for us, perhaps Mo Elyounoussi was marginally better than Tino.