Wolves 2-0 Fulham

Yikes.  A horror show from Fulham, the sort of performance that really causes fans to question the team’s direction, second league game of the season or otherwise.  Wolves are a handy side, of course, and were at home, but we’d expect to have given them more of a game. We’d expect to not play so carelessly, so… well, what do you call that?  Sloppy is another word.

The defence conceded two shoddy goals, the midfield kept giving the ball away, the forward line was about as static as a team at this level can be.   It reminds me of the old ‘can’t bat, can’t bowl, can’t field’ headline that cricket journalist Martin Johnson used to describe the England cricket team.  Fulham have enough credit, enough goodwill in the bank for us to not get too carried away, but you can’t play like that.

Put another way, who comes out of the game with credit?  Philippe Senderos perhaps, Dickson Etuhu maybe (although he was taken off at half-time owing to the goal shortage – but he did alright until then) and then Steve Sidwell, whose performance was a tidal wave in a duck-pond. He’ll start next week.  He has to.  Ditto Moussa Dembele, who wanted the ball and tried to do things with it.  The fact that his teammates’ movement was non-existent was baffling and enfuriating, and meant that there were few passes to make the most of the angles his trickery created.  Even John Arne Riise looked tentative going forward – I’d expected more from his overlaps.

Fulham had a good chance early when Duff shot wide from a right-wing cross.  He should certainly have scored, and the game may then have taken a different course.   He didn’t, it didn’t, and until Andy Johnson shot at the keeper in the second half (Dempsey was denied the rebound by some excellent defending – I thought he’d scored) we didn’t create much at all.

Neither did Wolves, really, but then they didn’t have to, having scored twice in the run-up to half-time.  The first was a good finish by Doyle, but the fact that you rarely see forwards score goals like that in this league suggests that he ought to have been stopped.  The second goal had an air of misfortune, but also of shoddy defending.  What’s happened to our team?

It could just be standard away day blues, early season rust, long-pre-season fatigue, or merely ‘one of those things’.  The latter seems more likely, especially given Bobby Zamora’s absence from the XI, but even so… very disappointing.

6 thoughts on “Wolves 2-0 Fulham

  1. Miserable performance. Not fortuitous. But just one match. I didn’t think Etuhu was strong in the first half. Duff was active if nothing else. Hangeland’s distribution was miserable.

    Moving on to Dnipro and Newcastle.

    Page turned.

  2. I thought Dickson had a very good first half, so mystified why he was taken off. Murphy if anyone, should have gone. Didn’t notice Sidwell in the 2nd half, except for some early energetic tackles. Hangeland had probably his worst game for Fulham. Dempsey anonymous. Wolves showed us how it should be done – direct, speedy, energetic. We had none of that.

  3. I’m sorry, but I can’t agree about Sidwell. I thought he made the perfect start to the half, and then pretty much disappeared along with the rest of the group. And, speaking of disagreement, it seemed to me that Dembele’s chief contribution to the day’s efforts was to take all the snap out of our passing exchanges by holding the ball too long and dribbling to nowhere.

    It’s sad when the 4 most creative attacking players in a Wolves v. Fulham match all are wearing Old Gold. We were miserable today, and I haven’t a clue how to read our manager in terms of tactics and squad selection.

  4. Awful – as my Wolves supporting friends said to me : Fulham today were a shadow of the team that played at Molineux last season.

  5. From the stands, the alarming thing was how grumpy all the players seemed – giving up easily, arguing against themselves etc. Murphy’s body language can be pretty awful for a supposed leader. I don’t think we ever looked like such a rabble under either Hodgson or Hughes, even when we played badly. Or maybe it just always seems worse in the immediate aftermath.

    Agree about Etuhu’s improvement this week, and also with HatterDon re: Sidwell – seemed to announce his presence well in his first five minutes but then fade out. It feels as if Jol needs to decide which one of these two is first choice and stick with it for a while… the chopping and changing can’t be helping them, or Murphy next to them. On current form I’d probably go with Sidwell.

    I guess this was the best we’ve seen of Dembele this season, but he remains promising, i.e. looks like he might do something soon, but not actually doing much now.

    Fingers crossed the whole thing was an aberration.

  6. Must say that I agree with HatterDon about Dembele. Dembele clearly has talent with the ball at his feet and can take a man on, but he certainly stops other players making forward runs by refusing to release the ball quickly enough.

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