Wolves defence could cost them Premier League survival
Posted 27th January 2011
If Wolves are to beat the odds and survive the relegation dogfight in which they now find themselves, then they are going to have to tighten up at the back. In their last four Premier League matches, they have conceded nine goals – and that includes an improbable clean sheet against Chelsea. By conceding two against fellow strugglers West Ham, four against Manchester City and then another two last weekend against a revitalised Liverpool side, they are giving themselves virtually no chance of making up the points they need to beat the drop and the football odds reflect this.
In that home match against Chelsea they did the basics right, and despite lining up against a vast array of international players, they both defended and attacked as single unit – and it is this togetherness which will be the key to keeping their side in the Premier League. That day, the visitors managed just seven shots on target over the course of the ninety minutes, mainly down to a combination of pressing all over the park and brave last-ditch defending.
However, fast forward to their last home outing against a Liverpool side which have been struggling away from Anfield for the last twelve months, and that solidarity seems to have evaporated. Although it would be unfair to suggest that the Reds sliced through the Wolves defence with their every attack, they certainly found it easier than any their recent away fixtures. The side are now most people's football betting tip for the drop, and they will need to make some changes if they are to stay up.
And the quality of Wolves' signings suggests that they are more or less preparing themselves to spend the next season in the Championship. Compared to the spending taking place at West Ham or Aston Villa, the introduction of Adam Hammill and extensions of the contracts of Karl Henry and defender Richard Stearman do not suggest that they are willing to give Mick McCarthy the sort of financial backing that they need to continue playing at the highest level.
A real plus for McCarthy will be the number of goals that his side has scored of late – ten in their last four outings in all competitions. If they can just tighten up at the back while continuing the good work at the other end, they might just be playing in the Premier League in August.