Football

Another big month ahead for Mick McCarthy and his men

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It's been a mixed month for Mick McCarthy and his Wolves side. They had managed to creep out of the relegation zone briefly but now find themselves well and truly back in it after two defeats on the trot.

Needless to say, they played out of their skin at Eastlands, even taking the lead; but with Carlos Tevez on form, you're going to have trouble if your defence is anything but resolute - an area where Wolves really struggle.

McCarthy was right to be proud of his team's performance against Roberto Mancini's 'super-team' of big money signings. Having found themselves a goal to the good, courtesy of Nenad Milijas's strike inside 15 minutes, Manchester City look a little out of sorts and Wolves were starting to believe they could do a league double over the so-called title contenders.

Take typical defensive collapse, add a pinch of Carlos Tevez and a couple of Toure brothers and you find yourself 4-1 down with under 25 minutes remaining. It was so typical of Wolves to fall apart but let's not let that take away from the class of Carlos Tevez, who went at the Wolves rearguard so hard once he found his feet that they couldn't withstand any longer.

Kevin Doyle and Ronald Zubar spared the away side their blushes; making the scoreline a much more respectable 4-3; but a loss is still a loss and with no points gained it was a relief that West Ham were unable to upset Arsenal in a bid to send McCarthy's side rock bottom.

The FA Cup has rarely provided Wolves fans with much to shout about but can now be the focus of something positive for the West Midlands side. After a lacklustre performance away at Doncaster that resulted in a 1-1 draw, the replay provided some sense of tonic from the Premier League as a strong Wolves side battered the Yorksiremen 5-0.

Goals from Stephen Fletcher, Mujangi-Bia, Kevin Doyle, Matt Jarvis and David Jones saw the home side to a comfortable victory and a tie with fellow Premier League side Stoke in the next round. Hopefully McCarthy can keep this promising cup run going for at least another round - if not only for the team and fans to have something positive to focus on.

Last weekend's clash with Liverpool was to be a tough task as the visitors had started to look a little more dangerous thanks to the arrival of prodigal son 'King' Kenny Dalglish at the helm.

Having beaten the wounded beast that is Liverpool on their own turf not so long ago, Wolves may have felt that a league double over them was in no way a far-fetched idea. Unfortunately for Wolves, the side that turned up had no intentions of rolling over as easily as that night at Anfield.

That, coupled with some basic defensive errors, allowed The Reds to run out comfortable 0-3 winners; with a particularly good performance in the middle of the park from new-boy Raul Mereiles who, you may just remember, scored a peach of a goal to make it 0-2.


A couple of goals from Fernando Torres sealed the victory and Wolves fans will have felt maybe a small sense of reality hit home as they left Molineux.

Mick McCarthy will most likely be thanking his lucky stars and Marouane Fellaini for the fact Wolves still refuse to hit 20th place in the league; the Belgian’s last-gasp strike against West Ham ensuring the East Londoners stay at the bottom for another week at least.

February looks to be another tough month ahead for Wolves. Points are desperately needed to help drag them to safety but just where those points will come from is anyone's guess.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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Football
Premier League
Wolverhampton Wanderers
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