When I look at the situation that Wolves find themselves in, I can’t help but feel a small, barely noticeable brush of sympathy for the supporters, the manager and the players. I by no means wish them well and it wouldn’t matter a jot to me if they were relegated, yet to get rid of McCarthy and replace him with his assistant manager seems folly to me. When considering how McCarthy dragged the club from the Championship to the Premiership and kept them afloat for two years, throwing an inexperienced and most likely under respected Terry Connor into the lion’s den seems sensationally short sighted to me. I think Steve Morgan is similar to Roman Abramovich; an idiot with little idea of what’s best for his club.
If I’m honest I had a bad feeling that tonight would present us with a QPR-esque banana skin; a seemingly innocent biodegradable piece of fruit membrane that may serve to upend us and leave us with a sore arse. Fortunately this was not the case as they insisted on making things very difficult for themselves from the first whistle.
Theo Walcott hasn’t reached the stage where he could be described as “unplayable” by any stretch of the imagination, and many teams combat his pace by playing a deeper line and preventing him from getting on the end of through balls and chips over the top. Wolves decided that this was an unwise course of action and elected instead to play a high line, which rather played into Theo’s hands. In the seventh minute Van Persie chipped a fantastic ball over the top for Walcott, who was promptly bundled over on his way to goal. The referee had no choice but to give a penalty and a red card to Bassong, and while Wenger conceded that to give both was “harsh”, the referees hands were tied in this instance. When considering that Van Persie hadn’t scored in the three previous games (Vermaelen apparently insisted on it), I was expecting a safe penalty in the bottom corner, yet the captain’s confidence shone through and he chipped it straight down the middle, sending Hennessy falling towards the bottom left of the goal despairingly.
If the final nail wasn’t quite in the coffin at this point, Van Persie and Walcott combined again to hammer home moments later a couple of minutes later. After dishing the ball to Persie, Walcott darted inside and received it back immediately, eliminating the centre backs with a quality first touch and slotting in the bottom corner. I can’t help but think that Theo has a touch of the David James about him; when given no time to think he plays off his instincts, which means Theo normally finds the back of the net. Give him a nanosecond to consider what he wants to do and whatever he decides seems to go horribly wrong. I think this is why his crossing tends to be so poor, as he has more time to think and therefore chooses the wrong thing or botches up the right thing.
After those couple of quality moments from Theo his creative well all but dried up, and he struggled to find his team mates on a number of occasions. The moronic Wolves fans insisted on booing him all game for simulation, but I’m sure when they watched Match of the Day last night they’ll see that their booing was a little harsh. These are the same fans that are booing Terry Connor, and I can’t help but wonder why they aren’t directing their booing towards their Steve Morgan.
The half time break came and I thought that Wenger would give the players a little kick in the posterior after an average first half. Yes we were two goals up but the performance was hardly electrifying, and at the half we had only mustered 5 shots. Yet it was Wolves who came back with urgency and determination which Wenger said will give them “a chance to stay in the league”, and they really gave it a decent go. Personally I can’t see any chance of Premier League football in their fixture list next season though as they simply don’t have the technical ability. The couple of chances they created in their resurgent spell were wasted through rushed efforts on goal, and even Doyle couldn’t put his header in the net from 6 yards out. Admittedly Szcz’s save was inspired, but if you’re going to fight relegation then you have to score your chances, particularly if they’re that close to goal.
All fears of a nervy final 20 minutes were put to bed after Yossi netted with a great goal from the edge of the box, wrong footing Hennessy and sending it near post. There’s a subtle truth to Yossi’s style of play; he doesn’t adorn it with flicks and tricks and other gimmicks, he works hard, tracks back better than anyone else does and always puts the team first. As I wrote in the player ratings, his methods are an undeniable way to endear yourself to a set of fans, especially when your contracted to a rival club. I would love for Wenger to sign him on a short term contract this summer, yet I can’t help but feel that Chelsea will want him back after his performances for us. It’s no coincidence in my opinion that this team is flooded with experienced professionals and that we are on our strongest run of form in years. Regardless of how talented a club’s youthful players are this kind of consistency only comes through having played many years at the top level. Ramsey should have won a penalty late in the game, but after being flattened he was “too honest” according to the commentator and “got up too quickly”. And we wonder why players dive and over exaggerate contact..?
So another 3 points in the bag, another clean sheet as well and we are looking to be in a good position to finish with more points and in a higher league position than we did last year, even after having sold Cesc and Na$ri. Personally I think that it can only go down as yet another testament to Wenger’s genius. I won’t be giving too much chat to my Tottenham cheering companions just yet though (twitter background aside), as there’s still plenty of football left to play.
(halls_dja on twitter)