How much did anyone really learn from today’s game? Perhaps this article would be more aptly titled, things we already knew that were punctuated by the events that unfolded at Bramall Lane. The game played out in a way that would have been considered formulaic even by the standards of the laziest of script writers. Predictability does not diminish the frustration that all Wolves fans must be feeling today. A game, performance and result that felt like a gut punch of reality that Wolves will need to rebound from quickly.


This is not new; it has been a trend going back years. Teams on a bad run must look at their upcoming fixtures and pray that Wolves are coming to town in the imminent future. This is so longstanding that it feels almost as ingrained in the Wolves DNA as the old gold kit. It’s part of the fabric of the club. This cannot be considered a fluke. There is always a sense of foreboding going into these games. A pessimism that seems to summon the reality into the universe and the self defeatist prophecy invariably comes true. Sheffield United are a poor side that in the first half played poorly. Wolves were on a different level to their opponents but somehow, the natural order of things prevent Wolves from being able to escape the predetermined destiny. The bread will land butter side down, the other queue will move faster, Wolves will gift points to poor teams on bad runs.



Pedro Neto injury 'stressful' for Wolves as big claim emerges | OneFootball

Even the very best teams with the deepest of squads miss their best players when they are out. They miss them even more when the player in question is in peek form. Pedro Neto was always going to be an impossible hole for Wolves to fill. And so, it proved. In a first half dominated by a Wolves team vastly superior to their opponents with several more gears available to move into, Wolves were not able to transfer control into goals or even chances. What Wolves did create was an endless succession of promising positions that needed more guile to turn into chances. On the few occasions they did manage to unlock the door, a bad touch or a bad decision invariably followed. You got the feeling that belief was lost within the players who were looking longingly for their talisman to release the floodgates. Without Neto, someone had to step up, someone had to take ownership and drag the team into a deserved lead, but it didn’t happen. The over reliance on Neto was almost palpable and his return can not come quickly enough. Wolves lack of depth is obvious, some additions are needed in January.



Semedo hé lộ góc khuất việc bị Barcelona thanh lý | Goal.com Việt Nam

Semedo is a good player, better perhaps than many give credit for. He is a solid defender that doesn’t get beaten that often and his build up play is fast and creates problems. He was Wolves biggest threat in the first half and the adjustment of Sheffield United after half time to tie up Semedo and stop him finding space, was the most significant tactical play of the game. Something happens to Semedo however when he is in the opposition area. Suddenly he seems to forget that he is a professional footballer, his brain appears to turn into mush and a malevolent spirit ties his shoelaces together, preventing his feet from moving correctly. It’s not just in this game, though it was particularly apparent here because of the amount of attacking he was able to do in the first half, it’s every game. Semedo is a wingback that creates problems for opponents until he crosses the line into the penalty area. The statistics are clear. Semedo does not create chances; Semedo does not finish chances. Crosses endlessly go straight to the keeper and shots are either snatched at or avoided altogether. Wolves will continue to play with advanced full backs and Semedo fills this role perfectly across most of the pitch. But Wolves need more from a player who often finds himself in advanced positions. The obvious replacement has exactly the opposite problem. Doherty lacks pace and is regularly beaten. In the opposition area though, he can be prolific. What Wolves would give for a hybrid of the two.



Wolves were abysmal in the second half. Comfortably the worst they have played all season. Bellegarde’s late leveller should have seen Wolves take something from the game that the first half about deserved but was out of nowhere in context of the game. Seldom will you see in any division, let alone the worlds best league, such a half where one team continually and repeatedly got the basics of football wrong. Passes were constantly misplaced, not to the extent that they would find the opposition, but simple passes were hit just behind players or causing them to alter their stride. The first touch was invariably heavy or clumsy throughout the team. Conditions would have contributed, but it just kept happening. Like a virus that effected the whole team. Decision making was poor. Endless goal-kicks punted to no one and causing problems. The now standard goalkeeping error not helping the confidence of the team. Sheffield United’s opener was well finished but came from a throw in near their area and whilst some luck was involved, Toti’s clearance looked careless and without any direction. Having scrambled an equaliser from nowhere, Wolves could not get on the front foot. They could not get possession of the football. When they did have it, foul throws! The eventual winner came from losing possession on a foul throw! A lot happened after that, a debatable corner, a succession of chances to clear the ball before the inevitable happened. Fundamentally the root cause of this result was that Wolves failed to do the very basics of football to the required standard. The loss was not caused by VAR or officiating.



There were three stoppages yesterday where the officials tried their very best to give Sheffield United a penalty. Two related to ridiculous assessments of handballs, the first against Dawson was looked at for way longer than it should have been and the second block from Lemina may have been closer. Regardless, even before the eventual penalty, the officials seemed intent on awarding something. They would get their chance. Like Hwang’s a week earlier, this was another dreadful decision that didn’t need to be made. Once again, this was caused by Wolves own mistakes. Just as Hwang took too long to clear a week earlier, Silva had multiple chances to clear the ball. His actions up to the penalty award had looked erratic, the three seconds before felt like an age where he was pushing and swinging legs. Like a player trying way to hard, he sensed a danger that really didn’t exist, and his swing of legs gave the opportunity for another terrible decision to be awarded. As with the Hwang incident, the official gives a decision based on what he thinks he saw happen. On both occasions, the referee thinks that the players have kicked through their opponents and have awarded a penalty. In both instances, that is not what has happened. Its not so much the visuals that should be at play here, it shouldn’t be that VAR are looking for the smallest of touches attempting to justify a decision that was factually wrong to start with. The conversation should for both instances have been: –


VAR: What did you give the penalty for?

Ref: They have kicked through the leg of the player and brought them down

VAR: hmm you might want to have a look at this, that’s not what happened

Ref: Is there a contact?

VAR: we can’t confirm there was any contact after several minutes of review

Ref: how did they fall over?

VAR: They were already diving before the incident, so if there is a touch, it was so small that we can’t see it and after the dive was initiated.

Ref: so, what I thought happened, was not what actually happened?

VAR: Yes, regardless of whether a touch existed, it was so small to not impact attacker. Attacker diving to seek advantage. Recommend booking for diving no penalty.

What the conversation would have been will be more like:

VAR: What did you give the penalty for?

Ref: They have kicked through the leg of the player and brought them down

VAR: We can’t confirm there was any contact after several minutes of review

Ref: So, what I thought happened wasn’t what happened, but you can’t say that there wasn’t any touch.

VAR: Yes, we can not definitively say that there wasn’t a very small touch

Ref: So even though I have given a penalty for something that didn’t happen, there is nothing to say that there wasn’t a different offence, or the legs have touched.

VAR: that’s right.

Ref: Penalty.

It’s not so much now whether the officials know the rules of the game, it’s whether they are intelligent enough people to follow basic logic. Either way, Wolves will feel themselves hard done by again. Wolves will now argue they are directly six points worse off than they should be owing solely to officiating and it is hard to argue with that. In reality though, as frustrating and infuriating as the officials are, Wolves should win this game without leaving it to chance, incompetence, or any other reason for the succession of terrible decisions.



The whole cameo was a weird one. Booked within 30 seconds of coming on, a missed header and gave away a penalty which left him clearly distraught. His performance didn’t lack effort if anything the opposite was true. He looks desperate to do well, the club and fans are desperate for him to do well. Sometimes it just doesn’t work for some players at some clubs. That looks like its going to be an expensive lesson for Wolves. If ever a player needed a goal to go in off their literal backside, then it is Fabio Silva. The reactions at the end from Silva and the divisiveness of the reaction on social media, make it feel like the camels back may have finally been broken here.



Frustrating performance, game, and result. Should have taken a draw and gone home. Wolves being Wolves though have a habit of doing things in an overly complicated way. Would anyone really be surprised if losing to the bottom club without a win in ten, is followed up with a win against the club currently in first. It is the Wolves way.


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