Hawthorns shithole

West Brom 1-1 Wolves: The Debrief

On a saturated evening that was supposed to provide one final crumb of sustenance from an increasingly mouldy season, Wolves trudged through the puddles to earn a draw against the old enemy.


It wasn’t catwalk football. Many of the players may have viewed it as “just another game”. The lack of fans did not help get the blood pumping as was required for such an occasion. But between the dark grey clouds circling above The Hawthorns there grew some green shoots of light. 


Young legs, fresh ideas, neat combination play; something for viewers at home to cling on to. After last week’s 4-0 loss to Burnley it was the marked improvement so badly needed.


Early on the ever-industrious Fabio Silva looked particularly isolated as he hustled and bustled against the physical powerhouses of the Albion defence. 


Straight after his goal we tweeted: “Made up for Silva. Not stopped trying all half. Throughout the season every opportunity he’s had, every criticism and missed chance, never let his head drop.”


It was a glorious scuff but nobody cared. From 45-yard volleys to a five-yard tap in they all count the same.


Otasowie improved as the game went on


Once again played in a disjointed role, Owen Otasowie stuttered and stammered in a poor start. An early string of misplaced passes likely occurred from Owen misjudging the weight of the rain on the turf. Noted by the commentators as being a model, Otasowie looked like a model playing a footballer in a TV drama. 


After a laboured first 45, the second half at least brought more promising intent from the young American. Driving forward with the ball at his feet, there were raw glimpses of the 20-year-old’s potential.


Talking of potential, both Ait-Nouri and Vitinha excelled. As Wolves grew into the game Nelson Semedo’s wait for a goal nearly ended on the half hour mark. Vitinha’s forward movement and propensity to run with the ball caused issues for the hosts.


As the home side gently raised the temperature Rui Patricio earned his corn with a smart save from Conor Gallagher. Wolves retreated. Semedo went wandering. Matt Phillips found more joy down the left.


Albion’s single moment of hope arrived when Roman Saiss pulled his increasingly regular trick of falling asleep at the wheel. The Moroccan managed to fluff his lines in front of goal yet also go missing in his own box when it really mattered. 


Once Otasowie and Vitinha had the stabilisers taken off, both looked threatening. After his previously mentioned ropy start Otasowie grew into the game. Vitinha’s contribution held great promise and increased the likelihood of his fee being triggered.


Mike Dean’s introduction at half time stifled the flow of the game. The whistle-happy veteran is more effective than any midfield enforcer at stopping free-flowing counter attacks. 


How to deal with a problem like Podence?


While clearly not match fit, Daniel Podence is also a discussion point. The sprightly magician is well balanced, fast and skilled but has yet to find consistency. How many games since his arrival has Podence held great influence over? 


Perhaps the diminutive Portuguese is becoming a luxury the squad can ill afford. However, shipping him out (if indeed a buyer could be found) would be a heavy-handed decision at this point.


Podence was introduced to help ease the defensive burden and get Wolves functioning higher up the pitch. Playing under pressure in the second half was expected given the fact that the home side were fighting for their Premier League lives. Wolves weathered the metaphorical storm before the actual storm descended and the game floated towards its conclusion.


Described as biblical by the commentary team, the weather was more farcical as the ball skidded across the turf one minute before dragging across the sodden grass like a boulder the next. 


Injury aside there can be no reason to leave Vitinha out of the remaining fixtures. Another fleet-footed slickster, Morgan Gibbs-White, made a positive impact with his driving runs and penchant for a slide tackle. 


The youngsters offered a vibrancy of movement. A willingness to pull the head up, run with the ball or pick the forward thinking through pass rather than the gloopy sidewards offerings of the old guard.


Is there any solace in relegating the old enemy? Possibly, but without a band of several thousand away fans goading and jeering their counterparts it was all pretty tame stuff. Pushing West Brom closer to the trap door, not quite kicking and screaming, is small consolation for not getting the win.


Monday was a chance for a glimpse at the possibilities of our next generation. Badgered into a line-up change, Nuno offered the spotlight to some fresh faces and they at least made a case for another shot. 


Even though Wolves’ third season has been a difficult experience on so many levels, the best teams and the best players will once again grace Molineux after the summer reshuffle.


With four points out of six, across two fixtures, West Brom won the battle. But the men in Gold and Black won the war. Perhaps we’ll meet them again sometime?


Steve Wellings is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him on Twitter here 

Hawthorns shithole

West Brom 1-1 Wolves Player Ratings

Wolves avoided the embarrassment of defeat against West Brom at the Hawthorns but will have been disappointed not to come away with all three points. Fabio Silva’s fortuitous opener put Wolves ahead at the break after an impressive first half display, but poor defending led to Diagne equalising for the hosts mid-way through the second half. Both sides had chances to win it, but it was Wolves who ended the stronger side without threatening Sam Johnstone in the Albion goal. Despite their pending relegation, Albion will no doubt be delighted to have taken four points off Wolves this season.


Rui Patricio 

Kept Wolves in it with two superb saves after the break, both from close range. The Portuguese shot stopper had a relatively quiet first half but dealt well in tough conditions, looking confident coming for the ball in a crowded and physical penalty area. 8/10


Nelson Semedo

Contributed well going forwards looking to link and support both Otasowie and Vitinha on the right-hand side. However, as often happens when Semedo plays in a back four, he should have closed the cross down far quicker which ultimately led to the equaliser. 6/10


Conor Coady

Recovered well from last weekend’s humiliating performance against Burnley, certainly looking up for the Black Country derby. Coady organised the back four well and was not afraid to play balls in behind, hoping to take advantage of the poor conditions. 6/10


Romain Saiss 

Will be extremely disappointed to have lost Diagne for the Albion goal. Prior to the cross coming in Saiss seemed to have his man under control, but one lapse in concentration meant Wolves’ lead was wiped out. Besides the mistake he was relatively comfortable and proved an important aerial presence in the box. 5/10


Rayan Ait-Nouri

An impressive all round performance form Ait-Nouri who is benefitting greatly from a consistent run in the side. He was assured defensively and contributed well going forwards, being more direct in his running and causing the Albion defence problems. 7/10


Leander Dendoncker

A difficult game for the midfield which in truth, neither side could dominate. Dendoncker certainly covered a lot of ground as we have come to expect and was not afraid to do the dirty work and break up play. He was unable to have any meaningful impact on the game going forward. 6/10


Ruben Neves

Like Dendoncker, Neves certainly relished the derby game and the poor conditions, launching himself into numerous tackles and winning the ball back on almost every occasion. He had several long-range shots on goal, all of which were frustratingly wasted. 6/10


Owen Otasowie

Justified his place in the side and was seen in yet another position as he played to the right of Vitinha in the three behind Silva. Was confident on the ball and wanted to get involved at every opportunity. He did waste possession on occasions but his willingness to get on the ball and play is something that should not be discouraged. 7/10



An excellent performance form Vitinha which has Wolves fans wondering why we have not seen more of the youngster. He was direct and wanted to create a chance at every opportunity, including a long-range effort which was well saved by Johnstone. His link up play with Silva was impressive and certainly something to build on, but the moment of the match was his neat flick into the path of Semedo which ultimately led to the goal. 8/10


Adama Traore

 A frustrating night for Traore who will have been disappointed not to have exerted a greater influence on the game. It certainly wasn’t for the want of trying, but the conditions were against him and Albion had clearly planned to crowd him out of the game at every opportunity. 6/10


Fabio Silva

A rare start for the Portuguese wonderkid and a second goal in a black country derby. There was a huge slice of goof fortune in the deflection back off Silva which ultimately led to the goal, but it was the bit of luck that both Wolves and Silva deserved. His link up play was impressive and he has surely done enough to warrant a start against Brighton on Sunday. 7/10



Daniel Podence

Came on for Otasowie mid-way through the second half and struggled to gain any kind of foothold in the game. His passing was poor, wasting good opportunities to counterattack. He was brushed off the ball on two occasions and hasn’t really seemed himself since his injury. 5/10


Morgan Gibbs-White

Followed on from his impressive cameo against Fulham to exert more enthusiasm into the game. The Stafford born midfielder will know exactly what the game means to the fans, and certainly didn’t disappoint in his short time on the pitch, flying into tackles and looking to get forward whenever possible. 6/10


Max Kilman

A short stint at left back from Kilman following Ait-Nouri’s injury. He had a faultless ten minutes, defending well and trying to keep the ball as Wolves looked to put pressure on Albion as the game drew to its conclusion. 6/10


Ciaran Barker is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him on Twitter here.

Hawthorns shithole

West Bromwich Albion v Wolves Match Preview

Wolves face West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League at The Hawthorns off the back of a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Burnley. Wolves were shambolic last time out and face an Albion side clinging on to a small glimmer of hope of retaining their Premier League status. The Black Country derby takes place on bank holiday Monday, May 3 and kicks-off at 6pm live on Sky Sports. 


Wolves form 


Wolves ended a two-game winning run with last Sunday’s collapse against Burnley at Molineux. The 1-0 wins over Fulham and Sheffield United were not exactly convincing either and up against a team who Wolves rarely play well against, they were exposed defensively and made to look rather silly against Chris Wood and co. 


There wasn’t really any positives from that game other than we are one step closer to this horrible season ending. 


They usually say that form goes out of the window or a derby fixture but with Wolves’ tepid performances for the best part of 12 months, I’m pretty sure even without the Burnley result, Wolves would not be looking forward to this game. 


Having said that, Wolves sit 12th in the league table and barring a huge goal difference swing, they can’t actually lose a position. Although Palace in 13th do have a game in hand. 


West Brom form


West Brom look all but set to join Sheffield United in the Championship next season however they are still not down and out just yet. Two recent impressive wins included a 3-0 win over Southampton and a 5-2 away win at Stamford Bridge when Thiago Silva was sent off inside 30 minutes. They followed this up with a 3-0 defeat to Leicester before conceding a 92nd minute Keinan Davis equaliser vs Aston Villa last weekend. 


They have still only won five games this season, one of those coming in their 3-2 win at Molineux, which I’ll sadly recap shortly. 


Matheus Pereira has been their dangerman this season whilst recent addition Mbaye Diagne has scored a couple of goals however time is running out for the home side. Nevertheless, a win over a tame Wolves outfit would keep them in the league for a little bit longer.


West Brom vs Wolves Team News


From what we know, Wolves are likely to be without long-term absentees Raul Jimenez, Pedro Neto, Jonny Castro Otto and Marcal. Joao Moutinho missed the Burnley mess with an injury picked up in training. 


Nuno has been reluctant to change things even with safety all but secure and after every heavy defeat this season, he has placed an even bigger emphasis on defending and protecting a clean sheet. Wolves can’t defend in a four or five, so if he wants to play with a four going forward, he needs to play it and stick with it. 


Potential side: Patricio, Semedo, Boly, Coady, Ait-Nouri, Neves, Moutinho, Podence, Vitinha, Traore, Silva. 


Robert Snodgrass looks like he could return for Albion with Branislav Ivanovic the only other injury doubt for Sam Allardyce. 


West Brom vs Wolves Head-to-Head


Wolves suffered an embarrassing 3-2 defeat at Molineux back in January in the reverse fixture.


Pereira scored twice either side of a Semi Ajayi strike as goals from Fabio Silva and Willy Boly wasn’t enough for Wolves to gain anything from the game.  


Referee Michael Oliver had a poor game gifting West Brom a penalty for a foul that was outside of the box and he then failed to award Wolves a penalty when Kieran Gibbs quite obviously caught the ball in the penalty area. Oliver also gave West Brom another penalty for a very soft foul but away from that, Albion were fired up and wanted the victory more than Wolves. You’d expect the same on Monday.


Albion have won the last three games between the teams and have the better overall record, winning 65 games compared to Wolves’ 53. 




Nuno has relayed his messages about competing in games and trying to cut out mistakes. On Friday, he told the media that this week (in training) had been good and that this game “means a lot to us and the fans. We are going compete. We have to compete.”


Wolves have to show some desire and fight on Monday. They had none of it against Burnley and looked like they didn’t care. 


This is probably not the ideal game to bounce back from a thrashing but if the players can’t get up for a local derby, then there is something wrong.


We’ve seen Wolves struggle defensively this season and that isn’t going to change overnight but Wolves are a better team than West Brom and if they can avoid making silly mistakes that lead directly to goals, they may be able to take something from this game. For that, they need to attack a defence that has conceded 64 goals this season, but Wolves aren’t exactly a free-scoring team. 


I expect Nuno to play it cautiously and try and grind out a 1-0 win. Wolves seem more bothered about not losing than trying to win, but when you struggle to defend, there’s no point in playing for a draw. 


Prediction: West Brom 1-1 Wolves. 


Taran Dhamrait is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him on Twitter here.