Reasons to be cheeful at Molineux?

Who would have thought that after a trip to Stamford Bridge and eight winless league games there would be an air of optimism around Molineux?

The Wolves faithful are known for being a rather critical bunch, but they and Chelsea fans were full of praise for the way Wolves performed at the weekend.

Prior to the game both sets of fans feared the worst. Wolves fans were worried that they were going to be at the wrong end of a severe beating and Chelsea fans were worried that Wolves’ reputation was true and that they’d spend 90 minutes kicking lumps out of their star players. Thankfully neither happened.

Karl Henry’s suspension and Michael Mancienne’s return to his parent club meant that Mick McCarthy had to shuffle his team around to accommodate a five man midfield, so Nenad Milijas was brought in.

The talented Serb has been an enigma so far during his spell in the Midlands. I remember watching him against West Ham in the first game of last season and being convinced that he was going to be a star. However issues around his form and fitness meant that, minus a mini renaissance around Christmas time, he never made much of an impact during his first season. Despite Wolves finding it hard to score goals, McCarthy seemed to have found the right combination to win points, so Milijas was surplus to requirements.

Wolves’ midfield did a fine job of keeping and passing the ball, and while I admit that it did feel like Chelsea could have gone up another gear, the Wolves midfield more than held their own against one of the best teams in the world.

The addition of summer signing Stephen Hunt at half time was another reason for Wolves fans to be cheerful. Having two outright wingers on the pitch in Hunt and Jarvis meant that Wolves were able to stretch the field more. This gave David Jones and Milijas more time with the ball in the middle, and if Kevin Doyle had looked a little sharper Wolves may have even scored a goal.

Wolves’ new, more positive approach was not only effective, but it has also instilled a new confidence for the rest of the season. Even though many Wolves fans may not realistically expect any return from their next three games, if they continue to play in the style which they showed on Saturday they will be well set to face Bolton on the 13th November and perhaps escape the relegation zone.

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