Burnley 2-0 Wolves: Five Things We Learned
By Adam Virgo
Wolves were handed a 2-0 defeat yesterday by a struggling Burnley side which left a strong away following contingent heading home disappointed. Here are 5 things that I took away from yesterday's game.
We are a completely different side without Raúl Jiménez
Yesterday once again proved that we struggle without our top goalscorer and any side would miss someone who is their main source of goals but it’s not just that, Jiménez offers so much more to us than goals. His link-up play with Jota is telepathic at times so having Cavaleiro yesterday instead of Raúl made a huge difference to our attacking threat.
We’ve scored 38 goals in the league and Jimenez has scored/assisted 18 of them, just under half which shows how key he is to how we play. In previous games when the Mexican forward hasn’t started, we’ve struggled, the Shrewsbury and Newcastle away games being two but when he did come on he changed the game massively for us. I can understand why he was rested though due to getting back late from international duty.
The problem of breaking down sides that set up to stop us
This has been an occurrence for most of the season and no one can really put their finger on why it has been somewhat a problem for us. One thing I will say is I fully expect us to learn from it next season and with improvements in the summer, I’m confident we can win more games against sides who set up to stop us than we have done this season.
It’s not a mentality issue I don’t believe, we set up the same way in every game but we are clearly much better hitting teams on the counter than we are breaking sides down. We had enough of the ball in the second half to do something but for the possession we had, we didn’t test Heaton anywhere near enough.
A positive out of this is it shows we are a very good side because a lot of teams respect us and know the threat we pose meaning they set up to stop/counter attack us but with extra quality being added in the Summer could be key for us.
Seventh is still in our hands
Regardless of the loss at Burnley, finishing seventh is still in our hands for now. However, if we do lose against Man United on Tuesday we can drop to 9th, below Leicester, due to goal difference/goals scored and if Watford beat Fulham.
Knowing Wolves, we’ll beat United because that’s what we do, lose to teams fighting relegation and then beat a team challenging for the Champions League. Forgetting seventh for a minute though, the FA Cup is still a huge competition for us and I think any Wolves fan would happily lose Tuesday if it meant we win on Sunday.
The rest of this week is a huge point in our season and it’ll be best to judge everything on Monday next week once these next two games are both done.
You have to take your chances in the Premier League
Yesterday once again proved that this league isn’t forgiving regardless of the opposition you’re playing. In the Championship you can get away with it much more than in the Premier League which is obvious but it’s happened to us plenty of times this season where we’ve had big chances and not taken them, then ended up being punished by the opposition.
Against Chelsea the other week we had one shot on target all game but it doesn’t matter because we scored it but I guess it shows for a team in where we are there are always going to be some inconsistencies.
That Cavaleiro chance yesterday was absolutely massive and if he scored, it would have been the perfect start to the second half and the momentum would have swung in our favour. We were in control of the second half but their only chance for them in the second 45 which I remember and they kill the game off. Cavaleiro is normally reliable in front of goal, he’s one of the best finishers at the club but he had to do better with his chance. Not going to blame him though because as a team we weren’t good enough and didn’t really create any other clear-cut chances.
The bigger picture
We all know it’s frustrating losing to the likes of Burnley, Huddersfield and other sides near relegation because as fans we know we’re capable of much better, although nothing is ever a given in football or any sport for that matter, and with the quality in our squad we do expect to win which isn’t a bad thing because it shows how far we have come in such a short time.
To be going into April seventh in the Premier League and in an FA Cup Semi Final is absolutely incredible and I don’t think anyone would have expected this. The performance against Burnley wasn’t exactly awful as a whole, we had so much control in the second half and then they sucker punch us out of the blue, that’s football sometimes for you.
We’ve still only lost two of our last 13 games in all competitions which is a positive and the game on Tuesday against United will suit us plus I fully expect the FA Cup game to be an open, exciting one (definitely set up for a boring 0-0 now) and it’s not as if Watford are going to play defensively, they proved that when they came to Molineux.
Adam Virgo is a Talking Wolves blogger and sports writer. You can follow him here.
Image: Anthony Devlin/PA