Is it just me, or was this all just a little too comfortable for a derby day win? You know how you should be feeling. The jangling nerves, the desperation with which you scream your head off as if you’re impacting each pattern of play with your own vocal chords. The total, utter negativity with which you begin the match feeling, no matter how well your team has been playing. As they say, form goes out of the window.
Let’s be honest, this has never had the genuine feel of a derby. Those feelings are best reserved for them lot in Sandwell. This was The Hashtag Derby, as Tim Spiers coined, The Social Media Mongrel Derby, The Make-Believe Derby, The Not-Really-A-Derby Derby. It all obviously stems from that couple of coincidental seasons in the Championship, when Aston Villa’s hierarchy decided to throw some shade our way, while we cruised to the Championship title. It was akin to shouting at the neighbours two or three doors down for playing their music too loudly, all the while knowing it isn’t really an inconvenience to your life and that they’re just having a better time than you, you miserable old fools.
But while the two great institutions of Midlands football don’t have any real rivals to hate, we’ll keep up this faux Midlands battleground to send our soldiers to do battle. Shit on the Villa, eh? (Just doesn’t feel right…)
Or maybe we really do all hate Aston Villa now, in which case I ask you how could you possibly hate something that displayed quite vividly over the course of 90 minutes its genuine inferiority? Nobody hates poor football teams – they’re not threatening enough to hate. At least this is what I spent the majority of the game feeling. That tension that rises as the opposition approaches the box, heightened by the fact its a local rival, just never took hold of me. I commented that last time out in the Premier League we produced our best first half of the season, but we usurped that at the first time of asking. It reminded me a lot of the last time Villa visited Molineux, when they spent most of the half wandering around aimlessly, dreaming of better times when they were competitive in a game, only this time we capitalised on our dominance with a goal.
You expect a reaction, of course you do and Villa were better after the half time break, but still there was a distinct lack of a threat. How far have Brazil fallen to be calling on Wesley as a reserve striker?
I hate to say I told you so, but the reversion to 3-4-3 that I’ve calling for appears to have done the trick. We’re back in our groove, with Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho in particular enjoying themselves with the abundance of options now ahead of the ball. I’d actually suggest Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez weren’t quite at their best, but with Adama Traore thriving on the right, alongside Matt Doherty, Wolves were able to carry an extra threat that 3-5-2 doesn’t allow. This was Traore’s best 90 minutes in a Wolves shirt, only just better than his Man City showing having consistently been a thorn in the left-hand side of the Villa defence.
It took a while to put the game to bed and this is something we can all agree could do with some work – collectively 62 shots at goal have produced four goals against Arsenal, Slovan Bratislava and Aston Villa – with Jota missing a particularly good chance. But we’re getting close to reaching the kind of form we all know we can produce. Here we sit, one point off fifth, without hitting top gear yet – this league is there to be grasped and made a success of. A kinder run of fixtures – the type which we fell foul of last year – awaits us now and if we do get some more from the likes of Jota I can see this winning run continuing. But for now, we can bask in the glory of a Midlands Derby victory over the international break.
Let the Social Media rambling re-commence….