Last on MOTD: There speaks a defender

DURING his days presenting Room 101, hoarse-voiced Stoke City-supporting comedian Nick Hancock found himself discussing the musical merits of Chris De Burgh.

“We’ve got a copy here of The Best Of Chris De Burgh,” said Hancock, waving a copy of a greatest hits compilation at the audience. “It’s also available as a single.”

Anyone trying to put together a Wolves goal of the season DVD might have similar feelings. This season, they’ve found goals as scarce as a successful follow-up to Lady In Red.

Their last four games have produced a grand total of one goal – Nicklas Bendtner’s stroppage-time winner for Arsenal two weeks ago. And even that probably wouldn’t have come about had Wolves captain Karl Henry not been harshly sent off for a second-half tackle on Tomas Rosicky.

Wolves’ Premier League goals tally for the season stands at 28, the same as bottom club Portsmouth. No team in the top flight has scored fewer. They have managed one league goal at home since Christmas.

By all accounts, it hasn’t been pretty to watch. Hancock’s beloved Stoke drew 0-0 at Molineux last Sunday, and those who watched the game declared it one of the dullest in the Premier League this season.

If Wolves fail to score in either of their two remaining games at Molineux, then they will equal the record for the lowest top-flight home goals tally in the entire 122-year history of English league football.

(If you’re wondering, the record is 10, and was set by a spectacularly shot-shy Manchester City side led by Stuart Pearce three seasons ago – having failed to score a single league goal at home after New Year’s Day.)

At least away from home, Wolves have shown an ability to score goals. The football they played in their 3-1 victory at West Ham last month was positively free-flowing. But since then, they haven’t scored at all. And that means they have to keep clean sheets.

Last night’s final match: Fulham 0 Wolves 0
Commentator: Simon Brotherton

They are succeeding. Slowly, Wolves are edging towards safety. With three games left, they are six points above the relegation zone, although some of the teams around them have a game in hand. They should survive.

It wasn’t pretty. The Match of the Day highlights suggested there wasn’t a single notable shot on target in the first half. (The stats showed both sides had one shot on target during the whole match.) In the second, Wolves defender George Elokobi made a great saving tackle which Damien Duff was about to shoot, and Bobby Zamora hit the post from 20 yards.

Fulham, comfortable in mid-table, perhaps had their minds elsewhere. Assuming the volcanic ash cloud causing flight chaos across the continent clears up (and that’s not certain), they have a Europa League semi-final in Hamburg on Thursday to think about. Wolves’ minds seemed to be on making sure they didn’t get beaten.

McCarthy was certainly happy enough.

“I’ll take three clean sheets out of the next three games and take three points,” he said on MOTD after the game. “I’d like to win one by two or three goals, but it’s points that are going to keep us up – and if we get another three, I think we’ll be fine.”

Cut back to Gary Lineker (who looked remarkably awake, considering he hadn’t slept for 36 hours) in the studio. “There speaks a defender,” he said.

McCarthy’s opinions on Chris De Burgh, however, were unrecorded.


1. Blackburn: 7 (GD: 1. 2L: 3.)
2. West Ham: 7 (GD: 1. 2L: 2.)
3=. Portsmouth: 7 (GD: 1. 2L: 1.)
3=. Everton: 7 (GD: 1. 2L: 1.)
5. Stoke: 7 (GD: 0. 2L: 3.)
6. Bolton: 5 (GD: 0. 2L: 7.)
7. Wigan: 5 (GD: 0. 2L: 3.)
8. Hull: 4 (GD: 0. 2L: 9.)
9. Wolves: 4 (GD: 0. 2L: 7.)
10. Fulham: 4 (GD: 0. 2L: 5.)
11. Aston Villa: 4 (GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
12. Gubba: 2 (GD: 2. 2L: 3.)
13. Birmingham: 2 (GD: 0. 2L: 8.)
14. Burnley: 2 (GD: 0. 2L: 7.)
15. Tottenham: 2 (GD: 0. 2L: 3.)
16. Sunderland: 1 (GD: 0. 2L: 7.)
17. Arsenal: 1 (GD: 0. 2L: 1.)
18. Liverpool: 1 (GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
19. Manchester United: 0 (GD: 0. 2L: 2.)
20. Chelsea: 0 (GD: 0. 2L: 1.)
21. Manchester City: 0 (GD: 0. 2L: 0.)

GD = Gubba difference
2L = On second last (Last night’s penultimate match was: Birmingham 0 Hull 0.)

(NB. Teams will receive one point for every time they appear last on MOTD. Appearances on MOTD2 are not included. Teams level on points will be separated by Gubba difference – the number of times a team is on last with Tony Gubba commentating. Teams still level will then be separated by the number of times they appear second last on MOTD.)


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