Wolves were on Sky this lunchtime, and since that's about the only way I really ever get to see them, I watched them draw, 0-0, with Southampton. Admittedly, Wolves are missing their two first-choice centre-forwards, and both sides have had problems turning draws into wins - since the end of August, Southampton have drawn nine out of thirteen league games, while Wolves had the most draws of any league club last season and have drawn eight of fifteen since the end of August - but it was still a really disappointing match. For the first five minutes, it was like the idea that there's a reason football pitches resemble well-manicured lawns had never occured to the two sets of centre-halves, who were the only players who ever seemed to have the ball as they alternated in the apparently routinised tasks of heading down, and then producing a replica of, a hopeful punt upfield. Then the referee got niggly, handing out unnecessary yellow cards and insisting that the ball was perfectly stationary before free kicks were taken, which served as further disincentive to the game developing any flow. It was not a great spectacle.
On the rare occasions the defence thought better of planting the ball squarely on the heads of their Southampton counterparts, Wolves did manage to string four or five passes together a couple of times in the first half, but then tended to waste what space they were generally able to work themselves into with either over-ambitious or simply uninspired approach play. Southampton seemed to be relying on the fact that Wolves were defending quite far up the pitch, and so they could release Walcott in particular, who looked quick and skillful if somewhat isolated for much of the game, in behind direct from the back, which is hardly the most entertaining football to watch. It did however create a couple of half chances, which is more than can really be said of Wolves' play: Ndah drilled a low cross, after a nice turn chasing a lost cause on the left, into a box with six or seven Southampton defenders, and two Wolves attackers, which was predictably cleared, and Cameron had a maybe-maybe-not shout for a penalty which wasn't given after chasing down Ndah's knockdown and colliding simultaneously with keeper and defender. That was about it.
The second half was a bit better, but not much. Postma made a good save from, and Lescott stayed on his feet well when one-on-one with, Walcott, while Wolves managed to sustain a period of pressure during which a shot was deflected onto the bar from a corner and forced Niemi into a couple of impressive, if not spectacular, saves. The referee continued to niggle unnecessarily though, and there was a marked tendency for passes to either go astray or be so telegraphed as to be easily intercepted. If either side had to win, I think Wolves had probably had the better of it, but a draw was really a fair result. As a Wolves fan, you get used to the inability of an apparently talented set of players to either all be fit together or be able to gel in such a way as to do justice to themselves, so the disappointment of the result was not particularly unexpected. What was more disheartening was the inability and unwillingness of either side to collectively play, other than in fits and starts, particularly attractive football, especially since they were billed as two of the more technically capable sides in the Championship. I suppose, though, there is a reason that it is disappointing that Wolves continue to be unable to extricate themselves from this division: presumably it is that most of the games they play are even worse than this one, and unfortunately, because of that, they are likely to remain so.