Friday, December 30, 2011

Why I Love Wolves

... not the animals*, the English Premiere League team**.

First, there are a few things you must know. At the end of the season in the 20-team EPL, the bottom three teams are sent down to the minors and the top three teams in the minors are promoted to the EPL. That would be like seeing the Washington Senators sent down to AAA and the Albuquerque Dukes moved up into MLB. It makes the season exciting on both ends of the standings. The Wolverhampton Wanderers, aka Wolves, are a terrible team. Last year, they finished with the same record as the #18 team, but had a one goal advantage in goal differential, a goal they scored in the last minutes of their last game, a game they lost. Only through the most ridiculous of circumstances did they manage to stay in the EPL.

That's Wolves all over. They'll get their brains beaten out by a mediocre team one week and the next they'll beat Manchester United. Their games are filled with inexplicable, boneheaded blunders and logic-defying, preposterous heroics. Last weekend was the perfect Wolves game.

They went into Emirates Stadium (Arsenal's home field) to play Arsenal. They'd never even tied there before, much less won. They had lost their last 6 away games and it looked to be a total stomping of Wolves by an Arsenal squad that was absolutely on fire. What happened? Well, they gave up a breakaway goal to Arsenal in the first 8 minutes in a positively stupefying mental breakdown. And then ... well, dig this***:

In a wacky 5 seconds of pinball craziness, Wolves managed to score and tie the game. I loved the look on the Arsenal keeper's face. You can just see him thinking, "You have got to be kidding me." Wolves had almost no other scoring opportunities and the other 89 minutes, 55 seconds of the game was a marathon of impossible melodrama as Wolves thwarted attack after attack after attack. Wolves tied mighty Arsenal, 1-1.

Glorious. Simply glorious.

* - Well, I like the animals, too, so don't get me wrong.

** - I love EPL soccer. I've skipped blogging about it up to now, but it's just too much fun not to share. I'll try to keep these posts as interesting as I can.

*** - Despite the fact that the highlights are available for free on, they don't give you an embed option and the EPL is crazy serious about hunting down and stamping out highlight videos on YouTube. The Arsenal fan who posted this one to DailyMotion recorded it from a Spanish-language broadcast. You can see the official EPL highlights of the game here. I'm not sure how long that link will be good.


tim eisele said...

This sounds kind of like a comment I remember about how chess masters much prefer playing against other masters rather than playing against amateurs: while the master will almost always beat the amateur, it will be an ugly, disorganized game because the amateur generally makes it impossible for the master to make any long-term plans due to their random (and frequently stupid) plays. And on rare occasions, the amateur can accidentally pull something so out-of-left-field that they can beat the master through pure luck.

It sounds like the "wolves" are making up for a lack of discipline and strategic thought by just throwing everything they have at the wall to see what sticks.

K T Cat said...

What a great comment! Next time I watch one of their games, I'll see if I can see that aspect.

Dean said...


Foxfier said...

* - Well, I like the animals, too, so don't get me wrong.

I don't. Two different folks have seen them near our calving ground. Which is across the road from where all the little kids for that area wait for the bus.