Howls of derision and chants of “you don’t now what you’re doing” greeted the decision by Wolves boss McCarthy to make a double substitution with his side trailing Swansea 2-0 and only 22 minutes left.
As turned out McCarthy might not have known what he was doing in sending out his original eleven but his double substitution worked. Matt Jarvis and Adam Hammill had been extremely ineffective and their crosses into the Swansea penalty box were not particularly threatening.
Two goals late in the game turned the jeers to cheers and the goals came from Wolves creating more chances. That came from Wolves reshuffled midfield enjoying more control and also playing closer to the Swansea goal. Wolves created 6 chances in the first 68 minutes and another 5 in the last 22 minutes.
You can see the change in the pattern of passing in the final attacking third before and after the double substitution. Less long balls launched and more success through the middle.
Newcastle left it late but a Yohan Cabaye goal was all that was needed to beat Wigan 1-0 and to maintain Newcastle’s great start to the season. Wigan can feel hard done by and deserved to leave with a point. They matched Newcastle in every category and area of the field except the one that matters the most – goals scored.
Wigan’s Mohamed Diame was outstanding in the midfield and along with David Jones and Ben Watson the superior numbers subdued Tiote and Cabaye.
Diame rarely gave the ball away (33 of 36 passes for 92%) and he was the game’s most productive tackler winning 6 of his 7 tackles.
Liverpool dropped another two points for the second consecutive week and they have only themselves to blame. They created chance after chance but failed to hit the target. On the other hand Norwich threatened less often but made the best of the opportunities when they arose.
One of the features of the game was the match-up between Luis Suarez and Norwich centre back Leon Barnett. Suarez was his usual array of twists, turns, nutmegs, and histrionics. He was a constant threat to Norwich never hesitating to take defenders on and more times than not in dangerous areas.
Well over a third of Liverpool’s attempts on goal came from Suarez and two-thirds of their attempts on target.
Leon Barnett fought a constant rear-guard action but in the end he will be happy to have kept Suarez scoreless.
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