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  • Mon, 25 Jan 2021 08:00:12 +0000: FA Cup fourth round: 10 talking points from the weekend's action - Wolverhampton Wanderers | The Guardian

    Luke Shaw is proving José Mourinho wrong, while West Ham could have European football on their minds next season

    “He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him. He has to change his football brain,” José Mourinho said of Luke Shaw after a game in 2017. “We need his fantastic physical and technical qualities, but he cannot continue to play with my brain.” Few could have imagined four years later that the former Southampton defender could be first choice left-back at Old Trafford and eyeing up a return to the England squad. There is no arguing that Shaw looks far fitter now than four years ago but he has heeded Mourinho’s advice to “change his football brain”. Against Liverpool, Shaw was superb in defence and attack; going forward he made key overlapping runs, aiding Marcus Rashford to ensure United dominated that flank in a battle that was crucial to the victory. The arrival of Alex Telles seems to have spurred Shaw on to build on last season’s form. Gareth Southgate will have taken notice. Will Unwin

    Related: Defensive struggles suggest Liverpool have stood still while others push on | Barney Ronay

    Related: Chelsea set to sack Frank Lampard with Thomas Tuchel to replace him

    Burnley v Bournemouth or Crawley
    Manchester United v West Ham
    Sheffield United v Bristol City
    Wolves v Southampton
    Barnsley v Chelsea
    Everton v Wycombe or Tottenham
    Swansea v Manchester City
    Leicester v Brighton

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  • Fri, 22 Jan 2021 21:54:15 +0000: Chorley 0-1 Wolves: FA Cup fourth round – as it happened - Wolverhampton Wanderers | The Guardian

    Wolves squeaked through to the fifth round after edging out sixth-tier part-timers Chorley 1-0 at Victory Park

    Vitinha’s wonder strike edges Wolves to victory

    Righto, thanks for your company! Read our report from Victory Park:

    Related: Vitinha's wonder strike edges Wolves past battling Chorley

    Jamie Vermiglio, Chorley’s manager, speaks. His side had more shots on target than Wolves, 111 places above them in the pyramid. “We’ve been beaten one-nil by a Premier League side and we’re disappointed,” he says. “I thought we were excellent, really disciplined and I just thought the lads were tremendous. They have given me and the Chorley community a brilliant moment. But we should’ve scored.”

    Wolves squeak through against the sixth-tier part-timers. They did the bare minimum but ultimately Vitinha’s piercing strike is the difference. Wolves are into the fifth round, where they will play the winner of Southampton v Arsenal. As for Chorley, a superb performance, limiting Premier League opposition to a single shot on target. If anything, they might kick themselves for not forcing extra time. Hats off to headteacher-cum-manager Jamie Vermiglio and co. “In the second half we were probably the better team and we had them on the ropes for 10-15 minutes so we can be proud of ourselves,” says the Chorley striker Connor Hall.

    90+1 min: Chorley are out on their feet but manager Jamie Vermiglio and assistant Andy Preece are roaring them forward. They want them to pile the pressure on and hope Wolves wilt. Ninety seconds or so to play at Victory Park ...

    90 min: There will be THREE added minutes.

    89 min: Chorley launch a free-kick forward but Boly stands tall. Chorley are pushing more and more players forward, and rightly so. Do they have one last hurrah left in them?

    88 min: Pedro Neto sends a shot painfully wide. Wolves have had more of the ball in the last few minutes but have done precious little with it. Willian Jose cannot arrive quick enough.

    88 min: Chorley are into last-chance saloon territory ...

    87 min: Top scorer Connor Hall is replaced by Harvey Smith.

    86 min: Birch is booked for flying into Ait-Nouri on halfway.

    85 min: This has been a very half-baked Wolves performance.

    83 min: Chorley change things up. Baines and Shenton are replaced by Adam Henley, who came through at Blackburn, and Sean Miller.

    81 min: ... it’s horribly overcooked and darts out for a Chorley throw-in. Wolves have nine minutes to survive Chorley’s advances. Chorley have nine minutes to extend their extraordinary FA Cup journey. Can they conjure an equaliser?

    80 min: Wolves win a corner ...

    78 min: Wolves are creeping towards victory but Chorley know they have nothing to lose. Their centre-halves will be up front in no time at all.

    75 min: Wolves catch their breath with a bit of hearty possession on halfway. Traore attempts a stepover or two before passing over the baton. Wolves could do with finding a second to make the inevitable kitchen-sink onslaught a little easier. Neto, Traore and Neves have helped Wolves up the tempo ... a teeny bit.

    73 min: ... Tomlinson puts the ball in but Wolves clear. But it just keeps coming back at them. Baines robs Traore and tries to kickstart another attack. Wolves then pour forward on the counter after turning over possession. That is the first time we have seen Wolves anywhere near the Chorley 18-yard box for a while.

    72 min: This is every bit as uncomfortable as Wolves will have feared. Chorley fancy their chances of another upset. They win another corner ...

    71 min: ... Tomlinson floats it in but Wolves get rid. Chorley recycle it, however, and win a corner. The pressure is relentless at the moment.

    70 min: Another Wolves foul, another Chorley free-kick and a prime opportunity for the non-league side to cause some havoc in the box ...

    69 min: Traore’s first act is to leave a bit in on Baines, the Chorley left-back. Andy Preece, the Chorley assistant is not too happy about it and Jamie Vermiglio, the Chorley manager, has a little laugh to himself. Wolves are going through the wringer a little.

    68 min: Nuno has seen enough. He makes a triple change, with Neves, Traore and Neto replacing the goalscorer Vitinha, Cutrone and Moutinho.

    66 min: Wolves give away another free-kick, this time way out on the left flank. It is floated in rather harmlessly and Ruddy collects to calm things down.

    65 min: Nuno looks set to ring the changes.

    63 min: Coady catches Cardwell on halfway and Anthony Taylor pulls out a yellow card. It looked worse than it was but that sums things up for Wolves, who are struggling to get out of first gear and handing Chorley more and more encouragement.

    62 min: Um, Chorley are the better team here ...

    61 min: Brilliant save by Ruddy, who is going ballistic at the Wolves defence! Halls ghosts to the back post completely unmarked at a corner and powers a header at goal and only Ruddy’s instincts – a fine right-handed save – spare Wolves the indignation of Chorley’s part-timers levelling at Victory Park.

    58 min: Adama Traore is among those limbering up for Wolves. Meanwhile, Mick McCarthy has been confirmed as the new Cardiff manager:

    Related: Cardiff appoint Mick McCarthy as new manager to replace Neil Harris

    55 min: Wolves are huffing and puffing as Chorley gather steam. The sixth-tier side seem to be growing in confidence and are the ones on the front foot at the moment. Birch is finding pockets of space down the right and Hall can smell a goal.

    52 min: Birch crosses but Hall sees the headlines and blasts a shot off target. Chorley are knocking on the door. Wolves are going through the motions a little.

    48 min: Chorley look revved up for this second half. They float a free-kick towards the back post and Cardwell does well. Wolves think they have cleared the ball but Fabio Silva runs into trouble and Hall tries to fend off a defender and get a shot at goal. In the end the striker, who worked Ruddy a moment ago with a header, is crowded out.

    46 min: Hall goes to close finding Chorley an equaliser early in the second half! If anyone is going to score it looks like it’s going to be him.

    Essential Magic of the Cup half-time reading:

    Related: Cheltenham host Manchester City with joy, fear and a bar to change in | Ben Fisher

    Related: Doncaster's Andy Butler: 'I was willing to step into the police force last summer'

    Vitinha’s peach is the difference at the interval but it’s hardly been a Wolves masterclass. Patrick Cutrone did just send a effort over seconds before the whistle but they have not had too much fun in the opposition half. Sixth-tier Chorley have not had a lot to shout about but remain very much in the tie.

    45 min: There will be one minute added time.

    43 min: Coady spreads play with an exquisite cross-field pass to pick out Hoever but Wolves fail to capitalise on a gap down the Chorley left.

    42 min: Wolves have not really clicked in the final third. Vitinha has just overcooked a pass and Silva and Cutrone remain have been fairly anonymous.

    41 min: ... Tomlinson flights a ball in but Wolves clear their lines.

    40 min: Cardwell goes up for a header and is fouled by Boly. Chorley win the free-kick on halfway and another opportunity to float the ball into the box ...

    39 min: There is a cardboard cutout of Adele in the crowd. Of course.

    37 min: ... he ends up rolling it to Hoever but the wing-back makes a mess of it and Wolves waste a free-kick that was in a promising area, 20 yards from goal.

    36 min: Tomlinson is booked after chopping down Hoever, who bounced in off the right flank. Moutinho places the ball down and takes aim ...

    35 min: Now, here’s a stonking stat courtesy of Opta: Vitinha is the 32nd different player to score a goal under Nuno Espírito Santo for Wolverhampton Wanderers and the 11th different Portuguese player to do so.

    32 min: Saying that, Wolves look very, very comfortable. A moment ago Birch flew down the Chorley right and a member of Wolves’ coaching staff yelled at Ait-Nouri to stay on his feet and avoid making a foul. They know Chorley come into their own at set pieces.

    31 min: As much ball as Wolves have had, they have struggled to get Cutrone or Fabio Silva involved. Chorley have not offered up stacks of chances.

    28 min: ... Dendoncker clears. Still, Chorley have been a bit more positive in the last few minutes. Jamie Vermiglio, who finished his day job working at a primary school in Warrington at midday, will be encouraged by his team’s courage.

    26 min: And now Chorley stream down the right, with Connor Hall doing well to feed Birch on the overlap. They win a throw-in deep inside the Wolves half. Chorley fancy launching a long throw into the box ...

    25 min: Chorley fashion half a chance, working the ball into Cardwell who cannot quite get enough on the cross to glance it at goal. They pushed down the left flank and picked out Cardwell, who certainly looks up for the fight.

    22 min: Wolves have 10 men and the ball in the Chorley half. Chorley have 11 men behind the ball. We wouldn’t expect anything less, would we?

    18 min: Wolves get sloppy, with Moutinho taking a heavy touch from a routine throw-in out on the right flank. Chorley must not be too disheartened at going behind to that early goal. They tested Ruddy within seconds and will fancy their chances of carving out another couple of openings.

    15 min: Hall wins Chorley a free-kick approaching halfway. They could do with gaining a bit of territory.

    Wow – a piercing strike from a good 30 yards out. The midfielder sends a swerving effort at goal and it deceives Urwin in the Chorley goal. Chorley were a little sluggish to close the Porto loanee down and, by the time they did, it was too late. The Portuguese notches his first Wolves goal in style.

    10 min: ... Chorley work it to Cardwell, who was completely left alone by Wolves at the back post. He tries to bring a team-mate into play but it fizzles out. In the end Tomlinson sends a speculative effort at Ruddy from distance.

    9 min: Kilman fouls Cardwell and Chorley have a chance to send it into the box. How they would love to make the most of it ...

    8 min: Calveley does well to buy a throw-in off Hoever. Chorley have not had too much of the ball but they will be encouraged by this start.

    6 min: Wolves probe on the edge of the area but when they finally float a ball in, Shenton does well to make life difficult for Hoever, who is pulled up for a barge. Chorley win a free-kick and a chance to earn some early respite.

    5 min: Wolves cut Chorley open but Halls does brilliantly to deny Cutrone! Coady freed Dendoncker inside the left channel and the midfielder spied Cutrone unmarked in the box. He squared the ball but Halls got a timely block in.

    4 min: Fair to say Wolves are hogging possession.

    2 min: Hoever hits the byline, crosses and Leather clears for a throw-in. Wolves will recycle the ball and aim to kick-start another attack.

    1 min: Brilliant start by Chorley! With 37 seconds on the clock Newby drifts into the box and, after chesting Harry Cardwell’s ball down, he has a pop at goal. Ruddy has to deal with it. Meanwhile Chorley supporters let off a raft of fireworks behind the main stand.

    João Moutinho, Portugal’s second-most capped player, gees the Wolves troops before the Premier Leagues side get things started.

    The Speaker of the Commons will be among those watching on ...

    I’ve got mine, have you got yours? #ChorleyFC @chorleyfc #FACup pic.twitter.com/h7UDYrttYK

    The teams trudge out on to the pitch at Victory Park ...

    Is this quite a big night for Nuno? His side go into tonight’s tie winless in their past six Premier League games. Chorley’s part-timers have already beaten 2013 FA Cup winners Wigan, Derby and Peterborough on their Cup run this season and manager Jamie Vermiglio, a headteacher at a primary school in Warrington, says his team will relish the occasion. “Every few years something happens in football that makes you think ‘how did they do that?’” he said. “That could be us. There is a genuine belief there – a tiny, tiny chance, but while there is we’re going to give it a go.”

    Chorley, realistically, face a tall order but they have history on their side, having brushed Wolves aside once before:

    Related: When Wolves were trounced 3-0 by non-league Chorley in the FA Cup

    Essential pre-match reading, courtesy of Nick Ames:

    Related: Chorley coaches point way for diversity but warn of tough road ahead | Nick Ames

    Team news news: Nuno Espírito Santo names a European Champion and an England international in his starting lineup, with six changes from the team that came unstuck against West Brom. On the bench? The brains of Ruben Neves, the brawn of Adama Traoré and a £37m signing in Nelson Semedo, who this time last year was lining up with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez in Barcelona. Midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White is absent having tested positive for coronavirus. Chorley, meanwhile, recall Lewis Baines and Connor Hall, who did not start last weekend’s 3-2 National League North victory over Farsley Celtic.

    Chorley: Urwin; Birch, Halls, Leather, Baines, Calveley, Newby, Tomlinson, Shenton, Hall, Cardwell

    Subs: Smith, Miller, Malakai, Henley, Putnam, Garratt, Roberts, Dutton, Birchall

    Boot up the boombox. Chorley of the National League North have become renowned for belting out Adele in cramped dressing rooms since sending Wigan, Peterborough and then Derby’s kids packing in the Cup. Wolves may be 111 places above the sixth-tier side but the part-timers have their eyes trained on another upset. Chorley memorably beat Wolves in the first round of this competition 35 years ago and, better still, Wolves lost their last Cup meeting with non-league opponents, Luton, in 2013, a result that cost Stale Solbakken his job.

    To Lancashire, then, where headteacher-cum-manager Jamie Vermiglio, whose party trick is a credible Donald Duck impression, has been rallying the troops for their biggest upset to date. “I’ve always been able to do the voice as a kid and when you go into teaching you look to have little tricks up your sleeve to get the kids on side,” Vermiglio said.

    For Wolves, awkward Cup competitions mean two things: a rare outing for John Ruddy, who was superb en route to promotion three years ago, and pre-match gripes about the playing surface at Victory Park. The now infamous Chorley groundsman Ben Kay, who slept on the pitch the night before their third-round win over Derby’s youngsters to ensure the game went ahead – and boiled kettles of water to pour on to the boggy ground – has again been working overtime.

    “We’re going to find a pitch that is not in the best conditions,” said Nuno Espirito Santo. “We already had photos taken of the pitch and we know that the FA have made an effort to try and preserve the pitch by covering. We have to adapt to it.”

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  • Fri, 22 Jan 2021 21:49:20 +0000: Vitinha's wonder strike edges Wolves past battling Chorley - Wolverhampton Wanderers | The Guardian

    There is a famous scene in the 2009 film The Damned United when Brian Clough attempts to motivate his newly-promoted Derby County side for a game against Leeds United in typical Clough fashion. “John McGovern and Billy Bremner? Equals,” Clough, portrayed by Michael Sheen, bellows. “Kevin Hector and Johnny Giles? Equals.”

    Ultimately for Chorley, the biggest night of their 138-year history ended in defeat here, but for 90 engrossing minutes, you could barely split two sides separated by 111 places on the footballing pyramid. European Championship winner João Moutinho and Mike Calveley? Equals. England international Conor Coady and young striker Connor Hall? Equals.

    Related: Chorley v Wolves: FA Cup fourth round – live!

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  • Fri, 22 Jan 2021 00:01:48 +0000: FA Cup fourth round: 10 things to look out for this weekend - Wolverhampton Wanderers | The Guardian

    Liverpool meet Man Utd once again, Chorley need ‘a miracle’ against Wolves and Luton could hurt Lampard

    Last season’s fifth-round exit at the hands of Chelsea represented the furthest a Jürgen Klopp team had progressed in the FA Cup. He has been in England for more than five years but his attitude to the world’s oldest competition remains enigmatic at best, dismissive at worst. The biorhythms of a German season, including its winter break, continue to beat within him. Klopp has habitually blooded youngsters in the Cup, plus hardy perennials like James Milner. Last season, particularly in the third-round win at Everton, Curtis Jones announced his credentials and is likely to be granted a leading role at Old Trafford. Ole Gunnar Solskjær is more of an FA Cup traditionalist and can be expected to select a stronger team; his squad has been far less riven by injuries and fatigue than the opponent they drew 0-0 with last Sunday. United’s manager has fourth-round history with Liverpool; he scored a late 1999 winner that preluded future super-sub heroics but the time when these great rivals would throw the kitchen sink at each other in the Cup’s early rounds is sadly long passed. JB

    Manchester United v Liverpool, Sunday 5pm (all times GMT)

    Related: When Wolves were trounced 3-0 by non-league Chorley in the FA Cup

    Chorley v Wolves, Friday 7.45pm

    Burnley v Bournemouth or Crawley
    Manchester United v West Ham
    Sheffield United v Bristol City
    Wolves v Southampton
    Barnsley v Chelsea
    Everton v Wycombe or Tottenham
    Swansea v Manchester City
    Leicester v Brighton

    Chelsea v Luton, Sunday 12pm

    Related: 'Once in a lifetime': Alcoyano rock Real Madrid as worlds collide | Sid Lowe

    Everton v Sheffield Wednesday, Sunday 8pm

    Southampton v Arsenal, Saturday 12.15pm

    Cheltenham v Manchester City, Saturday 5.30pm

    Related: Cristiano Ronaldo's enduring sway gives Juventus and Pirlo timely lift | Nicky Bandini

    Sheffield United v Plymouth, Saturday 3pm

    Brentford v Leicester, Sunday 2.30pm

    Related: 'Once in a lifetime': Alcoyano rock Real Madrid as worlds collide | Sid Lowe

    Swansea City v Nottingham Forest, Saturday 3pm

    Wycombe v Tottenham, Monday 7.45pm

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  • Thu, 21 Jan 2021 09:51:47 +0000: When Wolves were trounced 3-0 by non-league Chorley in the FA Cup - Wolverhampton Wanderers | The Guardian

    Wolves fans will be hoping their tie with Chorley this weekend goes better than their last meeting in 1986

    By Steven Pye for That 1980s Sports Blog

    The 1980s had started well for Wolves. They won the League Cup at Wembley in March 1980, with £1.49m record signing Andy Gray scoring the winner against Nottingham Forest, and went on to finish sixth in the First Division that season. The future was looking bright under manager John Barnwell. Yet the foundations for a decade of decay had already been established.

    The club had spent as much as £3m on the new John Ireland Stand at Molineux – more than twice the British transfer record when it opened in 1979 – and debts started to mount when they were relegated in 1982. A consortium fronted by club legend Derek Dougan stepped in to save the day. Enter the Bhatti brothers, Mahmud and Mohammad Bhatti, who were the “financial muscle” behind the takeover deal. The mere mention of the siblings probably brings Wolves fans out in a cold sweat. The Saudi Arabian brothers did little in their reign of terror to help the ailing club. By 1986, Wolves were struggling to stay in business.

    Related: Nessun Dorma podcast: France 98 and Arsenal's glorious Double winners

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