Given the lack of a manager at Wolves, it will be Mick McCarthy’s former assistant, Terry ‘Clipboard’ Connor who takes the reins at Wolves away game at Newcastle United. Given this progression, it is not expected that there will be a number of changes to the personnel selected. One player, though, is surely guaranteed a place – Wayne Hennessey.
Yes, he made a massive error in McCarthy’s defeat to West Brom, an error that allowed them to retake the lead and was possibly the defining moment of the match that cost McCarthy his job. But, Hennessey had kept Wolves in the match in the first half; without him in the initial 45, McCarthy could well have been handed his P45 during the halftime break. So, with Tim Krul arguably the goalkeeper of the season so far, it is logical to look at the two goalkeepers and how they compare:
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In terms of pure goalkeeping, it can be difficult to compare given the difference in the quality of defences in front of the goalkeeper. But, what is clear straight away is that Hennessey has made nearly twice as many saves Krul. Given that Krul plays behind a better defence, this is perhaps unsurprising. But, when you compare the number of saves compared to the number of chances the opposition has, Hennessey’s stock rises slightly, saving one in every 3.38 chances, compared to Krul saving one in every 5.18. Arguably, most impressive statistic for Hennessey is his record of not missing a cross he has come for. This is in contrast to his first season in the Premier League, when he missed two despite only making 13 appearances. Any Wolves fan will tell you that this is an area that Hennessey has dramatically improved on.
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From the second table the first thing that stands out is Hennessey’s long pass completion rate, which is 8% higher than Krul’s. What isn’t shown by the stats is that Hennessey is naturally two footed, and is equally happy taking goal kicks with either his left or right foot – a huge advantage if you have a striker bearing down on you, although this didn’t necessarily help during the Manchester City game at the Etihad Arena earlier in the season. Where they are similar is the number of times the ball is played into the opposition half, demonstrating the direct nature of both teams, happy to allow the likes of Steven Fletcher, Demba Ba, Leon Best and Kevin Doyle to challenge for the ball.
All of the Opta Stats from this article are from the EPLIndex.com Stats Centre. You can subscribe now for access!