Newcastle United will look to extend their unbeaten start to the 2022-23 Premier League season when they travel to the Black Country to face wounded Wolves at Molineux on Sunday afternoon.

Wolverhampton Wanderers face Newcastle United at Molineux on Sunday, searching for their first Premier League victory of the season. Both sides head into this game off the back of 2-1 victories in their respective EFL Cup Round 2 fixtures against lower-league opposition in midweek, with Wolves topping Preston North End and Newcastle edging Tranmere Rovers.

Wolves’ dismal form has carried over into the new campaign after failing to win any of their final seven league games last term. So far, Bruno Lage’s side has only one point to show for their exploits: a goalless draw with newly promoted Fulham.

The West Midlands outfit controlled the first half at Tottenham last weekend but were unable to convert their possession into a goal as they fell to a 1-0 defeat. They will aim to put an end to their ten-game winless league run when they lock horns with Newcastle on their home turf.

Newcastle, meanwhile, are flying high and confidence is flowing in the camp following a 3-3 draw with Man City at St James’ Park as they went toe-to-toe against the defending champions and dominated the Citizens throughout the first half.

Talismanic winger Allan Saint-Maximin gave City full-back Kyle Walker a run for his money and offered a continuous menace to the City defence as Newcastle’s transitional game plan took full effect. They are undefeated in the league and are expected to make a late splash in the transfer market, having already landed Alexander Isak in a big-money acquisition.

Having said that, their recent record at Molineux is not one to shout about, with no wins in their last four attempts, the last coming out on top in the Black Country back in February 2017, when both sides were in the Championship. Ahead of their latest meeting with Wolves, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.

Team News & Tactics

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves boss Bruno Lage practically has a clean bill of health, with Chiquinho the only confirmed absentee due to a long-term injury. Last weekend, Lage utilised a three-man backline against Tottenham, but he may switch to a four-man defence here.

The Portuguese coach will set his team up in a 4-3-3 system in front of goalkeeper Jose Sa. He will be shielded by the English central defensive pairing of Nathan Collins and Max Kilman, who will be in for a boxing match-up against the physicality of Wood. Jonny Otto and Rayan Ait-Nouri will flank the two central defenders, with the duo providing width higher up the pitch.

With the technical personnel Wolves have in midfield in the likes of Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho, and Matheus Nunes, they should be seeing more of the ball, but that possession must transpire into generating chances and scoring goals. Lage can also call upon Leander Dendoncker if he wants more physicality and dynamism in the middle of the park.

Raul Jimenez could be re-introduced to the starting XI after the Mexican striker scored in the 2-1 EFL Cup victory over Preston. His lack of aerial prowess since his skull fracture is worrying, and that is part of the reason why Wolves are chasing after 6ft 7in Stuttgart striker Sasa Kalajdzic.

Pedro Neto, who is currently linked with a move to Arsenal, will be a creative presence down the right, while Daniel Podence could be dropped in favour of summer signing Goncalo Guedes on the opposite flank. Adama Traore will be bidding to impress off the bench.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Sa; Jonny, Collins, Kilman, Ait-Nouri; Nunes, Neves, Moutinho; Neto, Jimenez, Guedes

Newcastle United

Newcastle will again be without the services of Jonjo Shelvey, who is continuing his rehabilitation after knee surgery. Other than that, Toon boss Eddie Howe has numerous other injury concerns, including fullback Emil Krafth, who suffered a bad knee injury during Wednesday’s cup victory.

Ryan Fraser and Dan Burn also need assessing, but Howe hopes that the duo are fit enough to be involved on Sunday. Newcastle’s 3-3 draw with Manchester City came at a high price as Callum Wilson was forced off with a hamstring injury last Sunday. Because of this, the injury-prone striker is now set to miss two to three weeks.

To that end, Newcastle hierarchy quickly countered the problem with the blockbuster signing of highly-coveted Swedish striker Alexander Isak in a deal worth a club-record £60 million plus add-ons. The new signing has been registered in time to feature on Sunday, but Chris Wood will be the target man up top, starting against Wolves.

Newcastle demonstrated their goal threat from the flanks against Man City last time out, and the buzzing duo of Miguel Almiron and Saint-Maximin will be required to deliver more of the same here.

The Magpies’ midfield is well-balanced, with plenty of physical power and technical talent in the likes of Joelinton, Bruno Guimaraes, and Joe Willock. The mid-block will look to suffocate Wolves’ midfield playmakers with their intense press, with the latter also known for his late surges into the box.

Captain Kieran Trippier is proving to be worth every penny. The former Atletico Madrid man has netted three out of four free-kicks, a conversion rate of a whopping 75%, and also bagged an assist in mid-week as well. With the towering frame of Wood to aim at, he will be a major threat from set pieces. Meanwhile, with Burn doubtful, Matt Targett could return from a slight injury to assume his spot at left back.

Nick Pope will continue to operate between the sticks for the visitors after a string of stellar displays, with second-choice Martin Dubravka linked with a move away to Manchester United. Guarding the English shot-stopper at the heart of the Magpies’ backline will be the defensive duo of Fabian Schar and Sven Botman, who will be tasked with keeping a speedy Wolves attack at bay.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Pope; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Targett; Willock, Guimaraes, Joelinton; Almiron, Wood, Saint-Maximin

 

Key Stats

  • Wolverhampton Wanderers have failed to win their last 10 Premier League matches.
  • Newcastle United are undefeated in their last five Premier League matches.
  • The Magpies lost 2-1 away and won 1-0 at home to Wolves last season. It was the first time in their seven Premier League campaigns together that neither meeting between the two teams finished in a stalemate.
  • Newcastle are winless in 5 of their last 7 away Premier League matches.
  • Newcastle striker Chris Wood has been a prolific customer in front of goal against Wolves, scoring six times and assisting three in 15 appearances against them.

Player to Watch

Allan Saint-Maximin

Both sides have made some very exciting additions to their respective squads, and we could have easily picked any of them for our “Player to watch for” section, but there is only one name on the lips of every neutral and Newcastle fans out there following Newcastle’s pulsating draw with Manchester City: Allan Saint-Maximin.

The Frenchman stole the headlines at St James’s Park last Sunday with a sensational display juiced with individual brilliance, grabbing two assists in the process. The sky is truly the limit for the French star, but the most difficult hurdle he confronts now is delivering that on a consistent basis.

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With better players around him now, he is expected to be a reliable option down the left wing, contributing goals and assists on a regular basis, as well as making smart choices after getting into dominant positions and delivering dangerous crosses.

The 25-year-old did that against the reigning English champions, and also made several defensive contributions, which is very unlike him, delivering almost a flawless performance in the process. The French maverick will be keen to lay down a marker with his display against Wolves and show that his performance against City was not an exception, but rather an indication of what is to come from him.

Prediction

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-1 Newcastle United

Wolves have struggled to score goals as they have in the past seasons. Only the three relegated teams scored fewer goals than Bruno Lage’s side last season. This season, the West Midlands outfit has only struck the net once, which is a big concern. They have shown they can create chances but lack any cutting edge up front.

Newcastle have a watertight defence, and while they looked very open against Manchester City in order to be brave and play a high-line, they are likely to return to their usual roots here.

The injury to striker Wilson is undoubtedly a setback for Newcastle, but they proved last season that they now have a deep enough roster to cope with it. That is why the Hard Tackle backs the visitors to come out on top with a narrow 1-0 victory in what could be a tightly-fought contest at Molineux on Saturday afternoon.

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