View from the Toon: What can Wolves expect from the winless Magpies?
Wolverhampton Wanderers final test before the international break comes in the shape of a winless Newcastle United.
Bruno Lage’s side got their second win of the season last time out against Southampton and will be hoping to back that up with their first at Molineux when the Magpies visit on Saturday.
In terms of teams you could hope to face, there aren’t many you’d be choosing ahead of Newcastle. Yet to pick up three points on the field and disgruntled with management and ownership off it, we spoke to our NewcastleWorld reporter, Liam Kennedy, to get all the info from the north east ahead of this weekend.
Newcastle are still without a win in any competition this year. What is going on?
It’s been a weird one. In recent weeks performances have been better - United are creating chances and not conceding as many - but results haven’t noticeably improved. A switch in formation at Watford saw the Magpies produce their best performance of the season against Watford, a game they should have won handsomely, but didn’t. It feels like a win might be just around the corner.
Is it too soon to call the game against Wolves a must win?
No. United have only started one Premier League season off worse than this and fixtures have been a whole lot kinder to them this time around. They need a win. Steve Bruce desperately does, too.
Do you think a negative result for the Magpies would see Steve Bruce get the boot?
Again, it’s a no. Fans have made their mind up on Bruce and that’s a wound that looks like it will never be healed. But, in true Mike Ashley style, the club remain content with Bruce’s performance. They stood by him during a run of just two wins in 21 last season, which saw them drawn into a relegation battle, and will likely do so again. The atmosphere around the football club at the moment is toxic and while much of that is down to the owner, Bruce has hardly helped himself.
Is there any reason for optimism at all ahead of the trip to Molineux?
Well, like I say, improvements in performance have been obvious. Twenty efforts on goal at Watford was a massive improvement on earlier this season, and long periods last. But without Callum Wilson, United lack a clinical finisher in their side, although Allan Saint-Maximin has been a sensation this campaign with three assists and two goals already.
Any injuries / players returning?
The game looks likely to come too soon for the likes of Wilson and Martin Dubravka. Jonjo Shelvey is another who is almost certain to miss out. Skipper Jamaal Lascelles is a doubt, as is Paul Dummett.
Predicted line-up (4-3-3): Karl Darlow; Javier Manquillo, Federico Fernandez, Ciaran Clark, Matt Ritchie; Isaac Hayden, Joe Willock, Sean Longstaff; Miguel Almiron, Allan Saint-Maximin, Joelinton.
Score prediction: Wolves 1-2 Newcastle United. I think this will be the day United get going in the Premier League. I have, however, been wrong many times before.