Martin Dubravka to replace Karl Darlow for Wolves game this weekend

Abhinav Sharma
By Abhinav Sharma
6 Min Read

According to Luke Edwards, a close friend to Steve Bruce, the Telegraph journalist has put out an exclusive leak, saying that he has been informed that change in goalkeeping scenario is being considered behind the scenes and possible modification can be made as early as this weekend itself.

Newcastle United will face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday night at St James’ park and it is predicted that Steve Bruce will recall shot-stopper Martin Dubravka after recent unconvincing performances from Karl Darlow. Newcastle’s recent loss to Manchester United proved the final blow for the English goalkeeper, in which he was apprehended of poor goalkeeping in two of three goals scored on the day by Manchester United.

The Englishman’s form has dipped in recent weeks, and it appears Bruce is now ready to make a big call for Wolves’ visit to St. James’ Park by playing the Slovakian instead of Darlow.

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Dubravka could come in to make his first league start since July after having to miss all games following his heel injury. The Slovakian shot-stopper was chosen as the club’s player of the year last season but Bruce has remained loyal to Karl Darlow, whose displays were crucial to Newcastle picking up points in a lot of games earlier in the season.

In Darlow’s presence, Newcastle has conceded a massive tally of 43 goals in 25 games next only to woeful West Brom at 55 goals from the same amount of games, this is not only his fault, poor defending has played its part many times, also not having a resolute defensive organisation in place did very few favours to us.

Karl has also continually made a huge amount of saves, remarkably broke the record of the highest number of saves made by a Newcastle United goalkeeper in a match against Tottenham, (This is also down to our defensive tactics in place earlier this season, resulting in a lot of shots conceded by us).

PSxG is the expected goals based on how likely the goalkeeper is to save the shot relative to the likelihood of the quality of shot and chance. Darlow stands at -4.0 it means we have conceded four goals more than we should have down to the poor goalkeeping and nothing else, which second-worst in the league. Last season Dubravka has the best PSxG at +10.0 along with Bernd Leno.

To compare the worst, we can take the example of Everton, everyone has a perception about a goalkeeping crisis there, they have PSxG of -3.5. In previous years, Dubravka has been world-class excelling at every metric and statistically competing with top Premier League keepers, to say the least. (This does not include clean sheets as our poor defence and tactics don’t provide us with any kind of platform, under Bruce, we simply lost our defensive base created by Rafa)


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To be honest, a great thumbs up to Karl, who did an amazing deputy job and deserves a pat on the back but because we’re in a relegation battle we need to literally pull the ball out of the net before it crosses the line and only one man could do that and he’s no other than Dubravka.

We obviously will need our best players on the pitch to save the day for us in this relegation dogfight, many Newcastle fans will say that the decision has come late due to poor decision making by Bruce, I do agree with them but Anyways, he will be back as our No. 1.

He brings that composure and vocal presence at the back especially at set-pieces which reduces the no. of goals scored of second balls from the corners and direct free-kick. He is also very meticulous in his positioning which is superb and makes it easy for him to make the save.

I looked at some goals in recent week and thought if Martin would be in place of Darlow he would have done better than that. Such as James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick, nowhere to be seen in Werner’s tap-in, the hilarious attempt to save Bruno’s penalty, and more.

Last season, Dubravka played exceptionally to earn fragile Newcastle a crucial point away against Wolves at Molineaux. I hope, he can do more of the same.

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