Wolverhampton Wanderers will look to complete back-to-back Premier League victories when they host Newcastle United at Molineux on Saturday. In Gameweek 6, Bruno Lage’s side defeated Southampton 1-0, while the Magpies were held to a 1-1 draw against Watford.
Apart from the home support at St Mary’s, football fans all around the world were ecstatic when Raul Jimenez scored his first goal for the new campaign versus Southampton, netting the game’s sole goal to secure Wolves a vital three points. Jimenez overcame Jan Bednarek and Mohammed Salisu to strike in front of the Wolves crowd for the very first time since his horrible skull injury nearly a full year ago after grabbing onto a long pass from Jose Sa – another vital component in Wolves’ essential victory on the day.
Lage’s side needed a motivational win after defeats in the Premier League and the EFL Cup against Brentford and Tottenham Hotspur, consecutively, but it has been a difficult start to the Portuguese’s tenure, with his club sitting 14th in the table with six points. Wolves’ two wins this season have come out the other end from Molineux, where Bruno Lage’s side have played four times and lost four times in all tournaments, while they have lost three home league games in a row without getting a single goal.
Only bottom-placed Norwich City (2) have scored less goals than Wolves (3) in their first six games, but Lage will be hoping for a resurgent Jimenez to go out there and put a stop to the hosts’ poor goal-scoring record at Molineux.
Last Saturday, an unusual Newcastle outlet struck a match-winning goal at Vicarage Road, as Sean Longstaff’s gem of a drive was too fierce for Ben Foster to keep out as the Magpies grabbed a 1-0 lead halfway against Watford. The hosts’ winger Ismaila Sarr, on the other hand, was strangely left to float into yards of space at the back end from a corner, and the 23-year-old had the straightforward chore of heading home to keep Newcastle from securing their first win of the season.
Steve Bruce’s side are one of five clubs still unable to win in the 2021-22 season – a well-experienced scenario for St James’ Park supporters – and the Magpies are presently 17th in the table with three points from their past four games. Although Wolves have struggled in front of goal this season, Newcastle’s total of seven goals is at minimum the highest of all the winless teams, but 14 goals conceded is tied for second in the league with Leeds United, and them being just ahead of Norwich.
Newcastle and Wolves have a history of stalemates, with the last five encounters between the two teams concluding in a 1-1 draw. However, Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves won 2-1 at St James’ Park way back in December 2018.
WHEN & WHERE?
Venue: The Molineux.
Date: Saturday, 2nd of October 2021.
Time: Kick-off at 15:00 BST.
Referee: Graham Scott.
Assistant Referees: Richard West, Neil Davies.
Video Assistant Referee: Andre Marriner.
Fourth Official: Anthony Taylor.
Yerson Mosquera, Pedro Neto, and Jonny, Wolves’ long-term sufferers, are uncertain to play once again before 2022, while Rayan Ait Nouri, who missed the game against Southampton owing to a concussion procedure, could recover.
At St Mary’s, Francisco Trincao and Adama Traore were benched in favor of Daniel Podence and Hwang Hee-chan, but the latter could return as supporters salivate at the idea of a Traore vs. Allan Saint-Maximin showdown.
Ruben Neves was benched last time out and could find himself in an identical situation this weekend, with Leander Dendoncker shining in the Saints’ triumph.
After initially being declared out of the game, Newcastle midfielder Joe Willock made an unexpected start against Watford, while Jamaal Lascelles, Jonjo Shelvey, Martin Dubravka, and Callum Wilson are all still out.
Paul Dummett and Freddie Woodman are also out, although Bruce is unlikely to make too many changes from the team that came pretty close but fell short against Norwich.
Saint-Maximin assisted on Longstaff’s goal, bringing his league record to five-goal involvements from six games, and the dangerous Frenchman should be backed up by Joelinton and Miguel Almiron yet again.
Can either of the teams find their form?
Wolves and Newcastle have both been unlucky, especially when considering the high rate of their xG. Wolves have an xG of 9.13 which is the eighth-highest in the league, but they have picked up just 2 wins out of 6. A plethora of missed chances by Adama Traore and Francisco Trincao have continuously let down Bruno Lage’s side and they will have to be more clinical in order to kickstart their season.
Newcastle, on the other hand, are just below Wolves in the xG table with an xG of 7.82. And, they are performing according to their xG as they have scored exactly seven goals so far. However, they are yet to pick up a win and have 3 draws and 3 losses so far. A majority of their players have not been up to the mark and Steve Bruce needs to find a solution if Newcastle want to survive yet another season in England’s Premier Division.
WOLVES – RAUL JIMENEZ:
Last Gameweek, the Mexican international grabbed his first goal of the campaign. Jimenez has produced an xG of 2.01, 15 shots in the box and 4 big chances, and his numbers have been fairly solid thus far. With an xA of 1.82, he has also generated 16 Chances and 2 Big Chances. This season, Jimenez appears to have increased his creativity significantly, and it’s a shame he hasn’t been able to add a few assists to his tally.
Despite meeting Leicester City (a), Tottenham Hotspur (H), and Manchester United (H), Wolves have been excellent in attack and have been incredibly unlucky not to have tallied more goals.
Wolves have scored the second-least amount of goals in the league but they have been pretty good going forward. They have produced an xG of 9.4, 54 shots in the box, and 15 big chances. If Wolves and Jimenez keep going at this pace, they’ll end up with a far higher average score than they do now.
NEWCASTLE UNITED – ALLAN SAINT-MAXIMIN:
Allan Saint-Maximin has undoubtedly been the best player in this Newcastle team this season. He has pretty much carried their whole attacking responsibility on his shoulders and has been a constant threat while attacking on counters. The Frenchman has scored 2 goals and provided 3 assists for his teammates while also producing an xG of 0.96 and an xA of 2.57, which is among the league’s best.
This season, his wicked agility and skill have been in full swing, and his quick feet have left opponents perplexed. He is quick and can dance around defenders. While he hasn’t received much help from his colleagues on the field, he has generated chances on his own and turned them away, too. Wolves will be careful of allowing him too much room on the ball since he is always a menace.
In his present form, he is probably one of the league’s best and most dreaded individuals. He’s a challenging player to manage, and the Wolves’ defense will have to keep an eye out for him if they want to keep a clean sheet this weekend.