Newcastle 2 Wolves 0 – Tuesday 20 September 7.45pm
After Saturday’s loss, Newcastle looked to bounce back with a win and book themselves a place in the round of 16 in the EFL cup.
In front of the biggest cup crowd of the night, the players were desperate to get back on track.
The game burst into life on the 12 minute mark when Jed Wallace had a golden opportunity to make it 1-0 to the visitors, Karl Darlow made himself big and calmly palmed the ball away safely in a one on one.
A wake-up call for the home side and Newcastle then started to pile on the pressure, with a back to top form Matt Ritchie showing signs of brilliance, skipping past the Wolves full back and looking confident on the ball. It was he who broke the deadlock on the half hour mark, netting his second goal for Newcastle.
Ritchie picked up the ball on the right hand side, played a lovely one-two with Jack Colback, leaving him with space and time to calmly strike the ball across the keeper in front of the Gallowgate, making it 1-0.
Only minutes later Matt Ritchie picked up the ball in the same place and put in a great cross to set up star man Yoan Gouffran, another fantastic volley from the Frenchman doubling the scoreline.
From that point onwards, Newcastle looked to have full control for the rest of the first half, going in at the break with what looked a safe 2-0 lead.
With no changes at the break, the home side had a great chance to make it three a few minutes into the second period, Mo Diame picked up the ball on the edge of the box and after a great turn he attempted a chip which hit the bar, leaving Gouffran a simple tap in – but under pressure the Frenchman blazed the ball over the bar and into the stands.
Newcastle continued to capitalise on Wolves’ sloppy passing and fired in more challenging shots for the Wolves goalkeeper. As the match entered the final stage changes were made, Ayoze Perez came on for Mo Diame in the 71 minute the a few minutes later it was Atsu for Yoan Gouffran – a standing ovation for the goalscorer.
Captain Jamaal Lascelles also made an appearance, replacing Matt Ritchie in the 85th minute. A change in formation for Newcastle with now three at the back, allowing Lazaar and Yedlin to bomb on in supporting the attack. Maybe something Rafa could try in the future.
The three players who stood out for me were Gouffran, Ritchie and Yedlin – all three having shown their determination to win the ball back.
Yedlin was always looking to get past his man, whilst a player who has gone a little under the radar is Daryl Murphy – he held the ball up well, doing his job superbly. A player who most fans were excited to see was Archraf Lazaar (pictured above), he seemed to improve as the game went on but in the early stages he looked weak and lost the ball in silly places.
Karl Darlow played confidently, his catching from crosses was superb, whilst his decision making was also a positive, maybe challenging Matz Sels for the number one spot.
An encouraging Newcastle performance from most players, which will give Rafa Benitez a more difficult job when it comes to picking Saturday’s team to face Aston Villa.
Here are the stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 2 Wolves 0
Newcastle: Ritchie 29, Gouffran 31
Possession was Wolves 44% Newcastle 56%
Total shots were Wolves 4 Newcastle 13
Shots on target were Wolves 3 Newcastle 4
Corners were Wolves 9 Newcastle 5
Newcastle starting 11:
Darlow, Yedlin, Clark, Hanley, Lazaar, Gouffran (Atsu 75), Colback, Shelvey, Ritchie (Lascelles 85), Diame (Perez 72), Murphy
Woodman, Dummett, Hayden, Mitrovic
Referee: Andy Woolmer
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