Ahead of the game today, Match of The Day commentator Conor McNamara has been analysing the Newcastle v Wolves game.
Rafa Benitez’ team looking to build on three wins and two draws in the last six games and move further away from the relegation zone.
Wolves have picked up only four points from their last seven games, though got a much-needed boost when beating Chelsea in midweek.
Conor McNamara makes the point that despite only two places separating the clubs, Wolves have had far more praise.
They have also been heavily praised for their attacking play whilst Rafa Benitez has at times been slaughtered for supposedly been too negative, yet today’s visitors have only scored three more goals than the Magpies (15 v 12).
Last season Newcastle were excellent at set-pieces, both attacking and defending them.
The Match of The Day man pointing out that this is an area where Rafa’s team are surprisingly really struggling, conceding more goals from set-pieces than any other PL club.
Indeed, exactly half (10 of 20) have been conceded by NUFC in this way.
Another interesting fact picked out is that Newcastle have scored nine of their 12 goals in the first half. A strange statistic as most clubs normally score more after half-time in general terms, maybe suggesting stamina isn’t Newcastle’s greatest asset?
Match of The Day commentator’s notes:
“Wolves are rightly admired for their attacking verve, yet they have only scored three league goals more than Newcastle.
Although there is a huge gulf in the praise doled out to these teams, there are only two places between them in the table.
“Newcastle’s set-piece defending again failed them in midweek as Everton’s equaliser came from a corner.
“They have now conceded a league-high 10 set-piece goals and need to rectify that and quick.
“Wolves enjoyed one of their best results of the campaign against Chelsea on Wednesday, and Diogo Jota’s first Premier League goal could be the start of a return to form for last season’s top scorer.”
Newcastle have never lost in six previous Premier League matches against Wolves, winning two and drawing four.
Wolves are winless in 15 top-flight matches away to Newcastle, losing 10 of them, since a 4-3 victory in February 1959. However, Wolves won 2-0 on their last league visit to St. James’ Park, in the Championship in September 2016.
Newcastle have lost six of their opening eight home league games, which is a joint-club record for this stage of the season.
Nine of the Magpies’ 12 league goals have been scored in the first half.
Newcastle are one of three teams, along with Brighton and Burnley, not to have scored a league goal from outside the penalty area this season.
Rafael Benitez has not lost any of his 22 home Premier League matches against a promoted club, winning 16 of them.
Newcastle and Wolves are the only teams not to have had an English goalscorer this season.