Michael Owen ‘fatigue’ claims not ringing true as he predicts Newcastle v Wolves
Michael Owen has been looking ahead to Sunday’s game at St James Park.
Yet another match where we are set to have thousands and thousands of empty seats for the Live TV cameras.
A report on Wednesday revealed over 7,000 seats in normal ticketing areas remained unsold, with only around 700 tickets sold in a week, as well as an unknown number of the 4,000 corporate seats still unsold.
As for the visitors though, all 3,235 away tickets have been quickly snapped up as Wolves look to be on an upward trajectory once again.
Much was made about Europa League football having affected their early season results, however, this may have been overstated.
Following their six European games, Wolves have only lost once and that took a late goal for Everton to beat them 3-2 at Goodison. Nuno’s team drawing four of those games against Man U and Burnley at home, as well as Palace and Leicester away – three of those four clubs in the top eight at the moment.
Michael Owen says that ‘fatigue’ could play a big part for the away side as they have a game in Bratislava on Thursday.
However, their last away European trip was when they won 1-0 away in Turkey at Besiktas on Thursday 3 October, then three days later they went to the Etihad and beat Man City 2-0.
Michael Owen’s biggest compliment for Newcastle is that the Magpies are ‘fast becoming a very difficult side to beat’, which I’m not sure rings that true when you actually look at the stats. Steve Bruce’s team have lost six of their ten games this season and they were very fortunate to get home draws against Watford and Brighton. Chelsea might have only won 1-0 on Saturday but once again the luck was with NUFC, as the blues should have won by three or more.
Maybe the most encouraging stats for Newcastle fans are the fact that when it comes to threatening the opposition goal, Wolves have got very similar shot statistics. They are the second lowest in the Premier League with total shots (Wolves 80 v Newcastle 81) and then shots on target it is NUFC very lowest on 21 in nine games and Wolves third lowest on 24.
However, whilst Newcastle have scored a feeble five, Wolves have scored half their shots on target, scoring 12.
Wolves have once again had significant expenditure on their squad with a net spend of £84m compared to Newcastle’s £30m net spend (source Transfermarkt). Amongst that Wolves spend was expenditure of £46m to convert Dendoncker and Jimenez to permanent deals from loans.
Whilst Mike Ashley refused to allow any offer to be made for player of the year Salomon Rondon (11 PL goals and seven assists last season), Wolves backed Nuno by paying over £32m for Jimenez. He has already got three goals and two assists which backs up the theory that if it isn’t broke, don’t try to fix it.
At the moment, Ashley’s move to force out Rafa Benitez and top goalscorers Rondon and Perez (he had a £30m buyout clause but would he have stayed if Rafa did?), in order to follow his preferred dream of buying young unproven inexperienced players from abroad is yet again looking a disaster waiting to happen.
Michael Owen predicts a draw but that is very unlikely to be enough to take Newcastle out of the relegation zone and with three of the next four games being away to West Ham & Villa and home to Man City (other game is home to Bournemouth), NUFC really could do with three points this weekend.
Michael Owen talking to BetVictor:
“Newcastle continue to struggle for goals – five in nine league games.
“But they are fast becoming a very difficult side to beat and they did gain a famous win against Manchester United in their last home game.
“Wolves are in Bratislava in the Europa League on Thursday and fatigue may be a factor for the Molineux outfit.
“Who may be happy to come away from St James Park with a hard-earned point.
“Tip: Game to finish in a draw at 2/1.”
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