Wolves 1 Newcastle 1 – The three big points that I’m taking from the match
Wolves 1 Newcastle 1 – Sunday 28 August 2pm
A mixed week of news for us coming up to this game. On the negative side, injuries eating away at the squad and a few transfer niggles, but these seem small fry when it comes to the positive.
A huge landmark signing of Alexander Isak for a club record deal. Despite the hand wringing by the pundits / personalities (an article to come on that soon), a great deal for NUFC and one that could get even better as Isak develops further.
Unfortunately, this match came too soon for the Swede, with his work permit not coming in time – but with a midweek game coming we’ll see him soon enough.
A more worrying absence was that of Bruno, with Longstaff coming in for him, another injury caused by the GBH merchants in the cup – hopefully nothing major. The rest of the squad much as expected, with Wilson and Krafth set to be missing for the next few games (probably longer for Krafth).
The first chance fell to Newcastle, with Wood being put through after only a couple of minutes, but too wide to get a good shot on target, easily smothered by Sa. A few minutes later, a tremendous ball from Neves set Wolves on a counter-attack, Neto landing a ball on the roof of Pope’s net.
As the half went on, it seemed that Wolves were good at getting crosses in, but no one to meet them. Then 11 minutes in, a blatant shirt pull on Longstaff completely ignored, and Willock shooting agonisingly wide in the aftermath.
Newcastle growing into the game, putting lots of pressure on Wolves, and receiving little in return in the first 25 minutes or so. Pretty even as the half continued, but one long range shot from Neves wasn’t closed down, and we’re 1-0 down. Newcastle probably the better team by a slender margin in the 1st half, but only one stat matters…
The second half started with an absurdly long VAR check for a foul by Schar, someone in the room was determined to try and send him off… Schar showing what he thought by almost scoring a long ranger again, slight deflection taking it away.
Important changes for Newcastle as Burn and Wood come off for Targett and Fraser, different approaches needed. Newcastle continued to dominate possession without creating anything clear cut, Wolves really shutting the door, with two of their midfielders in their own box at times.
After battering at the Wolves goal for so long, one counter attack from a corner (following a dubious Neves foul) leads to a Jimenez goal ruled out. Anderson and Murphy thrown on for Willock and Almiron for the last few minutes as pressure continued.
Finally, on the 90 minutes, a poor clearance drops into the path of ASM and an absolute thunderous volley puts Newcastle level!
Grandstand finish, with both teams trying to win it, with ASM almost scoring a second in the 94th minute. Elliot Anderson almost made himself the hero in the 97th minute, rattling the crossbar with a header, then winning a free kick right on the edge of the box. Last chance of the game, Schar shot wide and that was that.
Unfortunate not to win but a great performance against stubborn opposition, while missing our best players.
Here are my three key points that I am taking from the game:
Squad players = more improvement needed
With a few first team players unavailable, it was needed for a few rotation options to step up.
Wood is always a handful, and caused some problems for the Wolves backline, but his lack of goals was always going to mean another striker was needed. With the signing of Isak, we’ll probably not see him start too many more games.
Longstaff was always going to come off unfavourably when compared to Bruno, he just doesn’t have the passing range of the Brazilian. He gets about the pitch well enough, doing really well to shut down a great counter-attack by Wolves in the 1st half, but he’s not well rounded enough to be a first team player in my opinion.
Howe still eying a couple more additions in the market, and I wouldn’t blame him for wanting to bulk the squad out a little more, even if it is just a couple of loans.
When a player’s shirt is pulled, arm is grabbed, and he’s pulled away from the ball in the penalty area, how is that not a penalty? Some hand wringing from pundits at half time saying VAR were lenient because it fell to Willock kindly after the foul but that’s rubbish. Pull down a player in the box, it’s a penalty. Some 30 seconds into the second half and far more effort going into trying to send Schar off for a slightly mistimed toe poke catching a Wolves midfielder- what a joke. Not the first time we’ve been stung by VAR this season and probably not the last.
Missing that killer factor
Missing Wilson, who can convert even the slightest chance, and Bruno, who can split a defence with a thought, really hurt us today.
The signing of Isak will solve the striker issue we hope, but another creative midfielder really would help mitigate the loss of our only really creative presence in midfield, luckily there’s still a few days left in the window…
Stats from BBC Sport:
Wolves 1 Newcastle 1 – Sunday 28 August 2pm
(Half-time stats in brackets)
Possession was Wolves 36% (35%) Newcastle 64% (65%)
Total shots were Wolves 10 (5) Newcastle 21 (9)
Shots on target were Wolves 4 (2) Newcastle 6 (3)
Corners were Wolves 4 (1) Newcastle 13 (5)
Referee: Peter Bankes
Pope, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn (Targett 65), Willock (Anderson 84), Sean Longstaff, Joelinton, Almiron (Murphy 84), Wood (Fraser 65), Saint-Maximin (Ritchie 90+9)
Darlow, Lascelles, Dummett, Manquillo
(Wolves 1 Newcastle 1 – These stunning stats say it all! Read HERE)
(Wolves 1 Newcastle 1 – The instant NUFC fan / writer reaction – Read HERE)
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