Wolves to leave out best player against Newcastle United to ensure availability for more important games?
Wolves have a big Ruben Neves dilemma.
Their captain and best player helped his side to a massive 1-0 win over Newcastle’s top four rivals Tottenham on Saturday.
Ruben Neves of course scored a cracking goal back in August that gave Wolves a point against Newcastle, ASM getting a late equaliser.
Saturday’s win over Spurs gave Wolves a little breathing space but they are still very much one of nine clubs fighting it out to avoid the three relegations spots, as you can see from Tuesday morning’s Premier League table:
As you can see, only six points cover the bottom nine clubs and along with Everton, Wolves have played one match more than the other seven.
The Ruben Neves dilemma for Wolves, is that he is on nine yellow cards, a tenth at St James’ Park would see him automatically miss the next two Premier League games.
Any result is of course possible, but a defeat against Newcastle United AND a yellow card for Ruben Neves could be a disaster for Wolves.
A tenth yellow on Sunday would see the Wolves captain and star player miss key relegation clashes against Leeds at home and then Forest away.
So the talk in the West Midlands is whether or not the smart move is to ensure Ruben Neves can line up against what looks a far more winnable game against Leeds, by resting the midfielder against Newcastle.
Newcastle United have of course already found themselves with a similar blow, all action midfielder Joelinton suspended for what looks far more winnable games against Wolves and Forest, having picked up his tenth booking on Saturday at Man City.
This is how things currently look after 24 NUFC Premier League games, with regard to Newcastle United players and yellow cards in the Premier League:
5 Kieran Trippier
4 Fabian Schar, Bruno, Jamaal Lascelles
3 Dan Burn, Callum Wilson, Nick Pope
2 Sean Longstaff, Miguel Almiron
1 Sven Botman, Ryan Fraser, Allan Saint-Maximin, Anthony Gordon, Joe Willock
Joelinton has already served a one match suspension, sitting out the 4-1 win at Southampton.
According to the Premier League rules, any player who ends up with 10 yellow cards in Premier League matches, up to and including their team’s 32nd fixture, will serve a two match suspension in the competition.
As you can see above, generally pretty good news apart from Joelinton, as of the rest of the players, Kieran Trippier is second highest on five yellows, so would need another five in the next eight Premier League games to trigger an automatic two match ban.
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