Wolverhampton Wanderers v Newcastle United – Match Preview

Newcastle travel to Wolves on Saturday hoping to maintain their unbeaten start to the Premier League season but face a stern test against Mick McCarthy’s side.

Wanderers have lost three on the bounce and confidence is slowly ebbing away after such a positive start to the campaign that wielded seven points from three games. While last weeks defeat away at Liverpool was disappointing their performance and unwillingness to let the Reds run away with the game was admirable. They should count themselves unlucky after Roger Johnson deflected Charlie Adam’s effort in with his head. That came just seconds after he appeared to have been fouled by former Magpie Andy Carroll who scored for his former club in this fixture last season. One man who is hitting the net regularly is Steven Fletcher who scored Wanderers consolation last week and is brimming with enthusiasm after recovering a groin injury. He’ll be paired up front with Kevin Doyle who signed a new contract during the week which will have pleased McCarthy. The pair will be given the job of penetrating a Newcastle defence that has conceded only three goals in the league this season.Last seasons 1-1 draw was a testy affair with 12 yellows brandished whilst Karl Henry wrote his name into the Geordie bad books with a series of assaults on former midfielder Joey Barton.  Richard Stearman is the only injury doubt with a bruised toe meaning 19-uear-old Matt Doherty could make his Premier League bow.

Alan Pardew’s men are unbeaten in 11 games, stretching back to the previous campaign, are riding the crest of a very high wave after last week’s 3-1 win over Blackburn. Everything seems to falling into place nicely on Tyneside with Pardew’s summer signings impressing with Demba Ba opening his account for the Toon with a hat trick at St James’ Park last week. He’ll continue his partnership with Leon Best in the Midlands but it’s another pairing that is getting all the praise. Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor have been impenetrable this season and look stronger every game. With Tim Krul behind them between the sticks and looking unbeatable it seems that Newcastle’s defensive nightmares of years gone by is finally coming to an end. Pardew will be buoyed by Jonas Gutierrez signing a new contract during the week with the winger vital to both defensive and attacking aspects of the side. Davide Santon could start on the bench for the visitors but injured trio Shola Ameobi, Alan Smith and Mike Williamson will miss out once again.

Key Players

Jamie O’Hara – Wolves master in chief of creativity will need to have his inventors head on if he is to break down a formidable Newcastle defence. With Fletcher and Doyle expecting service O’Hara will need to have his thinking cap firmly on if Wolves are to take anything from the game.

Demba Ba – A dominating display against Christopher Samba is no mean feat but Newcastle’s Senegalese striker did that and more. His treble showed just what a handful he can be in the air and when the ball is at his feet. The physical aspects of his game will be vital at Molineux.

Verdict: 1-1

  • Jamie O’Hara is currently the Barclays Premier League player to have completed the sixth most passes in the opposition half (153) this season. This is behind only Aaron Ramsey (198), David Silva (186), Samir Nasri (163), Yaya Toure (160) and Nani (157)
  • O’Hara also lost his first tackle of the season last weekend against Liverpool taking his tackles won percentage down to 94.12%
  • After his hat-trick against Blackburn Rovers last weekend, Demba Ba was the Barclays Premier League player to rise the most places in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index this week. Ba climbed a massive 212 places to sit in 56th place currently
  • Ba has hit the target with 75% of his eight shots this season and his treble last week came from the three shots he had on target during the game

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