Wolves are aiming to finish their February unbeaten in the Premier League when they take on Newcastle United this weekend having earned 10 points from a possible 12 throughout the month, but here are five things to know ahead of the visit to St James’ Park on Saturday evening.
1. 101 FOR RUI AND CONOR
Last time out against Leeds, it was a night to remember for many of a gold and black persuasion, but especially for Rui Patricio and Conor Coady. Not only did the defensive duo put in terrific performances to earn their side a clean sheet, with Rui’s seven saves being the most made by a Wolves keeper in a Premier League match while shutting out the opposition since March 2010, but they both racked up their 100th Premier League appearances for the club.
Patricio picked up the man of the match award from those voting on the Wolves App, but Coady also received plaudits for putting his body, as well as his face on one occasion, on the line in a bid to keep Leeds out, in front of the watch England manager Gareth Southgate. The pair would be highly expected to now achieve appearance number 101 on Saturday night, but that decision is in the hands of Nuno.
Read more about Patricio’s 100 Premier League appearances, with the thoughts of Matt Murray, Carl Ikeme and the Express and Star’s Joe Edwards, here.
2. ONE-ALL HAS BEEN THE SCORE
Saturday evening’s clash will be the sixth time the two sides have faced each other in the Premier League over the past three years, and Wolves are yet to have been on the losing side. The first of those six games saw Wolves take a 2-1 win over Newcastle thanks to goals from Diogo Jota and Matt Doherty.
With he exception of Wolves’ 4-0 win in the Premier League Asia Trophy semi-final back in the summer of 2019, the last four meetings have all ended in 1-1 draws. Willy Boly’s injury time header earned Wolves a point at Molineux in the second fixture between Wolves and Newcastle in 2018/19, while the other clashes have been less dramatic. Although Wolves are usually the side who fall behind before striking back, the last match seemed to be heading to a Wolves win before Jacob Murphy’s late free-kick earned the Magpies a point.
My captain!— Wolves (@Wolves) February 25, 2021
3. RAUL COMING ON STRONG
This week saw one of the most uplifting videos published on the Wolves social channels, as we saw Raul Jimenez back in training just five months after his horrific head injury. Although he is yet to join in with contact training with his teammates and is currently working separately next to the first-team squad, it was still brilliant to see Raul back on the training pitch.
Raul still has a long way to go before he could return to the fold for selection, and with no new fresh injury worries, Nuno could once again name an unchanged side for a third time, although Marcal is set to miss out once again having being forced off having come from the bench himself on Friday. Newcastle have key injuries of their own with Javier Manquillo, Fabian Schar and Callum Wilson set to miss the visit of the old gold.
4. SEEING RED
One of the key aspects of Wolves’ recent league meetings with Newcastle has been the red cards which have been brandished to those in black and white. Since the 2016/17 season, Wolves have taken on the Magpies seven times, and in those meetings, the side from St James’ Park have had a member of their team sent to the dressing room on three occasions.
Vurnon Anita was the first man to be sent off in a match between Newcastle and Wolves since the turn of the millennium on the 87th minute of a 2-0 Championship loss to the gold and black back in September 2016. Coincidentally, that game was the first Wolves appearance for Romain Saiss, who is the only player who started that match to still be part of Nuno’s squad. Since then, DeAndre Yedlin was dismissed in the aforementioned 2-1 Premier League defeat, while Sean Longstaff was given his marching orders during the match at St James’ Park in 2019/20.
5. A COPY OF OCTOBER
A look at the fixture list for the 2020/21 Premier League season, and you will notice a big similarity between Wolves’ results from the current month and that from October earlier in the campaign. During that month, Wolves went four games unbeaten, picking up a win against Leeds United, followed by a game against Newcastle United a week later.
In their win over Leeds on Friday night, Wolves became the first side to complete a league double over Marcelo Bielsa in the top-flight since Paris St-Germain defeated his Marseille side home and away in Ligue 1 in 2014/15, while Nuno’s men also won consecutive league games for the first time since October, with the second win that month also coming against the Whites. If the months are going to match up, then we could see another 1-1 draw between the teams played out this weekend.