Gary O’Neil’s pre-match warning comes true as Newcastle United boss racks up impressive stat

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Newcastle United v Wolves: Two goals in the first-half and a late Tino Livramento strike earned Eddie Howe’s side their first home win since mid-December.

After a couple of early warnings, Newcastle United took control of Saturday’s game after just 15 minutes when Alexander Isak nodded home past Jose Sa to give his side the lead at St James’ Park. It was a well worked counter-attack that was finished in true striker’s fashion as the Swedish international pounced on Bruno Guimaraes’ deflected effort to score his 15th goal of the season.

It also marked Isak’s first goal since his strike against Manchester City in mid-January - owing to injury issues that had kept him out of action for three games. It also marked the second time in as many games at St James’ Park that Isak had scored past a Gary O’Neil side after he netted an equaliser against Bournemouth in September 2022.

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Speaking ahead of the game, O’Neil took time to mention Isak by name, saying: “They’ve had a tough time, especially with the extra games they’ve had to play in Europe, but a lot of players are coming back now – Isak is a massive plus for them, so they’ll be a threat.”

Those pre-match comments took just a quarter of an hour to come true on Saturday afternoon as a depleted Wolves side missing their joint-top scorers, were unable to break down a stubborn Magpies defence. Despite having not kept a clean sheet in the league since mid-December and conceding 23 goals in just 8 league games since Christmas, Martin Dubravka was able to finally add another clean sheet to his collection.

The win moved the Magpies into 7th place and was also Eddie Howe’s 100th Premier League win as a manager. 44 of those have come whilst in charge of the Magpies with the other 56 coming during his time at the Vitality Stadium.

It may not have been the most memorable win during his time at St James’ Park, but the manner of it had become a familiar one until very recently. They weren’t as flamboyant or attacking as in recent months, but they were defensively solid and retained a threat in attack - characteristics that the very best of Howe’s Newcastle United have shown since his appointment.

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