'It's a bit messy isn't it?' – the Wolverhampton Wanderers view on Newcastle United
Wolverhampton Wanderers may have had their struggles this season, but they’re living out a distant dream for Newcastle United fans.
Long gone are the days of the Magpies faithful jetting to far flung corners of Europe for a Thursday fixture – and it’s difficult to see when they will ever return.
But Sunday’s visitors are doing just that. Fresh from his trip to Bratislava, Express & Star Wolves writer Joe Edwards has given his take on Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, as well as his thoughts on the ‘mess’ at St James’s Park.
How would you describe Wolves' start to the season?
“In a word, fair. Wolves picked up a fantastic win at Manchester City - an example of a game-plan being executed to perfection - and drew with Man United, but the losses to Everton and Chelsea were particularly disappointing. The draws with Burnley and Southampton were underwhelming, so, mixed, but it was to be expected given the tough schedule which comes with the Europa League.”
Has Europa League football had an adverse effect on results, injuries, approach, players?
“It has. Just like anything that is new, it takes a bit of getting used to. Wolves had an immaculate record with injuries last season, but several have already picked up knocks - albeit not serious.”
What sort of business did Wolves do in the transfer window - and what have you made of it?
“Wolves decided to stick with a small squad and the jury's out over the summer business, to be fair. Patrick Cutrone has worked hard and become a fans' favourite because of that, but the goals have not been flowing for him. Jesus Vallejo, meanwhile, has looked shaky since coming in on loan from Real Madrid. Another defender and an attacking midfielder would have gone down nicely.”
What kind of football can Newcastle expect from Nuno's side and what are the expectations for this season?
“For all the talk about how Wolves play attractive, silky football, they are arguably more effective on the counter. With speedy customers such as Adama Traore and Diogo Jota, and the tricky Raul Jimenez, they can punish teams in a flash.”
What's the injury situation like at Molineux?
“Ryan Bennett (groin) and Pedro Neto (heel) did not go to Slovan Bratislava and are the two doubts.”
What's your predicted XI for the game?
(3-5-2): Patricio; Boly, Coady, Saiss; Traore, Neves, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Vinagre; Jimenez, Jota
Who are Wolves' form men?
Willy Boly was fantastic against City and, when he is on song, there is nobody better outside the top six. Rui Patricio has been consistent between the sticks.
Looking from the outside in, what do you make of the Newcastle United situation on and off the field?
It is a bit messy, isn't it? In all honesty, I think you will do well to stay up this season.
Your match prediction?