Newcastle v Wolves – Premier League match preview.

St James' Park.

St James' Park.
Battle of the basement!
The Premier League returns after a two week break this weekend, although for NUFC it could probably stay away for another two weeks as the injury crisis continues to get worse.

It’s not only injuries that Newcastle will have to deal with tomorrow though. Suspension plays a small part, as does recent form as well as the inability to win a home game at three o’clock. All of these factors come into play as we prepare to face an in-form Wolves side who have only lost one game in the last seven.

This is a relegation six-pointer, make no mistake about that. Sam the Eagle will have his team suitably pumped up for the encounter, but then again Wolves are pumped up for most encounters. They are a hard-working side who fight for everything and display a (cliche alert) never say die attitude, but they do have their own injury problems to deal with.
Mick the eagle.


Top scorer Kevin Doyle will be out for at least six weeks after he picked up an injury on international duty. Ronald Zubar and David Edwards are also ruled out whilst Stephen Hunt and AdlΓ¨ne Guedioura are both rated as doubtful for the St James’ Park encounter.

Wolves have not won a league game at Newcastle since 1959, but history goes out of the window tomorrow. As has been mentioned, Wolves are in a decent run at the moment despite having the worst away record in the league. They have only picked up eight points on the road this term, and that figure was boosted dramatically by their last match in which they won 1-0 at Aston Villa. For that match they lined up with a team consisting of;

Wolves: Wayne Hennessey, Kevin Foley, Richard Stearman, Christophe Berra, George Elokobi, Adam Hammill, Karl Henry, Nenad Milijas, Jamie O’Hara, Matt Jarvis, Kevin Doyle.

Moving on to the home side…..

Newcastle have well documented injury problems, and this two week break was supposed to help us get some players back to fitness. It hasn’t worked out like that though and instead we have an injury list that has grown with the news that Leon Best could well be out for the rest of the season.

It doesn’t end there though as it looks as though we’ll still have to wait to see Stephen Ireland make his Newcastle debut, although the news that Ireland is only on a pay-as-you-play deal has slightly softened the blow and calmed the rage. Jose Enrique is only rated as 50/50 for the match as well when it was thought that a two week respite may have allowed his hamstring strain to clear up.

Then add in our long-term casualties such as Hatem Ben Arfa, Alan Smith and Dan Gosing and our suspended duo of Cheik Tiote and Ryan Taylor (the latter is good news by the way) and you can see that we have somewhat of a selection problem.

In a rare moment of good news for Newcastle United fans, Joey Barton and Jonas Gutierrez have both come through the two week lay-off without aggravating their respective injuries whilst Shane Ferguson, who impressed at The Britannia, is on standby to make his full Premier League debut.

It’s up front where we are struggling at the minute, so that is going to be the main area to address as we prepare to do battle. Top scorer Kevin Nolan is not our top scorer for no reason. He knows where the back of the net is so the key for me will be making sure he can get into the positions where he can inflict his damage. If that means playing him slightly more advanced then it must be done as, in my opinion, he is probably just about the best finisher at the club.

For that reason I would start with a 4-4-2, but I would instruct Nolan to play slightly more advanced. Guthrie is going to start by the looks of it whilst Barton will be on the right wing again so I’d instruct them to to tuck in when Nolan pushes forward. I’d play a team (assuming Jose doesn’t make it) of;

Newcastle: Steve Harper, Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Shane Ferguson, Joey Barton, Danny Guthrie, Kevin Nolan, Jonas Gutierrez, Shefki Kuqi, Nile Ranger.

I realise that the front pair is a bit of a wild card, but it’s pace and power combined with work rate from the pair. The can also hold the ball up and allow people to get forward in support, namely Kevin Nolan, who can then add an additional threat. It’s crazy, but it might just work….

The last three Premier League meetings between the two sides have all ended up with a 1-1 scoreline.

Newcastle have won one game in ten and have drawn five of the last nine league matches.

Officiating the match will be Mike Dean who last took charge of a match at St James’ Park back in January when Newcastle beat West Ham 5-0. Hopefully he can bring us more good fortune.

This match needs no build up. A win for the away side would suck us straight into the relegation mire whilst a win for Newcastle would take us another step towards Premier League safety and would settle down a lot nerves that are jangling at the moment. A draw would be neither here nor there really, but it would be better for us than it would be for Wolves I’m sure.

One more thing. Don’t forget that you can keep up with everything regarding the match here at NUFC Blog including pre-match build up, a juicy article to talk about the match itself as well as post-match reaction an analysis.

Howay the lads!

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

141 thoughts on “Newcastle v Wolves – Premier League match preview.

  1. If Ranger doesnt get a chance now Pardews a fool, on the back of Lovenkrands and Shola’s peformances he needs to change it.

    Gunna be a while before Ireland gets to prove himself, lets hope he gets some minutes against Wolves. Been what 2 month since the window closed and he hasnt even stepped foot on the pitch? If we do decide to buy him lets hope we dont spend too much on him.

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  2. I agree. He has done nowt to warrant starting tomorrow. I think he’ll go missing against a physical Wolves defence.

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  3. Shearers mistake IMHO was trying to change too many things in the short term, A bit of ego massaging/bum licking was needed two years ago.

    He should have let things slide until the summer and then clamped down on the players.

    Pardew should do the same, Rangers being a ******* and needs to be brought down a peg or two but get him in the team and get us safe, If he carries on playing the prick then get rid in the summer but ffs lets not risk our prem status for making a point… πŸ™„

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  4. FunkyJesus, which goals would those be mate?

    Or was that tongue-in-cheek?

    I’d say Ameobi-Kuqi, Ranger for Kuqi after half time. I still think the only reason Ranger looks so good is cos the other team have always been knackered by the time he gets on…

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  5. I think Shola will start; less sure about Loven – it depends on who’s done what in training. I agree that he’s likely to struggle against such a physical side.

    I think Toonsy’s right about Nolan being the threat too. Whether Kuqi monster is up to the task I don’t know – only AP has seen them in training.

    I’d also go with Saylor at the back, because he’s more likely to score from corners and set pieces than Willo, and I think he’s better against the more agricultural attacks.

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  6. It was tongue in cheek. Like you said, Ranger is only good against defenders who have played about 70 minutes before he starts.

    Ranger couldn’t score in the Championship yet we are heralding him as better than our second or third highest scorer last season. Lovenkrands also has more goals this season too.

    The fact is none of our strikers have form now outside Leon Best and he is likely out the rest of the season. We better pray Kevin Nolan starts scoring again or we’re jiggered.

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  7. Or Shola. His work rate would be immense against against a team who have work ethic ingrained into their psyche…

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  8. I agree with Devon – why start two strikers with a total of zero premiership goals between them in a must-win match?? I know people love the idea of these two coming good, but a dose of realism is needed!

    Ranger would be good because of his ability to disrupt defences and hold the ball up. Kuqi because he’s a house with legs. But someone has to score…

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  9. Whumpie
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    “but a dose of realism is needed!”

    I agree, but if people bothered their arse to read they would see why I say about starting Ranger and Best.

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  10. How many did Best score in the championship…

    He was w@nk in a team that lost once after january, The reason he has form is because he had a run in the team shouldnt Ranger be given the same chance before we take the piss ??

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  11. When Ranger doesn’t miss open goals seemingly on purpose, then I’ll give him a chance. Until then, he’s a joke that looks more at home dealing dope than playing football.

    If he ever scores, I wonder if his goal celebration is snorting a line or popping a pill.

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  12. funkyjesus
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    “Until then, he’s a joke that looks more at home dealing dope than playing football.

    If he ever scores, I wonder if his goal celebration is snorting a line or popping a pill.”

    I’m going to submit this to wikipedia as a description of Glaswegians

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  13. I see your logic, but the flaw is that neither of them have any history of finding the net, whereas both Shola and Loven have. Not recently, but that’s still better than not at all. I think you have to go with the non-scoring qualities of ONE of the non-scorers and put ONE of the scorers next to them and hope that they either re-find their form or that Nolan can clean up.

    It’s crap, I know. But it’s better than hoping one of the two with histories that definitely point at NOT scoring pick this game to make a ‘career first’.

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  14. Ranger has missed some howlers, but I think that’s irrelevant. We just can’t hope that tomorrow is the day that he suddenly pulls the rabit from the hat – it’s too important. Like him or not, Shola, more than any player, has a habit of scoring when we really need it.

    Just don’t play him AND Loven or I’ll cry.

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  15. No other players are hyped constantly like Ranger despite him showing nothing remotely like goal scoring ability.

    Ameobi could score five against Sunderland and the next week, he should be sold. Ranger can miss open goals and he is the future of the club.

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  16. I never said drop Shola, I just do with seeing Lovenkrands in the team when he is contributing ****e, Ranger has made impact as a sub on a fair few occasions and should be give a start to show what he can do…

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  17. I just have the feeling that Ranger very well may explode once he hits the back of the net. That is why I would love to see him loaned to a Championship club when we (hopefully) will have more options up front.

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  18. Whumpie – Exactly, which is why I said to play Kuqi and Ranger, so chances for our top scorer can be created.

    I don’t expect either striker to score and that seems to be what simple people are focussing on, but I do expect that Kuqi (he is ****ing huge!) will do a better job at holding up the ball than Ameobi whilst Ranger can pull defences out the way with his pace and he can also hold the ball up.

    As it stands, neither Ameobi or Lovenkrands could hold up a queue such is the utter ****eness of them. They’ve been tried, and they’ve failed, numerous times this season.

    To flip it around, would it not be a bit of a stretch to hope that two players who, in your own words have no recent history of scoring goals, to suddenly start scoring goal in a must win game?

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  19. I agree with the inconsistency in perception between Ranger and Shola – but that’s another soap box.

    I also think it’s wrong to suggest that Ranger “showing nothing remotely like goal scoring ability”. He’s hit some cracking strikes but has been denied by a combination of excellent ‘keeping and a bit of luck.

    But that’s not why I’d play him. If we’re relying on Nolan more, then I think nobody’s done better to set up Nolan to score than Ranger. 2nd up would be Shola, who’s tricks have worked many times, no matter how frustrating the failures are to watch.

    The question for me is: what do you put next to Shola from the start? Kuqi’s muscle or Ranger’s speed?

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  20. Funky Ranger hasnt even started a game yet, fair enough he missed a complete sitter against West Ham but If Ranger had of played the amount of minutes Lovenkrands has this season I’m pritty sure who would have more goals.

    Ranger can offer so much more than Lovenkrands can for us, im sure everyone can agree on that.

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  21. Toonsy – I get your argument; I simply opine (great word for a Friday) that playing both non-scorers and relying on Nolan is less likely to get goals than one non-scorer, Shola and Nolan. Apart from anything else, Kuqi won’t last 90 mins.

    I think I’m leaning towards Shola and Kuqi until their defence bruised and ****ed, then replace one of them with Ranger.

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  22. just to cheer everyone up,we have only beaten wolves once in 12 in last meetings πŸ˜₯

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  23. The main issue I have with Shola and Lovenkrands is that they are a piece of piss to defend against in the Premier League. If I was up against them as a defender I would stick the boot in within five minutes and have the other 85 minutes off. That’s what happens

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  24. I just put up a short article in forum. 😎

    The article wasn’t wrote by me,but is worth to put here,is a very nice article written by Tom Adams from soccernet. 😎

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  25. Toonsy – that is a fair point. Perhaps start with your idea and see how it goes?

    But let’s face it, it’ll be whatever AP’s been practicing with. My main fear is that he’ll play something completely new – a bloody dodecahedral polymorph formation or something – and we’ll have Stoke all over again.

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  26. back to topic,it seems Lovenkrands would score only in a losing match. in epl. πŸ™„ πŸ˜•

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  27. I’d play Kuqi and Shola and go long, Shola might be shyte but i just think the range would be better wide right

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  28. giving us a bit of pace, instead of having a one pace midfield barring Jonas, with guthrie, barton and nolan we have noone quick to break, if we start ranger wide right he would be able to counter attack if need be

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  29. to be honest I’ve got a bad, bad feeling about tomorrow. We really, REALLY needed Tiote playing this one to rough up Henry. Against Villa he made Makoun and Reo-Coker look like school boys. Gutted Cheick’s out. Anyhow, my team for tomorrow:

    ————-Harper————
    simmo-colo–willo–enrique-
    ————–tiote—————
    barton—Ireland—-Ben Arfa
    ————Nolan—————
    —————-Carroll———

    oops..

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  30. To start Kuqi would be a massive mistake. Theres a reason why Swansea didn’t want him, Pardew said when he came he doesnt even want to start him – I’m all for him coming on for the last 10 minutes or so against tired defenders, thats what he is probably best at.

    I have no doubt at all Pardew will still play Shola and Loven, just hope they prove me wrong because after watching them at Stoke I can’t see any goals in them at all.

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  31. AndrewNUFC
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    “I have no doubt at all Pardew will still play Shola and Loven, just hope they prove me wrong because after watching them at Stoke I can’t see any goals in them at all.”

    Exactly, and they’ll be up against the same kind of defence tomorrow which is why I want to something different. I stood there at Stoke thinking I’d try harder than them pair of tossers.

    I don’t expect world-beaters, I’m not deluded like that, but I do expect effort, and neither of them give it often enough.

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  32. i don’t intend to watch the match anyway,cause i know most of the time,the ball will be with wolves players.

    ❗ ❗

    And it would be a very dull match,i don’t think going long against them works,the players in fact needs to play to ground more often. in such games,Lovenkrands(as our tiny striker) is needed.

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  33. I would rather none of our players roughed up Henry, Let him charge around, fly into stupid challenges and get sent off, I would rather us concentrate on getting three points.

    West Ham came on the back of 2 wins and 2 draws and were gobbing off, They were beatable and Wolves are beatable.

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  34. Apparently we are in talks with Oscar Wendt…….? Copenhagen LB. Anyone know anything about him?

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  35. well…. pearceet. he’s a good cheap signing on football manager, that is the extent of my knowledge, wheres the link mate?

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  36. Round two for Barton and Henry, really hope Barton gets at least one awful tackle in on him.

    Wolves away was a class day out, class atmosphere, finding out Benny had signed, good result πŸ™‚

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  37. I’m liking what I’m hearing about all of these great players coming to st James, but I’m refusing to believe anything until we start confirming signatures, I’m sick of hearing ridiculous transfers like. Wasn’t it not that long ago where we were getting carles puuok in w part exchange with s taylor

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  38. I think I’d start Kuqi with a view to bashing seven bells out of the CBs to make way for Ranger to come on later and take advantage of tired/bruised legs. And I’d have Shola on because he has a habit of nicking important goals.

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  39. the man whos asleep with his mouth open a little provided the perfect little compartment to pop the nugget in there

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  40. I just hope the ref is a shedload less ****e than the away game. Remember the montage of seven yellow-card tackles against Barton? If the ref now goes and sends off Joey the first time he blinks at Henry there will be a riot. Or ought to be. Bloody FA bang on about respect for officials, but never mention anything about making them any more respectable.

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  41. i reckon the game tomorrow will be exactly the same as the other fixture with them scoring first but being unable to park the bus and we bring kuqi or someone on and they nab an equaliser.

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  42. As long as we stick to our game plan and play to our strengths we should be fine , think we over thought the stoke game , we need to let the opposition worry bout us not us worry about them

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  43. Got to say that IF ( a big IF) we lose tomorrow then we need to prepare for another Fizzy Pop season!!

    Nice site Toonsy have enjoyed the read…….. by the way where did the Celebrity comment come from on that other blog πŸ™‚

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  44. Quite – no more stupid, radical formations; just let people play in their natural positions (except perhaps Joey – he’s good wide right!) and stick to our own game. Keep it disciplined, absorb the pressure and knocks until they calm down, then go at them with everyone forward of the halfway line told to crack it goalwards…

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  45. Maverick, I hope you’re wrong but I can’t find any good reason to disagree. Six points from eight games doesn’t sound hard, but it’s going to be if we can’t even beat Wolves at home.

    So we will.

    Obviously.

    I think.

    I need a pint. 😳

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  46. our goal difference will keep us up if we really have that horrendous of a run (fingers crossed)

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  47. Liam, goal difference won’t last long if the likes of Stoke give us a 4 nil battering!

    Whumpie, I hope i’m wrong to!! And will be cheering them on either on the Radio or Internet stream if I can find one that doesn’t cause a virus!! Or as a last resort…..BBC Text Commentary!

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  48. With something like 6 teams separating us from the relegation zone and we still need to play 5 of the bottom 9 in our run-in (3 at home).

    Plus the fact a lot of the 9 below us have to play eachother so regardless the results of those games, a team below us is going to be further condemned.

    The only thing that concerns me is the scoring of goals and similarly to the season where we did go down the games like portsmouth 0-0 at home and the fulham 0-1 at home are in the end what condemned us to a season in the 2nd tier.

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  49. Here’s an unlikely set of results tomorrow and Sunday that could see us just 1 point above the drop zone…..Hammers beat Manu 35 points, Birm beat Bolton 34 points, Villa beat Everton 36 points, Wolves beat us 35 points, West Brom beat Liverpool 36 ponts, Wigan beat Spurs 34 points, Blackburn beat Arsenal 36 points, Blackpool beat Fulham 36 points, bottom Four will be :-

    Wolves
    West Ham
    Birmingham
    Wigan

    Now admittedly some of those results do look a bit pie in the sky……..but how many results this season have shocked people?
    Most of the ones i’ve put out there are indeed possible, Birmingham have a great chance of beating Bolton, Villa could very well beat Everton at Goodison, Wolves could turn us over but a draw is more likely, West Brom could very well turn over Liverpool at THe Hawthorns, Wigan could also do a number on Spurs who have both eyes on the Champions League right now, and Blackpool could get a good result at Fulham if they can recapture some of their early season form.

    But the likely results for me indicate we’ll be 5 clear of the drop zone by Sunday evening, after a tough draw at home.

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  50. Well you could just say we could beat wolves if we recapture our early season form.

    We have 100x better chance of beating wolves than: west ham beating man utd, west brom beating liverpool, blackburn beating arsenal and wigan beating spurs.

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