This weekend’s match between Newcastle and Wolves come on the back of contrasting results for both teams.
Benitez’s side put six past a hapless QPR team who couldn’t get close to the Magpies. Meanwhile, Walter Zenga saw Wolves go down 4-0 at home to Barnsley, subsequently cancelling his side’s scheduled day off on Wednesday to prepare for this weekend’s fixture.
There could be changes to both line-ups for this game – particularly Newcastle given Rafa’s penchant for rotation – but here are the battles that we think will be key between the two sides.
Shelvey v Coady
Wolves’ Conor Coady could have his hands full against a seemingly rejuvenated Jonjo Shelvey in the middle of the park. The defensive midfielder will no doubt be tasked with ensuring that Shelvey doesn’t get the space outside the box afforded to him by QPR at the weekend, where he popped up with two goals from a decent distance.
After an underwhelming start to his Newcastle career Shelvey appears to have found the kind of form that should come as standard for a player worth £12m. Like Kevin Nolan before him, dropping down a division may be the making of his time on Tyneside.