As ever, we are looking to bring you a view from the other side before this week’s game, with us chatting to an opposing fan to gain their opinions on NUFC, an insight into their own side and their thoughts ahead of of our upcoming match.
Here’s our chat from a few days ago:
Q1) What are your thoughts coming into this one? You seem to be back in great form, but us Mags have some hope to hold onto now after being Man City and breaking out 14-year-old transfer record last week.
“We’re in good form, winning our last 3 league games & scoring 10 goals in the process. Nuno will want to continue with that run & team is playing with a lot of confidence.
“I’ve only seen Newcastle when we played at St James & what I catch on MOTD.
“I think Rafa’s hands are tied to a great extent by the lack of ambition by Mike Ashley. He’s setting his team up to be organised & defensively obdurate. So I’m expecting you to come & sit in and look to counter-attack when the opportunity to arises.”
Q2) What are the strengths and weaknesses of your current side? Any players that are the ‘ones to watch’ (for good & bad) that us NUFC fans should know about? Most important player? Weak link?
“Strengths of our team is the cohesive manner in which the team plays. Our organisation is top drawer, but we hit teams on the counter with pace & precision. I think earlier in the season we were naive in games. But our squad didn’t have a great deal of PL experience. Now we’re fully acclimatised & playing some brilliant football. We changed the system slightly against Chelsea at home. It’s a 3-5-2 now.
“Where do you start with players to watch? Jimenez has been outstanding in his first season in the Premier League, 11 goals & 6 assists. Jota is back in form & causing teams untold problems. Jota & Jimenez are a proper partnership. They’re really a handful for most teams.
“Moutinho, Neves, Dendoncker in midfield complement each other so well. They’ve been superb in recent games. Joào Moutinho is the best player I’ve ever seen in a Wolves shirt. He’s phenomenal.
“Defensively we’re strong, having Boly back from suspension is a massive positive.
“Weaknesses is something difficult to assess, based on how good we’ve been in our first season back. Not being clinical enough earlier in the season was a concern, but that has been addressed recently.
“We can struggle if teams negate our wingbacks, earlier in the season it was an issue. Particularly in the games at home against Watford & Huddersfield. We were also lacking some physicality in midfield, but Dendoncker has ameliorated that and then some.”
Q3) On the flip side, which players do you see as the strengths AND weaknesses in our Newcastle’s side? Anyone you’re wary of and anyone you don’t rate?
“Not really in a position to offer an informed opinion. I don’t rate Rondon, on the basis of his parent club being the ****.
“All players in the Premier League are there for a reason, Rafa is a top coach so he selects who he sees fit to play.
“There was the issue with Shelvey & Saiss when we were in the Championship. He’s a talented player, but his attitude from my perspective is that he’s not really a team player. It’s all about him. Similar to Mitrovic, and the reason I suspect Rafa binned him. Would any Wolves fan swap Neves for Voldemort? No way.”
Q4) What sort of game do you think it’ll be on Monday night and how do you see it panning out? Score prediction?
“I think Newcastle will sit deep & play on the break. I expect a tight game to begin with. But if we get an early goal & you’re forced to come at us we have the quality to pick you off.
“One thing Wolves have in spades is a fantastic collective team spirit. These lads go to the nth degree for each other. Also we never stop pressing for a goal. We’ve had 3 injury time winners this season, as well you know…
“Prediction is 3-0 Wolves.”
Q5) What did you make of that controversial Willy Boly incident in the reverse fixture last year? I am biased of course, but it looked to me like a dangerous swinging elbow and a penalty – even if it wasn’t intentional..
“Players raise elbows to gain elevation when they jump. Boly isn’t a dirty player, he’s that good he doesn’t need to be.
“Referees make the calls on challenges, we as fans often see things differently – end of the day it’s down to them & what they see at the time.”
Q6) If you could sign one player from this NUFC side, who would you like to see Nuno go for?
“Matt Richie, he looks to be your most proactive player.’
“I’d take Dubravka, and Lascelles as squad players though.”
Q7) Finally, if you had our two squads to choose from and were asked to pick the best possible side, what would you starting 11 be? (BE HONEST!)
“I honestly would pick Patricio, Boly, Bennett, Coady, Doherty, Jonny, Moutinho, Neves, Dendoncker, Jota & Jiminez.
“That’s not denigrating Newcastle. It’s just how good we’ve been this season (You asked for honesty!).
“I hope you stay up. But not with any points from tomorrow night!”
Next up will be the thoughts of a Huddersfield fan next weekend ahead of their trip to St James’ a week on Saturday.