Wolves travel to the North East on Sunday in decent form after a slow start to the season, however their preparations for this weekend’s game have been far from ideal – and we must take advantage.
Last night they played a vital Europa League tie in Slovakia and, although they came from behind to win it late on, the game ended just 64 hours before the game at St James’ Park is set to kick off.
It was a crucial game for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, with them sitting third in their group before the game against Slovan Bratislava (the group leaders going into it) and playing a VERY strong side as a result.
Key players Jimenez, Patricio, Boly, Coady, Doherty and Moutinho all played the full 90 minutes in a gruelling game which went down to the wire. Jimenez’s penalty won it for the visitors late on, but they played the final moments with 10 men following Jota’s dismissal for two bookable offences.
They may take confidence from the fact they won, with it being yet another spirited result which highlights their recent upturn in form, but it’s well documented that teams playing in the Europa League on Thursday tend to be a little below their best when competing in the Premier League just a few days later. We certainly noticed a dip in performances during our season in Europa a few years ago, while the likes of Everton and Man Utd have also seen their league form suffer from time to time as a result.
The Wolves squad won’t have landed back in the UK until the early hours of Friday morning and will likely have today off, train Saturday and then get back on a plane to travel up to Tyneside tomorrow night.
We have had a week of training and should be fresh, with Steve Bruce and co also having had plenty of time to work on Sunday’s game plan. Wolves are a strong side, but there can be absolutely no excuses if we don’t outrun them this weekend.
Make no mistake, we’ll have to be every bit as good as we were against Man Utd to beat a very stubborn and capable Wolves side, but we capitalise on the fact their preparations for Sunday’s game have been far from ideal.