Newcastle vs Wolves preview: Two teams on back of 5 goal stuffings

Posted on February 23rd, 2012 | 33 Comments |

Newcastle United v Wolverhampton Wanderers 2011/2012 season.
Wolves at the door on Saturday
Venue: St James’ Park.
Date: Sat 25th Feb 2011.
Kick-Off: 15:00.
Referee: Peter Walton.

Having had a couple of weeks off to banish the ghosts of the 5-0 thumping by Spurs, Newcastle United hope to get back to winning ways when they host Wolves this weekend.

This is the second time I’ve done a match preview when it has been the opposition’s first league game after sacking their manager. Last time is was after Neil Warnock was ‘let go’ from QPR and this time it’s after Mick McMuppet’s dismissal from Wolves.

Wolves haven’t had much luck appointing a new boss yet and have allegedly had two attempts to get Alan Curbishley turned down. Apparently Wolves also asked for permission to talk to Reading manager Brian McDermott but it seems he’s signed a new contract with the Championship club instead (and they’re looking fairly good for a play-off spot themselves). Additionally there’s news today that ex-Rangers manager Walter Smith has told Wolves he’s not interested in the job either. Earlier in the week they said they’d have a manager in place in time for the Newcastle game but that’s looking a bit doubtful now.

It will of course be a home debut for Papiss Cissé (if he plays, and I think he will) and we’ll be back closer to full strength with the return of Tiote and Cabaye. I’d say the odds favour a home win for us. I have this down as 2-0 to us.

Theoretically we could go 4th on Saturday in the unlikely event of Chelsea slipping up at home to Bolton, but a win would certainly take us to 5th until Sunday when Arsenal face a tricky home game against Spurs. Liverpool don’t play Premier League football this weekend as they have Carling Cup duties against Cardiff scheduled for Sunday.


Wolves have not beaten us in the Premier League since its inception, although we’ve only played them 5 times. Back in October we beat them 2-1 at Molinuex with goals from Ba and Gutierrez. Last season we won 4-1 at home (Nolan, Ameobi, Lovenkrands & Gutierrez) and drew 1-1 away (Carrol). We have to go back to the 2003/2004 season to find our only other Premier League games against Wolves where we drew 1-1 both at home (Bowyer) and away (Shearer).

Wolves did beat us in the 2002-2003 season in the FA Cup though, when goals from Shearer and Jenas couldn’t save us from a 3-2 defeat at Molinuex.

  Played Newcastle Wins Wolves Wins Draws
All Premier League 5 2 0 3
PL At St James’ Park 2 1 0 1

Let’s hope our unbeaten league record against Wolves remains intact after this weekend’s fixture.

Recent Stats

Our last six looks fairly good with 4 wins and two losses, although in both those losses we conceded 5 goals (5-0 to Spurs last week and 5-2 to Fulham on 21st January), which is a bit of a worry.

The last six for Wolves looks terrible though and they’re coming into this after conceding 5 goals themselves, at home to West Brom.

Last 6 League Games             Pts
Newcastle W W L W W L 12/18
Wolves L D L L W L 4/18

Wolves have only won 2 league games on the road, one of which was the game before last when they took all 3 points at QPR; the other was a 2-1 win at Blackburn back in August.

On the other hand we’ve only lost 2 league games at home this season, both in December last year when we lost 2-3 to West Brom and 0-3 to Chelsea.

Team News


Silvain Marveaux still has 4-5 weeks to go with his Gilmore’s groin, Leon Best is out for another 3 or 4 weeks with a knee ligament injury and Steven Taylor is many months away from fitness with his ruptured Achilles. Of the more junior members of the quad, Sammy Ameobi is going to need another 10-12 weeks to repair his knee injury and Nile Ranger has a couple of weeks to go on a foot injury.

Ryan Taylor is said to have recovered from an ankle injury and is expected to be in contention for Saturday’s game.

Yohan Cabaye is back after serving a 3 match ban for violent conduct following an incident involving Brighton’s Adam El-Abd during the FA Cup tie at the Amex Stadium on January 28 and of course Cheick Tiote is back after his Africa Cup of Nations duties, all of which has pleased Alan Pardew:

I think it’s important that we put in a performance that justifies where we are in the division,” said Pardew.

It does help that I’ve got some iconic players back. I have to pick my best team, and that’s what I’m going to do for Wolves.

I look back on the stats that I’ve had all year, I look at the pedigree of the player, the experience of the player and then pick a team that I think is going to win the game.

To have Cabaye back and Cheick back, they’re massive players for us. You can’t deny that. No-one’s an automatic choice here but they certainly get a favourable choice in terms of what they’ve done already.

These players have earned the right to have a slight advantage over other players. Having said that, everyone in this squad has contributed and if they were both injured I’d have no problem picking a team that I thought could beat Wolves. But as it is, they are available and I’ll pick my best team.

Newcastle (from): Krul, Elliot, Harper, Simpson, R Taylor, Santon, Ferguson, Perch, Coloccini, Williamson, Kadar, Cabaye, Tiote, Guthrie, Obertan, Ben Arfa, Gutierrez, Gosling, Abeid, Lovenkrands, Shola Ameobi, Ba, Cisse.

I reckon we’ll probably line up with Ba and Cisse up front; Tiote, Cabaye, Jonas and Obertan in the midfield; and Santon, Colo, Williamson and Simpson across the back (and Krul in goal of course).


Wolves are definitely without defenders Ronald Zubar (knee) and Jody Craddock (hamstring) but ex-Toon’s Sebastien Bassong and winger Michael Kightly could return from hamstring and back injuries depending upon how things go between now and Saturday.

Karl Henry returns to the Wolves squad after a suspension he picked up against Villa.

Wolves (from): Hennessey, Foley, Bassong, Berra, Kightly, Johnson, Ward, Jarvis, O’Hara, Edwards, Milijas, Doyle, Fletcher, Henry, Ebanks-Blake, De Vries, Stearman, Jonsson, Hunt, Hammill.

Pre-Match Soundbites

Ryan Taylor: “Both teams have come off the back of heavy defeats in our last games, so it will be two teams who are wanting to prove a point. But they have got to come here and have a go because they are in a dog fight. If you look at the table now you can say we are safe and are just looking to kick on to Europe now.

Terry Conner, Wolves’ Caretaker Manager: “We have to show professionalism in times of hardship and the players know they have got to knuckle down. It has to be business as usual and back to work with the the players, getting them to smile and enjoy their training again. If they do that they will be better for it come the weekend. We have to prepare properly and give it our best shot.

Howay The Lads!

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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33 Responses

  1. Wolves are a bunch of tossers at home but away from Molineux they’re no slouches. 10 of their 21 points have come away from home and their last two away games garnered them 4 points from QPR and Spuds and they’re unbeaten in their last four away.

    So if Pardwho the Clueless thinks this is a home banker then he’ll end up a w@nker even though Wolves have no permanent manager.

    They’ve used 4-1-4-1, 4-4-2, 4-4-1-1 and 4-2-3-1 against the Spuds (when they managed a point while we got battered) so as far as Saturday goes its anybody’s guess what formation they’ll go with but I’ll guarantee they’ll try to stifle any wing play, which in turn prevents the supply to Ba and Cisse.

    Pardwho needs to start thinking creatively about beating lower placed sides rather than rely on plain old 4-4-2 to get him past the post.

    Can he do it ? Can he phuck :(

  2. Soz hit the wrong button but suffice to say I’d go with back four plus Tiote sitting (not on the pitch) plus Guthrie and Cabaye feeding Ba and HBA with Cisse up front.

    However Pardwho will go 4-4-2 with Obertan and Jonas supplying the front two Senagalese.

  3. tom randall says:
    February 23, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    “didn’t papise have his debut against aston villa?”

    Aye, he did Tom. Came on for Best after only a few minutes when he got knacked.

  4. Agreed UTD but sometimes it (moidaring the bums) requires subtlety, creativity and no little skill.

  5. “Theoretically we could go 4th on Saturday in the unlikely event of Chelsea slipping up at home to Bolton, but a win would certainly take us to 5th until Sunday when Arsenal face a tricky home game against Spurs”.

    – on form it’s better than the table looks – chelski are only 10th while Bolton are 13th – so a draw would not be such a shock.
    Arsenal are 11th & spurs 6th so let’s back Spurs.

    And let’s back Liverpool to win the League Cup and improve our euro chances.

    All in all it could be a very good weekend for NUFC.

  6. Wolves have nothing to loose, bottom of the league & managerless, I think they will fight for a hard goal-less draw – I’m going for a poor nervey game with a very edgey 1-0 to us.
    It’s games like this where euro places are earned!

  7. supermac,

    wolves aren’t bottom, are they? That’s wigan, ain’t it?
    It begins with a w though & is doon sooth!


  8. Why do I get the bananna skin feeling about this one? A team fighting for their lives with the burden of McMuppet off their backs. Hope I’m wrong and Tiote and Cabaye can grab this one by the scruff of the neck.

  9. If PArds plays 442, he will come unstuck. The Wolves are very good at shutting the wings. The weakness they have is in the centre. Putting HBA in the mix, behind the top two Ba and Cisse, playing the Beardo role as per the first Keegan era, with Cabaye and Tiote and Jonas (or Guthrie) sitting behind in the Lee,Speed, roles of yester year, will destroy Wolves. We would control the midfield, have the ability in HBA to use both wings, especially with Santon and Simp (or R. Taylor who I’d prefer) playing as wing backs in attacking play when needed. Lets be honest, Wolves will plan for 442, like they did with Spurs, and they will smother service to the strikers. If we turn up 433 Wolves wont have a clue and wont be able to narrow the field. Best part of this is that HBA is more versatile that Orbertan and capable of play making the hole behind teh front two, while as easily adept at playing wide (as per Blackburn and his wonder goal!!!).

  10. Consider how manu would approach a match like this – they would hold the midfield, keep the ball, soak up pressure then attack on the break, often scoring from a long ball. It wins them titles!

    Do you remember THAT MATCH – its exactly what they did, soaked up incredible pressure from KK’s team who dominated – then a pass to Cantona, 1-0, and the next dozen years of PL history re-written.

    But of course they have someone who doesn’t have a slavish tactical plan, but can prepare a team for a particular match to beat their opponents!

    OK it doesn’t allways work, but it does often enough to regularly win trophies – and does not rely on percentage play or luck.

    If wolves go all out to test our defence and get an early goal it could be one hell of a job for us – they will fall back, keep the ball and defend like tigers.

    If we get an early goal I see us going on to win 4-0.

    As the Spartans said “If….. “

  11. Don’t mention poor old Blyth Spartans Worky mate – they are in a worse state than wolves – rock bottom of the Blue Square North League with only 2 wins all season!

  12. AndyMac – you suggest –
    Back 4
    Guthrie – Cabaye
    Ba – HBA

    looks interesting – but half of the team are defensive (at home mind you) at the expense of an under manned midfield.

    I would suggest one change –

    Back 3
    Guthrie – Cabaye – Jonas
    Ba – HBA

    with Tiote & Jonas covering back as required.

    I say a back 3 for several reasons but mainly cos we don’t have 4 decent defenders available. I’d wait to see in Raylor is fit before picking the back 3 – but I’d give Santon-Collo-Raylor a try. Don’t forget they will be covered by Tioti & Jonas.

  13. Supermac @17 Yes but they don’t have midfielders that can soak up pressure like Roy Keane anymore. Did they achieve this in the 3-0? Did they achieve it in the Europe league last night? I bet Karl Henry will come to this game thinking he is going to be the no.1 midfield enforcer. :lol: Arise Mr T.

  14. DJG says:
    February 24, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    “Did they achieve it in the Europe league last night?”

    Well they may not have a Keane DJG but that Ajax game was mostly bairns and reserves as they had a two goal start. Ji-Sung Park was their main man in defence for winning the ball and such.

    I was watching Vertonghen in my capacity as NUFC’s top scout (as I did with Cisse) and he was the one of the best players for me. I want him.

  15. Sure ! looks like a gimee game, but beware of the wounded beast, Wolves have not performed well recently and are in a fight for survival.
    The majority of the side are aware if they don’t pick up the pace , they could very well end up playing in the second tier (course on the other hand, could mean a desired move for the more talented players)
    So looking at our side at present, we have most players back and fit, with a few exceptions.
    Well its those exceptions that worry me, especially Saylor.
    Unfortunately we have no-one to fill the central defender role alongside Colo. a major weakness.
    Dont wanna hear about Raylor or Williamson, even Perch.
    These are second tier players and why are they still here?
    I still dont get it? why we spent ten million on a striker, when we could have had Vortinghen playing right now, after all we have Ba who is doing pretty good.
    Why then buy Cisse, unless we expect Ba to fu*k off come summer ?
    We are vulnerable at the back(in which case Tiote’s return is welcomed)and we are going nowhere with this crowd.
    Money has to be spent on some quality across the back four, that is if there’s any serious attempt to get into Europe.
    That and a decent goalscoring pacey RW, Jr. Hoilett anyone ?

    Oh by the way, it seems Mike Ashley has undergone a serious lifestyle change, loosing weight etc.
    Perhaps he is facing that middle age mortality thing we all go through?
    Think he could apply the same tude to-wards the club, an all new NUFC, competing with the top clubs in Europe,
    nah ! what am i thinking !

  16. chuck says : “Money has to be spent on some quality across the back four, that is if there’s any serious attempt to get into Europe”
    – I was talking earlier about Arsenal’s worries about not getting a euro place, how they were prepared to scrap their wage structure, pay £100k+ and have a £50m transfer kitty
    – well its moved on – BBC reports upto 11 players will be listed & all revenue also added to the kitty.

    That’s how worried they are – a club up to now considered to be well managed with an efficient scouting team.

    It’s just possible (just, I know – but not impossible) that NUFC & Spurs with be in the top 4 – with chelski and/or Liverpool cup winners freezing Arsenal out in 7th place (its a complicated scenario with several permutations but 7th might be enough to qualify).

    They see this as a possible disaster requiring radical measures – we would just shrug and get a couple of bosmans and a couple of ashleys.

    Who’s right?

  17. This will be another tough game, wolves may have lost a lot & got shot of their manager, but they’ve lost a lot of games ‘just’.

  18. “that middle age mortality thing we all go through” Chuck, the second one is worse than the first!

    The first when you realise you’re half way through life, the second at two-thirds through. After that you don’t give a sh!t any more & just enjoy what’s left.

  19. Middle aged mortality: blowing your ACL 2 weeks before your 39th birthday playing indoor 5-a-side. :(

  20. Well, 40 is the new 25, so maybe middle aged is overstating it a bit. Has me in a funk thought. I’m really not looking forward to the rehab and having to play wearing a brace for the next 15 years.

  21. Tripp mate – take up golf & snooker, or (if you want to get fat) darts. A lot of lads like me thought golf was for middle class farts, but if you give it a chance there’s a buzz when you find you’re getting better at it – just avoid talking to the snobs – and make a point of asking for a straight glass at the bar!

  22. Supermac says:
    February 25, 2012 at 10:30 am

    “A lot of lads like me thought golf was for middle class farts”

    Aye Supermac, that’s because it is for middle class farts. :-)