The last time Newcastle United conceded a goal in any competition the Rio Olympics were still on going. Five United players weren’t even at the club. David Moyes was telling Sunderland fans they could finish in the top 10. Moussa Sissoko was still a Newcastle United player and was at the game. By the time the Wolves game comes around it’ll have been a full calendar month since United conceded a goal and be 6 and a half games. It’s great.
So is scoring 6 goals in front of 3,007 away fans. Tuesday night in London, United took control. It was the first game I’ve missed this season. It’s going to be like that this season. If you miss a game, you miss out. We won’t win every game. But we’ll win most of them. Derby was the most fun I’ve had at an away game in years. Then United only went and topped it on Tuesday. They’re giving us so much back after years of neglect.
Cleans sheets though. I can’t get enough of them. Rafa can’t get enough of them. We create enough and have too much
quality not to score – so keeping a clean sheet essentially guarantees a win. The players who can’t get on the bench must be gutted. Ayoze was by all accounts very good (for the first time in a long time) against QPR. I’d presume that’s because if he hadn’t been he’d have lost his place on the bench for Saturday.
Saturday is a big game. I say this every match preview. Each team we beat is an individual little battle ticked off. Beating Brighton was a victory against a team some pundits thought would be better than us this season. Winning in London was ticked off on Tuesday. Little victories to go alongside the actual victories. We kept a clean sheet without Chancel etc. Saturday, in my opinion, represents the first genuine mid-table side to come to United where victory is absolutely expected. Huddersfield was similar but we’d lost the previous week, had plenty of transfer business left to do and were still finding our feet. Saturday is your Preston at home in 2010. We were flying, couldn’t stop winning. They were mid-table and we beat them 3-0. It was never in doubt to everyone rocking up to SJP that day and Saturday is the same.
Rafa therefore talks of complacency. Regardless of Wolves’ result on Tuesday (a stinking 0-4 defeat at home to Barnsley) he’d have talked of complacency. That’s our only enemy now. The best thing is the players can’t afford to be complacent or they get dropped. It’s miles away from watching the same injury ravaged side go through the motions for years. It’s a new football team.
As I mentioned Wolves travel North on the back of a dreadful result. Before Tuesday their season had been something of a success to date. New owners had installed former Italian goalkeeper Walter Zenga and sacked Kenny Jackett just before the start of the new season. An opening day success at home to Reading was soon followed by a great win at Birmingham. Drawing at home to Burton and that loss to Barnsley have de-railed things somewhat and they lie 16th in the table on 9 points.
Such is the Championship that a win will put them way back up the table, and their inconsistency as a side suggests that they’re capable of turning up and performing. Zenga has made 12 changes in two games – more even than Benitez (8) and Wolves do not have our squad. He’s had the players back in training again today and no doubt the 3,200 fans from the Black Country travelling up here will be demanding a response to Tuesday’s capitulation.
One old boy not returning is Mike Williamson who has been plagued by injury since his permanent signing at Wolves. Not handed a squad number this season, Williamson’s days at Wolves look numbered. It’s a shame as it would have been nice for a much criticised player during his time here who always did his best, to receive a warm reception.
Prediction: 3-0 United
ALEX HURST – Follow Alex on @tfalex1892
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