Magpies to edge mid-table meet
A mid-table encounter between Newcastle in 14th and Wolves just two positions higher, is your Sunday Premier League serving. Despite the closeness of the two, there’s more than enough value around to have a punt.
Where would Newcastle be without the tactical nous of Rafa Benitez? Written off at various points last year, only to finish comfortably in mid-table, The Magpies look capable of keeping themselves afloat again this campaign. Thanks to Benitez, that is.
The former Liverpool boss has long been regarded as one of the best defensive coaches in the game with a great pride taken in his backline. Although Newcastle have shutout the opposition on just three occasions this term, a sound defensive platform, drilled to the nth degree, has Newcastle in with a sniff of picking up points more often than not.
The exception to this was in fact their last home match against West Ham where Benitez will admit to being beaten by the better team. But it was back to the resolute and plucky performance we’ve come to expect of this Newcastle side in midweek against Everton where a solid point was the reward for a heroic defensive effort.
It’d be unfair to say this is just what Newcastle are capable of. Yes, they’re pragmatic. But Benitez has them set up to pose a threat in the opposition box too. And he seems have to have made the right call in swapping the lightweight Dwight Gayle for the brute that is Salomon Rondon. The Venezuela international, on loan from West Brom, has three goals in in four games and is beginning to reward the trust shown in him by his manager.
Wolves are giving a good account of themselves back in the big time but are proving to be the division’s Jeckyl and Hyde team. A six-match winless run in which a draw at the Emirates against Arsenal was sandwiched by defeats to Watford, Brighton, Huddersfield and Cardiff, came to an end in midweek with a win at home to Chelsea.
Perhaps this is to be expected of the newly promoted side though, still adjusting to having to be at the top of their game in every fixture, not just those against the big boys.
I say this because the large Portuguese contingent that makes up the side seem to have no problem getting themselves up psyched for the bigger teams; you’ll recall Wolves becoming the first side to halt Man City this season and taking a point away at the other Manchester side. They also held Everton in their first game and impressively kept Arsenal at bay, as pointed out above.
Yet, when it has come to facing some of the mid to lower teams in the division of late, Wolves have been lacklustre. Their last away match at Cardiff served as the perfect example of how Nuno Santo’s men seem to struggle psychologically to get themselves up for the lesser games. I see the same scenario playing out at St James’ Park where underestimating a side of similar standing will see their good work against Chelsea undone straight away.
This is a tough one to call, as the league positions and the match odds for each to win, suggests. But I have a slight hunch Newcastle may just do the business here against a Wolves side who appear to be blowing hot and cold.
There’s the potential to double your money on Newcastle DNB should the hosts prevail, as well as cover your stake in the event of a draw.
Nick’s tip: Newcastle DNB @ evens (2.00) with BetVictor.