Wolves v Newcastle United: Premier League – live! | Football
Wolves: Rui Patricio; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Neves, Jonny; Jota, Jimenez. Subs: Ruddy, Cavaleiro, Costa, Gibbs-White, Saiss, Vinagre, Traore.
Newcastle: Dubravka; Yedlin, Lejeune, Schar, Lascelles, Ritchie; Hayden, Longstaff, Atsu, Perez; Rondon. Subs: Woodman, Fernandez, Manquillo, Diame, Almiron, Kenedy, Joselu.
Referee: Graham Scott.
Hello. With Rafael Benitez still defying very logical calls from Richard Keys to pump some of his own money into Newcastle United, special praise must be afforded to Mike Ashley for signing Miguel Almiron for £21m. Times are hard, but Ashley’s generosity knows no bounds. A mere 12 years since he pitched up in the north east, the owner has reached into his wallet to shatter the club’s transfer record, further cementing his status as a club legend. Hurrah for Big Mike …
… said absolutely nobody in a black and white shirt. For while Almiron does look like a good signing, it’s difficult to be that effusive about Ashley when Newcastle find themselves out of the bottom three on goal difference, weighed down by yet another relegation battle and at risk of losing Benitez at the end of the season. Newcastle’s manager may well need to see a bit more ambition before he decides to extend his contract and stay at a club whose vast potential continues to be quashed by a joyless ownership. Benitez has done a brilliant job so far – the man beat Manchester City the other day! – and it’s clear that he could bring back the glory years if he receives proper backing, but at the moment it’s hard not to feel that this is all going to end in tears.
In the short term, at least Newcastle can feel reasonably confident about staying up with Benitez in charge. Yet their fans must look at what Wolves are doing this season and wonder what would be possible if the suits were to show some more ambition. Wolves, managed by the very impressive Nuno Espirito Santo, are well on their way to establishing themselves as the best of the rest in their first season back in the top flight and have delighted their supporters with some magnificent football this season. They are looking good in seventh place after consecutive wins over Leicester, West Ham and Everton, have picked up results against every member of the Big Six, have reached the fifth round of the FA Cup and will fancy their chances of making it five wins on the bounce in all competitions this season. Molineux is bound to be rocking and Newcastle are likely to need some of that organisational magic from Benitez to get something here. A creative spark from Almiron also wouldn’t go amiss.
Kick-off: 8pm GMT.