Written by Stephen Hopper
This Saturday sees both sides return to Championship action at Molineux with a 5.30 kick off. Both sides have a victory each over the opposition and this will be the deciding game between both clubs. The Wolves win came at St James’s Park in the league and United’s coming in the cup.
This fixture is eagerly anticipated for one reason and one reason only. Jonjo Shelvey who recently served a 5 game ban for abusing a Wolves player in the league fixture. Expect the home crowd to be very hostile towards Shelvey and it will be interesting to see the type of challenges put in on Shelvey as there is certainly unfinished business with the player and his Wolves counter parts.
The man in the middle Craig Pawson is in for a very interesting afternoon trying to control this game, Pawson has for the third time been demoted to the Championship from the Premier League to take charge of this game.The last time Pawson was in charge of a United fixture was manager Benitez’s first game in charge in what was a 1-0 defeat for the Toon by Leicester.
Newcastle United’s top scorer Dwight Gayle finds this game a little early for a return to the starting 11, however Christian Atsu is available after being on duty at the African Cup of Nations and should find himself in the match day squad.
Newcastle also come up against old boy Mike Williamson who has featured once this season in a cup tie, Graham and Mason however are ruled out injured and all eyes will be on the very impressive Helder Costa will no doubt trouble United throughout.
Wolves have some very decent attacking players Weimann and Dicko to name a few, this will be no easy game for Newcastle. If Newcastle come in to this game expecting an easy afternoon this will come back to punish them. Rafa Benitez will have his men ready for the challenge ahead but will air on the side of caution as Wolves on their day can tear teams apart and in front of a packed Molineux and the SkySports cameras it has the makings of a tremendous game.
The expectation around this game could see sending’s off with emotions running high regarding the Shelvey incident, United need to keep the Midfielder concentrating on the game and not the emotion of it along with the rest of the team and this goes for both sets of players.
Both sets of fans of course will be on the players backs from the off but this game needs level heads if either team is to stand a chance of taking all 3 points, United are much better away from home but have recently been struggling a little in the league and its to be expected as the Championship is a very difficult division with some top sides looking to take a top scalp.
United recently beat Steve McClaren’s Derby which was a very good result considering Derby have been doing well of late, so what United side will turn up? They can’t be sloppy in possession as they have done in recent games and communication is vital the same goes for a very good Wolves side who will be up for this challenge no question.
Paul Lambert the Wolves manager has experience managing against United during his time at Villa so will no doubt be very cagey in the opening stages, personally I hope to see a good attacking game of football and one the official allows to flow as much as he can.
My prediction will be a 1-0 win to United, how do you see the game going? Let us know in the comments below!