Wolverhampton Wanderers will try to make it back to back wins in the Premier League when they welcome Newcastle United to the Molineux on Saturday. Bruno Lage’s side marched to a 1-0 victory over Southampton in gameweek six, whereas Newcastle could only draw 1-1 away to Watford.
Wolves have had a tough start to this season as they have only won two games so far from the six matches they have played. They scraped through last week’s game against Southampton as their striker, Raul Jimenez scored his first goal for Wolves since returning from his skull injury.
Wolves have struggled to score goals this season despite dominating in most of the games they have played. Wolves have only scored three goals this season and all three goals have come in the two wins they have. Only bottom of the table side, Norwich have scored lesser goals than Wolves in the Premier League.
Despite having lost four of their games, they have only conceded five goals in the league and have had an impressive defensive record. Wolves have done everything right in their games, but their only problem this season has been converting the chances they have created.
As seen in the above visual, Southampton cleared dominated the game and had more attempts on goal as well as attacking actions. Despite all the pressure on the goal, Wolves were able to defend well and Jose Sa pulled off some brilliant saves to keep them in the game. Wolves only had five shots on goal but had a high shot on target percentage. It was the first time that Wolves started without their wingers, Adama Traore and Trincao which might be the reason for the lower number of attacking actions.
Adama Traore has the highest number of successful dribbles in the league and also has attempted the most number of dribbles per 90 minutes. But despite being able to beat players and move into dangerous positions, he has failed to be effective in front of goal when it comes to making the right pass or taking a shot on goal. But with their striker Jimenez getting back in the goals again, Wolves will hope for much better performances from him in their future clashes.
Newcastle United are one of five teams yet to win in the 2021-22 season and the Magpies currently occupy 17th position in the table having won three points from the six games so far. Newcastle have managed to score seven goals this season, but have conceded 14 goals which is one of their main concerns.
Newcastle put on a better display than their previous performances as they had a higher xG than their opponents in the game. Allan Saint-Maximin has been performing well for the Magpies and is an influential part of their squad. He has had five goal contributions so far and also provided the assist for Longstaff’s goal against Watford. The absence of Callum Wilson has given him the sole striker’s position in the squad. He attempted 16 dribbles in the match against Watford and was able to put pressure on their defenders. Wolves play with a three at the back system, which means at times Saint-Maximin will need more support from his wingers while moving forward to split the Wolves defence.
The above visual shows us the heatmaps for Saint-Maximin in the last three games when he has started as the centre-forward without Callum Wilson. The heat map indicates that despite playing as a centre-forward, he prefers to receive the ball in the wider areas of the pitch in order to dribble past the defenders to take a shot or put the ball into the penalty area. He is not the type of striker who will stand with the last line of the opposition defence but prefers to drop deep to receive the ball and pull defenders towards him. This can help Joelinton to get into pockets of spaces and dangerous positions in the box.
Wolverhampton Wanderers predicted starting lineup:
Sa, Kilman, Coady, Saiss, Semedo, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Marcal, Traore, Jimenez, Hwang.
Newcastle United predicted starting lineup:
Darlow, Manquillo, Fernandez, Clark, Ritchie, Almiron, Longstaff, Willock, Hayden, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin.
Both teams have had a slow start to the season and are trying to get back on track for the remainder of the season. Steve Bruce has been on the receiving end for a lot of criticism as a result of their bad performances so far and will need a win against Wolves to relieve some of this pressure.