Newcastle United got back to winning ways with a hard-fought 2-1 win at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday afternoon, climbing into the Premier League’s top five with the club’s first top-flight win in eight weeks.
The Magpies came into the 2023 competition with the fewest goals scored in Europe’s top five leagues, while Wolves were the lowest scorers in English professional football throughout the campaign. Understandably perhaps, both managers fielded entirely new forward lines.
Substitute striker Julen Lopetegui was deployed, who was controversially denied a chance to break the deadlock during the first half by a combination of officials and Nick Pope. Raul Jimenez newcastleThe goalkeeper and a shoulder fell under the gravel as Pope hastily tried to correct his mistake. Strong protests were ignored by both the on-pitch referee and VAR.
Alexander Isaac was one of the changes, with Eddie Howe justifying his selection within half an hour of starting. Sweden international kicked out of meeting Johnny Castro Otto keiran trippierThe set piece went unchallenged just six minutes after Pope’s brawl, flicking a header into the far corner to end Newcastle’s five-and-a-half-hour wait for a goal.
Newcastle did not capitalize on the climb and were put on the back foot after the break by their new visitors.
Wolves equalized in the 70th minute amidst confusion. Hwang Hee-chan was one of five substitutions made during the break in play seconds before Trippier and Pope crossed the line, both Newcastle players trying to clear the same ball. Trippier beat his goalkeeper on the run but slipped as he was in the clear, giving Hwang an open goal.
Fleeta quickly led the equalizer before Lopetegui’s changes but his switch to the back five to preserve Wolves’ lead had the exact opposite effect. Miguel Almiron, himself a substitute, played a crisp one-two with Joe Willock, a barrage of defense that put Newcastle behind in the 79th minute.
For the first time since Boxing Day, Newcastle scored more than one goal in the same Premier League game, which proved enough to send Howe’s team above Liverpool and into fifth place.
GK: Nick Pope – 3/10 – Trembling desperately with his feet but alert as ever to get his gloves dirty.
RB: Kieran Trippier – 6/10 – A potent threat in open play, but especially from set pieces, troubling the Wolves’ rearguard with every dead ball. Screwed up your performance a bit with the error for equalization.
CB: Fabian Schaar – 7/10 – Returned from a head injury and returned his confidence in possession to defend Newcastle.
CB: Sven Bottmann – 5/10 – It didn’t help him by repeatedly passing the ball towards him after his goalkeeper’s previous mistake.
LB: Dan Byrne – 6/10 – Struggled to keep up with Traore when defending one-on-one, but caused his opposite winger problems by lumbering forward himself.
CM: Sean Longstaff – 6/10 – Combined well with the flexible triangle down Newcastle’s right flank.
Chief Minister: Bruno Guimarães – 7/10 – Even against a silk-lined Wolves midfield, Guimarães’ moves still stood out.
CM: Joe Willock – 6/10 – Incessantly crashed into the Wolves box to add an extra man to Newcastle’s attacks.
RW: Jacob Murphy – 5/10 – A keen runner with and without the ball.
ST: Alexander Isaac – 8/10 – a full handful, pull and strain wolvesThey toiled relentlessly around the final third as the backline at breaking point.
LW: Alain Saint-Maximin – 5/10 – The stuttering run before his fleet of take-ons reflected his paused participation in the proceedings.
Miguel Almiron (68′ for Saint-Maximin) – 7/10 – Took full advantage of the wide gap under the right flank.
Callum Wilson (69′ for Isaac) – 5/10
Matt Ritchie (85′ for Murphy) – N/A
Eddie Howe – 6/10 – Pope’s good fortune aside, Newcastle gave Wolves their clearest chance in a contest that would have become more routine when Howe’s team had been clinical in the first half.
GK: Jose Sa – 6/10 – Couldn’t do much about Isaac’s header but kept Wolves in the contest for a long spell.
RB: Nelson Semedo – 4/10 – Saint-Maximin’s faltering managed to counter and control it, but became less so as the match progressed.
CB: Craig Dawson – 4/10 – Stunned by Isaac’s movement.
CB: Max Kilman – 4/10 – Clearly instructed to play through Newcastle’s higher press, Kilman tried to stick to team orders, but often left his teammates with useless passes to the hospital.
LB: Johnny Castro Otto – 5/10 – There were shouts for a push in the back from Isaac for the opening goal but – not for the first time – the Wolves’ protests went unheeded.
Chief Minister: Ruben Neves – 5/10 – Freedom to move forward thanks to Mario Lemina’s deep positioning.
CM: Mario Lemina – 5/10 – Ballast failed to make some well-timed tackles in the oncoming midfield, but struggled to deal with all of Newcastle’s onslaught.
Chief Minister: Joao Moutinho – 5/10 – Spent most of his time scrambling after the ball instead of showing his class in possession.
RW: Adama Traore – 3/10 – a typical Traore performance; Used to regularly beat his man but barely edged out a teammate at the end of a hurdles race. bowed at half time.
ST: Raul Jimenez – 4/10 – Two days after the one-year anniversary of the most Premier League goals by any Wolves striker, Jimenez came no closer to breaking the drought.
LW: Daniel Podens – 5/10 – Hit the base of the post with a skidding low in the first half.
Pedro Neto (46′ for Traore) – 5/10 – Added a bit more purpose but no more end-product than Traore.
Hwang Hee-chan (69′ for Neves) – 7/10 – A better – or quicker – effect could not have been dreamed of.
Rayyan Ait Nouri (69′ for Johnny) – 5/10
Mathias Nunes (70′ for Podens) – 5/10
Nathan Collins (75′ for Moutinho) – N/A
Julen Lopetegui – 4/10 – took all the wind out of their side’s sails with extreme defensive changes, which backfired heavily.