Newcastle United face a very strong Wolves side at St James’ Park on Sunday, but history suggests the Magpies can come out on top.
Rafa Benitez and his side will go into the match with two impressive unbeaten records on the line, and neither will want to risk losing them.
Their results include two victories and four draws, highlighting Wolves’ long absence from the top flight.
But Benitez has a record of his own to extend in the Premier League clash, and will be hoping to advance his reputation with another win.
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It’s a phenomenal record which stretches 22 matches of which he has won 16 and drawn six.
But Sunday’s game will be a tougher test than usual, as Wolves come to Newcastle following a surprise win over title contenders Chelsea.
Um Novos Lobos (A New Wolves)
The Wolves side of this season are a far cry from the ones Newcastle have played in the past.
Thanks to their manager Nuno Espirito Santo, and their strong connection with super agent Jorge Mendes, the club has seen a recent influx of Portuguese talent.
Following a productive summer transfer window, the squad now boasts eight Portuguese players in their ranks, five of which have all played for the national team.
The club also used the same links to attract Portuguese League stars such as Willy Boly from Porto and Raul Jimenez on loan from Benfica.
It’s a revamped squad which has seen them vastly outperform their fellow promoted sides with five wins and four draws.
Form had dropped somewhat until their victory against Chelsea, but Wolves still sit comfortably in 12th position.
Raul Jiminez will be their main threat going forward, and the Mexican is deceptively skilful considering his size. The striker works hard for the team and is always willing to run the channels for his teammates.
But most worrying for Newcastle is the Wolves defence. They have only conceded 18 goals this season, two less than Newcastle.
Given Newcastle struggles in front of goal, Sunday may well be a very tight affair.
Benitez must improve home form
Last week’s home loss to West Ham was a disappointing return to reality for supporters.
Two wins in a row at St James’ Park had raised fan’s spirits after five home losses in a row. But an off day for the Toon meant their home record is still not quite up to scratch.
Benitez must draw inspiration from his record when facing Wolves on Sunday.
The manager has also been given a massive boost this week in terms of home support. The Wolves fixture had been clouded with talk of a match boycott, which threatened to see thousands of fans miss the game.
But the idea proved divisive with supporters, and organisers The Magpie Group eventually cancelled the protest.
This was in response to news of a proposed club takeover, the very thing the boycott was trying to achieve.
Rafa can now expect a full capacity stadium at the weekend, which will hopefully give the Magpies an advantage.