20 min: “If you are hurting for quality emails let me express my retort to emailer David Deon that many in the states would rule that Wolve’s kits are indeed old gold,” Alex Alfonso says. “In fact, my university loved the color so much they named an entire alumni weekend after it (because that’s what you do in middle-of-nowhere Indiana).”
18 min: Now Wolves have a saunter down the right. The excellent Doherty pings in a cross and this time Jimenez has room to get a shot away, only to slash over the bar. He should have scored.
17 min: Wolves, dangerous down the left, attack down that flank again, Jonny breaking free and pulling a cutback towards Jimenez. The striker seems poised to stroke home, only for Atsu to steam in and make the tackle. Wolves scream for a penalty as Jimenez goes to ground, but a replay shows Atsu got the ball.
13 min: Lejeune makes a poor error, gifting the ball straight to Wolves on the halfway line, but the centre-back’s relieved to see Lascelles step in and stop Jimenez’s charge towards goal.
11 min: Wolves have struggled to deal with defensive sides at home a few times this season and they will have to work hard to break down Newcastle. That said, the visitors are more ambitious than they were against Tottenham last week.
9 min: Ritchie has a saunter down the left and sends an absolutely hopeless cross into the Wolves area.
7 min: Jota collects a long ball into the Newcastle area, turns Yedlin and tries to cross. The ball floats over for a goal-kick.
4 min: Wolves have a look down the left, Jota combining with Jonny, who tries to sweep a clever pass to the far post for Jimenez, who can’t quite make up the ground. Up the other end, Rondon has a go from the edge of the area. Straight at Rui Patricio.
3 min: “Allow me to get something off my chest,” says David Dein. “Why do you insist on perpetuating the myth that Wolves play in old gold? You ask anyone that isn’t native to the UK what colour that shirt is and they will tell you it’s orange. I can understand when textiles weren’t capable of producing the colour gold cost effectively that but that was a time that is quite literally decades ago.”
Just because, to be honest.
Peep! Newcastle, kicking from right to left in the first half, get the game underway. Mike Ashley is at Molineux tonight.
Here come the teams! Wolves are in gold and black, Newcastle are in blue.
An email! “Supporting a failing team, like having a pet as a kid, is a necessary way of getting used to the fact of death,” Ian Copestake says. “Man City fans no longer have such an incessant exposure so let’s top our hats to Newcastle’s rabbit owning supporters.”
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.