In what has become a frequent occurrence Newcastle United played awful football but managed to grab a late point away at Wolves.
Following a late collapse at St James’ Park last weekend, a resolute defensive performance was required, and that was delivered.
Keeping the Midlands outfit at bay for 80 minutes, Raul Jimenez beat Darlow with a shot from outside the box, in what arguably could have been saved.
Heads did not drop, as we eventually decided to attack the home team and drew level thanks to a cracking Jacob Murphy free kick in the 89th minute.
We review the game to dig out 5 positive to take from our 1-1 draw with Wolves.
#1. Jacob Murphy
Arriving under Rafa Benitez for a fee of around £12 million, the winger has struggled to settle in Tyneside.
His transfer was met with a sense of excitement following his dazzling displays in the Championship for Norwich City, however the boyhood Newcastle United fan offered few moments that stuck in the memory.
The away goal at Manchester City was arguably a high point on a personal level for the winger, although the achievement was eventually rendered pointless as we fell to a 3-1 defeat.
The other contribution he mustered in front of goal came away at Stoke City with a perfectly weighted cross for Ayoze Perez. The Spaniard converting Murphy’s cross as we overcame Stoke City 1-0 in an important match at the bottom of the Premier League.
The subsequent loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday appears to have revived Jacob Murphy’s career, with a renewed sense of confidence following his 9 goal haul.
Since returning to the North East he has impressed each time he has played. Throughout pre-season he looked lively, and has carried that form into competitive matches.
Making the most of his opportunities in the EFL Cup fixtures, he has looked the most likely to make something happen in below-par team performances.
On Sunday night Murphy rightfully scooped up the Man of the Match award for a bright display in an unfamiliar position. Converting the free kick was truly the cherry on top, and hopefully acts as a catalyst for his black and white career.
#2. Away Record
Newcastle United have had a topsy turvy season so far to say the least. With soul-crushing defeats to both Brighton and Manchester United at home, we actually remain unbeaten on the road.
The season opener against West Ham still stands as our solo away victory this season, while we somehow claimed a point at the death against both Tottenham and Wolves.
If we can remain difficult to break down on the road, while simultaneously improving our home form, we can expect a positive season ahead in terms of points total (Perhaps not performance-wise, but this is about the positives…).
#3. Defensive Resilience
Keeping in line with the previous point to some degree, we showed a much-improved defensive display at the Molineux Sunday evening.
With a Wolves team brimming with attacking talent in the form of Podence, Neto, Jimenez, and substitute Traore, we didn’t conceded many clear cut chances.
To put this improvement into perspective, we conceded 14 shots on target against Manchester United last week, compared to just 3 against Wolves.
#4. Almiron is Free
The decision from Steve Bruce to keep Almiron on the bench has raised many questions, with the Paraguayan’s display from the start against Wolves only adding further confusion.
One of the most important players in our squad, Almiron brings a relentless work rate to our team. Alongside this infectious desire to get around the pitch, he proved last season he knows where the net is…
He quite simply has to start against Everton.
#5. Teams at the Bottom Lose
This may be slightly premature, but Newcastle United’s primary objective each season is Premier League survival.
Whether this being the result of improvements in our own game, or the simple fact that 3 teams are worse than us, the outcome is still the same.
With this in mind, this seasons relegation candidates are already starting to fall away from the rest of the league, with just 6 matchdays completed. Fulham, West Brom, Burnley, and Sheffield United are all struggling to keep their head above water.
We face Everton next in the Premier League on Sunday for a 2pm kick off. The toffees currently sit top of the table, but as highlighted by defeat to Southampton last week, certainly have vulnerabilities.
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