Oh, and Lage is still hoping to attract a few more players, also noting that Guedes has just found a home – mazal tov, old mate – and Nunes has a bag of clothes. I guess what he really wants is a goalscorer. I really like Podence, who has talent and attitude, but he’s more of a 10 than a 9 – Lage also mentioned this – and he doesn’t seem to be able to rely on Jiménez, although we hope otherwise .
Bruno Lage tells Sky that ‘all the right signs are there’, and although Wolves have just one point, they are playing quite well. He has players coming back from injury who haven’t had a pre-season, and also notes that they’ve brought in two good players – Nunes and Guedes – who are just starting to feel comfortable. He’s building a team with competition for places, he reckons – Traore, Podence and Hwang on the bench say he’s right – and asked by Don Goodman if he’s moved to a back four for reasons of creativity, he says the idea is the same regardless of formation, and actually wanted to go with 4-3-3 last season, but it has taken him so far to feel ready.
Newcastle also makes two changes: Callum Wilson and Bruno Guimarães are injured, so Sean Longstaff and Chris Wood come on; Alexander Isaak is still waiting for his work permit
Wolves make two changes to the side that lost to Spurs: Ait-Nouri retires, with Nelson Semedo entering, and Daniel Podence on the bench, replaced by Raúl Jiménez. But the main chance seems to be tactical and changing from 3-5-2 to 4-3-3. Even on paper the balance looks better, and a midfield of Moutinho, Neves and Nunes should be enough to challenge control, with the extra man in attack giving them something more to do. However, there’s still no room for Adama Traore – although he’s a pretty decent option to have in reserve.
Wolves (a sensible 4-3-3): HER ; Semedo, Collins, Kilman, Jonny; Moutinho, Neves, Nunes; Neto, Jimenez, Guedes. Subtitles: Sarkic, Aït-Nouri, Podence, Hwang, Mosquera, Toti, Dendoncker, Traoré, Campbell.
Newcastle (a matter of principle 4-3-3): Pope; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn; Willock, Longstaff, Joelinton; Almiron, Bois, Saint-Maximin. Subtitles: Darlow, Dummett, Lascelles, Ritchie, Targett, Manquillo, Fraser, Murphy, Anderson.
Arbitrator: Peter Bankes (Lancashire)
Our teams had a mixed start to the season this afternoon. Newcastle is the feel-good story of the summer, Eddie Howe’s merry band of selfless underdogs building on the progress made last season and developing into a serious force. Despite only winning once in three, a creditable point at Brighton was followed by an inspiring draw with Manchester City, a game in which they reached a level of performance far beyond what that most teams can offer.
Except that’s only half the story. While it was hard not to be impressed by the skill with which they moved the ball and created overloads, what was even more striking was their bravery and intensity. Scoring a goal for the champions in just five minutes, there were plenty of excuses to abandon the game plan to stay in the game, but Newcastle did no such thing, continuing to throw men forward and take risks on the ball. They earned every part of the 3-1 lead they built up, just as they won the point they defended when City came out on top towards the end. It’s a mistake to call a draw a statement performance, but it’s no less fair for that – and that was before they added Alexander Isaak into the mix.
Wolves, on the other hand, have just one point from three games, courtesy of a 0-0 home thriller with Fulham. At first glance it’s a problem, but looking at their team it’s easy to feel optimistic for them: Pedro Neto still feels like he’s coming back, Gonçalo Guedes is settling in, Nathan Collins is promising and Matheus Nunes is a potential gamechanger. They need to squirm though – confidence is contagious and defeat today would hit them hard, so there’s a lot at stake at Molineux, and it’s live!
Kick off: 2pm BST