Newcastle United are going to have to be at their very best later this evening if they were to have any sort of say on proceedings when they square off with Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux Stadium.
The high-flying Wolves have been in devastating form in recent matches and have been clinical in front of goal, which could be a big ask from Rafa Benitez’s men to handle if they were to get anything from the encounter.
While Wolves put Everton to the sword at Goodison Park last weekend with an impressive 3-1 victory, Newcastle pushed Tottenham Hotspur all the way at Wembley, mainly down to a good defensive display by the likes of Florian Lejeune and midfielder Isaac Hayden.
Despite eventually going down to Spurs through an 83rd-minute strike from Son Heung-min, the Magpies put in a solid shift to keep Mauricio Pochettino’s men out for the majority of the match.
And, they will need to make use of the same type of defensive approach heading into Monday’s clash with Wolves, who will pose a real attacking threat.
The 27-year-old Lejeune has brought some much-needed guile to the Newcastle defence since returning from injury at the beginning of January. With him in the side, the Frenchman is a wonderful foil for the likes of Jamal Lascelles, Fabian Schar and Federico Fernandez.
He has also been getting better with every match that he’s played and his presence has certainly lifted the team in terms of setting up an effective defensive structure.
Since his return to the first-team, Newcastle have looked much more organised and given the fact that they’ve played teams such as Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham in that time, Benitez will have reason to be positive heading into the match with Wolves.
Newcastle, though, should try to keep it tight in the midfield and not allow players like Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho too much time on the ball. That, in turn, should allow Lejuene to have a better choice of passing lanes when the away side look to spring a counter.
At the back, Lejeune should be in the faces of Jota and Raul Jimenez and not give them any space to work with.
The centre-back did that brilliantly in the match against City, while his physicality proved to be a problem for Lucas Moura last weekend.
If the Frenchman makes an early mark on the match then Newcastle could be in a good position to get a result out of the encounter.
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