Defeat to Wolves was the best thing for Newcastle, here’s why

On the face of it, it looks bad.

A home defeat (the second of the season), to Wolves on the back of six straight wins is always going to be a blotch on the season, but the 2-0 loss could be the perfect lesson at the perfect time for Newcastle United.

Make no mistake, the Magpies were poor against Walter Zenga’s side. The defending at times made Sunday League stuff look professional, and Wolves took their chances when they needed to.

Up until today, everything was relatively rosy for Newcastle. The six straight wins, the last of which was a stunning 6-0 away win at QPR, had everyone thinking promotion was once again a formality.

But, just like the opening day loss to Fulham, this was a wake up call for Rafa Benitez’ side, and one that reminded them that this is the most unpredictable league in Europe.

Wolves were stuffed at home by Barnsley on Tuesday night, the same night Newcastle were so dominant in London, and on paper it looked like it should be a comfortable home win for the Geordies.

But Wolves are a game bunch, and after many seasons in the Championship, they know how to bounce back from a heavy loss.

Newcastle, meanwhile, looked as though they were expecting another walkover, and once Chancel Mbemba headed past his own goalkeeper, they didn’t have what it took to turn it around.

The mood in the camp this week would have obviously been jovial, but despite Benitez’ rotation policy, it wasn’t enough to halt Wolves’ cup final.

Dubbing it a cup final for Wolves may seem disrespectful, but the fact is that teams are going to raise their game when they come and play in front of 52,000+ fans, and even more so when they’ve just been hammered in midweek.

They come again on Tuesday in the EFL Cup, and with this defeat ringing in their ears, it will be a different game altogether, and one Newcastle should win more comfortably, having learned from their weekend mistakes.

And hopefully, Newcastle will remember this defeat for the rest of the season, because while winning six in a row is great, it’s not always going to be plain sailing in this division.

And the sooner the squad learns that, the better this season will be.