Newcastle will host Bournemouth at a packed St-James’ Park in a Premier League clash as 9th placed Geordies take on the Cherries who lie second from bottom.
It was March 2016 when these two sides last met when a free-flowing Bournemouth swept aside a very poor Newcastle who were bereft of ideas and it ultimately ended Steve McLaren’s ill-fated reign on Tyneside.
Eddie Howe at that time was seen as a future England manager, however, following seven out of ten defeats so far this term and in the relegation zone, the Bournemouth manager’s stock has fallen severely. It went unnoticed but his name had not been linked to recent vacancies at Everton and Leicester which may tell you that there is now a question mark over the former centre-half.
Bournemouth fans have been frustrated with their defence and their failure to put up a fight against a Chelsea side well below their best. The Cherries have struggled for goals with marquee signing Jermaine Defoe only scoring once and last year’s top scorer Joshua King only getting two this campaign so far.
Nathan Ake has not been as solid since he made his loan move permanent. With Mings and Smith still out, left-back does seem a problem position for the seaside outfit.
Newcastle will be smarting from their lethargic and lacklustre performance at Turf Moor on Monday and will be aiming to get back on track.
Fans on Tyneside have been demanding the return of the eccentric and ill-disciplined Alexander Mitrovic as they feel Joselu has not provide the presence or goalscoring threat to lead the line. The Spaniard has only found the net on two occasions and his goal against Liverpool was more down to luck than technique.
Rafa Benitez will be looking to continue the good home form with three wins in the last four and hoping that Mikel Merino’s return to the centre of midfield will provide the creativity which they lacked at Burnley. Paul Dummett remains the only player to be ruled out for the Magpies. Matt Ritchie will have added motivation against his old side Bournemouth where he had a successful three-year spell including two joyous promotions
I predict that Bournemouth will be unable to resist the Magpies and in so continuing the massive transformation which Rafa Benitez has masterminded.
Prediction: Newcastle 2-0 Bournemouth