Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United welcome Eddie Howe’s struggling Bournemouth side to St James park for the Saturday afternoon encounter between two teams looking to bounce back from defeat on the previous match day.
It has been a case of roles reversed for both teams this season, with the Magpies’ tipped for the drop by many pundits at the start of the season after an unsatisfactory summer window left the squad looking short in depth.
However Benitez has his side looking solid at the back and clinical going forward and after a fantastic start to the season, Newcastle are exceeding all expectations sitting rosy in 9th position after Match Day 10. It may be the case of defence outperforming attack, as Newcastle are set up to be hard to break down and despite the forwards not scoring many goals, Jamal Lascelles is their joint top scorer with 2 goals this season.
But there is no doubting Newcastle look much better prepared to stay up this season than some of their rivals and maybe even a top 10 finish if they can make St James’ the fortress it once was.
On the other hand, Bournemouth seem to be struggling to find the balance between attack and defence this season. Their forward line was boosted by the signing of the ageless Jermaine Defoe in the summer, but it seems that he is struggling to put their chances away.
However whereas Newcastle are keeping their goal safely guarded, Bournemouth are struggling to keep clean sheets, with manager Eddie Howe wanting to play an expansive possession based style of football.
Newcastle will be without Paul Dummet, a long term absentee for the game against Bournemouth. Otherwise Rafa Benitez has a full squad to choose from with no new injury concerns from their 1-0 reverse against Burnley last week.
Bournemouth will be without key forwards Junior Stanislas and Benik Afobe after they both took knocks in the defeat against Chelsea last week, while defenders Tyrone Mings and Brad Smith will also sit out this game with minor knocks. Key forward josh King will be assessed before the game.
However the good news for Bournemouth is they have Callum Wilson back fit again after he played a part in the defeat to Chelsea last week, and started and scored against Middlesbrough in the League Cup 4th round.
Whatever the outcome it will be a fascinating watch.
Score prediction Newcastle 2-1 Bournemouth