It’s revenge time. Well, more or less. Eddie Howe and the lads in Black and White will host NUFC’s head coach, former team Bournemouth at St James’ Park after skipping the visit to West Ham in London last weekend due to the queen’s passing. I don’t want to talk a lot about the whole “revenge game” thing because it doesn’t make sense, and it’s been years since the last time Howe and AFC were linked to each other—cold world.
One obvious thing should be on the minds of every player clad in Newcastle’s stripes today: earn those freaking three points once and for all. It’s been over a month since the last time the Magpies won a Premier League game—and that victory came against the Championship-looking Nottingham Forest, which is not the greatest of wins to claim and be too proud about.
The fact that Bournemouth has been better with a caretaker manager than it was under the guidance of Scott Parker might be concerning and threatening—to an extent, at least—but that’s no excuse for Howe’s lads to drop more points in a game that they should dominate and win without much trouble today.
St James’ Park has not seen any team other than Liverpool—with a little 1-0 win—earn three points on it while playing away from home, so getting one end is the very minimum expectation today. That, though, would be an embarrassment for Howe and the rest of Newcastle’s staff and players. Yes, Bournemouth is tied with the Magpies in the table. But also, Bournemouth has conceded 18 goals in six games, and if they allow NUFC to put three past them, that will make for a record: 21 goals against in only seven games played.
Like last season, Newcastle finds putting the ball inside the goal challenging. It’s just been seven goals in six games, and no player (Callum Wilson) has scored more than two—adding wood to the fire, Wilson is now injured and out until after the international break. In contrast, Sweden international Alexander Isak scored one in his debut but missed on it last time out against Palace.
We must wait for Allan Saint-Maximin’s availability after getting banged up against the Wolves. Of course, ASM boasts the highest assist-tally (2) among Magpies. Seriously, Newcastle hasn’t honestly—nor seem to know how to—caught a break.
The comeback against Nott. Forest that Bournemouth pulled off in their last game might scare some, but Nott. The forest is coming off another game lost 2-3 against Fulham yesterday after leading it 1-0 for 54 minutes. In other words: that comeback by AFCB might not have been so supremely great of an effort as thought of first.
Let’s get three points, get the bodies rested, and the minds cleared over the next few weeks full of meaningless international football, and come back fresh in October. We all need a break, and we’re barely past mid-September. Sheesh.
The Cherries are combating tooth and nail to extend their stay in the Premier League. When Scott Parker sacked rare games into the new season, Gary O’Neil danced admirably and organized them into a hard-to-break-down business. The change in philosophy produced effects at first, and he got the job permanently, deservedly so.
However, the wheels have dipped off drastically since, and there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel for Bournemouth, who are winless in their previous six Premier League games and have shipped the most goals in the league so far this season.
What’s more, the poor-performing backline has been matched by an equally inefficient frontline. It has scored just one goal in six Premier League outings after the restart, as they continue to reel off disappointments week in and week out.
That is relegation-level form, leaving Bournemouth second from bottom ahead of a brutal stretch of matches that includes Wolverhampton Wanderers, Manchester City, Arsenal, and Liverpool behind the homecoming of their one-time boss Eddie Howe, whose Newcastle United is flying higher than the clouds this season.
The Magpies looked best placed to finish in the top four just a few weeks ago. And their 16-game undefeated line means the same. But they have also inflated to deceive lately, with a string of four draws in their last five games leaving them apprehensive, with fifth-placed Tottenham closing the gap to just one point, albeit having played a game more.
They indulged a third-minute advantage to play out a 1-1 draw at the house to West Ham United last mid-week. However, Newcastle remains in Champions League places in the Premier League table. With a Carabao Cup final against Manchester United on the horizon, things look promising in the North East.
While this examines like a fantastic option for the Toon to get around on the track and pick up much-needed three points, things may be more complex for the guests. They do not have to look much more distant than the reversal fixture at St. James’ Park before this season, where the Cherries held out for a lure.