A week on from that vastly improved attacking display at West Ham, this feels like a big chance for us to earn back-to-back wins against a dangerous but beatable Bournemouth.
You never know what you’re going to get from Eddie Howe’s side. One week they’ll blow you away with free flowing and dynamic football, the next they’ll make basic errors and not be at it, so it’s hard to predict which of these two will turn up this weekend. Hopefully the latter.
One thing worth noting is the fact they’ve kept THREE Premier League clean sheets in a row. They appear to be tightening up at the back – which has often been their achilles heel – yet they’ve scored just once in their last four.
With their recent defensive record in mind, we’ll have to hope our attacking trio can continue from where they left off last weekend, however the onus is also on Steve Bruce to get that balance right once again.
For the first time in weeks, we can go into a game and safely say Joelinton, Saint-Maximin and Almiron will be starting in attack – and deservedly so.
They all carried a consistent threat at West Ham last weekend and must’ve been wondering how one of them didn’t score – and that points towards their next target; goals.
For all our dominance, West Ham were one goal away from earning an undeserved draw – a result that would’ve been unfathomable given the number of big chances we failed to take.
They key will be getting support and good balls up to Joelinton, although I don’t expect Bournemouth to give us the space as an abysmal West Ham did last weekend, meaning Jonjo Shelvey may have to work that bit harder to make another big impact this time out.
On the subject of Shelvey, I really do feel like it’s a huge game for him. We saw how good he can be on his day last time out, but he’s often lacked consistency and seems to struggle to break teams down at St James’ Park. Let’s hope that trend stops here.
I expected us to be unchanged, but with Schar and Lejeune closing in on comebacks, we could do with another big display from Clark and Fernandez – who’ll have a tough task on their hands against dynamic duo Callum Wilson and Joshua King.
Preferred NUFC XI – (3-4-3) – Dubravka – Fernandez, Lascelles, Dummett – Yedlin, Shelvey, Hayden, Willems – Almiron, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin.
Here’s a few ‘ones to watch’ in Eddie Howe’s Cherries side:
Callum Wilson – The England striker has 5 goals and 3 assists this season and is a real handful up top, being strong with his back to goal and quick in behind. He and Josh King can be tough to contain for any Premier League defence on their day.
Harry Wilson – He was linked with a loan move to Newcastle over the summer but ended up on the South Coast instead. Very good technically and devastating from free-kicks.
Diego Rico – The Spanish full-back loves to get forward and has a brilliant left-foot on him. One to watch for Almiron and Yedlin, who’ll have their hands full to win the battle against him and Fraser.
Nathan Ake – A classy centre-back who’s deceptively good in the air for his height and very quick across the ground. Joelinton may be bigger than him, but he’ll do well to get the better of the ex-Chelsea talent.
Predicted Bournemouth XI (4-4-2): Ramsdale – Smith, S.Cook, Ake, Rico – H.Wilson, L.Cook, Billing, Fraser – King, Wilson.
Matt Ritchie will miss out once again after suffering a ‘setback’ in training, Sean Longstaff is suspended and the game will come too soon for Fabian Schar and Florian Lejeune.
Emil Krafth could also miss out, with his partner expected to give birth over the weekend.
For the visitors, £25m midfielder Jefferson Lerma is suspended after picking up his 5th caution last weekend, meaning Lewis Cook is expected to start.
Ex-Mag Dan Gosling is expected to miss out, while David Brooks, Junior Stanislas, Charlie Daniels and Andrew Surman will also be missing.
This one’s hard to call.
We are coming into this one on the back of arguably our most promising performance of the season, while a usually free-scoring Bournemouth have been struggling for goals recently yet keeping clean sheets for fun.
We’ve struggled to win against mid-table opposition at home this season, drawing against Brighton, Watford and Wolves at St James’ Park so far, so history suggests it’ll take another improved performance to overcome a dangerous Bournemouth side here.
Back to back wins would be brilliant, but I fancy this one to be a scoring draw.
Prediction: Newcastle 2-2 Bournemouth
Howay the lads!