Newcastle make the longest trip in the Premier League this weekend when they visit Bournemouth – a return journey that marginally eclipses the trip to Swansea and weighs in at around 718 miles.
It’s a long long way to go, but it’s also a long long way back home, especially if a defeat is suffered. I’ve done these trips, and it’s not a nice feeling.
This is one reason why it’s important to give the traveling fans something to shout about. Not only will it make the return journey home much better, it will also ease a little bit of pressure heading into the international break and will drag us out of the bottom three regardless of how results fare elsewhere. Put simply, this game means everything.
Eddie Howe deserves credit as the Cherries have suffered through injury but he’s not used it as an excuse. Key players are missing for his side and will be long term with Callum Wilson, Max Gradel, Tommy Elphick and Tyrone Mings all out long term. Steve Cook and Artur Boruc are also both doubtful ahead of the match.
United are not without their own injury problems with the main cause for concern at the moment being the fitness of Rob Elliot. Should he join Tim Krul and Karl Darlow on the treatment table it will mean a first Premier League appearance for Freddie Woodman.
Also ruled out are Steven Taylor, Rolando Aarons, Gabriel Obertan and Jack Colback while Sylvain Marveaux and Emmaunel Riviere seem to have vanished off the face of the earth with no recent sightings or injury updates on the pair to speak of.
There isn’t an awful lot of history between the two sides with just six meeting to speak of and with only two of those meetings coming in the league. This is the first top-flight meeting between the two sides ever.
Of those six matches United have won two, two have ended as a draw and Bournemouth have won the other two. If you wish to consider penalties then the Cherries have actually won three having beaten us in a shootout at St James’ Park in January 1992.
Stats and facts:
Bournemouth have ran more miles than their opponents in all 11 of their Premier League games this season.
The clean sheet recorded by United last week against Stoke was only their second of the season.
The Cherries have the second worst defence in the Premier League having conceded 24 goals. Only Sunderland (25) have conceded more.
Newcastle have failed to score in six league games this season – a league high.
Matt Ritchie has 18 assists since the start of last season. Only Cesc Fabregas has managed more anywhere else in England.
McClaren’s men have had six headers on target this season, scoring five of them.
I can’t really stress the importance of this one enough. Neither side can defend, both are struggling to score and both try and play decent football so really anything can happen. I’d love Bournemouth to survive and hope they go on a winning run at some point, after our game of course as our needs come first in my eyes.
The thing is, no matter how well we play and how many chances we’ve created you can’t get away from the fact that we’ve scored none of them. I’m sure it will change, but whether it will be in this game I’m not so sure.
Howay the lads!
Date: Saturday 7th November
Venue: Dean Court, Bournemouth