Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United is set to lock horns with old friend, new foe AFC Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday for MD12 of the Premier League campaign.
Newcastle, fresh from handing Arsenal their first league loss of the season, faced a European setback against Borussia Dortmund losing 2-0 on the road and pretty much saying goodbye to their European dreams. Nevertheless, Eddie Howe’s side has been good on national soil while steadily improving their results in the Premier League as the season has advanced.
The Magpies have five wins and two draws in their last seven league fixtures and are already in sixth place, with a chance at taking Aston Villa’s fifth position with a positive result and a draw or a loss by the Villans this weekend.
Bournemouth, coming off a ridiculous 6-1 defeat to Manchester City, enter this matchup sitting in the relegation zone tied with 17th-place Luton Town with just six points in 11 games. Andoni Iraola’s men face the possibility of slipping further down the rankings unless results elsewhere favor them.
Newcastle are grappling with a series of injuries and suspensions that are making things look horrible in terms of the availability and options at Howe’s hand. NUFC face the potential absence of Callum Wilson, leaving Howe to contemplate reshuffling his attacking options, possibly slotting Joelinton or Anthony Gordon into the number nine position. Bournemouth’s Lewis Cook is set to return from suspension but concerns over the fitness of Alex Scott are still present.
Here are some of Howe’s Wisdom Nuggets, courtesy of NUFC.co.uk
On the fitness of Wilson...
“Callum has a tight hamstring. We are doing various tests on him. We will see how he does this morning before making a decision on the game. Other than that, we have no fresh injuries from the other night.”
On Andoni Iraola’s Bournemouth...
“They have a very good manager, their set-up is very good. They have good players and have invested a lot of money in the squad over the summer.
“The Vitality Stadium is a tough place to go, but our focus is on our players, the performance, and on the game. Our only focus is to try to win.”
On injury absentees Alexander Isak and Sven Botman...
“Alex is doing well and is working on his fitness levels. We are building up his load and the plan is for him to return after the international break.
“No massive news on Sven - he is progressing well, (and) he has been away in Holland getting specialist treatment. I think he’s back here today so I will chat with him and see how he is getting on.”
On his team’s attitude during their tough recent run of fixtures...
“The players have done incredibly well to adjust to the difficult start that we had - that has been a test of their character. We had been close in those games but didn’t get the results we wanted. It has been an intense period.
“We have been stretched mentally and physically, but the players have responded well and that is a big compliment to what they have given and now we need to finish this period off well at Bournemouth.”
On the second anniversary of his appointment at Newcastle United...
“It’s been an incredible two years. When you have an anniversary, you realize how quick time goes. When people have said it’s been two years, it’s like, ‘Wow’. When you look back at some of the memories within that time, it’s been an amazing period in my life.
“It’s been a brilliant two years, and I can’t thank the directors, the owners, the players, the supporters enough for everything they have given to help the team. The people here in Newcastle have really embraced me and my family. I feel very much a part of the area, the community – I can’t thank everyone enough for that.”
- Date: Saturday, Nov. 11th
- Kick-off: 17:30 BST / 11:30 EST
- Location: Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth (England)