It’s been 600 matches managed by Eddie Howe through Friday. That figure would be up at 601 by the end of Saturday, and that single extra token will be added at the Vitaly Stadium, Bournemouth, of all places. Quite apt.
After leaving the club all the way back in 2020, Howe is facing Bournemouth for the first time at their stadium since he left the organization in a rather unsettling way thanks to the sudden and unexpected appearance of COVID in our lives. Fans couldn’t wave him a proper goodbye back then, but you can rest assured they will welcome him with loud cheers this weekend after all he did for the Cherries during his time on their bench.
Newcastle haven’t lost to Bournemouth since 2017 and in their past seven meetings. It’s been four victories for the Magpies and three more games ending in a draw. This season alone both clubs have met a couple of times with NUFC snatching a point from the paws of AFCB in the Premier League and then sending the Cherries home in the Carabao Cup last December.
Of course, Bournemouth got relegated to the Championship in July 2020. They spent two years playing second-tier football after finishing in sixth place the first season they went down only to get back to the Premier League in time for this campaign finishing 2nd in the 2021-22 season and gaining promotion to the English top-flight division.
Howe spent a year visiting places, learning from Diego Simeone, and finally decided to take charge of Newcastle when the new board arrived in October 2021 and handed him the chance. It’s Howe’s third managed club after an initial spell at AFCB (08-11), a second short one at Burnley (11-12), and his monster run back at Bournemouth (12-20) in which he carried the Cherries places moving them from the third division to the Premier League in less than three calendar years.
The Cherries stayed at the peak of the English Football Pyramid from 2015 to that forgettable 2020 season in which Howe fell just one point short of avoiding relegation—which hurt, even more, considering they defeated Aston Villa twice in the Premier League only to see the Villains finish one position (and one measly point) above them anyway.
Things are rosier for Howe these days, while they are murkier than ever for the lads playing footie at the Vitality Stadium as they sit second-to-last in the table.
Eddie Howe spoke to the media on Friday providing some fresh takes on Newcastle’s state of affairs just hours before today’s game.
You can read everything Howe had to say here, as part of our pre-match coverage.
FotMob.com predictions at the upcoming Starting XIs from the Magpies and the Cherries are in, so let’s go through what could be coming from Newcastle’s Eddie Howe.
- Not Available: Krafth (knee), Targett (foot), Manquillo (knee), Bruno (suspended)
- Doubtful: —
- Speaking to the media yesterday, Howe acknowledged that 1) ASM needs to string multiple games with ample playing time to hit his peak levels of performance but also that 2) Gordon was lively and great in his debut while also training nicely with the group throughout the week. Conflicting statements when it comes to picking between two men for just one available spot on the left wing.
- There was no chance Gordon started last Saturday’s matchup against West Ham United, of course. Today brings an entirely different scenario, though, with Gordon having gotten a few training reps with his teammates during the past few days and looking fantastic in his first and brief SJP cameo. We’re officially betting on Gordon getting his first start as a Magpie on this very bright 11th of February in Bournemouth of all places.
- Other than that there is not a lot to discuss because Howe is the most boring manager when it comes to rotating players—nothing we can actually complain about, tho!
- Bruno is out suspended for this game and next weekend’s affair with Liverpool. That said, no other player is in yellow-card risk of a suspension. Joelinton is the Magpie having the most cards through the season but his tally is still at a manageable 8 so he’d need a couple more to miss one game. Expect no rotations because of risk of getting canned for the match against the Reds.
- That brings us to the same oft-used XI that we’ve grown tired of covering for the past few weeks, months, years, and decades if you push it. Howe confirmed the return of Alexander Isak to the squad after missing time having suffered a concussion in the Carabao Cup semi-finals and having to go through the concussion protocols. Nothing to worry about according to Howe.
- Harrison Ashby could make his debut this Saturday after missing on doing it last weekend. Gordon already did against WHU so there is a chance that if—as expected—Newcastle can deal with Bournemouth easily and put one or two goals on the scoreboard early we get to see the freshest Magpie fly on the right flank of the Vitality Stadium today.
- Callum Wilson finally broke out of his 10-game goalscoring skid last Saturday scoring a third-minute banger. Everything was a bit bizarre at the start of last weekend’s game, though, with Joe Willock opening the score barely one minute into the match only to get denied by a VAR review. It took Wilson seconds after the play resumed to score his goal, but he then proceeded to go dry for nearly 90 more minutes. Let’s hope he gets back to his weekly scoring days for good.
- 600th games managed in Howe’s bag. 601 by the time the coach goes to sleep today. Against the club he built no less! Hooray!
CHN Predicted Lineup
DEF Trippier - Schar - Botman - Burn
MID Longstaff - Willock - Joelinton
WNG Almiron - Gordon
- Date: Saturday, February 11th
- Kick-off: 17:30 BST / 12:30 EST
- Location: Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth (England)
- Broadcasts: fuboTV (CAN) — Peacock, NBC, SiriusXM FC, UNIVERSO (USA) — Sky Sports Main Event, BBC Radio 5 Live, Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Ultra HD, SKY GO Extra (UK)
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Howay the Lads!