Bournemouth-Newcastle United Preview
It took almost three months, but Newcastle United can finally attempt to build on their first Premier League victory of the season.
No longer a member of the drop zone, the Magpies hope to continue their winning ways whilst expecting a stiff challenge from Bournemouth on Saturday at St. James' Park.
As the Premier League season trudged on for Newcastle (1-3-7), their supporters were probably wondering if - not just when - that first win of the campaign would arrive. After several weeks of frustration and disappointment, the light finally shined bright on the Magpies in the form of a 1-0 home victory over Watford last Saturday.
Ayoze Perez's 65th-minute goal managed to stand up and Newcastle players, staff and fans could finally exhale with a sense of relief that the rot had ended. The victory lifted the Magpies out of the relegation and into 17th place, though tied with Huddersfield Town on six points but ahead based on goal differential.
"It's hard to say it in words," defender Fabian Schar told Newcastle's official website. "I think when you saw, after 90 minutes, it was massive pressure off our shoulders.
"We fought for each other, and we fought over the 90 minutes. Of course, we can improve a lot of things, but we have to start doing things like we did (last weekend) - like fighting, and where we push each other."
Schar and his teammates also know that last weekend's much-needed victory won't mean much going forward if they don't make good on it, and progress even further in their overall form.
"It's only one win, but we've had to wait a long time for this," Schar added. "I think it was really important for the confidence, for all of us. We know we are still near the bottom of the table, but they are a massive three points, so now we have to keep going and try to get another one."
Of course, the challenge won't be easy against Bournemouth (6-2-3), who despite falling 2-1 to Manchester United last weekend, sit sixth in the Premier League table. The loss ended a 3-1-0 stretch for the Cherries, who opened the scoring on Callum Wilson's milestone 50th goal for the club in the 11th minute. However, after United equalised later in the half, Marcus Rashford delivered the winner in the second minute of second-half stoppage time to send Bournemouth to an excruciating defeat.
"It was one of the best first-half performances I've seen us have in the Premier League since being promoted," manager Eddie Howe told Bournemouth's official website following the loss to United. "I can't fault anyone in terms of effort. … It was a tough one for us."
Bournemouth, who have yet to lose back-to-back games within the Premier League this campaign, had the better of last season's series with Newcastle. The Cherries pulled out a late 1-0 victory at St. James' last November. then rallied from two goals down to play Newcastle to a seemingly improbable 2-2 draw at home.
Updated November 8, 2018