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Opinion

Uncomfortable truth for Newcastle United

4 months ago
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Another tough day lies ahead for Newcastle United on Saturday.

Up against a team who play some exciting, clever, attacking football, very similar to last weekend.

There is an old saying about the victors writing history and that is what we have certainly seen in these past few days.

Interesting though, rather than it coming from Newcastle fans, it has been the media, particularly the regional press, who have chosen to ignore the facts of the win over Watford.

Newcastle won out in terms of the only stat that counts in the end, goals, but in every other respect they were second best.

If Newcastle United play like they did for the first hour against Watford, they will lose.

Not only will they lose but they will lose badly.

Newcastle showed spirit last weekend but little else, at least not until the final half hour or so when the goal completely changed the match.

Watford simply looked beaten from that point, unable to believe that they had found a way to go behind after wasting so many chances, 13 alone in the first half, 14 of their 16 shots in the game came from inside the box.

The opening five minutes saw Newcastle have a go at pressing/matching Watford, only to be forced to give up on the idea once realising how superior the visitors were, in midfield in particular.

I think to stand any chance of a win, Newcastle have to get another clean sheet, having not conceded in these past 211 minutes of football.

However, they are up against a Bournemouth side who have scored more goals than all but four Premier League teams this season.

Their last two aways have seen 3-0 and 4-0 wins at Fulham and Watford respectively, as well as a 2-1 away victory at West Ham earlier this season.

Watford were missing Troy Deeney as they wasted chance after chance but in Callum Wilson, Bournemouth have a striker who has scored six times already, including three in the last two games.

Newcastle have repeatedly lost the battle in the middle of the pitch this season and can Ki and Diame change that on Saturday?

Diame has been really poor this season whilst Ki has had to watch mainly from the sidelines, he produce a couple of minutes of quality to change the game against Watford, then helped Newcastle grow as Watford collapsed.

Bournemouth lost at Chelsea 2-0 with both goals in the last 18 minutes, whilst the 4-0 at Burnley was one of those games, dominating possession (62%), shots (19 v 12) and corners (8 v 3), yet finding themselves somehow on the end of a hiding.

Bournemouth will be coming to St James Park expecting to win and it is Newcastle who will be having to raise their game to prevent that happening.

With Muto set to miss the game through injury, Newcastle find themselves once again with zero pace up front as Perez and Rondon will play. Add in Diame, Ki and Ritchie, Newcastle are a team that is frighteningly short of quick players, something which isn’t a weakness for the visitors.

Interesting to see how Rafa Benitez sets his team out but anything that leads to something approaching an open game will surely suit Bournemouth more.

This will be a massive victory, if Newcastle can pull it off.
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