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Mark Lawrenson continuing with bizarre pre-Man City theme as Newcastle United face Bournemouth

4 months ago
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Mark Lawrenson has been looking ahead to Wednesday night on the south coast.

Bournemouth hosting Newcastle United with the home side in dreadful form.

Their last 14 Premier League matches producing 10 defeats, two draws and only two wins, whilst the last six have seen only one point from a possible 18. The Cherries losing both games since the restart without scoring a goal, defeats to Palace at home and Wolves away.

They are odds on for relegation but in such a tight battle, a win could take them as high as 16th and up to three points clear of the drop.

One thing for sure, with their next four opponents being Man Utd, Spurs, Leicester and Man City, Bournemouth will be throwing everything at this match.

As for Newcastle, who knows what we will see after the feeble FA Cup display and nothing to play for in the league apart from pride and a few league placings either side.

Bizarrely, ahead of Sunday, despite Newcastle being 12 points clear of trouble with only seven to play and the bookies making them 500/1 for relegation, Mark Lawrenson reckoned the league and now NUFC’s first FA Cup quarter final in 14 years was the priority…’They have already drawn with Manchester City once at St James Park this season and you would be thinking they can have a real go at them. As it is, there is still that element of doubt about them staying up. Although I still think the Magpies will survive, boss Steve Bruce will probably see Wednesday’s league trip to struggling Bournemouth as the priority.’

Mark Lawrenson is refusing to give up his prioritising the league theme and says that now Steve Bruce will ‘play his best team this time’ to get a point they still need for survival, according to him.

The problem with that is Steve Bruce has handled the restart so badly in terms of looking after players.

Bizarrely picking exactly the same team three days apart for Sheffield United and Villa, it meant that Ritchie and Shelvey were ruled out of Sunday’s cup game, Almiron and ASM looked knackered, whilst Hayden also didn’t look 100%.

The knock on effect after another draining game on Sunday night, what shape will many of these players be in?

Will ASM, Almiron and others be asked to start a fourth game in a row only 10 days after the restart and if so, what condition will they be in.

By contrast, Bournemouth will have had a full week to recover and prepare.

Mark Lawrenson predicts a 0-0 draw but it will be some achievement if Dubravka and his defence keep a clean sheet on Wednesday, as I see them coming under relentless pressure. As for Newcastle’s goal threat, interesting to see who starts.

Mark Lawrenson talking to BBC Sport:

“Newcastle didn’t turn up in the first half against Manchester City and it was probably just as well there were no fans inside St James’ Park because they would have been howling about that.

“They were better in the second half but there’s still no way that they could say they deserved to go through and they did not really even have a proper go at City.

“Staying up was the aim for the season, though, and they probably need one more point to be sure of doing that.

“I think they will get it on Wednesday.

“Magpies boss Steve Bruce will play his best team this time and Bournemouth have lost both of their games since the restart and are all over the place.

“The only positive thing for the Cherries so far is that everyone else around them, apart from Brighton, have not picked up many points either.

“Prediction is Bournemouth 0 Newcastle 0.”

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