3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Newcastle 1 Bournemouth 1
Saturday ended Newcastle 1 Bournemouth.
Eddie Howe and his players picking up their fifth draw of the season from the opening seven Premier League fixtures.
Ahead of each match we ask one of our writers / contributors to come up with 3 positives and 3 negatives following the game, this time it is Jamie Smith.
At least we didn’t get robbed
After what feels like about two months of feeling hard done by, we can look back on today with zero grumbles.
What looked for all the world like a miserable defeat was rescued by the VAR picking out a penalty that neither players nor crowd seemed to appeal for, at least from my view at the opposite end of the ground.
Everyone seemed focused on whether United could finally make something of a corner when the big purple screen turned into our saviour. The way the day was going I feared for Isak stepping up, but he dispatched it in style, to at least rescue yet another point.
There’s time to settle into this
That makes it two goals from three games for our new striker and that’s without him fully acclimatising to the team around him.
I think we can all hold out real hope that a bit more time with the squad and the return of some key men from the sick list, will see a far more fluid attacking unit in time to come.
The international break ahead will hopefully act as a welcome breather and a chance to reboot the season. There has been a clear increase in quality over the past twelve months and that will most definitely prove the difference in more enjoyable times ahead this season.
Bad runs end
It may seem a bit inaccurate but I consider United to currently be in a filthy run of form.
You may point to the refereeing injustices as having derailed our early season, or bad luck with injuries, but today was the epitome of a performance level that has been way below that of the second half of last season.
It seems barmy to say, when we have only lost to a last minute goal at a write-off away game so far, but this is a side on a bad run.
This is actually a positive as it will soon end with the help of a fraction of run of the green and I have a degree of confidence that it may well spark a run of form, that can maybe see this early phase framed as one defeat in seven, as opposed to the suffocating dirge of endless draws it currently feels like.
This one is well below acceptable
Bournemouth might well have found a bounce since parting with Scott Parker but this was an extremely poor fixture to drop points in.
With Forest something of an enigma and Fulham settling surprisingly well, these were the most likely home banker of the season, with their Anfield nightmare evidence of how prone they could be to collapse.
Today’s failure to break them down, showed just how bereft we are in terms of attacking ammunition.
Almiron works hard but regularly destroys our impetus by cutting onto his left or trying something he’s clearly not going to pull off. Fraser on his day is a threat but today was one of his regular off days, with another injury absence no doubt incoming. Willock has been the most wasteful of our players this season and perhaps highlights how much we actually miss Shelvey.
Isak needs time to settle but looked reminiscent of Wood last year as the majority of his involvement required dropping deep to get the ball in positions that offered no goal threat. The one player we felt we may have been short this summer looks glaring in the absence of Saint-Maximin.
It wasn’t just a team underperformance in fairness. This was also the worst atmosphere in a long time, heavily influenced by the enforced solemnity for the queen at the start from which St James’ never really awoke.
Are we paper thin?
Bruno’s welcome return obviously bolstered the midfield but I hope anyone who may have thought ASM was a luxury we could do without, has had a rude awakening these past couple of weeks.
On days he doesn’t play well or contribute directly, Saint-Max always looks to drive the play forward and constantly occupies defenders that leaves space for others. For years his star turns kept us afloat from the misery of Bruce’s toothless sides.
However, it seems that without that same player we are devoid of ideas still, and Wilson’s consistent absences are keenly felt by Newcastle sides utilising strikers who play slightly differently. As previously mentioned, the loss of Shelvey as an option seems to have left us with a midfield that seems to be missing an option. The quality first XI that tore apart Arsenal and relegated Burnley can be found wanting, if certain key parts are removed.
What are the implications of this lasting a full season?
As I’ve said above, this poor run will end, but there are perhaps warning signs that this season may not hit the heights we had hoped.
The fine run at the start of this year involved some tight wins and perhaps there was always scope for things not going quite so according to plan. I had hoped that summer additions and the lack of relegation pressure would influence things positively but still we struggle to find that killer ball. More and more teams will come here to frustrate in the style that Bournemouth demonstrated today and if we continue to fail to break them down it’s possible that another season of mid table obscurity beckons.
While this is an improvement on the previous struggles (four points better off than this time last year), I wonder whether Bruno might be as resistant to any overtures from Madrid next summer after we miss out on a conference League place, or if that vital right winger can still be tempted.
There’s even the fear of our success-hungry owners potentially running out of patience with Eddie way too early, which would be an absolute shocker, but nothing surprises in modern football.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 1 Bournemouth 1 – Saturday 17 September 3pm
Isak 67 (Pen)
(Half-time stats in brackets)
Possession was Bournemouth 27% (32%) Newcastle 73% (68%)
Total shots were Bournemouth 10 (3) Newcastle 20 (6)
Shots on target were Bournemouth 3 (1) Newcastle 7 (4)
Corners were Bournemouth 1 (0) Newcastle 8 (4)
Referee: Craig Pawson
Attendance: 52,238 (Bournemouth – Not many)
Pope, Trippier, Schar, Burn, Targett, Bruno (Longstaff 72), Willock, Joelinton, Almiron (Wood 89), Fraser (Murphy 71), Isak
Karius, Botman, Lascelles, Ritchie, Lewis, Manquillo
(Newcastle 1 Bournemouth 1 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)
(Every sympathy as Eddie Howe missing three and a half of his front six – Newcastle 1 Bournemouth 1 – Read HERE)
(Newcastle 1 Bournemouth 1 – Allan Saint-Maximin clear man of the match – Read HERE)
(Newcastle 1 Bournemouth 1 – The instant NUFC fan / writer reaction – Read HERE)
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