AFC Bournemouth will look to get back to winning ways this weekend as they face Newcastle United at the Vitality Stadium. The game will mark Eddie Howe’s second return to his former home since he took the reins at the Magpies.
Bournemouth come into the game off the back of a 6-1 demolition job by Manchester City, but their last home game saw them achieve victory against Burnley.
Newcastle haven’t lost in the Premier League since early September but have had a couple of Champions League defeats in that time.
Although the Cherries have injuries of their own, Newcastle’s injury issues could be called a crisis at this point. Six first-team players, and usual starters, are out injured. Add to this the suspension of Bruno Guimaraes (5 yellow cards) and Tonali (gambling offences) and Newcastle’s squad depth is seriously being tested.
As a result of Luton’s draw against Liverpool, Bournemouth slipped back into the relegation zone last weekend. They will be looking to escape that this weekend but can only reach as high as 17th, even with a win.
Newcastle on the other hand are pushing for the European places once again in the Premier League, currently sitting in 6th. A win could see them move up to 5th but they could slip as low as 8th with defeat at the Vitality Stadium.
Ahead of the Saturday evening clash, Andoni Iraola spoke to the media, including Nerve Sport:
It’s bad news for Bournemouth fans on the injury front. Iraola confirmed that Alex Scott has a grade 2 MCL sprain but on the other knee to the one he has suffered with in the past. In other injury news, Neto has been training with the squad.
With Newcastle’s injury crisis, there may not be a better time for Bournemouth to play them than right now, when this was put to Iraola he was keen to state the squad depth of Newcastle and insisted Bournemouth go into the game with the utmost respect for their opponents.
Sadly, VAR has once again been a large talking point in recent weeks with more and more decisions being questioned and the stop/start nature of the matches leaving many people and pundits questioning the way that the game is heading. Asked by Nerve Sport for comment on this Iraola stated he thinks it is “only a matter of time” until semi-automated offsides are used. He added:
“VAR is still evolving. The automatic offsides will be implemented for sure. They are trying to improve the handball situation, sometimes these situations are unclear. Handballs can be difficult to solve and it is a big big problem and can be decisive in the game. As a result, we are changing the way the players are defending but they players have to adapt.
With the return of Neto, many will be wondering how this affects the recently recalled Mark Travers. When asked if he could go on loan again in January, Iraola said:
“These are decisions for January. Right now all the ‘keepers are fighting for positions and we are working with Neil Moss every day. We can see them fighting for position and then we can make different decisions.”
AFC Bournemouth vs Newcastle United kicks off at 5:30 pm on Saturday. Full coverage will be available on Nerve Sport's social media and on our website.