An early-season six-pointer at the bottom end of the table kicks off this weekend’s Premier League action, as Newcastle make the long trip south looking to leapfrog their opponents and climb out of the relegation zone.
Bournemouth are desperate to halt their recent slide which has seen them lose four of their last five matches, a run which included last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to south-coast rivals Southampton.
The Cherries have conceded 15 goals in their last five matches and only Sunderland have conceded more over the season as a whole. The hosts are badly missing the influence of captain Tommy Elphick at the heart of their back four – Sylvain Distin’s age is showing and others are playing out of position to fill gaps.
Harry Arter made his first Premier League appearance for the club last weekend, and his creativity from the engine room will be vital for Bournemouth, who will pull clear of the bottom three with a win at the Goldsands Stadium.
Newcastle head to only their second ever league meeting at Bournemouth looking for their first away win since January, and that is not the only damning statistic surrounding the visitors.
They have won just four games in 2015, scored just once on the road all season – at Manchester City in a 6-1 thrashing – and have had 36 shots across their last two league matches but failed to score in either.
Despite all this, Newcastle will end the weekend outside the bottom three for the first time since August if they pick up three points on Saturday; the Magpies did show signs of attacking promise against Stoke last weekend but were denied by an inspired performance by Jack Butland.
Artur Boruc and Steve Cook remain doubts for Bournemouth which could mean more defensive reshuffling, and Eddie Howe may also shake things up at the other end of the pitch; Josh King and Junior Stanislas added a different dimension to their attack last weekend and are pushing for starts.
The visitors are in the midst of a goalkeeping crisis, with Tim Krul and Karl Darlow injured and Rob Elliot doubtful. There was talk of the club dipping into the emergency loan market, but so far this has not happened which could mean a debut for England u-19 international Freddie Woodman, who spent the first part of this season on loan at League Two side Crawley Town.
League Position: Bournemouth – 17th (8 pts); Newcastle – 18th – (7 pts)
Last Meeting: Newcastle 2-2 Bournemouth – January 22nd, 1992
Key Men: Bournemouth – Harry Arter; Newcastle – Ayoze Perez
Form: Bournemouth – WLDLLL; Newcastle – LDLWLD
Shoot Says: Bournemouth 2-2 Newcastle