Howe delighted as Bournemouth fight-back for Newcastle draw

Feb 26, 2018, 09:23
Howe delighted as Bournemouth fight-back for Newcastle draw

The Tyneside club was forced to settle for a 2-2 draw in their last league tie against AFC Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on February 24.

"We had to decide about wingers, defenders, strikers", said Benitez.

"I thought they [Newcastle] were quite direct and gave us a problem".

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Bournemouth certainly have reason to think they can produce a much better display on Saturday.

However, at Huddersfield the Cherries didn't just come back down to Earth, they plunged deep into the planet's core as they were torn apart 4-1 by a team that had been struggling desperately.

"After that, we lost control". We never really recovered from conceding the first goal.

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The Magpies turned to Slimani after their efforts to land Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge ended in failure - he too is injured after joining West Brom - but with the Leicester frontman unable to play against his parent club, he is now likely to be available for a maximum of seven games. "Rafa Benitez will be livid and that's why sometimes he doesn't play him, because he's the best passer in their team, but moments like that can cost you a game". I was talking with him and he was positive. "But then he felt this problem again". Dwight Gayle's first half double had propelled them to the dizzy heights of 10th and when Jonjo Shelvey lined up to fire into the top corner, they were preparing to celebrate a third 11 minutes from time.

And while Benitez may be tempted to tinker with the XI that inspired United to such an important and uplifting win a fortnight ago, there are cases for certain players to retain their places this weekend based on their performance against the expensively assembled Red Devils.

There was still time for Bournemouth to pull off a remarkable turnaround but Newcastle did at least save a point, yet they still have plenty of work to do to preserve their top-flight status.

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