Eddie Howe has been handed the perfect opportunity to collect his team’s first league win since they beat Nottingham Forest on the opening day of the season and will be desperate to do so.
This desperation could manifest itself in the way of one of their stars being thrust back into the starting line-up, with Bruno Guimaraes seemingly back from injury.
Daily Mail reporter Craig Hope issued an update to that effect on Friday, stating on Twitter: “Expectation is that ASM & Wilson miss out, but Bruno likely to return #nufc.”
Although it may be a risk, securing an all-important win to get Newcastle back on track will be integral for the former Cherries boss to continue the progression of his current club, so he must duly throw Guimaraes back into the team.
Having only signed last January, the Brazil international has become something of a local “hero” on Tyneside already, in the words of Daily Express journalist Ryan Taylor.
In his spell at the club last season, he made 17 appearances, scoring five times. He was at the heart of their upturn in form which saw them comfortably avoid relegation, with the Magpies actually sitting third in the Premier League form table for the final 16 games of 2021/22.
Normally occupying the metronome role just behind two dynamic central midfielders, his absence has been felt even more due to the injury to Jonjo Shelvey. Newcastle have struggled without someone to fill this role, and Guimaraes is the quintessential player for it.
Classy yet strong, he ranked in the top 6% for pressures and top 1% for tackles among positional peers in Europe’s top five leagues over the past 12 months, outlining his defensive qualities, yet he also ranked in the top 7% for progressive carries and top 10% for shot-creating actions. He is the perfect all-round midfielder to dominate the number six role, and without him the team appear far worse off.
It is astounding how influential he can be for Newcastle, and with an international break looming it seems a smart move to start the midfielder today and then allow him to rest should he struggle against Bournemouth.
The £120k-per-week star ought to be one of the first names on the team sheet if he is even slightly fit, and he could be the game-changer to get the Magpies back to winning ways.