Newcastle travel to the south coast tomorrow knowing that they are only two points off the relegation zone, and facing a Bournemouth side who are on something of a hot streak at the moment – having gone seven games unbeaten prior to losing to Huddersfield 12 days ago.
The Magpies will be looking to build on their heroic 1-0 victory over Manchester United before the FA Cup break, but will be daunted by the fact that they haven’t won back-to-back games since September.
Newcastle will be hoping that Ciaran Clark’s knee will be ready to take to the pitch tomorrow, while Bournemouth will be waiting to find out whether Jermaine Defoe will return from a foot injury.
Here is what our writers think will happen at the Vitality Stadium tomorrow…
A score draw. Bournemouth always seem to do well against the sides near or below them in the table lack the defensive quality to resist their flowing football and I think Newcastle will struggle at the Vitality Stadium this weekend.
That being said, Rafa Benitez’s side need to pick up points more than the Cherries and there’s a new sense of optimism surrounding Newcastle following their late January business. Bournemouth will control the game but Newcastle will get a goal and hold tight. 1-1.
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Draw. Bournemouth will probably be safe, but they still need to keep their points tally ticking over. Newcastle, however are only two points above the relegation places and are in need of points. Given anyone can beat anyone else outside of the top six, this could go either way, but on the basis that both teams would take a point, shared spoils is my prediction.
Newcastle win. The Magpies need this win badly given the narrow gap between them and the drop, and with Ciaran Clark looking like he may make it into the starting XI in his return from injury, it looks like the Tyneside club will be as defensively rigid as they were in their victory over Manchester United two weeks ago.