A traditional 3pm Saturday kick off sees Newcastle United playing host to Bournemouth in the latest installment of the 15/16 Premier League season. This is the second meeting of the two sides this season, the previous being a 1-0 win for Newcastle United at the Vitality Stadium down on the South Coast back in November. Ayoze Perez got the goal for Newcastle United that day though it is probably fair to say Bournemouth were unlucky not to have got anything from that game, largely down to some fantastic goalkeeping from Rob Elliot.
<sissoko> <wijnaldum> <gouffran>
Smith - Francis - Cook - Daniels
Ritchie - Gosling - Surman - Gradel
Afobe - Grabban
The main talking point from McClaren's press conference was when he lost it completely and launched an angry attack at journalist Craig Hope. Hope responded very well to the attack, delivering some home truths to McClaren. Below is the full exchange:Steve McClaren wrote:We asked for a reaction after the Chelsea game and at Stoke it's fine margins," McClaren said. "We asked for spirit and fight and for them to stay in the game for 95 minutes, and they did that. But for a fantastic save from Jack Butland we'd have got a very good draw and something to build on. It obviously piles the pressure on that we didn't get that result, but honestly the main focus is Bournemouth. A lot of people questioned the players as well - did they know the situation? I think we saw from the performance on Wednesday that yes, they do. I know that from the training field and the dressing room. We know the predicament we're in, only we can get out of it. We said we were in a fight which started on Wednesday - we continue it on Saturday.
Absolutely [my players back me]. We’ve got the talent and we showed the character on Wednesday. I don’t read stories. My only focus is Bournemouth. Every game is a must-win game now. We need results. There’s a long way to go. In the home games fans have been terrific. We aim to win it tomorrow, it’s about fine margins. There’s a long way to go at the bottom. Results can change momentum. It is a results business. I know that. We need to stay in this league. We don't want anything to destabilise what we are trying to achieve between now and the end of the season.
Steve McClaren: I've heard there have been one or two articles - probably one main article – and as I say, I don't read it. It doesn't help me win football matches and my concentration and focus are purely on Bournemouth and winning that game tomorrow. Someone told me about it, and unfortunately it's done, obviously, by a journalist who for the last 18 months has written nothing but negative things about Newcastle, a journalist who used to work at this football club and who four or five years ago (six), was released from this club. Whatever that journalist writes, I'm afraid I don't read it.
Craig Hope: Steve, don’t you dare accuse me of having an agenda. You’re second bottom in the league. I’m not the problem.
Press officer: You can have your say later.
Craig Hope: No. This is a new one, Steve – is this your latest excuse? It’s a new one, I’ll give you that. I’m not the problem Steve, you’re the problem. Not me. Don’t you dare suggest I’ve got an agenda against you. Walk away Steve, smiling, grinning again. He’s been out of his depth since the minute he walked in.
Referee:Eddie Howe wrote:Eight points is not enough. We are well aware that fortunes can change. Last week it was four points and now it is eight, but it can change the other way very quickly if you don't perform yourself. We need to take care of our business. Newcastle is another massive game in our season. With 10 games to go I think every game takes on huge significance because you are running out of games to get the points you need. Plus the fact that in the next two we are playing teams around us. These next two games, added to the next eight, are going to define our season.
I have watched several games in preparation and they [Newcastle] have performed well. The West Brom game [1-0 win on February 6] was a particular highlight where they were excellent, I felt. Their crowd will certainly get behind them and they have good players, a lot of international players with vast experience, so we do not underestimate the size of our task. If they get their game right, then it will be a tough game for us to win, but we have seen when we perform at our very best level, then we are also a very tough team to beat.
Prediction:Mark Lawrenson wrote:This has turned into a massive game for Newcastle, who desperately need a win. The Magpies are second bottom, eight points behind Bournemouth, and it is already looking like three of the current bottom four will be the teams going down. Newcastle 2-1 Bournemouth.
McClaren seems to genuinely believe that our performance on Wednesday night was not only acceptable but good. That leaves me to conclude that he's deluded. We were awful yet again and I don't see that ever changing if McClaren is telling the players that sort of display is acceptable. I also think McClaren will bottle it with the tactics and once again fail to go with two up front. There has been a lot of speculation regarding McClaren's future in the past few days with strong rumours that he could be sent packing should Bournemouth win this game.
Steve McClaren has got Newcastle playing dreadful negative football and vastly underachieving given the resources while Eddie Howe has Bournemouth playing attractive positive football and punching above their weight. Bournemouth come into this on the back of a great win against Southampton, confidence should be high and they will be aware that a win would go a long way towards reaching that sought after 40 point mark.
McClaren has shown throughout the season he's lost the plot when it comes to team selection, formations, tactics and game plans. He also went off the boil in his press conference. The pressure seems to be getting to him and although he's looked out of his depth all season it appears now he's almost drown.
I predict Bournemouth will put the final nail in McClaren's coffin and edge Newcastle United ever so closer to elimination from the top tier of English football. Newcastle United 1-2 Bournemouth. Wijnaldum, Afobe and Gosling with the goals. I hope I'm wrong.
At the time of writing (Friday afternoon) there are still tickets on sale. There is availability in all areas of St James' Park apart from level 7. Tickets can be purchased up until kick off and it is highly unlikely that the game will come anywhere close to being a sell out. The cheapest remaining tickets are £30 for adults, £15 for juniors, £24 for seniors and £17 for young persons. So no value for money even with the cheapest tickets. The only sold out area of St James' Park will be the Bournemouth end. They have took and sold out the full 3,100 allocation and have used their PL Away Fans Fund to reduce prices. They paid £18 for adults, £8 for seniors and students and £1 for U16s. They have also provided there fans with subsidised coach travel costing just £25. All of this in addition to offering better football than Newcastle United means there is a lot more value for for a Bournemouth fan attending this game.
The game is a traditional Saturday 3pm kick off meaning no live TV coverage in the UK.
Astro SuperSport 2 (Malaysia)
Canal+ Sport Online (Poland)
CTH Stadium 1 HD (Thailand)
Foxtel Play (Australia)
Go Sport 4 (Malta)
NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)
Now Sports 3 (Hong Kong)
Orange TV (Indonesia)
QQ Sports Live (China)
Sportsnet 1 (Canada)
SPS HD (Mongolia)
(Overseas TV coverage from nufc.com)
BBC Newcastle (Locals can tune in on their radio. Those outside the region can listen via this link http://tunein.com/radio/BBC-Newcastle-954-s18219/)
MOTD - BBC 1 - 22:20