Bournemouth beat Newcastle on Saturday in a tight 1-0 win at St James’ Park. Here are five things we learned from the encounter.
Football really is a “game of two halves”
This game definitely led up to that cliché with Newcastle playing some lovely one touch football at times in the first half and creating lots of opportunites. Dwight Gayle had a goal unfairly disallowed which would have broken his Premier League duck and staked his claim to lead the line going forward. In the second half, Bournemouth took control and could have had more than one in all honesty. The fact that Rob Elliot was Newcastle’s best player tells us many things.
Talk of an England recall for Jonjo Shelvey is premature
With Mikel Merino missing the last two games for the Toon army it gave Jonjo Shelvey the chance to continue to stake his claim for a spot in Gareth’s Southgate squad. However, for me the dimunitive midfielder lacks the positional discipline to justify the spot as he was found not wanting to track back numerous times. He also tends to try and take the ball from deep areas and for me he is almost acting as a second holding midfielder when he does this.
He needs to push more up the field and for me his final ball is still very erratic. The fact that Newcasle fans are bemoaning Merino’s absence is indicative that Shelvey is not dictating games like he did in the Championship and he is a long way behind the likes of Winks and Wilshere if he wants to be that creative hub for Newcastle.
Nathan Ake is destined to be a star
Ake was terrific from the first whistle to the last minute. He looks mature beyond his years and was a very strong and as most Dutch players are, he is very comfortable on the ball. Lascelles and Lejeune were solid for Newcastle but this man definitely outshone and Eddie Howe definitely should build his defence around him.
When you see Chelsea spending a huge amount of Rudiger you wonder whether if Conte had put more trust in Ake he may have saved some money and prove the common thought that Chelsea do not ever use their loaned out players to be untrue.
Joselu is not Premier League standard
Joselu was a surprise signing in the summer and quite left field considering his disappointing spell at Stoke. The fact that the Potters fans were so happy to have got £5m for him should have a concern for the Newcastle fans. The Spaniard does win his fair share of headers and does lay things off but he does not trouble the opponents enough and failed to take his chance in the first half. The issue for many Newcastle fans as he lacks the presence that Alexander Mitrovic has and Rafa Benitez’s persistence to ignore Mitrovic tells you his thoughts on the Serbian forward. For me, I do not feel Joselu is any better than the reliable Daryl Murphy who the Toon army let go in the summer.
Jacob Murphy is not an effective substitute
Jacob Murphy was seen as a talented footballer and a good prospect signing but for £12m and a childhood Newcastle fan the Toon Army had high hopes. However, whenever he has come on he has been lost possession multiple times and not shown any wing-play which made him sought after. Perhaps lacking match sharpness the ex-Norwich man has looked like a boy amongst men whenever he has come on and really should be spending more time in the gym working on his upper body strength.
The Tyneside outfit have had a history of writing off players too soon with Florian Thauvin a prime example as the Marseille man is now a regular in Didier Deschamps France Squad and so maybe Rafa needs to remove him from the limelight till he learns to adapt his game.