Mixed emotions as United made it 17 league games unbeaten.
Dan Jenkins tries to make sense of shenanigans on the south coast where, for once, Newcastle lacked vitality.
1. Sloppiness continues
It’s been coming.
Sloppiness has been creeping into performances for a few weeks now but that first half was sloppier than a 4am boozy blow job behind the Bigg Market bins.
We gave away free kicks so cheap and shoddy they could have been branded with the Sports Direct logo.
Trippier’s lazy handball started proceedings, but it was best summed up in the first half by Longstaff’s ludicrous flying red squirrel attack.
I couldn’t tell if he was looking in askance at the ref afterwards for a foul or to rate his cartoon ninja skills.
In the second half, Gordon was at it with a shoulder in the back of his opponent.
Botman actually got away with a blatant two-handed shove on Solanke and was lucky that his lunge late on didn’t lead to a second yellow.
We were also sloppy in possession, with Burn, Longstaff and Maxi all guilty of giving the ball away.
We salvaged a point solely thanks to Trippier’s tenacity, as he stopped that ball mere millimetres before it crossed the line.
Knowing that we got away with a draw took the shine off us celebrating extending our impressive record to 17 league games unbeaten.
2. Squad exposed
I’m not the first fan to point out the deficiencies in our squad but the point was unequivocally hammered home at the Vitality Stadium.
Get past the first dozen or so players and our squad is more threadbare than your dad’s kecks in the week before Christmas.
The lack of strength in depth could well be our undoing this season.
Players who looked tired before now looked exhausted. Intensity is our identity but there are lads running on empty out there.
Adding injury to insult, Wilson never even made the match day squad while Willock, Miggy and Maxi were all subbed off with various knocks and strains.
It’s a given that Gordon will ultimately oust Allan from the starting 11, but seeing Miggy replaced by Murphy is never encouraging.
The most productive thing little Jacob did was hold the iPad before he came on – and I was genuinely surprised that he didn’t hesitate before letting a Bournemouth player take it off him.
— Swifty Predictions (@SwiftyPredicts) February 11, 2023
3. Beatable Burn
It turns out after all that you can beat Dan Burn – at least, sometimes.
Blyth’s finest was caught out multiple times, requiring immediate absolution from Pope. It was also Big Dan who gave the ball away for the Bournemouth chance that Trippier cleared off the last microns of the line.
It could be argued that Burn doesn’t get the same level of protection from Maxi that Trippier enjoys from Miggy, but Burn is the last line of defence down the left flank and he needs to be better at it.
That said, while you might beat Dan Burn, you won’t beat Botman. Slap his arm at your peril.
4. Speaking of Maxi…
ASM continues to divide fan opinion like no other Newcastle player.
However, while I remain convinced he is not the answer in the medium term, you can clearly see him trying to be more of a team player.
I think he’s learning a different way to play and at last, he looks like he’s actually getting better at it.
While his final ball was not always great and he got caught in possession too often, he was much improved compared to his performance against West Ham at home.
That afternoon he stank out SJP worse than my endless kebab-laced hangover farts – let’s hope that was his nadir and the only way is up from now on.
Maxi is not the only player who will improve if given more minutes on the pitch: Isak desperately needs playing time too.
Against Bournemouth he was anonymous for long spells, although in his defence he didn’t have many opportunities to impress.
When opportunities do arise, though, you have to take them.
He snatched at his second half chance, skyrocketing the ball almost out of the stadium, before drilling another against Bournemouth’s back line later on.
The brightest light was Gordon, who showed Flash-es of brilliance, in particular beating Smith who could only stop him by bringing him down.
It was a Ming-ing challenge and Gordon certainly did not Diiiiiiive!
And no, I’m not remotely sorry about any of those 80s movie puns.
5. I’ve got something in my eye
Bournemouth fans rising as one to give Howe a standing ovation at the final whistle was a beautiful moment that gave anyone with half a heart a lump in their throat.
Watching wor Eddie try to hold back his tears in what was clearly a cathartic moment for him caused me to choke up, too.
This was fandom at its finest, and for me is why football is the beautiful game.
It was a classy move from the Bournemouth fans – but then given the above, what do I know about classy?!
Touching moment for Eddie Howe as he leaves the Vitality Stadium to a standing ovation! 👏🍒 pic.twitter.com/K2xuPd0Ju6
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) February 11, 2023