Hello and welcome to Sports Mole
's live text coverage of the Premier League clash between Bournemouth
and Newcastle United
, two teams hoping to ease their relegation worries with a win. There's an hour to go until kickoff, but we'll have plenty of build-up to bring you before then, starting with team news.
BOURNEMOUTH XI: Begovic; Daniels, Ake, S. Cook, Francis; Fraser, Gosling, S.Cook, Stanislas; King; Wilson
SUBS: Boruc, Smith, Simpson, Surman, Pugh, Mousset, Defoe
Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett; Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame, Kenedy; Perez, Gayle
SUBS: Clark, Hayden, Manquillo, Joselu, Merino, Darlow, Atsu
Let's start with the home side Bournemouth's lineup, which sees Callum Wilson spearhead the attack with support from Josh King, while Fraser and Stanislas will add width from the midfield. The big news as far as the Cherries are concerned is the return to fitness of veteran striker Jermain Defoe, who makes the bench after recovering from the ankle injury he sustained in December.
had almost a full-strength squad to choose from this afternoon, his only injury concern being Tyrone Mings, who is continuing his rehabilitation from a long-term back problem.
This man Callum Wilson will be the one to watch for the hosts this afternoon. He has four goals in his last two home games against promoted opposition and is bound to be a handful for the Newcastle defence.
For Newcastle, it's an unchanged lineup from last weekend's surprise 1-0 victory over Manchester United, a result which did the Magpies' Premier League survival hopes the power of good.
Benitez's main injury concern is on-loan forward Islam Slimani, who is still yet to make his Newcastle debut thanks to a persistent thigh problem. The latest on that one is that it will be another two weeks before he's ready for action.
Let's take a look at both side's current form, and we'll start with the Cherries, who have climbed to midtable after a run of four Premier League home games without defeat, the last three of which they have won.
A fourth successive home win would see them break their Premier League record, and it certainly bodes well for them that they've never lost a home match against a newly-promoted side, a run which includes six wins and one draw.
That said, they do tend to ship goals. The last time Eddie Howe's side kept a clean sheet in the last 14 matches came during their shock 3-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last month.
Let's take a look at Newcastle's recent form. They're also a side who have shown improvement of late, heading into this match on a run of just one defeat in seven.
However, there are a number of stats that Newcastle fans should be aware of which won't make pleasant reading for them. First of all, they have lost all five of this season's away games against teams in the top 10 of the Premier League.
They usually take their time getting going in matches too. According to Opta data, only Swansea City have scored fewer first-half Premier League goals than Newcastle this season, with the Magpies tally being nine.
They need to keep an eye on those challenges within the penalty area too, as no side has conceded more penalty kicks away from home this term than the Magpies, who have given away four.
Ayoze Perez is the one to watch for the visitors this afternoon. The Spaniard has scored in both of his two Premier League starts against Bournemouth, netting the winner in this fixture in November 2015. The last Newcastle player to score in three consecutive games against the same opponent was Papiss Cisse versus Crystal Palace.
Newcastle's on-loan goalkeeper Martin Dubravka will also be under scrutiny as he has the chance to become only the second Magpies keeper to keep clean sheets in his first two appearances, after Mike Hooper in 1993. Dubravka enjoyed an impressive debut during his side's win over Manchester United last weekend.
It's time to look at the head-to-head record these teams share. This is the 10th matches between them in all competitions and Bournemouth have a marginally better record of four wins, two draws and three defeats.
Having said that, all three of their Premier League meetings on this ground have been won by the away team, with Bournemouth's only league win against the Magpies coming in the old Division Two in September 1989.
This is a huge game for both teams. Bournemouth in 10th place are just four points away from the dropzone, so a defeat would put them right back in danger. Newcastle, meanwhile, are only one point away from the bottom three in 13th.
SPORTS MOLE SAYS: Right, we've crunched all of the numbers, so it's time for a prediction. This will be a tight game between two improving sides scrapping for their lives, so I can't see either side giving the other an inch. Both teams have players capable of doing the opposition some damage, so I can see a couple of goals in this fixture, likely one apiece in a 1-1 draw.
Pre-match quotes from both camps coming up...
"Although the league table looks good in terms of position, the gap of points between us and the teams beneath us is not big and there are a host of teams tightly congested together. We have a lot of work to do and I am under no illusions that we have to deliver."
Howe addressed the slender points gap between these two sides during his pre-match press conference, a gap which stands at just three points. A win for Newcastle will move them level with the Cherries, that's how vital this afternoon's fixture is for both teams.
RAFAEL BENITEZ: "For us, every game is like a final. When you are playing so well against the top sides, you expect to do well against other teams. But we have to focus and try to get three points. If you lose, you must stay calm. It is so tight. Three points would be massive for both teams, but you just have to stay calm and fight right until the end of the season." (via BBC Sport).
Benitez has discussed his side's approach to the relegation battle the Magpies have found themselves in. Treating every game like a cup final is certainly the right mentality to adopt, and no doubt them and Bournemouth will view this game that way.
On the subject of who will survive the drop this term, both of these teams should feel confident about their prospects. They're two of the most improved sides in the division and you could easily pick out three worse teams, although defeat for either one of them will have them looking nervously over their shoulders.
There has been one match in the Premier League already this afternoon, and it will be of interest for fans of these two teams. Stoke City, who are currently in 19th place in the table, held Leicester City to a 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium. You can read our report on that game here
That result sees the Potters move within two points of Newcastle, who will be eager for a win here today to increase that buffer.
There's just five minutes to go until kickoff now and the Vitality Stadium is filling up nicely. This can be an imposing place for teams to visit as the playing surface feels compact and the fans are positioned very close to the action.
Both sections of fans are in fine voice from the sound of things, but which ones will be singing by the end of the afternoon? Stay tuned to find out.
KICKOFF! Bournemouth get the match underway, kicking from right to left in the first period.
The Cherries begin the afternoon with some good, fluid passing. Josh King finds space deep into the opposition's half, drifting over towards the right corner flag, but a sea of Newcastle defenders surrounds him, closes him down, and clears the danger.
Jonjo Shelvey slides a pass through to Ayoze Perez, but the Spaniard loses his footing in the penalty area and is dispossessed. Moments later a deflected cross drops kindly for Dan Gosling
to head towards the Newcastle goal, but he puts too much on it and the ball sails harmlessly over the bar.
Shelvey crosses into the Bournemouth box from deep, but Charlie Daniels beats Matt Ritchie to it, winning the aerial challenge and hoisting the ball clear with a powerful header.
There's a tussle between DeAndre Yedlin and Nathan Ake along the right channel. Yedlin goes to ground and screams at the referee's assistant for a foul, but the replay shows there was nothing in it. The Newcastle man was lucky to avoid a yellow card for dissent there.
There's been a good tempo to this game in the early stages. Both sides are trying to play on the counter and it's almost been end-to-end football. No clear-cut chances at either end yet though.
CHANCE! And there's our first shot on target. Callum Wilson gains possession in the Newcastle box following a free kick. He has his back to goal, and does really well to turn and get a shot away. Martin Dubravka does equally well to pull off a save and prevent Wilson from finding the bottom corner.
Bournemouth have been the better side in the opening stages and look determined to play good, attacking football this afternoon. They will need to watch that Newcastle counter, though, as the vistors' gameplan appears to involve hitting them on the break.
Newcastle have their first shot on goal, and it's a poor one. Kenedy strikes a free kick from just outside the penalty area, but it's three or four yards over the bar.
What looks like a promising Newcastle move breaks down when Perez hits a stray pass out of touch for a throw. Yedlin did well to put Bournemouth on the back foot with a pacy run, but the Spaniard fluffed his lines after latching onto the USA international's pass.
GOAL! Bournemouth 0-1 Newcastle United (Dwight Gayle)
Newcastle take the lead and it comes via the move of the match so far. Shelvey shows fantastic vision to pick out Matt Ritchie's run on the right flank. The midfielder beats the offside trap and plays a low pass into the centre of the penalty area where Gayle is lurking, and the forward prods the ball beyond Asmir Begovic from close range, beating the keeper at the second time of asking.
CHANCE! Bournemouth look shaken and stirred after falling behind. They gift Newcastle the opportunity to add a second when slack defending allows Ritchie to have a pop at goal from the edge of the box, but the Magpies midfielder curls his effort just wide.
After a slow start to the match, Newcastle are dictating play now. They're pursuing every ball aggressively and showing plenty of creativity in the midfield through Shelvey and Ritchie, two players the Cherries need to close down more effectively.
Bournemouth win the first corner of the game through former Magpie Dan Gosling. The resulting cross falls for Junior Stanislas to catch on the volley from around 20 yards out, but he doesn't connect with the ball particularly well, and it bobbles wide for a goalkick.
A good cross into the Newcastle box from Simon Francis is met by Jamaal Lascelles's headed clearance. Moments later, there's almost and opening for Perez at the other end as the Spaniard attempts to nutmeg Ake in the home side's penalty area, but the move doesn't quite come off.
Shelvey's cross into the danger zone is intercepted and Bournemouth go on the break, but tight defending from the visitors throws a spanner in the Cherries' works. The hosts have settled back into the game after the opening goal left them reeling, but they're struggling to break Newcastle down.
The visitors have been targeting the flanks with long balls these past few minutes, and while their distribution has been good, this tactic hasn't been particularly fruitful. I can't see this being a high-scoring game, given that both teams have been effective when it comes to cancelling the other out.
A swift cross flies into the Newcastle area via King, who attempts to pick out Wilson in a good position, but he puts too much on his delivery and the chance goes begging.
The match has gone somewhat flat these past few minutes. Neither side has maintained possession particularly well and there's a palpable frustration coming from the home sections of the stands. This is a game Bournemouth cannot afford to lose, but they're looking short of ideas about how to break Newcastle down at the moment.
Steve Cook fails to deal with a long ball and his unforced error allows Gayle to race through on goal. The Newcastle striker shoots first time, but drags his effort wide under pressure.
Eddie Howe could make a few changes at the break. Bournemouth's current setup is proving ineffective against the Magpies and their creativity has all but dried up. The introduction of Jermain Defoe in the second period could be the spark they need to get back into the match.
Gosling unleashes a vicious half-volley from distance, but it flies over Dubravka's crossbar, failing to trouble the Slovakian keeper.
There's more urgency about Bournemouth now, but Rafael Benitez
's side are doing well to keep them restricted to shots from range.
Jamaal Lascelles is on hand to head Lewis Cook's dangerous cross into the box clear. The Newcastle centre-back hasn't put a foot wrong during the first half, using his head well to deal with those Bournemouth crosses. Charlie Daniels finds space on the flank minutes later, cuts inside and shoots well over the bar.
GOAL! Bournemouth 0-2 Newcastle United (Dwight Gayle)
Newcastle double their advantage, and it's no less than what they deserve. A great ball over the top from Paul Dummett picks out Perez on the right flank and the Spaniard plays a low cross across the face of goal to Gayle, gifting the striker with a tap-in for 2-0.
HALF TIME: Bournemouth 0-2 Newcastle United
The half-time whistle goes and Bournemouth have it all to do in the second period as a brace from Dwight Gayle
has given Newcastle a solid advantage here at the Vitality Stadium.
This has been a good contest between two relegation-threatened sides with a physical edge to their play, but conceding a second right on the stroke of half time has given the hosts a mountain to climb.
Eddie Howe will need to shake things up in the second half. His side look vulnerable along the right channel, and need to plug that gap pronto. Shelvey and Ritchie in the Newcastle midfield must be closed down more effectively, and the introduction of Defoe will give the hosts much-needed bite in attack.
Here are the other half-time scores from this afternoon's Premier League fixtures:
Brighton 0-0 Swansea
Burnley 0-0 Southampton
Liverpool 1-0 West Ham
West Brom 0-0 Huddersfield
Just the one goal elsewhere, and that was scored by Liverpool's Emre Can. Those other fixtures tied at 0-0 will be of interest to both Newcastle and Bournemouth, with the likes of Southampton, Huddersfield, and West Brom all fighting for their Premier League futures too.
Bournemouth's players are back out ready for the second half now. Adam Smith
is among them, so it looks like Howe is making at least one change for the second period.
Newcastle, unsurprisingly are unchanged for the final 45 minutes.
KICKOFF: Newcastle get the match back underway.
Confirmation of that Bournemouth sub, it's Charlie Daniels who will make way for Smith in a like-for-like swap.
Getting back into this match is a huge ask for Howe's men, who generally struggle to overturn deficits. Only once have they ever come from behind to win in the Premier League, and that was their famous comeback against Liverpool in 2016, a match they won 4-3.
The home supporters cry for a penalty as Fraser is brought down in the area by Lascelles. The referee says no, but the replay suggests the Newcastle man was late with his challenge and narrowly missed the ball.
BOOKING! The game's first yellow card is handed out and it goes to Nathan Ake for a needless lunge on Dwight Gayle in the centre of the park. A clumsy challenge the Bournemouth player didn't need to make.
BOOKING! The cards are coming out in force now as Newcastle's Matt Ritchie joins Ake in the book for dissent. He retaliated with a few harsh words after the referee awarded a free kick against him.
Good defending from Steve Cook prevents Dwight Gayle from going one-on-one with the goalkeeper. The striker chased down a long ball, but a vital interception and clearance from Cook denies Newcastle a clear goalscoring opportunity.
CHANCE! The ball falls to an unmarked Fraser in the Newcastle box and he shoots first time, blazing his strike over the bar unchallenged. A lovely dummy from Stanislas set his teammate up for a golden opportunity, but Fraser squandered the chance.
Much better from Bournemouth: King is inches away from latching onto Fraser's cross inside the Magpies box, but Yedlin tracks back and makes a crucial interception in front of goal. Newcastle have taken their defensive duties seriously this afternoon.
Gayle and Ritchie exchange passes before the latter slices the Bournemouth defence in two with a through-pass. Perez chases it but doesn't quite have the legs to latch onto the ball ahead of the onrushing Begovic, who clears.
SUBSTITUTION: Bournemouth withdraw Ryan Fraser and replace him with France Under-21 international Lys Mousset.
SUBSTITUTION: Newcastle respond with a sub of their own, replacing Kenedy with Christian Atsu on the right wing.
Callum Wilson does well to stretch the Newcastle defence, drifting wide towards the right channel while surging into the danger zone. His cross towards Mousset is well placed, away from the goalkeeper, but Dubravka dives off his line and does well to get two hands on the ball.
It has to be said, Bournemouth don't look like getting back into this one. Although they've staged a couple of good moves in the second half, Newcastle have gotten their gameplan spot on to keep the Cherries at bay.
Dubravka in the Newcastle goal has had precious little to do this afternoon. If this scoreline remains the same, he will become only the second Magpies goalkeeper since 1993 to keep two consecutive clean sheets in his first two Premier League games.
CLOSE! Gayle powers a free kick inches over from just outside the box. Newcastle were awarded the set piece after Mousset barged Atsu off the ball, and Gayle's resulting shot was agonisingly close to making it a hattrick for him.
SUBSTITUTION: Here comes Jermain Defoe, coming on to replace Callum Wilson at the head of the Cherries attack.
CHANCE! Defoe gets his first taste of action, gaining possession inside the box, taking a touch and letting fly, his strike rippling the side-netting.
GREAT SAVE! A brave, diving stop from Dubravka denies Bournemouth a way back into this match. Steve Cook's close-range header is goal-bound, but the Slovakian pulls off acrobatics to tip it aside. The Magpies goalkeeper clashes heads with Shelvey while making the save and looks in some discomfort afterwards.
After some brief treatment on that sore head of his, Dubravka is back on his feet ready to continue.
SUBSTITUTION: Dwight Gayle goes off to a standing ovation from the visiting fans, replaced by youngster Isaac Hayden.
GOAL! Bournemouth 1-2 Newcastle United (Adam Smith)
Bournemouth are back in the match, courtesy of the goal of the match, an absolute netbuster from substitute Adam Smith. A clever flick-on from Lewis Cook gives Smith space to shoot inside the box and he unleashes a screamer that makes the net bulge and leaves Dubravka standing. Game on!
BOOKING! DeAndre Yedlin becomes the latest player to enter the book, receiving a yellow card for a foul on King.
SUBSTITUTION: Newcastle make a defensive change, throwing on Javier Manquillo for Ritchie as they attempt to see this match out. Ritchie, a former Bournemouth player, gets a standing ovation from all corners of the ground.
Stanislas hits a free kick just over the crossbar from outside the area. Time is running out for the Cherries. Can they salvage anything from this game?
GOAL! Bournemouth 2-2 Newcastle United (Dan Gosling)
Oh my word, Bournemouth draw level right at the death through former Magpie Dan Gosling. Nathan Ake unleashes a vicious strike into the penalty area and it causes chaos among the Newcastle defence, pinballing around the penalty area before Gosling stabs it over the line to make it 2-2!
There will be five minutes of stoppage time to play at the Vitality Stadium. Bournemouth have the wind in their sails now, can they snatch a leveller?
It's been all Bournemouth in the dying stages as Stanislas's strike goes behind for a corner via a deflection off Atsu.
The Cherries lay siege on the Newcastle goal, winning three corners in quick succession, but desperate defending from Newcastle keeps them at bay. Surely the spoils will be shared here?
FULL TIME: Bournemouth 2-2 Newcastle United
There you have it, Bournemouth grind out a point against Newcastle as goals from Adam Smith and Dan Gosling cancel out Dwight Gayle's first-half brace. The result means that the Cherries remain four points clear of Newcastle in the Premier League relegation battle. That's all we have time for at the Vitality Stadium, but stick with Sports Mole for our ongoing coverage of this weekend's biggest Premier League games!