Howe left staring into abyss after rout
Last Thursday, police declared a major incident as Bournemouth beach was bespoiled by thousands of out-of-towners. Six days later, another bunch of visitors administered a wrecking ball to the place. This time it was Newcastle United, who headed north after leaving Bournemouth’s Premier League status smeared across the sand. Marooned in the relegation zone, with the toughest of run-ins left to negotiate, the destination for Eddie Howe’s team looks increasingly like the Championship.
It may well have been an excellent performance by Newcastle, the sort that will have its putative owners purring. But it was helped by the fact that Bournemouth’s players did so little to resist the onslaught. Outpaced, out-thought, outfought from the kick-off, they seemed resigned to ensuring this would be their 16th defeat in their last 21 Premier League games. Someone needs to point out to them that, after the now traditional Black Lives Matter gesture before kick-off, they should get up off their knees.
The game was barely five minutes old before Jefferson Lerma was caught dawdling in possession. With Newcastle’s manager Steve Bruce yelling to “go get him”, Sean Longstaff easily won the ball and passed through the back-pedalling Bournemouth defence to Dwight Gayle. He advanced before shooting smoothly past Aaron Ramsdale.
As Howe urgently scribbled observations in his notebook, Newcastle took complete control. Smooth, fluent, accurate in the pass, the visitors were everything Bournemouth were not. Not least in the tricksy run unleashed by Allan Saint-Maximin, which took him past three Bournemouth defenders before he passed back to Longstaff, who hammered the ball beyond Ramsdale.
“I was thinking about not playing him, but he bounced into training and he was so full of himself that I had to,” said Bruce.
“Games are feeling less without a crowd and that is damaging us greatly,” was Howe’s explanation.
Saint-Maximin again went for a dash down the wing and fed the ball to the Newcastle substitute Miguel Almiron, who hit a delightful shot into the corner of Ramsdale’s goal. Valentino Lazaro added the fourth. Dan Gosling’s late consolation changed nothing.