Rafael Benitez names rare UNCHANGED side at Bournemouth

by Olga Hunt February 25, 2018, 0:18
Rafael Benitez names rare UNCHANGED side at Bournemouth

It seems nearly implausible that Rafa Benitez, a fierce advocate of regular squad rotation, won't name the same staring XI that vanquished Manchester United for the match against Bournemouth on Saturday.

Midfielder Gosling converted into the roof of the net in the 89th minute after Cherries substitute Adam Smith set up a tense final 10 minutes by halving the deficit.

Newcastle are rated at 13/5 to claim victory in this Premier League match.

However, the Cherries are unbeaten in their last four Premier League games, winning the last three in the row.

Jonjo Shelvey played a brilliant ball down the right for Matt Ritchie, whose low cross eventually fell to Gayle as he won a challenge with Begovic before nonchalantly backheeling the ball into the empty net.

It took 10 minutes for either goalkeeper to be forced into a save as Martin Dubravka, coming off an impressive debut against Jose Mourinho's men, sprung to his left to parry Callum Wilson's effort on the turn.

Newcastle's travelling fans faced a round trip of nearly 700 miles for this fixture and they were rewarded again in first-half stoppage time as a mistake from Bournemouth goalkeeper Begovic allowed Gayle to double his tally.

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So how will the two sides fare at the Vitality Stadium?

Steve Cook scored a 92nd-minute victor in Bournemouth's 1-0 win at Newcastle in November.

Following the game, Benitez rued the chances Newcastle missed to add a third goal in the second half, and pointed to a possible lack of confidence late on after missing some good opportunities.

Bournemouth certainly have reason to think they can produce a much better display on Saturday.

Bournemouth have not beaten Newcastle at home in the league since 1989, back in the old Division Two.

But bringing home, just the one point, means Rafa's side stay in the bottom half of the Premier League.

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