Newcastle were once again defeated when they lost to a Bournemouth side who hadn't won in six premiership games before this one. The magpies performed well in the first half but returned to the new norm in the second half and were eventually punished as Steve Cook headed in a 92nd minute winner.
Benitez finally dropped Perez from the starting 11, replacing him with Dwight Gayle. Diame was also dropped for Isaac Hayden. Apart from that, it was the same lineup as the Burnley game
Match (First Half)
Newcastle actually played very well in the first half. Gayle's performance was much better since he had a striking partner. In fact the whole team played completely different from last week's defeat to Burnley in this half. Ritchie almost scored a screamer 5 minutes in, his outside the box shot that was destined for the bottom left corner was saved by Asmir Begovic. Later, Atsu nearly scored a great top corner goal, however his shot was also saved, Asmir Begovic was really on form for this match. Two minutes later, Newcastle should've gone ahead in the match...
...After Matt Ritchie hit a magnificent shot that unfortunately hit the post, Dwight Gayle ran through the Bournemouth defense and slotted the rebound into the back of the net. Unfortunately the linesman raised his flag despite Simon Francis clearly playing Gayle onside. I believe that if that goal was allowed to stand the game would've been so different and we would've easily won it.
As the match went on, Newcastle came close to going ahead several more times, Jamaal Lascelles almost got his third of the season from a corner and Atsu had another shot that was curling into the top corner before it was blocked. Seeing Newcastle miss or have their shot saved again and again probably motivated Bournemouth to have a crack at goal themselves, Rob Elliot had to make an acrobatic save in the 35th minute to stop Callum Wilson's looping header from finding the back of the net. A minute later Jamaal Lascelles appeared to have some problems with his foot before a Bournemouth corner, a problem that eventually made him have to come off in the second half.
Match (Second Half)
In the second half our structure slowly broke down and we soon started playing like we did against Burnley and Crystal Palace. Bournemouth should've taken the lead minutes in when an unmarked Callum Wilson had the ball played through to him one-on-one with Rob Elliot, he took a few touches further towards goal before surprisingly smacking the ball into the side netting. This was a real let off for Newcastle whose lazy defending should've cost them dearly at this point.
After 15 more minutes of painful football it became clear that someone would have to come off if we wanted to score and with Mitrovic previously being sighted warming up, the stage seemed set for the Serb to come on. Instead, we got Ayoze Perez coming on for Joselu, who of course added nothing positive to the game.
For me, this confirms that there is something going on between Rafa and Mitrovic behind closed doors. Rafa obviously doesn't think Mitrovic is good enough and/or he doesn't like his attitude. It seems that right now Rafa would bring on anyone if it means Mitrovic stays off which could mean that we're in for a new striker in January.
On the 82nd minute Christian Atsu was replaced by Jacob Murphy.
Towards the end of the game we were giving away corner after corner almost nonstop. Eventually Bournemouth almost took advantage of our scrappy defending, but it wasn't from a corner. Javier Manquillo's embarrassing header went about 4 yards in front of him straight to Marc Pugh who did a quick one-two with Charlie Daniels before attempting to shoot low past Rob Elliot. Luckily, Ciaran Clark saved the day (as it seemed) by deflecting the ball onto the post and clearing the ball away for a Bournemouth throw-in.
But none of that would actually matter as on the 92nd minute, Bournemouth got another corner and defender Steve Cook jumped over two Newcastle defenders and headed the ball into the net.
This is the third game in a row where our performance has been pretty poor, and with Manchester United away next all we can realistically do is pray that we'll give United a good game at Old Trafford.
Three points from the past three games is unacceptable given the level of opposition we were up against. It's now a tricky next two games with Watford at home after the United game, it goes without saying that we need performances like the Stoke and Southampton ones to return quickly if we want the points to start racking up again.