Newcastle United picked up their 11th draw of the season in their Premier League clash with Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium tonight, and there is no doubt that Eddie Howe will be frustrated despite being unbeaten in their last 17 top-flight outings.
The Magpies had the opportunity to go four points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur this evening, but the 1-1 draw means that they only widen the gap by one more, tallying four more draws than any other team in the top flight so far this season.
Despite having 67% possession, more shots on goal (15 v 11) and far more passes completed (462 v 180), Newcastle lost possession of the ball 171 times to the hosts’ 145, won fewer tackles (15 v 21) and duels (53 v 64) and completed fewer clearances (13 v 29), which suggests that their defensive performance was surprisingly below par.
The visitors conceded on the half-hour mark when Marcos Senesi found the net to give Bournemouth the lead, and the troubles kept coming when Joe Willock went off injured in the 36th minute, Anthony Gordon replacing the former Arsenal midfielder.
The storm clouds finally cleared for Howe’s side when Miguel Almiron produced a fantastic finish to deliver the equaliser just before the half-time whistle was blown, offering the travel support hope for the second 45 minutes.
In the second half, Newcastle players continued to drop like flies when Almiron left the pitch after hurting his arm in the 81st minute, with Allan Saint-Maximin quickly following him when he hobbled off just three minutes later.
Indeed, Howe will have a number of concerns not only with the injuries plaguing the team ahead of the Carabao Cup final at the end of the month, but also with the defensive performance put on at the Vitality Stadium, and Dan Burn was well below his best against Bournemouth.
How did Burn play against Bournemouth?
Across his 90-minute performance, the 30-year-old – whose display was dubbed “sloppy” by journalist Ahmed Shooble – was a complete liability, losing possession of the ball 14 times, making an error which led to a shot on goal and was dribbled past once.
Burn also lost 100% of his ground duels and made no interceptions or tackles all evening, proving that he wasn’t the dominating presence that Newcastle needed in order to take all three points from their visit to the south coast.
The Chronicle‘s chief Newcastle United writer Lee Ryder gave the converted left-back a rating of just six out of ten, citing the player’s ‘late scare’ when Kieran Trippier had to clear the ball off the line following Burn’s mistake.
The Tyneside club have a number of difficult challenges ahead of them, with Liverpool up next in the Premier League – the only team to have taken all three points from Newcastle in their otherwise unbeaten top-flight campaign – and then Manchester United in the Carabao Cup final, so there is no doubt that Howe will be hoping the injury concerns from today will be quickly resolved before next weekend.