The last time Newcastle faced Bournemouth at home was in March of last year when we were beaten 3-1, and that was the last game that Steve McClaren was the manager and the following week we brought in Rafa Benitez.
So we are a lot better right now than we were under the woeful Steve McClaren and are in 9th place in the league table.
Bournemouth have not started well this season, and they are second bottom on 7 points from their first 10 games – half the points Newcastle have.
28-year-old winger Matt Ritchie will be playing against his old club for the first time in a Newcastle shirt, and he has very fond memories of when he was at the Cherries when they were doing so well under manager Eddie Howe.
We have 10 of our 14 points form home games, and our only defeat was against Spurs when Jonjo Shelvey got himself sent off and for the second half, and we played with only 10 men.
Matt Ritchie – 4 assists so far for Newcastle
Matt was talking at Northumbria University’s Coach Lane campus, and he had this to say as reported in the Chronicle:
“I’m looking forward to facing Bournemouth. It’ll be a strange feeling playing against some friends and people that I spent probably the best years of my life with.”
“We secured some fantastic achievements with that group of players and the manager and the staff. I had a brilliant time there.”
“It’ll be strange to now be up against them but I’m a Newcastle player now and I want us to collect another three points at home.”
“The last time they were at St James’ Park, I was in a Bournemouth shirt and we really made it difficult for Newcastle that day.” (we lost 3-1 in a terrible performance)
“This time around, I’m hoping it’s the opposite and we make life difficult for them and get the win we want.”
“It’s about continuing our promising home form.”
“I’m chomping at the bit to get a goal. I was unlucky against Crystal Palace. I tried to squeeze one through the defender’s legs but just got blocked off.”
“I’m happy so far with my assists, but individually we all need to improve, raise the bar and get better, and the same goes for the team.”
“We simply have to keep improving.”
“I work extremely hard on set plays – and we’ve just got to keep working hard, practice and hopefully the boys on the set pieces, be it myself or Jonjo Shelvey, can keep hitting good areas.”
“And it’s then down to the lads in the box to attack it.”
“So far, so good, and it’s been fantastic this season. The stats prove that set pieces are crucial, particularly in the Premier League.”
“And thankfully we’ve been good at them so far – and it’s up to us to ensure we continue that.”
Matt hasn’t scored a goal yet this season for us, but he has 4 assists.
And for a £12M transfer fee 16 months ago he has been one of our best signings in recent years.
It would be good if Matt can get a goal on Saturday for us but he’s unlikely to celebrate that goal against a club that gave him his big chance and which he still reveres.