Separated by just three points, Newcastle United’s clash with Bournemouth won’t just be a regular Premier League encounter.
Coming out of impressive wins, both sides are pumped to continue their form and head straight into the top half. Two of the strongest teams in the second-half of the table, one of the longest journeys in the Premier League for fans promises to be a cracker. A game guaranteed to be an open-ended one, it’ll be one where impact players can shine on the South Coast.
Indeed, Charlie Daniels and Matt Richie both have a lot at stake, having to not only contain each other’s vibrant attacks but contribute going forward as well. Former teammates of course, the two will be squaring off at the Vitality tomorrow, presumably as attacking wing-backs, years after they built a good relationship down the flanks with the Cherries.
Capable of producing quality chances with their talented overlapping ability, Daniels and Ritchie aim to be their team’s trump card to prevail in this fixture.
Here’s a look at how we think the battle will go.
The experienced left-back has certainly got a tough task at hand, having to contain the dangerous Miguel Almiron and overlapping full-back DeAndre Yedlin.
While he’s been relatively quiet going forward this season, Daniels’ defensive contribution for the Cherries has been impressive. He’s helped them keep 4 clean-sheets, having a 57% tackling success and 98 ball-recoveries (stats via Premier League) and shows literally no signs of slowing down.
Indeed, he’s also proficient going forward and can trouble Newcastle (the club he recently told Goals on Sunday via the Chronicle he supported as a boy) and their shape with his long-balls and set-pieces.
Daniels finds inspired form when playing at the Vitality Stadium, and if he gets to his groove, things could get difficult for the Magpies.
TT Grade = B+
A man with much to prove, Ritchie returns to his former hunting ground in need of redemption.
Clearly a popular player amongst the Newcastle support, he’s not been in geat form of late. Indeed, after giving a poor display against Everton which led to Rafa Benitez substituting him at half-time, the make-shift left-back needs to get his confidence back.
However, knowing Ritchie’s fantastic crossing ability and determination, he can pull off a comeback of his own. He’s already provided four assists this season and will aim to increase that tally with his work down the left flank, as well as improving his defensive work by keeping Brooks quiet.
How he’d love to prove he’s still got it.
TT Grade = B-
A close call between players similar in style, Daniels’ superior defensive ability probably allows him to overtrump Ritchie’s hard work. Playing at home, the 32-year-old will be primed to make an impact and help Bournemouth get back into the top half, while Ritchie’s desperation to make amends could undo his good work.
Sadly for the Magpies, Daniels looks too much for them.