Bournemouth v Newcastle preview: Islam Slimani suffers setback
Last Updated: 24/02/18 1:52pm
Islam Slimani is out of Newcastle's Premier League trip to Bournemouth on Saturday after suffering a setback in training.
The Leicester striker, who arrived on loan at St James' Park with a thigh problem, is yet to make his Magpies debut and is now facing another two weeks on the sidelines.
Despite the injury blow, Rafael Benitez's side head to the Vitality Stadium on a good run following their superb 1-0 win over Manchester United.
Newcastle, who won their only previous Premier League match at the Vitality Stadium in 2015, have suffered just one defeat in their last seven in the league and will be hoping to extend that run by picking up back-to-back victories in the league for the first time since September.
However, they face a Bournemouth side that have never lost a Premier League home match against a newly-promoted side, winning each of the last six and netting 21 goals in those wins.
Eddie Howe's side in excellent form at home and are looking to win four consecutive home Premier League games for the first time.
Bournemouth could have England forward Jermain Defoe back in the squad following an ankle injury.
Defoe, who joined the Cherries on a free transfer during the summer, has not played since before Christmas, but returned to training this week.
Defender Tyrone Mings continues his rehabilitation from a back problem, which could see him struggle to regain fitness before the end of the campaign.
Manager Rafael Benitez otherwise has no fresh injury problems with only full-back Jesus Gamez missing with an ankle injury.
- This will be the 10th match in all competitions between these two sides, with Bournemouth winning four times, including the last two in a row in the Premier League (D2 L3).
- Only Swansea (7) have scored fewer first-half Premier League goals than Newcastle this season (9).
- The Magpies have conceded more away penalty goals in the Premier League than any other club this season (4) with three of their last eight goals on the road conceded via the penalty spot.
- Callum Wilson has found the net four times in two previous home Premier League games against newly-promoted opposition (three against Huddersfield in November 2017, one against Hull in October 2016).
- Ayoze Pérez has scored in both of his two Premier League starts against Bournemouth (two goals), including the winning goal in November 2015.
- The last Newcastle player to score in their first three Premier League starts against an opponent was Papiss Cisse in November 2015 against Crystal Palace.
This is a big, big game. If Newcastle win they bring Bournemouth straight back into the relegation mix, even though they looked out of it near the top half a few weeks ago.
Newcastle have fared well recently but if Bournemouth, with home advantage, reach the levels they did before their shocking defeat at Huddersfield I think they will just have too much.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (15/2 with Sky Bet)