Eddie Howe has a decision to make on Newcastle United's Bruno Guimaraes as he waits on return of Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson
Bruno Guimaraes, thankfully, is back on the pitch – but his magic’s needed higher up the field.
Summer signing Alexander Isak scored his first home goal from the penalty spot to claim a point for his team, which had been without Guimaraes for three games.
With Jonjo Shelvey still sidelined with an injury, Guimaraes was fielded as the club’s deepest midfielder, but fans, understandably, want to see the 24-year-old – who replaced Sean Longstaff in his starting XI – released from some of his defensive duties.
Howe, wearing a suit and black tie, and co-owner Amanda Staveley had joined the players on the pitch for an impeccably-observed minute’s silence in remembrance of Her Majesty The Queen, Elizabeth II before the game.
By kick-off time, Howe was back in his tracksuit. United’s head coach had also started Dan Burn in defence ahead of £35million summer signing Sven Botman.
Newcastle made a positive start, and repeatedly attacked down the right. Kieran Trippier, called up by England this week along with Nick Pope, combined well with Miguel Almiron, but Isak couldn’t get on the end of anything.
Trippier struck the outside of the post with a free-kick midway through the half after Guimaraes was brought down.
United struggled to turn their dominance into clearcut opportunities. Isak, playing with his back to goal, was static, and Newcastle lost their way, though they had a late rally which saw Joelinton strike the post and Ryan Fraser force a save from Neto.
The half ended goalless. While United had hit the woodwork twice, they hadn't done enough in the final third of the pitch.
Howe needed the influence of Guimaraes, the deepest of his three midfielders, higher up the pitch, and the 24-year-old did just that to set up an opportunity for Fraser early in the second half. The winger put his shot wide of Neto’s goal.
Newcastle, emboldened, pressed on, but they couldn’t get a breakthrough.
And Bournemouth took advantage of the next chance that came their way. Jordan Zemura crossed from the left, and Philip Billing, played onside by Burn, got on the end of it to open the scoring.
Visiting fans chanted “Fraser, what’s the score” at Fraser following the goal. The winger had angered them by not signing a contract extension to play in the Premier League’s Project Restart games two years ago before his move to St James’s Park.
Bournemouth’s lead didn’t last. Jefferson Lerma handled a Kieran Trippier cross, and referee Craig Pawson pointed to the spot after a pitchside VAR check. Isak confidently stroked the penalty home to score what was his first home goal for the club.
There was applause in the 70th minute in recognition of the Queens’s 70-year reign, and Howe replaced Guimaraes and Fraser with Sean Longstaff and Jacob Murphy.
Newcastle – who have won one of their first seven games – couldn’t conjure up a winner, and it’s clear that Howe also needs Saint-Maximin and Wilson back sooner rather than later to join Guimaraes in the final third of the pitch,
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Pope; Trippier, Schar, Burn, Targett; Willock, Guimaraes (Longstaff 71), Joelinton; Almiron (Wood 90), Isak, Fraser (Murphy).