Alexander Isak’s penalty rescued a point for Newcastle United as they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw against a resilient Bournemouth at St James’ Park on Saturday afternoon.

Newcastle United head into the international break without a win since the opening day of the Premier League season after being held to a 1-1 draw at home by a disciplined Bournemouth. The Magpies lacked intensity, quality, and a cutting edge in what petered out to be a flat afternoon at St James’ Park.

Eddie Howe lined up Newcastle in his customary 4-3-3 formation and kept the majority of the starting XI from the Palace draw, with Bruno Guimaraes and Dan Burn the only changes in place of Sean Longstaff and Sven Botman.

Newcastle had the majority of possession from the opening whistle, often camping out in the Bournemouth half. The hosts hit the woodwork twice in the first half as they looked like the team most likely to break the deadlock. Kieran Trippier almost scored yet another spectacular free kick, only to have his shot hit the outside of the post.

Joelinton poked a shot against the crossbar before Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto made a fantastic save to deflect Ryan Fraser’s attempt just before the end of the first half.

However, the hosts struggled to break down Bournemouth’s defensive block, and it was Gary O’Neil’s side who struck the first blood when midfielder Philip Billing stretched to flick a Jordan Zemura cross from the left-wing past a helpless Nick Pope.

A few minutes later, Newcastle won a penalty. Trippier’s cross into the box was deflected by Jefferson Lerma’s slightly stretched arm. Alexander Isak sent Neto the wrong way from the resultant spotkick to score his first goal at St James’ Park.

To the visitors’ credit, they defended well and frustrated Newcastle, while they were a good enough threat on the counter. O’Neil has done an excellent job of making the Cherries a more compact, rigid, and tough-to-break-down outfit.

They have now picked up 5 points from a possible 9 under his watch, and are on par with Newcastle with eight points collected from their opening seven games. From Newcastle’s perspective, though, what appeared to be a promising start to the season is now petering out to be underwhelming, with as many as five draws so far.

They dominated the stats but, in truth, created very little of note and were bereft of ideas without their key players on the pitch. Eddie Howe will need to start turning these dominant draws into victories, otherwise Newcastle could find themselves in the mediocrity of mid-table rather than pushing to break into the top-seven. The Hard Tackle will now run the rule over Howe’s men after what was another disappointing draw at St James’ Park.

Nick Pope: 6/10

Pope had very little to do aside from picking the ball out of the back of his net after he was left frozen when Billing converted Zemura’s cross with a deft flick. The England international, though, commanded his box well enough and made a couple of routine saves.

Kieran Trippier: 7.5/10

The Newcastle skipper was forcing the issue, and trying to push the midfield to press high. He looked sharp and dangerous going forward and was at the heart of most openings. He crossed a plethora of deliveries and cut-backs into the box, including the one that struck Lerma’s outstretched hand and resulted in a spot kick.

Always offered an option down the right-hand side and made those clever little passes down the line with Almiron with some success. Unfortunate to see his trademark free-kick strike the post.

Fabian Schar: 6/10

Schar stepped forward from his already high defensive line to help out the attackers create something but to no avail as he blazed his effort over in injury time and lost possession 14 times. He was never really tested defensively, but was clever with his positioning to snuff out Bournemouth’s threat on transitions, and made 3 clearances.

Dan Burn: 6/10

Like Schar, Burn was not called into action defensively aside from a last-ditch tackle to prevent Dominic Solanke from bursting past him, and through on goal. He was beaten in the air by Tavernier but thankfully for him, the resultant header went wide. Marshalled Solanke well enough, but Sven Botman offers a lot more in terms of line-breaking passing which was needed against a deep block here.

Matt Targett: 4/10

Targett was very poor on the day. While it was not a stinker in any sense, he rarely bombed forward to provide an attacking outlet, which Newcastle badly needed as it forced the midfielders to make those overlapping runs. Tucked in too much, making it look like almost a back-three with Schar and Burn.

He looked sluggish, losing possession 15 times while his lack of recovery pace was apparent as he was dribbled past four times. It’s about time for Howe to re-introduce Jamal Lewis, who is a far more athletic and attacking option.

Joe Willock: 6/10

Willock always tried to make things happen, and actually started the game in strong fashion by dribbling both full-backs. He found those pockets of space inside the danger zone but lacked the final pass to make it count. Looked lethargic and sluggish towards the end of the game.

Bruno Guimaraes: 7/10

Guimaraes was head and shoulders above other Newcastle midfielders in terms of making quick, sharp, and crisp passes to break the Cherries down. However, the visitors targeted him, and never really let him move into more advanced areas to make an impact in the final third.

Defensively, he put in a few precise tackles and shielded the back four well, but it was telling that after he was subbed off the pitch, Newcastle lost zip to their plays with no one to make passes that actually break the lines, Trippier aside.

Joelinton: 7/10

Joelinton looked a potent threat from midfield as he was denied not once but twice from scoring late in the first half, the first time striking the inside of the post before Neto well saved his low attempt. Like Willock, he lacked that edge to his passing that was required to carve open a deep block. Booked.

Miguel Almiron: 6/10

An irrepressible force, as ever, Almiron was the most involved of the three attackers as he tried many blindside runs and combined with Guimaraes and Trippier in an effective manner. That being said, he lacks the technical quality to match his intensity as he could not capitalise despite getting into a number of prime positions in the attacking third.

Alexander Isak: 7/10

It looked set to be another frustrating afternoon at St James’ Park for striker Alexander Isak, who was starved of any service for long stretches during the game once again and took just 11 touches in the first half. However, the club-record signing stepped up in the 67th minute, and despite not being involved much, he dispatched the spot kick emphatically by sending the Bournemouth keeper the wrong way.

It takes a lot of guts to take a penalty in front of an expectant crowd at St. James’ Park, but he handled the pressure well, and it will do a world of good for his confidence and help him settle into life in a new league.

Ryan Fraser: 4/10

Fraser was anonymous throughout the first half before bursting to life just before the break with a curler from outside the box but was denied by a spectacular save from Neto. Should have done better with his second chance after the break when his low effort was wayward off target. All in all, he offered very little to Newcastle’s attack, and he could drop behind young Elliot Anderson in the pecking order after the international break.

SUBSTITUTIONS

Jacob Murphy: 5/10

Murphy had a penalty appeal rebuffed after his shot was blocked by Billing. Otherwise, he offered very little after being introduced in the 71st minute.

Sean Longstaff: 5/10

Longstaff replaced Guimaraes for the final 20 or so minutes and failed to set a tempo in midfield for Newcastle to put enough pressure on the visitors late on.

Chris Wood: N/A

Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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