Eddie Howe admits Newcastle United missed Bruno Guimaraes during Saturday’s draw with West Ham.
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Suspended after his red card against Southampton in the Carabao Cup, the Brazilian watched on from the stands as close friend Lucas Paqueta cancelled out Callum Wilson’s early opener.
While Newcastle dominated most of the possession, Howe’s side struggled to break down a well-organised West Ham outfit, making it four draws in five Premier League games.
Such are the lack of options in midfield following the exit of Jonjo Shelvey (who would have been out of the game with an injury anyway), Howe was unable to make changes to the three-man engine room in Sean Longstaff, Joelinton and Joe Willock.
Guimaraes will be suspended for the the trip to Bournemouth on Saturday, as well as the visit of Liverpool the following week but will return for the Carabao Cup final later this month.
What did Howe say about Guimaraes?
Speaking after the game (via the BBC), Howe said when asked of the Brazilian: “Undoubtedly, he’s that difference maker with an eye for a pass. He has creative flair we possibly missed today.”
How badly did Newcastle miss Guimaraes?
Bossing so much of the ball, having a passer such as Guimaraes in the ranks could well have helped Newcastle fashion better opportunities.
Outside of Kieran Trippier, no one in black and white played more than one key pass (via WhoScored), with Guimaraes’ average for the season standing at 1.1. Clearly, there’s no guarantee he would have found a breakthrough, but the former Lyon man does at least have precedent when it comes to playing that killer pass.
Without him for the next two games and amid a battle to keep ahead of Tottenham and Manchester United, things will need to improve for Saturday’s visit to Bournemouth.