Last season Bournemouth were the favourites of many for the drop down to the Championship in their very first year in the top flight. But they bulldozed through the assumptions and guaranteed safety by finishing a respectable 16th. Not only was the survival an achievement, the way they did it, winning at Stamford Bridge and beating Manchester United at Dean Court along the way was worthy of a special mention. Bournemouth were not just the raffle winners either but worthy winners.
When asked before the commencement of last season whether the Cherries were likely to remain in the Premier League, Howe did not have an answer then. But we are vouching 14 months on, the reply will be very much in the affirmative now.
Bournemouth are currently in the 13th spot having acquired 8 points from 7 games so far. They have failed to gather any momentum thus far but the encouraging thing for the club is that they have proven to be more than a match for the teams outside the top 6. Eddie Howe had to wait for his first win till the 4th game but has collected 4 points from the next 3, with the loss coming against league leaders Manchester City.
Howe has been earning a lot of plaudits this season with Guardiola lavishing praise on the Cherries after their match and his work hasn’t gone unnoticed on the bigger stage, with his name also doing the rumour pages for the England job.
Bournemouth will be confident of a better finish this season and once the new signings fine-tune themselves, things will be much smoother footballing wise.
IDEAL BOURNEMOUTH XI WHEN FULLY FIT (4-5-1)
Artur Boruc is the undisputed No.1 between the sticks now. Adam Smith is being currently played at right-back and will look to keep up his decent performances. Simon Francis and Steve Cook will look to get better in the heart of the defence as the Cherries need to tighten up at the back. Daniels hasn’t yet reached the elevated levels of last season and will look to shore up defensively while retaining his attacking flair.
Bournemouth boast of a talented and hard-working midfield which has been further boosted by the arrival of Jack Wilshere and although the Arsenal loanee hasn’t yet performed at the desired levels, he needs to be kept in the team. The trio of Wilshere, Surman and Arter are a solid bet in midfield with Wilshere most advanced of the 3.
Jordan Ibe is struggling to show his potential but is still a good bet on the wings with Stanislas on the opposite wing. Callum Wilson is slowly finding his feet after last season’s injury woe.