The Premier League is back on our screens on the 12th August and with that in mind, we’ve done a season preview of every club and their chances for the upcoming season. Here, we’ve taken a look at AFC Bournemouth…
Last Season: 15th
Top Scorer: Phillip Billing (7)
Transfers In: Romain Faivre – Lyon, £12.8m, Justin Kluivert – Roma, £9.5m, Hamed Traore – Sassuolo, £20m, Milos Kerkez – AZ Alkmaar, undisclosed
Transfers Out: Siriki Dembele – Birmingham, undisclosed, Ben Pearson – Stoke, undisclosed, Christian Saydee – Portsmouth, undisclosed, Jefferson Lerma – Crystal Palace, free, Jack Stacey – Norwich, free, Jordan Zemura – Udinese, free, Junior Stanislas – Released, Will Dennis – Kilmarnock, loan, Romain Faivre – Lorient, loan
First game: West Ham United (H)
It was a topsy turvy first season back in the Premier League for Bournemouth, as Scott Parker was sacked, following a 9-0 loss to Liverpool and just four games in charge in the top flight.
In came first team coach Gary O’Neil, who stabilised the club and put together an impressive run of results, particularly in March and April, which saw the club pull safe from relegation, although they ended the season with four straight losses, leaving the side sat down in 15th, just five points above the drop.
A change in ownership at the club, from Maxim Denim to Bill Foley and Black Knight, as well as the poor end to the season, saw O’Neil depart much to the shock of fans and onlookers alike.
The new owners wanted their own man and that choice was Rayo Vallecano boss Andoni Iraola, who had been approached by Leeds United back in February without any joy.
It remains to be seen whether the gamble will pay off but the club look to have done some shrewd business in the transfer market, bringing in some young, exciting talent in the shape of Kluivert, Traore and Kerkez, whilst clearing out some of the deadwood from the club.
Traore in particular should provide some added bite into central midfield and will support the excellent Phillip Billing, who at times looks unplayable in the attacking midfield position and is finally starting to live up to his physical attributes.
Andoni comes with a fine reputation but he is new to the Premier League and we’ve seen in the past how the top tier of English football can overwhelm even the most hyped of young managers.
The Cherries squad still looks relatively weak in Premier League terms and if they get off to a bad start, could find themselves in for another season of struggle.
Bournemouth are third favourites at the bookmakers to be relegated and a lack of goals is the primary reason for this. Last season the south coast club scored just 37 goals, less than a goal a game, which was the fourth least in the Premier League.
I think they will be extremely close to danger this term but will eventually survive. Just.