After Bournemouth’s impressive debut stint in the Premier League last season the hard work once again has to start as Eddie Howe bids to keep The Cherries in the top flight for the second successive season.
A 16th place finish in the 2015/16 season saw them secure their Premier League status and had it not been for a drop off of form once safety was assured their place in the table would have no doubt been higher. But after such an impressive efforts to thwart off the threat of relegation I guess it came as no great surprise that the players were running on empty during the last few matches.
Eddie Howe would have been well aware of that run of results from March onwards and the aim was to definitely make sure they didn’t start this campaign as slowly. They didn’t get off to the best of starts with defeats to Manchester United and West Ham and questions were asked as to whether Bournemouth were going to be in trouble this time around.
After losing back to back games many pundits felt that perhaps they hadn’t quite bought in the right personnel over the summer with £15m being spent on record signing Jordon Ibe. Ibe’s signature from Liverpool certainly raised eyebrows as many felt that it was too much of a luxury signing for Bournemouth, but they afford this transfer since they are backed up by Mansion group – the owner of several online casinos such as Casino.com, and many people think they would have been better suited shoring up a leaky defence.
The tide has begun turn in September though when firstly they got their first points on the board. They were moments away from winning away at Crystal Palace only for a late Scott Dann header to give Alan Pardew’s men a share of the points. That disappointment was erased just a week later when they finally recorded a first win as Callum Wilson’s neat flick was enough to not only give his side the win but end his personal goal drought.
They may have been soundly beaten by Manchester City but then again who hasn’t as of late, but last Saturday’s win over Everton would have given the Bournemouth squad a massive boost. A fantastic strike from Junior Stanislas gave them all three points and they now find themselves 15th in the table.
If you offered Eddie Howe that position come May then he would no doubt take it but it’s going to be a tough few months as Bournemouth bid to stay off the list of teams who have succumbed to ‘Second Season Syndrome’ and been relegated after such an impressive debut season.
They certainly can’t afford to rest on their laurels and you would imagine once again it will be wins at home that will be the difference between them staying up or finishing in the bottom three, that was the key last time and with both wins so far coming at The Vitality Stadium it looks like it will be the case again.
Eddie Howe is without doubt England’s brightest young manager and will without question go on to manage the national team at some point but he certainly will not want the black mark of relegation to add to his C.V.
Apart from Sunderland there is no obvious candidate to go down and you could make a case for half a dozen teams to be in the bottom three come May. It’s almost as if those six teams will play in a virtual mini league where getting points off of each other will be the most important.
Of course should Bournemouth be able to pick up some scalp against the bigger sides like they did last season when they beat both Manchester United and Chelsea in quick succession then that will give their chances of survival a huge boost.
They certainly have their work cut out but with Eddie Howe in charge they definitely have the right man to lead them in the battle and don’t be surprised if they are once again lining up for Premier League action next August.