Can the Cherries stay up again?
AFC Bournemouth finished their debut Premier League campaign in a very respectable 16th place with 42 points. They were a breath of fresh air, coming into the Premier League for the first time in their history and continuing the sort of free-flowing, attacking football they demonstrated in winning the Championship the previous season. Eddie Howe wasn’t afraid to stick to what made them so successful the previous year and was well-rewarded. The 38-year-old has received praise from all corners of the media for the job he has done, with some even touting him for the recent England manager’s job.
The main aim for The Cherries this season has to be much like the last-stay up! With the new TV broadcasting deal now in place, this has given Bournemouth the freedom to splash the cash like they never would have before. Jordon Ibe for £15m in previous transfer windows would have been laughed at, but this summer it seems money is no object for Premier League clubs and that price tag is probably about right.
A fully fit Callum Wilson could help lift Bournemouth further up the league. The striker had had his season cut very short in September when he suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. However Wilson made a comeback late on in the season finishing with a league tally of 5 goals in 7 games. This ratio of goals per game cannot be sniffed at and if you believe he can continue this for an entire season, a Cherries top 10 finish at 8/1 may not be as obscure as first seems.
However, the dreaded ‘second season syndrome’ is something they will be desperate to avoid. With so many household names managing in the league this term, you have to believe teams will be more prepared to prevent them playing the style of football that brought success last year. If this is the case, Bournemouth may well be in for a long hard season, and backing them at 7/2 for the drop may well be a shrewd move.