Bournemouth continued to establish themselves in the top flight last season while earning plaudits for their attacking brand of football. However, there are slight concerns about the downward trend the Cherries are facing.
After a ninth-place finish in 2017, they’ve dropped to 12th in 2018 and 14th last term. If that slump continues into 2020 then they’ll be in a relegation battle over the next few months. While they’ve managed to stay safe throughout their four-season stay in the Premier League, the clubs around them have certainly improved.
In order to turn things around, Eddie Howe has spent £45million this summer. He’s looked to add more talent to the Cherries’ squad, but he’s going to need work on the training ground to fix a defence which conceded more than relegated Cardiff last term. For all their attacking talents Bournemouth can’t afford to keep shipping goals
A similar pattern of early promise, a slump in form and struggles on the road hit Bournemouth again last term. The main test for Howe and demand from the supporters will be to see something different this term, hopefully with some consistency.
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Position last season: 14th
Top scorer: Callum Wilson – 12 Goals
- No club outside the top six scored more goals than Bournemouth last term (56).
- Bournemouth conceded the third-highest number of goals last season (70).
- The Cherries had the fifth-worst away record in the league last term after losing at all of the top nine.
- No side scored more Premier League goals on the counter than Bournemouth in 2018/19 (9).
- Bournemouth’s attacking moves on the road contained more passes and lasted longer on average than at home, but the Cherries secured just 36% of their total points away from home.
Lloyd Kelly – Bristol City – £13million
Jack Stacey – Luton Town – £4million
Jordan Zemura – Charlton – Free
Philip Billing – Huddersfield – £15million
Arnaut Danjuma – Club Brugge – £13.7million
Tyrone Mings – Aston Villa – £20million
Lys Mousset – Sheffield United – £10million
Connor Mahoney – Millwall – £900,000
Mach Pugh – QPR – Free
Player to Watch
While the Scot isn’t the biggest name in the Bournemouth squad, he had a brilliant 2018/19 campaign. Only Eden Hazard was able to better Fraser’s tally of 14 assists last term. With seven Premier League goals to his name, he had a huge hand in Bournemouth’s season. Fraser was a consistent standout performer, featuring in every league game and playing over 3000 minutes. It was a real breakout season for the 24-year-old, who is being linked with a big move as a result.
Part of the focus on Fraser comes because he is running down his contract, with summer links to Arsenal making the Cherries concerned. There’s just a year left on his deal with Fraser becoming a rising star in the league, so there’s a real challenge for the club this season.
There’s no denying that Fraser was vital last term. He supplied seven of Callum Wilson’s 14 Premier League goals, the highest-scoring combination of scorer and assist provider. Just narrowly behind was Fraser’s five goals supplied by Wilson. The partnership between them should drive the Cherries on once again.
The Season Ahead
Can they find consistency?
While Bournemouth have done remarkably well to reach this point, supporters will want them to kick on again. Last season we saw signs of progression, as the Cherries made an early push on the European spots. They were in the top six after 10 matches, so a Europa League push was possible as October drew to an end.
Bournemouth won six and lost just twice in their opening 10 matches. In the following 28, they won seven and lost 17. They went from earning two points per game across the first 10 to averaging 0.89 per match for the rest of the season.
On the road, Bournemouth claimed three of their five away wins within the first 10 games. That meant they lost 11 of their last 14 away trips, so there are obvious issues for Howe to repair. Finishing the season in that fashion means that there will be little patience with Howe in the next couple of months, so he has to find a way to move the club forward.
See our thoughts on the season as a whole in our Premier League 2019/20 Outright Predictions.
On the face of it, Bournemouth have made signings to solve their defensive issues. Nathan Ake is a highly rated talent, while Chris Mepham is going the same way after signing in January. Asmir Begovic is a great option in goal, so the Cherries don’t have many obvious gaps to fill at the heart of their defence.
While those three will be under the microscope after conceding 10 goals than their Expected Goals total, that doesn’t tell the full story. The Cherries have huge issues in terms of pressing. They are arguably the least proactive team at winning the ball in the top flight.
Last season’s stats show that no side stood off their opponents more often than Bournemouth. For a side which is packed full of young talent, you’d expect them to try and win the ball high up the pitch. Their defensive record shows that they aren’t equipped to soak up pressure like some teams can, so the Cherries will need to close down opponents much more effectively if they’re going to improve their defence.
Bournemouth Betting Tips
Team Top Scorer – Callum Wilson at 4/6
While Bournemouth’s improvement needs to come at the back, they’ll need their attacking stars to deliver once again. The partnership of Wilson and Josh King produced 28 goals for the Cherries last season. They’ll want to repeat that this term, while Wilson will be looking to secure his place in the England squad for the Euros next summer.
He’s continued to develop throughout his time in the top flight. Taking the next step as an international will be the goal for Wilson this term. He’s among the best in the division in terms of strike rate, with an xG score of 0.48 per 90 minutes.
Wilson’s partnership with Fraser is likely to blossom moving forward, so we expect another big season for the England forward. He’s never been one to shy away from being an opposition target, as 41% of his goals last term came during situations where he was under high pressure from defenders. He should shoulder the goalscoring burden once again, especially now he’s 27 and at the peak of his powers.
See our other striker picks in our Premier League Top Goalscorer Predictions.