Bournemouth Season Preview: same approach

Bournemouth scored the seventh highest number of Premier League goals last season and achieved the club’s highest ever finish in its 118-year history, so it’s fair to say 16/17 wasn’t a bad campaign for the Cherries. Interestingly, four of their six most-used players during it also played in the 12/13 League One promotion campaign. Supporter Rob Lee praises Eddie Howe’s capacity to develop players over a long period.

Just look at the progression of Josh King. Incredible transformation. Also, Jermain Defoe cited Eddie’s desire to improve him at 34 as a massive factor. So yes, in terms of man to man management I don’t think there are many better.

The flip side is that 17 of your 20 permanent signings since reaching the Premier League haven’t managed 15 starts for the club. Does recruitment need to improve?

I think most signings have been for the future and there is so much potential. So, personally I think its all about the long game so I’m not too worried.

The one good addition has been Josh King who scored an impressive 16 goals last term. Is he best used as a main striker, or playing just off a partner?

I’m looking forward to seeing him with Defoe. And Wilson in all honesty. I think King is a threat either way, he has so many strong attacking attributes that he can be a danger as a 10 or a 9. I fear we will lose him next season If he carries on.

Your attacking options are further bolstered by the signing of Jermain Defoe. Should he start for you over Benik Afobe or Callum Wilson? 

Wilson is a long way off. Its difficult to say. On paper; of course. However you never know what goes on in training. I do think Defoe and King will compliment each other superbly.

Steve Cook played every minute of the Premier League last season. Do you see Nathan Ake partnering him at centre-back?

Yes. Most fans I have spoken to would prefer to see Ake as a CDM. Many are also of the view that they would prefer Tyrone Mings instead of Simon Francis. I don’t have an opinion either way. But yes, I fully expect a Cook and Ake partnership.

Ake is the only defender you’ve signed so far, despite the fact you conceded 67 goals. Would you like a right-back to come in?

Yeah! That’s what everyone has said we need. Personally I like the look of Cyrus Christie but I cannot realistically see any more incomings.

You’ve not signed a senior central midfielder, either. Do you expect Harry Arter and Andrew Surman to start at West Brom?

I would honestly prefer Dan Gosling and Lewis Cook. Gosling was very under appreciated and he played very well when called upon. Cook looks the real deal and I would love to see him more. I personally thought Arter had a very average season, and shouldn’t be one of the first picks. Surman is a great player, but he normally slows the tempo, he’s ideal for games when we should be beating the opposition. However, I do expect them two to start.

In terms of key passes and assists, Charlie Daniels was one of the division’s most consistent left-backs last season. Are you impressed with his development?

So impressed! Its further sentiment to Howe. Daniels was one of the players we really worried about stepping to PL. But he has been incredible, the calls for England are far off I think because he’s older and less experienced than others. But he has improved all ends of his game and he has an incredible amount of stamina.

New goalkeeper Asmir Begovic’s last game for you was a 3-1 League One defeat to Carlisle in September 2007. Fair to say he’s improved since then?

Just a little. When we had him he was young and inexperienced and therefore error prone. I think he’s a solid acquisition and I expect him to be number one.

Bournemouth aside, what are your thoughts ahead of the Premier League season as a whole?

It’ll be interesting. I think a lot of players will suffer from the extreme price tags. I’m really looking forward to htafc and bhafc. Two more teams who have earned the right, rather than relying on history and fanbase. I also think the title will be very close this year. Although I do think Chelsea will get it again.

Where will you finish? They exceeded your expectations last year…

Ha I don’t think anyone could have seen that coming. Again I’m happy to consolidate. For the moment solid mid table is fine. Personally would like some form of cup run and have a go at making at least the quarters in two of them. The dream is obviously finish higher but everyone has strengthened so it won’t be easy.

The Football Lab’s Verdict

For all the good football Bournemouth played last season, no new defenders have joined a back-line that shipped 67 last term. The Cherries did superbly to make the top half, but Howe has to be willing to evolve his squad and adapt his tactical approach for progress to continue. 15th 

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