2016/17 Bournemouth Season Preview

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2016-17 Bournemouth Season Preview

Current manager: Eddie Howe

Last year’s position: 16th

Bournemouth quietly went into last season not expecting much. Their one goal was to stay in the top flight of English football, and The Cherries performed to these expectations very well.

The 2015/2016 Premier League season was the very first experience of top flight football in Bournemouth’s 117-year history. Led by 38-year -old manager Eddie Howe, a former defender who spent the majority of his playing career at the club, they were boosted by his leadership. Howe has shown the ability to rise above expectations and get the best out of his players. The same will be expected of him this upcoming campaign.

Positives from Last Season

Bournemouth managed to garner some type of identity last season. Their style of grinding out games to gain points showed the team’s desire to compete at the highest level. Like many teams without the firepower to dominate possession, they will look to replicate the success of Leicester City as they will look to dig in and defend and get out on the counter attack.

Key Players

Callum Wilson was the bright spot in Bournemouth’s early season success until his horrific injury. Without his goal scoring presence, the team suffered. It was because of this slump that the management wisely decided to invest in a new striker. Former Arsenal academy graduate Benik Afobe was signed on a permanent basis. and He proved to be well worth it as his timely goals were crucial in the relegation battle throughout the end of the year.

In addition, defender Simon Francis and goalkeeper Artur Boruc were key players in the team’s defensive efforts last season, and they will be just as important this season. In the midfield, Marc Pugh and Harry Arter will be vital in keeping possession as well as providing cover for the back four.

Summer Signings

Just like last January, Bournemouth’s transfer market signings have been excellent. They sold midfielder Matt Ritchie to Newcastle United, but spent a club record on Liverpool winger Jordan Ibe. The speedy and creative young Englishman will give the team a spark on either flank as he can connect strong defence into critical attacks. On the defensive side, Bournemouth have won the services of fellow Liverpool left-back Brad Smith. Both these signings look to add quality to the starting eleven as well as giving the team some potential for future success.

2016/17 Expectations

With the likes of Afobe, Ibe and Wilson, the Cherries will certainly look to build upon last season’s modest goal of avoiding relegation. This season, Howe will look to pace the team to an improved mid table finish. In order to do this, Bournemouth must pick up points against similar standard teams. Although some ups and downs are to be expected in the club’s first season in the top flight, a level of consistency is imperative to reach this lofty goal. If Howe can get his players to buy into a system of sacrificing for each other, much like Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri did, then Bournemouth could be in for a season to remember.