One of the most surprising clubs this past Premier League season has been AFC Bournemouth. In the 2012-13 season, Bournemouth were in the third tier of English Football; EFL League One. Just 4 seasons later, they placed 9th in the Premier League.
This success has to be fully credited to manager Eddie Howe. The 39 year old manager also played for Bournemouth as a player. He made over 200 appearances as a defender for the Cherries, and is now heading them as a Premier League side. He started managing Bournemouth in 2008. He left the club in 2011 to become the new Burnley manager. This single season didn’t go very well, so he returned to Bournemouth. This was clearly a good decision in his career.
The club currently has top quality forwards in Joshua King and Callum Wilson. King scored 16 goals this Premier League season, which was even with Eden Hazard. Callum Wilson scored 20 goals when Bournemouth got promoted from the EFL Championship in 2014. Ever since Bournemouth have gotten into the top flight, Wilson has had injury issues. Even with these setbacks, he has scored 11 goals in 33 appearances over 2 seasons.
This transfer window, Bournemouth have managed to sign lethal striker Jermaine Defoe. With Sunderland being relegated and Defoe being a Premier League quality player, Bournemouth decided to steal the Englishmen on a free transfer. The club also signed Bosnian goalkeeper Asmir Begovic after being beat by Thibaut Courtois for the starting spot at Chelsea. They also loaned in Jack Wilshere from Arsenal as a big name signing. His injury problems persisted, and the loan deal was not quite beneficial.
Looking at their success, there seems to be no panic in management. The club has been riding smoothly in the Premier League so far, but you never know when a club could take a quick turn for the worse. These are some ways the Cherries can avoid this turn.
Bournemouth scored 55 goals this season, which was the 7th highest amount in the entire league. However, they conceded 67. This is the highest amount of goals conceded by any team in the top 15 other than Swansea.
Steve Cook was the best defender in the team, along with captain Simon Francis. However, the club’s fullbacks were not good enough. Most of the season saw Howe play Charlie Daniels and Adam Smith. These players are not good enough to maintain a backline that placed as high in the table as they did last year. Nathan Ake and Tyrone Mings are great young options, but they are not quite ready to see constant first team play. This brings in the need of singing an experienced Premier League fullback.
Avoid Getting Complacent
The mentality that Bournemouth has maintained throughout their rise through the English footballing ladder has been spectacular. They have refrained from being cocky and kept on trucking their way to stardom. If they start getting in over their heads, some serious problems could start to occur.
The squad is solid and are in no threat of relegation at any capacity. With the right signings and maintaining the same mentality, this club could sneak into a Europa League spot. I don’t think they will finish 5th place this season, but there are no signs of Bournemouth letting up on their grind to the top.
Following these guidelines will seriously help Bournemouth going into the new season. What Eddie Howe has done with this club has been truly admirable. Here is a quick visual on how impressive Bournemouth’s season has been. Southampton finished one place above Bournemouth, but only on goal difference. Southampton’s ground, St. Mary’s Stadium, has a capacity of 32,000. Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium has a capacity of 11,000. Life comes at you fast.