Bournemouth surpassed all expectations last season with their ninth-place finish. Eddie Howe’s side were one of the most entertaining sides to watch, being the eighth highest scorers, but only four teams conceded more goals. Highlights included the 6-1 hammering of Hull and coming from two goals down to beat Liverpool 4-3. Josh King’s form in the second half of the season was remarkable, as he finished the club’s top scorer with 16 goals. King will be joined this season by Jermain Defoe, who has joined on a free after netting 15 goals in a relegated Sunderland side. The addition of Defoe should make up for the loss of Callum Wilson, who suffered a second cruciate knee ligament injury back in February. After an impressive loan spell last season, Nathan Ake has rejoined the Cherries on a permanent deal. Bournemouth’s defence struggled to cope with the loss of Ake after Chelsea recalled him last season, so his arrival is a welcome one. Ake’s former Chelsea team-mate Asmir Begovic has also joined the club that he made seven League One appearances for on loan in 2007, and will establish himself as a more reliable number one than Artur Boruc. Bournemouth face a tough run of games in December, facing Southampton, both Manchester clubs, Liverpool and Everton, so a strong start will be necessary to make sure that they don’t drop in to a relegation scrap.
Key Player: Adam Smith. Although not the most glamourous player, the right back was one of Bournemouth’s star players last season. Smith’s five assists made him Bournemouth’s top assister, whilst he was also solid in defensive, making the most tackles per game (2.4) and 1.5 interceptions per game. Smith’s reliability makes him a key part of Eddie Howe’s new look defence, and he will be relied upon if Bournemouth are to improve defensively
One to Watch: Connor Mahoney. The 20 year old has joined the club from Blackburn, where he was one of the more promising lights in their relegation season. Mahoney is keen to take on his man, averaging 1.4 successful dribbles per game for Blackburn last year. The winger has featured regularly on the wing during pre-season, including starting their friendly against Valencia. Although initially joining as a part of Bournemouth’s development squad, this is perhaps a sign that Mahoney could feature in the Premier League.
Last Season: 9th
Predicted Finish: 10th