If you’d have asked a Bournemouth fan at the start of 2008/09 if they would have foreseen their club poised to start their first ever season in the Premier League they would have looked at you like you were insane. That season saw the club relegated to the fourth tier of English football and hit with a 17 point deduction following a ten point deduction the season before that following the club becoming insolvent and owning almost £4m. However, following the sacking of Kevin Bond and Jimmy Quinn at different stages of the season current manager Eddie Howe steadied the ship, kept them in the football league and began a run that sees the club in the top flight for the first time ever. How will he manage in the EPL?
The most surprising thing about the 2014/15 Championship season for Bournemouth that saw them claim the division title thanks to an injury time leveller from Sheffield Wednesday against Watford is that this was just the second year they had spent at the second tier of English football. They had come close to being promoted to the Championship on several occasions over the last four decades, but last season’s combination of continual attacking football, a league high of 98 goals scored and the second best defensive record saw them emerge as one of the contenders for promotion very early on in the season. They did not let up with this potential and triumphed in one of the great underdog stories while bigger and better funded sides failed, but will this upcoming season see Eddie Howe and Bournemouth continue to thrive?
2015/16 EPL Preview:
How will the new boys at the top table of English football for the first time? The biggest issue that they will have is their lack of experience in the top flight, while the lack of top level quality players will be just as problematic. They have brought in some players with experience of the Premier League in goalkeeper Artur Boruc and Sylvain Distin but they will surely need to keep adding quality to improve a side that is limited but is full of confidence.
Ins and Outs:
Artur Boruc – The 35 year old former Celtic, Fiorentina and Southampton goalkeeper moves to Dean Court on a free transfer following the completion of his contract at Southampton. The vastly experienced shot stopper arrives at the Premier League new boys following a successful loan spell last season that saw him anchor the second best defence in the Championship and he is a fantastic signing for the smallest side in the EPL.
Adam Federici – After a decade at Reading where was part of the teams that played in the Premier League for three seasons between 2006 and 2008 as well as in the 12/13 season. The 30 year old Australian, who has ten caps for his country, is another very experienced goalkeeper and as backup to Boruc he helps provide Bournemouth with a talented pool of ‘keepers to choose from.
Sylvain Distin – The 37 year old defender who has played in the Premier League since moving to Newcastle on loan in 2001 from PSG enters the twilight of his career at Dean Court for the 2015/16 season. The centre back spent five years at Man City, two at Portsmouth where he won the FA Cup in 2008 and he has played with Everton since 2009. He is a leader and will be vital for the club on their debut in the top flight.
Joshua King – Although just 23 years old, King has already gained 17 caps for Norway and has bagged four goals for his country. He was brought to England in 2008 to play for the Manchester United youth team but he failed to make a breakthrough into the first team and following a successful loan spell at Blackburn Rovers at the start of the 2012/13 season he moved to the club permanently. He scored eight times for the club after 74 appearances and was snapped up by Eddie Howe for just £1m this summer, but can he excel at the top level after failing to do so at Old Trafford?
Tyrone Mings – The versatile defender, who can play at left back or centre back, moves to Bournemouth in a club record deal of £8m plus the loan of 21 year old midfielder Ryan Fraser. The 22 year old arrives at Bournemouth from Championship side Ipswich Town where he broke into the first team over the last two seasons, but can he make the step up in levels this season?
Christian Atsu – The young attacking player joins on loan from Chelsea for the upcoming season where he joined from Porto in Portugal in 2013. He has spent a season on loan with Vitesse in the Netherlands, scoring five in 30 appearances, but after just 13 appearances on loan with Everton last season he has plenty to prove in 2015/16. He was the player of the tournament at the 2015 African Cup of Nations and he won the Goal of the Tournament award too but can he deliver over the course of a full season?
The club has released seven players, including 37 year old Irish defender Ian Harte, while striker Brett Pitman who scored more than 100 goals in 300 appearances in two spells at the club has been sold to Ipswich for an undisclosed fee. Ryan Fraser has left for Ipswich too in the Mings deal with striker Jordan Stockley has joined Portsmouth in League Two on a season long loan as well in a busy summer so far for the newcomers to the EPL.
Bournemouth EPL Preview Bets:
With the Cherries not having played in the Premier League before and the fact that they are short of experience and EPL quality players coming into the season it is not a surprise to see that they are the favoured by online sportsbook Bet365.com to be in the thick of a relegation battle during the 2015/16 campaign.
They can be backed at odds of 2.20 to be relegated this season, while with the EPL expected to see a number of sides battling for the title and to stay in the league they are available at odds of 1.67 to stay in the Premier League upon their top flight bow.
We feel that it could either way for the newcomers this season depending upon now the other sides around them perform in the league and, as a result of this, we feel that there is value to be found on the club on the points totals for the campaign.
Bet365 are offering odds of 2.20 to score more than 39 points, 2.10 to secure less than 37 and odds of 6.50 for 37-39 points. Long gone are the seasons where teams need to secure 40 points to ensure they were safe and three of the last four seasons would have seen teams safe with 36 points. We feel that Bournemouth can remain in the league if results go their way but we may see a low points record for the 2015/16 season and we are still putting our money on the Cherries to score 36 or fewer points this campaign at 2.10 in the Bet365 Sportsbook.