CAN BOURNEMOUTH SURVIVE THEIR STORMIEST SEASON IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE?

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As we arrive at the most crucial stage of the Premier League season, there are some who see vultures hovering above Dean Court, with AFC Bournemouth teetering on the brink of relegation. Expectations haven’t matched the reality of what has been an excruciatingly difficult campaign, yet while there are games to be played and points at stake, there’s every reason to remain positive the club can retain its top-flight status.

Life amongst the English elite was never going to be easy for one of the smallest clubs at this level of the game, yet Bournemouth have consistently defied the odds in their three previous seasons, to do more than just stay afloat in the Premier League. The first in 2015-16 was one of the most difficult, with them coming in 16th and just five points above the relegation zone, yet afterwards they managed to finish the 2016-17 season in 9th, followed by a comfortable-enough 12th position last season.

Sailing Stormy Waters

For those hardy fans of Bournemouth hailing from the Isle of Wight, making their regular trip across The Solent for games, many would agree that it’s been a frustrating 2019-20 season. Most hop to the mainland and back via Wightlink Ferries, although the form of their favourite Premier League team has been choppier than the waters they’ve sailed across this season, heading to and from Dean Court.

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With the recent inclement weather in mind, given that Bournemouth played away at Sheffield United and Burnley, at least those fans didn’t get to miss home games in the midst of Storm Dennis, which caused the postponement of numerous games along the south coast in the middle of February. This included all the local Wessex League action involving teams based in the Isle of Wight.

Heading into spring and hopefully with better weather approaching after a rough spell of cross-Solent conditions in February, those same Bournemouth fans will also be keen to see the fortunes of their team improve. While there’s a very tough schedule of away games to come during what remains of the campaign, getting points at home will be absolutely priceless. In addition, the team will be facing opponents that are entirely beatable, which means there’s every chance of getting enough points and reaching safety.

Looking for a Positive Forecast

Having played 14 games at home, the Cherries have managed to win just four, drawing five and losing five. Fortunes away from home have been even less encouraging, with Bournemouth losing 11 of their 15 games on the road, managing just one draw and three wins. Some would say that such results have placed the team where it belongs in the Premier League, yet there have been plenty of performances that merited better far outcomes.

As of 9th May, Bournemouth remain amongst the favourites for relegation from the Premier League at Betway, with their 8/11 odds for the drop suggesting the Cherries will struggle to avoid descending to the Championship. Nevertheless, after taking the lead in the narrow 2-1 defeat against Liverpool recently, there’s enough evidence to suggest the team will fight hard to avoid that happening.

Although they haven’t won since the 2-1 victory against Aston Villa at the start of February, the gap in points among the bottom six in the Premier League is minimal, with every point worth its weight in gold. Heading into the final stretch of the campaign, manager Eddie Howe arguably faces the toughest spell of his tenure, having lifted the club all the way from League One, during a golden era that football fans from the Isle of Wight have relished, and wish to continue enjoying for more seasons to come.

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Howe Remains Confident

Following the loss at Anfield against Liverpool, Howe told the BBC that he was feeling “devastated” for the Bournemouth players, especially having put so much effort into the game and taking an early lead. Despite such frustration, there’s confidence from the coach that his team have improved the quality of their performances of late, which will set them in good stead in the battles to come between now and the end of the campaign.

 

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