AFC Bournemouth begin the 2019/20 campaign at home to Sheffield United, a game they will fully expecting to win.
Eddie Howe’s side largely struggled at the tail-end of the season, but survived relatively comfortably. Bournemouth will undoubtedly be targeting a huge improvement on this form in the 2019/20 season.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the new campaign.
Bournemouth accumulated 45 points last season, meaning they finished in 14th, 11 points clear of danger. While they survived with ease, it was their lowest finish in the league since their first season in the Premier League.
The club struggled from the end of January onwards, recording only three more wins between then and May, winning only once at Dean Court.
The goals of Callum Wilson, along with important contributions from attacking midfielder David Brooks and Scottish winger Ryan Fraser, however provided Bournemouth with just enough firepower to survive.
The Cherries rounded off their pre-season schedule in sublime fashion with an impressive 3-0 victory over Champions League qualifiers Lyon.
The huge negative to come out of pre-season however was Brooks’ ankle injury, which will see the attacker miss up to 12 weeks of action.
Bournemouth have made three summer signings thus far. Midfielder Philip Billing has joined from Huddersfield for £15m, with defender Lloyd Kelly joining from Championship side Bristol City for a fee of £13m. Full back Jack Stacey has signed from Luton as well, meaning Bournemouth have added much needed depth at the back.
The club have been financially restricted in the market however due to the re-development of the training ground.
Bournemouth received a club record transfer fee of £20m from Premier League new boys Aston Villa for defender Tyrone Mings. This sale will not feel like a major loss for Bournemouth fans however, as Mings was on loan at Villa for the majority of last season.
Having paid Ipswich a fee of £8m for the defender in 2015, the club have done exceptionally well to make such a large profit on a player who only featured 22 times for them.
Lys Mousset has also left to another side freshly up from the Championship in Sheffield United for a fee of £9m, after he failed to impress at Bournemouth, scoring just three times.
Eddie Howe’s side possess an awful lot of pace and power in attack, with the likes of Callum Wilson and Joshua King capable of leading the line, and Brooks and Fraser creating chances for them. With such a vast array of attacking options, it is no surprise this is Bournemouth’s strongest area on the pitch.
Callum Wilson led the line last season with 14 goals, supported by King, who himself found the net 12 times. Welsh international Brooks was directly involved in 12 goals, with seven goals and five assists. Add to this Ryan Fraser’s sensational season where he scored a modest seven times but crucially finished the campaign with an incredible 14 assists, it is clear to see the forward line is an area of strength.
Keeping hold of all elements of this dynamic frontline this summer means Bournemouth are in a strong position to push for a top half finish.
If you score 56 times in the Premier League, you would expect to finish slightly higher than 14th, but the Cherries were fairly dreadful at the back. This is the area of concern for Bournemouth and their supporters, as they conceded an enormous 70 times; the third worst record out of all the Premier League sides.
Asmir Begovic endured had a difficult campaign, but it was not helped by the fact that key defenders suffered severe injuries last season. If the club can keep Simon Francis and Charlie Daniels fit this season, it is fully expected that they will concede fewer goals.
Wanted by Chelsea in January, the main man at Bournemouth has to be Callum Wilson, whose 14 goals last season earned him a call up to the England squad last season.
A crucial figure for Eddie Howe’s side both on and off the pitch, Wilson is targeting a goal return of 20 in the league to fire Bournemouth into the top ten.
While the Cherries have not spent much money this summer in comparison to other Premier League sides, they have one of the best managers outside of the ‘big six’, who is a superb coach that greatly improves his squad. Depth has been added at the back, and when that interchangeable frontline start firing, they may be a difficult side to stop.
There is, and always has been, a real togetherness at Bournemouth since Eddie Howe returned from Burnley, and the club will certainly be looking upwards this season.
While some are fearful for Bournemouth, they have too much quality in the final third to worry about the dreaded drop, and will be aiming for a top ten finish.