As the Premier League season finished today, I thought it would be interesting to go through team by team and review how well their season went, looking at some positives and some negatives, a chance to heap praise on those who did well and to evaluate why others may have under performed.
I’m just going to go through alphabetically, so first up is AFC Bournemouth. In this instance, I will be focusing mainly on League performance due to Bournemouth having no real standout cup run.
Key Stats (League Only)
Finishing Position: 12th
Top Scorers: Callum Wilson & Joshua King (8 Goals)
Record: 11W 11D 16L
Goals Scored: 45
Goals Conceded: 61
- Another Season in the Top Flight
- This may not be the most remarkable achievement and it may not be quite the season that some Bournemouth fans may have been hoping for after last season’s 9th place finish, but it is important to note that this is still only Bournemouth’s 3rd season in the Premier League and so securing another this status for another season is still a big positive for the club. Clubs don’t generally go from promoted to a top eight finish in three seasons, so Bournemouth fans should find comfort in the fact that progress is progress and now it is all about next season.
- “Big Wins” over Arsenal and Chelsea
- When you’re having an underwhelming season, it is always a big boost for players and fans alike to beat members of the “top six” and so 2-1 and 3-0 wins over Arsenal and Chelsea respectively at least gave the fans something to get excited about in an otherwise forgettable season.
- No Progression
- So to play devil’s advocate, despite what I said about 12th place being a positive for the club, there is also very good reason for it to be seen as a negative as well. After last season’s impressive 9th place finish, it was disappointing to not see Bournemouth really build on that or even replicate something similar in honesty, Bournemouth finished lower this season and I believe their performances justified that. Now given Bournemouth’s situation, I would not be expecting them to challenge for a European spot, but even a second top-10 finish could have shown signs of progress in its consistency, however, they didn’t and they fell short.
- Lack of Consistency
- Consistency is key in League Football and Bournemouth only managed one unbeaten run longer than 3 games this season and only recorded successive wins twice. There are a number of factors as to why this could be, but in my opinion, Bournemouth’s attack could rarely find their rhythm this season which led to a number of regular changes and I believe can be considered the key factor to their issue with consistency. Bournemouth scored 10 more than the 45 goals they scored this season and having scored those ten more goals could have swung a lot of the unfortunate results suffered this season in Bournemouth’s favour.
Key Player: Nathan Aké
This is a player with a lot of potential, a strong presence defensively who is competent with the ball at his feet. After signing for £20 million, great things were expected of the 22-year-old and he hasn’t exactly set the league alight, but that’s hard to do when you’re a defender and your job is the “uglier” side of football. What he has done though is show that he can be relied on, which is one of the most valuable defensive qualities. Having appeared in more games this season than any other outfield player at the club, its clear Eddie Howe trusts him and rightfully so, he’s had a good season and he’s showing some signs of becoming a really great all-round defender.
Manager Evaluation: Eddie Howe
I feel like Eddie Howe is probably the most consistent thing about Bournemouth and unfortunately I am not sure that is particularly a good thing. I like Eddie Howe, but nothing really changes in terms of style at Bournemouth, he has his system and it works occasionally, but I think he needs to evolve. I am not suggesting sacking Eddie Howe, I think he bring so much to the team, a great character which the squad all respect and looking at some of Bournemouth’s results this season, such as the 3-0 win over Chelsea make me believe that he has the tactical know-how as well, we just haven’t seen it properly. Eddie Howe has done some wonderful things with Bournemouth and I think that will continue, I would like to consider this season just a blip.
Overall, it has been an underwhelming season from Bournemouth in my opinion; it was a shame to not see them kick on from last season’s impressive 9th place finish, however, despite some rocky spells of form, they made the most of their situation and did at least comfortably secure another season of Premier League football at the Vitality Stadium. In terms of preparation for next season, last summer’s incoming transfers shows encouraging signs of some possible spending again as young talents such as Nathan Aké and Jordan Ibe continue to develop, we could see a stronger squad for next season’s campaign that can hopefully give their fans a little more to cheer about.
I really like Bournemouth; they’re a reasonably enjoyable side to watch, so I’m looking forward to see them in the Premier League again next season, but this season could have been so much better.
Season Rating: 5/10
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