Tottenham host bitter rivals Arsenal in what looms to be another enthralling North London derby early Monday morning (AEST) as both sides continue their fight for the remaining European places.
Perhaps it is an unfair idea to try and judge with accuracy a team’s survival chances after a mere four games, therefore this article will become something more of a depraved prediction.
Without relying upon formulae (leave that to the mathematicians), it will instead be made from the basis of how the team has looked philosophically – which is a highly attacking playing style.
Such an approach is a weird and wonderful thing for a team that has only just risen from the murky depths of the Championship.
Bournemouth are currently 11th, with one win, one draw and two losses.
Against Aston Villa they put in a disappointing performance to to lose 1-0. Against Liverpool they were unlucky to lose 1-0 to Liverpool, with officials robbing them of at least one point.
They then showcased their attacking football with a thrilling 4-3 win away to West Ham, before failing to kill off Leicester City in a 2-2 draw.
To begin things, let us draw attention to their goals scored – only five. This is unacceptable for them. Bournemouth’s strategy is to rely upon their sheer force in attack. For example they conceded twice against Leicester to succumb to a 2-2 result. Leicester have a rotten side, while Bournemouth scored 98 goals in the Championship last year.
Let me introduce to you now Eddie Howe, the 37-year-old manager of Bournemouth who has managed the side for six seasons.
“We’re going to be brave and we’re going to try to take games to teams. That’s our way, that’s what we’ve become accustomed to, that’s what our players expect us to do.”
This is what he said back on August 7. His tactic of choice to keep Bournemouth up was all-out attack, while most teams attempt to strike on the counter-attack and base their games around being defensive in a relegation scrap.
However Howe’s sides usually line up in a 4-2-3-1 with surging wingers, and if any of these first four games are to go by they have tried to stick by their guns and do just that. He is hoping for a seamless transition into the top flight. He clearly hopes they can shoot their way out of a trap. Therefore, inherently it will be their strikeforce that will be the determining factor in their survival.
“To veer away from that format I think would be foolish on the back of all the success we’ve had,” Howe said.
Their strikeforce is arguably at a decent level for the Premier League, but acquainted with each other at a level far superior than any sides in the top four. The acquisition of Glenn Murray on deadline day for £4 million was a necessary component in completing this segment of the team.
This was a player who had remarkable success at Crystal Palace under Alan Pardew last year, who embodied a more controlling and expansive playing style that Bournemouth also favour. Yann Kermorgant and Callum Wilson are two forwards who bagged a good amount of goals in the 2014-15 Championship with 15 and 20 respectively.
Wilson was the star against West Ham United in their 3-4 victory on August 22. The striker bagged a hat-trick to blow away the impressive looking East Londoners and earn his club’s first ever top flight victory. This game should be the template for Bournemouth against their immediate rivals. Going for the throat and throwing players forward. With Wilson leading the line, they look to have found the money.
Kermorgant is more of an interesting discussion. Eternally a second string league player – with stints in the Championship and Ligue 2. He is 33, perhaps a nice experienced option for Bournemouth up front. However it will be telling to see whether he can raise his game.
The loan signing of Christian Atsu is an excellent piece of business. One of Chelsea’s growing amount of business ploys – an attempt to earn money by buying young players, loaning them and reselling them – Atsu will crave game time.
He is a speed freak, a ghoul out wide. He spent 2014-15 on loan at Everton but only made five appearances, but I expect him to kick his iron spurs into Bournemouth’s hide this season. He made his debut in their League Cup game against Hartlepool United.
Max Gradel, Marc Pugh, Lee Tomlin and Matt Ritchie complete a decent looking attacking spearhead. They are all okay players, who so far have done alright. Pugh clocked in his first strike at West Ham.
A lot rests on the shoulders of these attacking players – Bournemouth’s very season rests on their ability to be potent and consistent. To fulfill the philosophy.
Now, what’s the actual prediction? Yes, I do think Bournemouth can and will stay up this year. I think they have demonstrated so far that they can score goals, it is just a matter of time until they turn those 1-0 defeats into 1-1 or 2-1.
They have been slightly unlucky so far. Certainly they will be better than three other teams in the competition.
I think they will finish either 14th or 13th.