Premier League preview: Top-heavy Bournemouth looking to find balance

Eddie Howe is missing the balance that can take his attacking side into the top-half as Bournemouth enters its fifth successive Premier League campaign.

Eddie Howe's Bournemouth is a proven force in attack but lacks mettle in defence.   -  Getty Images

Eleven years ago, AFC Bournemouth endured one of the darkest phases of its history. The club was slapped with a 17-point deduction even before it began its League Two campaign because it entered administration - the side was declared insolvent for the second time in as many years.

Enter Eddie Howe. A product of Bournemouth youth academy, he took over as coach and miraculously steered the side to promotion to League One. In the decade that has followed, The Cherries have battled their way out of League One and the Championship are now preparing for their fifth successive Premier League campaign.

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Finishing 14th last season, 11 points clear of relegation, Howe's side put up a rousing display and its 4-0 rout of Chelsea was the undoubted highlight. Banking on stellar performances from Joshua King and Callum Wilson, Bournemouth netted a striking 56 goals. No other team outside the top-six could better that figure.

And close to 50 percent of the team's goals came off the boots of two men - King and Wilson. With an almost telepathic connection, the two struck 26 goals between them, and led the team's exploits up front. Some key contributions from Ryan Fraser and David Brooks ensured the attack continued to fire on all cylinders.

However, the side's defence failed to complement its mighty attack. The backline endured a troublesome campaign - it conceded a mammoth 70 goals. Only Huddersfield Town and Fulham, which have both now been relegated, conceded more.

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While Nathan Ake remained a rock in defence, injuries to fellow defenders had the side struggling to cope. The signing of 20-year-old Lloyd Kelly will bolster the side's defence. Standing tall at 6ft 3 inches, the towering left-back will look to shine in his debut Premier League season.

Callum Wilson and Joshua King struck 26 goals between in the Premier League last season.   -  Getty Images

 

- Player to watch out for -

Callum Wilson will be The Cherries top man this season. After a remarkable season last year that saw him score 14 goals despite missing eight games, Wilson also crafted nine assists - making him the team's MVP. A now fully-fit Wilson, who went on to make his debut for the England national team last year, will be eager to give the likes of Mohamed Salah, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Sergio Aguero a run for their money.

READ | Liverpool winger Harry Wilson joins Bournemouth on loan

Transfer activity

In: Lloyd Kelly (Undisclosed, Bristol City), Jack Stacey (Undisclosed, Luton Town), Philip Billing (Undisclosed, Huddersfield Town), Arnaut Danjuma (Undisclosed, Club Brugge), Harry Wilson (Loan, Liverpool)
Out: Marc Pugh (Released), Mikael Ndjoli (Loan, Gillingham), Emerson Hyndman (Loan, Atlanta United), Tyrone Mings (Undisclosed, Aston Villa), Connor Mahoney (Undisclosed, Millwall), Lys Mousset (Undisclosed, Sheffield United). Brad Smith (Loan, Seattle Sounders), Sam Surridge (Loan, Swansea City). Harry Arter (Loan, Fulham).

Premier League fixtures

AFC Bournemouth will begin its Premier League 2019-20 season against Sheffield United, at home, on August 10.

August

10: Bournemouth v Sheffield United

17: Aston Villa v Bournemouth

25: Bournemouth v Manchester City

31: Leicester v Bournemouth

September

15: Bournemouth v Everton

20: Southampton v Bournemouth

28: Bournemouth v West Ham

October

5: Arsenal v Bournemouth

19: Bournemouth v Norwich

26: Watford v Bournemouth

November

2: Bournemouth v Manchester United

9: Newcastle v Bournemouth

23: Bournemouth v Wolves

30: Tottenham v Bournemouth

December

4: Crystal Palace v Bournemouth

7: Bournemouth v Liverpool

14: Chelsea v Bournemouth

21: Bournemouth v Burnley

26: Bournemouth v Arsenal

28: Brighton v Bournemouth

January

1: West Ham v Bournemouth

11: Bournemouth v Watford

18: Norwich v Bournemouth

21: Bournemouth v Brighton

February

1: Bournemouth v Aston Villa

8: Sheffield United v Bournemouth

22: Burnley v Bournemouth

29: Bournemouth v Chelsea

March

7: Liverpool v Bournemouth

14: Bournemouth v Crystal Palace

21: Wolves v Bournemouth

April

4: Bournemouth v Newcastle

11: Manchester United v Bournemouth

18: Bournemouth v Tottenham

25: Bournemouth v Leicester

May

2: Manchester City v Bournemouth

9: Bournemouth v Southampton

17: Everton v Bournemouth