Analysis

Eddie Howe had a dream – Alas! Bournemouth are going down?

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Relegation-threatened Bournemouth host Southampton at home in their 37th Premier League game of the season.

Bournemouth are set to play their last home game of the season at the Vitality Stadium as they host Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side tomorrow. The Cherries have just 31 points from 36 games and are in deep deep trouble.

They sit 18th on the league table, three points behind Watford. Their survival doesn’t completely depend on their results, they also depend on Watford’s results. There’s a slim chance of them avoiding the drop after five seasons in the top-flight.

Eddie Howe’s appointment

It all started when former Bournemouth defender Eddie Howe was appointed as the full-time manager of Bournemouth in 2012 when they played in League One. The club were close to relegation earlier in the season and Howe pulled them out of the zone. They finished 11th in the League One that season. The dream run started when Howe helped them achieve promotion to the Championship for the first time since 1990. They finished 2nd in the League One, one point behind winners Doncaster Rovers.

The Cherries finished 10th in the 2013-14 Championship season, their best ever position in the league. The subsequent, they had a promising start to the campaign as they thrashed Birmingham 8-0. This was their biggest margin ever in a win in the league. They also defeated then Premier League side West Bromwich Albion 2-1 in the League Cup, cruising through to the quarter-finals for the first time ever. However, they lost against Liverpool in the next stage. Howe’s side spent most of their 2014-15 season as the league leaders and a 3-0 win over Charlton was enough to hand them their first Championship title and promotion to the Premier League. Since then they have been Premier League regulars.

Premier League Campaign

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Howe’s side played their first-ever top-flight game against Aston Villa, which they lost. However, the team struggled throughout the league campaign. Main reason for their struggle was their injury issues -skipper Tommy Elphick and forward Callum Wilson remained on the sidelines for the majority of the season. However, they turn it around after a 97th minute equaliser against Everton. They managed to win two consecutive games against Manchester United and Chelsea, helping them finish 16th in their first top-flight season.

After their first season, many tipped the Cherries to go down in the 2016-17 season. They called it the ‘Second Season Syndrome’. They spent the first four weeks in the relegation zone, however, they turned it around later and never dropped below 16th position in the league. They finished ninth in the Premier League, which remains their best-ever finish till now. Key highlights of the season were their 4-3 win against Liverpool and a 6-1 thrashing of Hull City.

Despite record-breaking transfers and addition of good players in 2017-18 season, they lost their first four league games of the season. However, they went on to win 19 points from losing positions in the second half of the campaign, a Premier League record. They also registered wins against Arsenal and Chelsea. Despite poor performances, they finished 12th in the Premier League.

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Howe signed Jefferson Lerma, Diego Rico and David Brooks ahead of the 2018-19 campaign. They sat sixth for the first 12 match-days but their form regressed due to injuries. They managed to finish the season with 45 points from 38 games.

2019-20 Premier League campaign

Bournemouth had a decent start to the campaign as they managed to win 16 points from the first 12 rounds. They managed to beat Aston Villa, Everton, Southampton and Manchester United in the process. Then Howe’s side started struggling as they lost five consecutive games. They won four games in the next 24 rounds, dropping down to the relegation zone. After 36 rounds, they have managed to win just eight games and have lost 21. They are in a deep trouble as they face relegation after spending five consecutive seasons in the top-flight.

Survival Permutations

EddieHowe

The Cherries have two fixtures remaining – vs Southampton at home & vs Everton away. Their survival also depends on Watford’s results, who face Manchester City and Arsenal. Southampton are among the best sides in Europe to perform in away games. So, Bournemouth will find it tough against both Southampton and Everton. However, if they manage to win one of their fixtures and Watford lose both of their remaining games, they will survive.

But if Watford gains a point or a win from their remaining games, Howe’s side will have to win both of their remaining fixtures.

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