How Eddie Howe Can Save Bournemouth From Relegation This Season
Bournemouth are currently at 19th place in the Premier League table, having won just one of their last eight games. They recorded one draw but have been subjected to 6 defeats so far. They have one point more than bottom-placed Crystal Palace but the possibility of relegation is becoming glaringly obvious for the Cherries.
Eddie Howe’s men have enjoyed a remarkable rise up from League One, clinching promotion to the top flight in 2015. It’s kind of surprising that Bournemouth are in the Premier League for their third consecutive season. What’s even more surprising is how they’ve come so far by playing a pass-first, possession-based style of football.
Although they have managed to survive the last two seasons, they could be inclining towards the dreaded relegation drop this time. Bournemouth are conceding too many goals while not scoring enough. None of their big summer signings – Jermain Defoe, Nathan Ake, Asmir Begovic – have found form yet, which does make it a rather worrisome prospect.
However, four points from the last three matches suggests that a tighter approach and a change in tactics may yet save them. Howe’s belief in playing attacking football has paid off in the past and team spirit remains strong among his players. Things could change after a month or two but right now, the club are in bad shape.
To make matters worse, thei relegation competitors have flourished. For example – Burnley are 7th, Watford are 4th, and even Brighton are 14th. Thus, it makes it all the more tough for Bournemouth considering their competitors are faring far better.
It’s still early to say with any confidence that Bournemouth will go down. However, it does seem increasingly likely they’ll have to engage in the relegation battle, something they’ve avoided over the past two seasons.
Much of their tactical approach to games could be blamed for their misfortunes. Take, for example, their only win of the season so far, a 2-1 at home against Brighton. The Cherries, seeking their first points of the new campaign, spent the majority of the match passing their way towards the final third. During that time, they failed to score and could not create any strong chances. Only after they fell behind, Howe brought Jordon Ibe off the bench, which eventually prompted Bournemouth to get a clear sight of the goal.
Their shortcomings against Brighton have been repeated in their other matches as well. They did the same thing against Manchester City, taking the lead early, before succumbing to the pressure mounted by the opposition. And they did the same thing against Leicester City as well, but they did manage to create some decent chances even though they ended up missing them.
Bournemouth’s biggest problem lies in the way they execute their play in the final third. Their willingness to take risks during that time is quite high, but that is also where they end up making mistakes, which give their opponents a chance to capitalise. Finding the right balance is key, and if the Cherries manage to do so, they might have a better chance at surviving the dreaded relegation drop this season.