Not many people expected to see AFC Bournemouth fighting against relegation in the English Premier League before the start of the season. And yet, most online sportsbooks believe that the club is in trouble right now.
That begs the question if Bournemouth can beat the drop and stay in the league or the team’s future lies in the English Championship.
Why Is Bournemouth Underperforming?
Bournemouth comfortably finished in the middle of the EPL table in the past several seasons. There were no signs that the club will struggle in this one, but the reality has been different. The Cherries are now fighting for their lives in the top-tier flight.
One of the main reasons why Bournemouth has been below par is the failure to invest reasonably. The team brought a couple of expensive players in the last few transfer windows and they haven’t performed on the desired level.
The best example is Dominic Solanke. The former Liverpool and Chelsea striker had to wait forever to score his first goal for the club and he cost close to £20 million which is huge for a club like Bournemouth.
Other players had a similarly disappointing start and the squad hasn’t improved much in terms of depth and quality.
If you add the various injuries this season, it was hard for the manager Eddie Howe. He had to cope without many of his key players at various stages of the campaign. The likes of Nathan Ake, Calum Wilson, and many others spent time off the pitch.
Can Bournemouth Improve?
Unless the bad streak of injuries continues by the end of the season, Bournemouth should be able to perform better on the pitch.
There were games in which the boss was forced to have a bench full of youngsters that haven’t played at this level. That shouldn’t be the case in most of the future.
Furthermore, the board and the fans support the manager and the overall atmosphere around the club is still stable. There is tension, of course, but Bournemouth is not yet in panic mode and that should provide some confidence to the whole team.
What about the Competition?
For Bournemouth to stay in the English Premier League, at least three other teams have to go down. As it stands, Norwich City looks doomed. The club is in the last position and the defense of the Canaries is abysmal.
That means another two teams have to go down for Bournemouth to survive. Watford and West Ham went through managerial changes that provided an initial boost, but they are not out of trouble yet.
Both teams have their issues and it won’t be a complete shocker if one or two of them go down.
The same applies to Aston Villa and Brighton. Both sides are struggling and will likely be involved in the fight by the end of the campaign.
Bournemouth’s victory against Villa gave them team a huge boost and could be crucial in May.
All things considered, it looks like Bournemouth has a decent chance to stay in the English Premier League. If most of the key players stay healthy, the Cherries should be able to beat the drop, as there are several teams that are in a worse situation.
And yet, the fight will be long and hard. Eddie Howe will have to squeeze the best of his players, because the risk of failure is real.