Bournemouth are currently enjoying a dream season, possibly the best in the club’s history. The Cherries are sitting pretty at the top of the Championship – albeit on goal difference – and fully deserve to be there. They are 11 Championship matches unbeaten and before the Liverpool loss yesterday in the League Cup, the last time Bournemouth tasted defeat was way back in late September away to Derby. There have been some fantastic performances during that run, none more so than the 8-0 trashing away to Birmingham in October and putting five past newly relegated Cardiff, this past weekend.
It has been a magnificent turnaround in fortunes for the club in the past five years. The Cherries narrowly avoided relegation to the Conference in 2009 after a big points deduction. Promotion to League One following in 2010 and they only had to wait three years before securing another promotion campaign. In 2013, Bournemouth were playing Championship football for the first time in almost 25-years and in just their second season back could potentially winning promotion to the Premier League for the first time ever.
Many have questioned Bournemouth’s promotion credentials, suggesting a club their calibre will find it hard to sustain such highs. Well Eddie Howe’s men have proved all the doubters wrong so far after 21 fixtures, and there isn’t much reason to say what the club can’t finish at least in the play-offs, if not the top two. Obviously this is the part of the season where things can go wrong but some more good results will establish a gap between them and third position.
The fact is Eddie Howe is proving to be one of the brightest young mangers in the country and he has put together an exciting squad with bundles of talent and quality that have proven they can compete as the very best in this league.
They play an attacking brand of football, which has been made possible to the quality in attack. Callum Wilson is the clubs current top scorer with 10 Championship goals to his name. Wilson was signed for a fee understood to be in the region of £3 million from Coventry City in the summer which would make him a record signing for the club.
This was after an extremely impressive season, scoring 21 goals and winning a place on the PFA League One Team of the Year; he is proving to be the key man for the club and one of the brightest young strikers outside the Premier League. Wilson recently made his England Under-21 debut and has many attributes that can make him a Premier League striker in the future; he has pace, high dribbling abilities and high finishing qualities allowing him to be composure in front of goal but also able to finish from most places in the final third of the pitch.
Other strikers Brett Pitman and Yann Kermorgant have also chipped in with goals, which is a big positive as regular goals coming from multiple sources will be crucial to any success the club achieves this season.
The midfield is looking extremely efficient this season aswell with Marc Pugh, Harry Arter, Matt Richie and Andrew Surman regular starters in the centre of the park. Pugh and Arter have been at the club for a number of years, both racking up over 150 appearances each for the Cherries. They have also added goals from midfield, along with Ritchie who adds technical qualities to the side. Surman was brought in from Norwich this past summer but did enjoy a successful loan spell at Bournemouth last season. He has been vital to their fortunes, adding Premier League qualities and experience that will stand the team in good stead going forward.
They have a young and exciting defence and two very competent goalkeepers at this level. On-loan Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc has impressed, so too has Lee Camp when given the opportunity. Camp has made over 300 appearances at this level and having strength in-depth in this position could again be crucial.
There is still a long way to go for Bournemouth to make their promotion dream a reality. So far they have been brilliant, with a strong squad assembled at this level. With the club in unchartered territory, it will be interesting to see how they cope when the real pressure is on.