There has been no let up in Bournemouth’s surge for promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their history.
The Cherries are currently top of the Championship after 28 matches, defying claims whether or not they could sustain a promotion push for so long. But at least for now, the answer is that they can go all the way to England’s top flight with excellent consistent performances that have been on display this season. The 2-0 win against Watford on Friday was one of their most dominant displays of the season, and one that they can build on to ultimately secure Premier League football.
An extremely popular player that could have added to his 271 league appearances for Bournemouth if injury didn’t cut his career short, Eddie Howe is proving to be a truly great figure in the club’s history. After retiring in 2007, Howe took over as Bournemouth manager just a year later at the age of just 31. He saved the club from relegation to the Conference despite a 17 point deduction and won promotion to League One the following season.
After a fantastic start to life in League One, Howe left to join Burnley in January 2011 but rejoined the Cherries around a year and a half later. In his first season back as Bournemouth boss, the club won promotion to the Championship and now he is on the brink of leading his team to the Premier League in what would be a remarkable turnaround.
Last Friday night saw Bournemouth take on Watford at Dean Court in what was going to be one of their toughest home matches yet. Watford came into the match having scored 12 goals in their previous two matches and were looking to challenge Bournemouth for an automatic promotion spot. Even though Watford played most the game with ten men – Gabriele Angella was sent off after just 28 seconds – the way the Cherries dominated against formidable opposition was a great sign of what they can achieve this season.
Whilst statistics don’t always tell you the whole story about a game of football, it showed Bournemouth to have 71% possession over 90 minutes, which was an accurate insight as to how much Bournemouth outplayed Watford throughout.
They reinforced why they are considered to be one of the most attacking and exciting teams in the Championship, possibly only matched by Derby. Even from defence, full-backs Charlie Daniels and Simon Francis looked to get forward at every possible opportunity and look threatening as well. This has been a theme throughout the season, so too has been utilising wingers Matt Ritchie and Marc Pugh.
Not for the first time this campaign these two were extremely impressive, with Ritchie making it 2-0 in the second-half. The creativity on the wings has been a big factor in Bournemouth’s success in their attacking play this season.
They have multiple goalscorers in the side, none more so than stand-out striker Callum Wilson. The 22-year-old summer signing from Coventry has gone from strength to strength this season, with 15 goals to his name already. His performance on Friday demonstrated his abilities and why he is so highly rated. He was responsible for Angella getting sent-off after a reckless foul on him, and also won the penalty for the first goal. Wilson’ work rate, pace and ability to get past defenders with ease were his best qualities against Watford.
Bournemouth have shown that sitting top of the Championship is certainly no fluke with the amount of talent they possess in their squad. In Eddie Howe, they have one of the brightest young managers around who is well on his way to becoming the first man to lead Bournemouth to the Premier League.