Having confounded initial predictions that they would struggle in the Premier League, Bournemouth have continued to defy the pundits and have adapted well to life in English football’s top flight. But football never stands still and smaller clubs such as Bournemouth are faced with a constant struggle to improve. So how will the Cherries fare in 2017-18?
Wins were few and far between for Bournemouth in the first half of the 2016-17 season and there were early exits from both domestic cup competitions. A run of five defeats in six games in January and February appeared to have put them in relegation danger, but a draw at Old Trafford at the beginning of March restored some confidence and they lost only two of their last twelve games, finishing ninth in the table, their best ever Premier League finish.
Bournemouth’s roller-coaster season in 2016-17 has left the bookmakers’ uncertain about their prospects this time. With so many teams outside the top seven appearing to be evenly matched, it’s no surprise to find a lack of unanimity in the Premier League winners market, with the majority of bookmakers appear to think that Bournemouth will end up twelfth in the table, but all of them concluding that the Cherries will end up somewhere between 10th and 16th. BetVictor are offering top price of 1000/1 about a Bournemouth Premier League win.
If you think they can defy the predictions of pundits and bookmakers’ once again, you can back Bournemouth at 13/5 with SportingBet to finish in the top 10, or 33/1 with Paddy Power to break into the top ten, while SkyBet are best priced at 4/9 about a bottom half finish. And if you think the Bournemouth dream will end this season, you can back them to be relegated back to the Championship at 13/2 with SkyBet.
What do the punters think?
While bookmakers are taking a cautious approach to Bournemouth’s chances this season, punters appear to be more optimistic. In fact, according to a well-known odds comparison site, the Cherries have accounted for just under a quarter of all bets placed in the Top Ten Finish market this summer and for a similar proportion of bets in the Top Six Finish market. Less than ten percent of punters to play in the Bottom Half Finish market have opted for Bournemouth and the club has attracted only three percent of bets in the Relegation market.
As one of the least fashionable clubs in the top flight, a number of Bournemouth’s key players are available at big prices for the various season awards. For example, new signing Jermain Defoe may be a veteran of top flight English football, but he knows where the goal is and managed to score 15 times for a dreadful Sunderland side last season.
He looks like a lively outsider in the Top Goal Scorer market at 66/1 with Ladbrokes, while Josh King, who enjoyed an impressive campaign last time round, is available at 80/1, also with Ladbrokes.
Another underrated Cherries player is Lewis Cook, the England U20 captain. He is set to be a regular in the first team this season and can be backed at 66/1 with Bet Victor in the Premier League Young Player of the Year market.
Bournemouth have already been busy in the transfer market, having brought in Asmir Begovic, Jermain Defoe, and record signing Nathan Ake, so the bulk of their business has probably already been done. They were rumoured to be in the hunt for Chelsea player Ruben Loftus-Cheek, but he has since moved to Crystal Palace on loan, and while you can back Bournemouth at 14/1 with BetVictor to sign Leeds United striker Chris Wood, several other teams appear to be ahead of the Cherries in the queue for that player.