A.F.C. Bournemouth was promoted to the English Premier League for the first time in the club’s history just this season and many are worried it won’t be long before the team finds itself back at the bottom from whence it came. However, a surprise win against Manchester United hints that the Cherries might have some fight left in them.
Back-to-back wins against both Chelsea and Manchester United have given new life to the team and pushed them into relative safety from relegation. They now sit in a comfortable 14th place with very winnable games against West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace coming up on the horizon. If the team can manage to pull a win out of one of those games, it should greatly help to reinforce Bournemouth’s newfound security as it steadily crawls toward the middle of the pack.
Until the recent string of victories, it was looking like manager Eddie Howe would very much be on Bournemouth’s chopping block. The squad was desperately looking to hold onto the Premier League promotion it has come to value so much. Many had questioned whether Howe had the necessary top-flight experience in order to replicate his Championship success in the Premier League. However, the wins over two dominant clubs have critics singing a new tune.
The manager has been praised as one of the heroes of the Premier League for his squad’s recent performances. If Bournemouth can keep up its momentum, the Cherries might have more to look forward to than just avoiding relegation.
Howe spent much of his playing career and the vast majority of his coaching career at Bournemouth. He even won the inaugural 2015 Football League Manager of the Decade award for helping to secure Bournemouth’s promotion to the Premier League. The team is now unbeaten over four matches after having a string of six losses in a row that had them precariously perched at the bottom of the table.
Howe said he hopes the team can build on its success while focusing its energies on the next match. He also emphasised that consistency is key if the team hopes to keep clear of the drop zone. “Hopefully, we can use these as markers against what we want to achieve in every game,” Howe said. “Football is tough and every game in this league is of such a high standard. If you drop your performance levels, you will be punished so we have to make sure we maintain them.”
If Howe is able to continue winning games, the big question will be how long the young manager will stick around Bournemouth. Talented young managers are a hot commodity. With Swansea City, Chelsea and Norwich all suffering, it won’t be long before the big clubs come knocking on Howe’s door.