On the pitch
Star man: Last season Josh King scored as many goals as he had in the previous four, but still the most frequently said sentence about him is: “Oh, I didn’t realise he’s Norwegian …”
Biggest summer buy: Jermain Defoe – Nathan Aké cost a hefty £20m, but their biggest summer arrival is Defoe, who at 34 seems to have hit upon a way of stopping the passage of time. He remains a goal threat, some three years after Tottenham dispatched him to the knacker’s yard/MLS.
Breakthrough season: Over the summer there was quite a clamour for the signature of Connor Mahoney, a 20-year-old winger who stood out at Blackburn Rovers last season. Admittedly that wasn’t enormously difficult to do, but after Bournemouth secured the youngster ahead of a few other clubs, he could make an impact.
Bad boy: Harry Arter. Collector of one red and a team-leading 11 yellow cards last season, Arter’s all-action style is the sort that will endear a player to the crowd, but not necessarily to referees. Perhaps it’s his retro 90s hairstyle, harking back to a more physical age.
Boo boy: It’s never a brilliant thing for a team’s most unpredictable player to be in goal, but Artur Boruc, the “holy goalie”, seems as if he’s only ever a heartbeat away from a calamity. Mercifully for any Bournemouth fan of a delicate constitution, the arrival of Asmir Begovic from Chelsea means Boruc’s outings should be relatively sporadic.
Destination Russia: Benik Afobe’s DR Congo are currently top of their group and possibly heading for their first World Cup since they played in 1974 as Zaire. Begovic could head there with Bosnia-Herzegovina, while Max Gradel’s Ivory Coast are on course to reach their fourth consecutive finals.
Glass half-full:The good work of two seasons consolidating their Premier League status could be built on with their new shiny signings and a top-half finish really isn’t out of the question.
Glass half-empty: Defoe finally feels the ravages of time, Begovic gets a dose of the Borucs, Eddie Howe is tempted away by England when Gareth Southgate is caught out by a Fake Sheikh and relegation looms.
Off the pitch
The manager: Eddie Howe is a man who looks so comfortable in a tracksuit you wouldn’t be surprised if he wore one to his wedding (just the evening do, he’s not an animal). Howe remains the bright young thing of English coaching. The question is: how long can the Cherries keep him?
The owners: The “fairytale” of Bournemouth’s rise through the divisions was spoiled slightly by their owner being a mysterious Russian billionaire, Maxim Demin, who supposedly made his money in petrochemicals. Demin’s wife, Irena, once gave a half-time team talk when they were 1-0 down to MK Dons in League One. They drew 2-2.
Peter Bell’s fan’s view: It’s going to be hard to beat last season – but we’ve added experienced players and held on to Howe and King. Aké and Defoe are already big fans’ favourites, Begovic is a fine addition. Prediction: 10th.
Title odds 750-1
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