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Despite finishing 14th in the Premier League standings last season, Bournemouth are seen by many within football as a club who has the potential to make the step up into the top half of the English top-flight. Manager Eddie Howe faces a big campaign at Dean Court, with fans on the south coast undoubtedly hoping that they can return to the consistency which led them to a 9th place finish back in 2017, in what was just their second season in the Premier League. So, just what do the coming years hold in store for the Cherries?

Bournemouth picked up four points from their opening two matches of the 19/20 season, however the fact that Howe made significant changes to his defence at Villa Park demonstrates that the Cherries still have some way to go in shoring up their backline. Bournemouth conceded a massive 70 goals in the top-flight last season, giving them the third-worst defensive record in the league. The arrival of Chris Mepham back in January was lauded by many, although at the age of just 21, the Welsh international still has ground to make if he is to reach his undeniably high potential.

Goalscoring has rarely been an issue for the Cherries, with regular strikes from Joshua King and Callum Wilson having helped Bournemouth to a total of 56 last season, the leading number outside of the Premier League’s top six. Such statistics demonstrate the undoubted potential in which Howe’s side have, with the creativity offered by the likes of Ryan Fraser and Harry Wilson set to ensure that they continue to threaten regularly in the final third.

The cherries are considered a middle table team by most leading Premier League betting sites, with only their poor end of season form last time around meaning that they missed out on a potential place inside the top half. Relegation was never really a concern for supporters at Dean Court, with Bournemouth eventually finishing 11 points away from the relegation zone, however just three victories after the end of January will have certainly been a worry for Howe and his coaching team. As a result, consistency will be the key if they are to make the leap into the top half this season, with their 3-0 pre-season win over French giants Lyon further demonstrating their potential.

However, starlet David Brooks suffered a serious injury during the Cherries’ pre-season campaign, meaning that the 22-year-old will miss the first 12 weeks of the new season. Bournemouth had a relatively quiet transfer window, with Philip Billing arriving from relegated Huddersfield Town for £15, while defender Lloyd Kelly was signed from Bristol City. Jack Stacey completed his transfer from Luton Town in order to provide competition for Adam Smith, however the club were restricted financially due to the ongoing re-development of the club’s training ground. 

A 57-acre site, featuring nine full-size pitches and three goalkeeper pitches, is being worked on at the former Canford Magna Golf Club, while a range of medical, fitness and sports science facilities mean that Bournemouth will have one of the most impressive training grounds in the country. However, with plans for a new stadium in King’s Park were put on hold last year after being deemed as “overly optimistic”.  With no new stadium in site meaning that a source for more income is also aradicated for now, Bournemouth must look at other areas of their operation if they are to compete with the clubs around them in terms of finances.

Bournemouth have long struggled when it comes to matchday revenue, with a capacity of just over 11,000 at Dean Court meaning that they at a disadvantage compared to some of their rivals. Matchday revenue fell some 3% last season, which can be explained in part to the ticket price cap on away fixtures, however this is certainly an area in which those in charge will be working on. Commercial revenue also dropped 7.8% to £4.7 million, however the club still increased its wage bill on players from £59.6m to £71.5, demonstrating their determination to reach the biggest stage.

While the Cherries may not have pulled up any trees in the transfer market, the fact that Eddie Howe is widely regarded as one of the best managers outside of the top six in the Premier League means that Bournemouth certainly have a chance of replicating the success of Wolves last season. The fact that they now have the strength in depth required to perform week in week out should give fans on the south coast confidence for the rest of the campaign, especially if Callum Wilson can regularly find the back of the net.

The togetherness at the club also helps to set them apart from others, however performances on the pitch must replicate the undeniable camaraderie that is seen by all at AFC Bournemouth. The Cherries are certainly a team worth keeping a close eye on, with their potential and brand of football meaning that it would not come as a surprise if they make significant progress over the coming months.

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