Bournemouth’s maiden season in the Premier League has to go down as a success as the seaside club achieved a 16th place finish, 5 points above the relegation places, despite several serious injuries that threatened to derail their campaign early on. After their promotion to the Premier League, Bournemouth maintained the attractive attacking football that saw them make it to the big-time in the first place and we can expect more of the same in the upcoming season.
With highly-respected, up and coming manager Eddie Howe at the helm, Bournemouth are in safe hands and will be looking to build on last season by establishing themselves as a top-flight team for years to come. Many will see them as serious relegation candidates who punched above their weight last season but with a year of Premier League experience under their belts and some smart summer acquisitions, the team from the south coast will hope to surprise everyone again and there will undoubtedly be some potential fantasy football options available to us.
STAR MAN – Callum Wilson (6.5m)
Last season Callum Wilson started with a budget price and plenty of promise. With 5 goals in his first 6 games, the Cherries striker was set to light up the Premier League and carry his prolific Championship form into his first season in the top-flight. However, Wilson’s early season form was brought to an abrupt end in a gameweek 7 match-up with Stoke, where he picked up a serious knee injury that meant he wasn’t available again until the tail-end of the season. Wilson will hope to get a complete pre-season under his belt and start the new campaign in the same way he did last time around, proving to everyone he’s capable of consistently performing at the top level.
The former Coventry City forward scored a hat-trick against West Ham, showing his potential for explosive returns, he is likely to be the primary penalty taker and will be playing as the focal point of an ambitious team who like to play an expansive, attacking brand of football. All of these factors add to his appeal as a budget third striking option for our Fantasy Premier League teams and make him Bournemouth’s hottest property.
HIDDEN GEM – Max Gradel (5.5m)
Gradel arrived at Dean Court on the back of an excellent season at Saint-Étienne where he finished the campaign as the team’s top scorer with 17 goals. However, just like Wilson, Gradel succumbed to a serious knee injury that kept him out for around six months and limited him to just 8 appearances, in which he scored a single goal, but did contribute 5 assists. The 5.5m winger will hope to play a big part in Bournemouth’s second season in the top-fight and replicate the goalscoring form he showed during his time in France. His place on the left wing should be assured, assuming he makes it through pre-season without any problems, and if he forms a strong on-pitch relationship with Wilson and new recruit Jordan Ibe then there’s lots of potential for him to surprise a few people with his fantasy football returns this season.
BARGAIN OPTION – Simon Francis (4.5m)
Eddie Howe tends to prefer to stick with a settled back four that only changes when injuries and suspensions hit which means Simon Francis managed to play every game of last season. He started as the team’s right back but ended up switching to a more central role as the campaign unfolded before reverting back to the wide position when Elphick returned from injury. The versatile defender managed to pick up four assists last season and, having been made the official Bournemouth captain since the departure of the aforementioned Elphick to Aston Villa, he’s nailed on to be starting every week. If Bournemouth can tighten up a little at the back, which they showed they are capable of for short periods last season, and Francis reverts to his full back role then the Cherries’ defender will be an excellent budget option for our defenses this season, especially when we head towards the hectic Christmas schedule looking simply to field 11 players.
Written by Dan Bright (dbright_14)