Like so many sides in the Premier League, survival was Bournemouth’s main objective entering last season, and the same can be said for the upcoming campaign. Eddie Howe has clear areas to improve if he is to make his and Bournemouth’s fourth season in the top flight a success.
Goals: Bournemouth found the net just 45 times last term, which was the 10th highest tally. Whilst this rank suggests their attack is better than their 12th place finish, the reality is that Eddie Howe was forced into frequent swaps between Callum Wilson, Jermain Defoe, and Josh King up top to try and find flow. Defoe’s much-heralded arrival on a free from Sunderland proved to be an unsuccessful additional liability on the balance sheet.
Clean sheets: How many times did you captain a Top Six player just because they were facing The Cherries? A bit too often for Eddie Howe’s liking I would think. The Cherries had just six shutouts last season, the joint worst tally along with Stoke City. Howe accepts that maintaining tactical consistency, even when it may seem naïve against the likes of Man City, is a key part of his style. The floodgates opening to the big boys is acceptable, but the likes of Huddersfield, Brighton, and Burnley shouldn’t be allowed to have so much success.
Consistency: Just when you thought Bournemouth had steadied the ship and were about to begin a steady fight up the table away from the relegation zone, another sucker punch came in the form of a defeat or a stream of draws which sapped the momentum out of the side. They went unbeaten over more than three games just once all season and they managed back to back wins only twice. Not good enough.
So who should you look at bringing into your Fantasy Football team from Bournemouth?
STAR MAN – Josh King (£6.5m)
Last season, King failed to come anywhere near matching the heroics of the previous campaign when he earned a reputation as an FPL legend by scoring 16 goals from midfield with a purchase price south of £6.0m for most managers. That said, in a squad which lacks a standout star, he shines brightest.
For almost a year, actually since the day he scored that FPL famous hat-trick against West Ham on March 11, 2017, King was nursing a back injury. It impeded his pre-season and then it resurfaced in the autumn. He seemed to break free of it around October/November, but then illness and a hamstring problem interrupted his progress until the New Year. For me, you shouldn’t look at his form before February when assessing the Norway international. In those final four months of the season, King scored six goals in 13 appearances. Roughly a goal every second game is a great return from a mid-priced forward in FPL.
If Eddie Howe acts as predicted in the transfer market by improving Bournemouth’s wing-backs, the supply to the Cherries’ main forward, Callum Wilson, should improve creating more opportunities for King to thrive off second balls outside the six yard box. King’s early fixtures are promising enough that adding King to your gameweek squad should be in consideration.
HIDDEN GEM – Charlie Daniels (£4.5m)
An FPL hero of yore, Charlie Daniels has been Bournemouth’s starting left-back in the Premier League since they made their debut in the division three years ago. Last season was by far the 31 year-old’s least impressive showing, which has led to plenty of reports that the club are looking to find a replacement for him. The primary target was Celtic’s Kieran Tierney, now it appears to be Leganes’ Diego Rico. Both men will require large sums to bring them to Dorset.
If they don’t arrive, or even if they do, Daniels will hopefully have a chance to impress at the start of this term. His shots and key passes tallies have shown no sign of terminal decline, consistently holding around the high teens and mid-twenties respectively, though it was more likely his defensive frailties that threaten his squad status rather than diminished attacking returns. At £4.5m, he is a relatively attacking full-back from an attack minded side – he’s no Marcos Alonso but he’s more than fine for his price bracket.
BARGAIN – Ryan Fraser (£5.5m)
Ryan Fraser, the smallest man in the Premier League last season, is very very good at winning penalties. Simple as. The Scotsman returns a steady flow of assists throughout the season thanks to teeing up the Cherries’ resident spot-kick takers Callum Wilson and Josh King with the aid of the referee’s whistle. Four of his twelve fantasy assists over the last two seasons have come from this fertile source. The other two thirds came from open play.
Assists weren’t the main string to Fraser’s bow from an FPL perspective last term though, as goals took centre-stage. He netted five in all, which came in at about once in every four 90 minutes played. He had just three assists. It’s also worth noting that his overall returns may have been affected by his utility role as a right-back for the last quarter of the season when an injury crisis tore through Bournemouth’s flank.
PREDICTED LINE UP
Francis – Ake – S. Cook – Daniels
Fraser – L. Cook – Surman – Stanislas
Written by FPL Stag (@FPLStag)