Bournemouth status -Simon Reed(@ebtks), från @AFCBAnalysis
1. Bournemouth is back in the Premier League, tell us a bit about your time in the Championship.
It was an odd couple of years in the second tier. Jason Tindall took over from Eddie Howe and clearly was still seen as the Assistant – performances steadily got worse under him, and he’s since gone back to Eddie’s side at Newcastle. We then got in Jonathan Woodgate who steadied the ship but still wasn’t quite good enough to get us promotion via the play-offs. Then last Summer the board went all in to get Scott Parker, and we started life under him superbly – things faltered as the season progressed, but we still managed to clinch automatic promotion at the death. Just as well too, as many feared we’d all but lose the last remnants of our Premier League squad had we not made it up.
2. How would you describe Scott Parker as a manager?
A mixed bag. Although he is passionate and a sharp dresser the jury is very much out on whether he can cut it as a Premier League manager. He often erred too much on the side of caution when at Fulham (9 goals at home in their Premier League campaign under him) and there are early signs that may be the case this year too – with an alarmingly limp display against Arsenal where we effectively let the North London side do whatever they wanted, with inevitable results. I personally fear Parker may be too stubborn to let us attack sides this season, and we’ll not end up scoring nearly enough goals to survive.
3. What are your thoughts on the your performances so far this season?
Our opening win against a poor Aston Villa side has increased expectations slightly higher for most AFC Bournemouth fans – in that we may have a chance of survival…instead of none at all. However that victory was via some fairly basic tactics that simply won’t work against the majority of sides in the top flight, as proven by our heavy defeats to Manchester City and Arsenal. The best thing we can say about those two games is that the side stuck to their task defensively, but we barely created a chance in either match.
4. You have Dominic Solanke up front, who previously played for Liverpool, what kind of player is he today?
I remember two years ago saying to this very site Solanke may be a busted flush, but he’s turned out to be our saviour going forward – especially last year. He’s strong, fast, and works incredibly hard for the team. He usually plays on his own up top, supported by an attacking midfielder – and he thrived last season, making endless runs into the channels and showing some sharp finishing to end up bagging 30 goals. He had big shoes to fill after Callum Wilson and Josh King left the club, but there’s hope he can cut it in the Premier League this time out.
5. With the transfer window soon about to close, how happy are you with your signings so far and do you expect more players coming in?
Our transfer activity, like Parker’s tactics, has been cautious. We’ve signed players who have impressed in the Championship – Marcus Tavernier and Joe Rothwell – but little else, suggesting if we do go down we’ll be well placed to bounce right back. I expect one or two players to come in, but one may be on loan.
6. How do you rate your chances of staying up in the Premier League?
Slim. We have a much weaker squad compared to the rest of the division, and unlike last time we were in the Premier League we don’t have an unshakeable team spirit or a manager with a unique enough vision to surprise. Expect us to occasionally grind out a narrow win here and there, but I think we’ll be hard pushed to finish above three other sides this season.
7. How do you think you will lineup against Liverpool?
We’ll likely start as we did against Manchester City and Arsenal, with a back five and as many defensive midfielders as Parker can fit in. Although I think Liverpool’s backline can definitely be got at, I don’t expect to see us causing them many issues in what should be a fairly routine afternoon for the Reds.
Totaal reflektion: Vi behöver vinna den här matchen, för att få arbetsro, för att få självförtroendet tillbaka och för att inte halka för långt efter redan från start. Man kan inte vinna ligan i augusti, men man kan i allra högsta grad förlora den och om vi ska ha någon som helst chans att vara med i en titelstrid kan vi inte stå utan seger i omgång fyra. Vi är ett klart bättre lag än Bournemouth i grunden, men jag tror vi är ganska många som känner en viss osäkerhet inför lördagens match på Anfield. Vi behöver vara med från start, göra första målet och styra matchen på ett helt annat sätt än vi sett den här säsongen hittills. Det är dags för laget att vakna!