Bournemouth are only a point off survival, but you wouldn’t think it to look at them.
Eddie Howe’s side’s 4-1 defeat to Newcastle this week was pretty embarrassing, was their third defeat in three since the restart and sixth loss in their last seven Premier League games.
They travel to face Manchester United at the weekend, and it provides a neat marker of just how far their season has fallen: the 1-0 win over United in the corresponding fixture back in November put them seventh in the table. Since then they’ve taken 11 points from a possible 63, and find themselves in the bottom three, only in touch with survival due to the incompetence of others.
It won’t get any better for them either: after United they face Spurs, Leicester and Manchester City in the space of six days.
It’s looking like bad news, and Rory Smith said on the Totally Football Show this week that relegation could just be the start of their woes.
“Bournemouth’s saving grace has always been scoring goals – you accept they’re a bit ropey at the back but are good going forwards, but that’s dried up, and not just since the restart. They’ve been pretty bad in 2020.
“Given the run-in, given how they played against Newcastle, given how…beaten Eddie Howe looked: Bournemouth aren’t quite as relegated as Norwich, but they’re not far off. It looks at the moment like it’s those two and one other from Villa and Watford, maybe West Ham.
“For Bournemouth, to an extent it’s always been coming. They’ve always known this was a risk. They’ve had those long runs of winless games, then they’d win five on the bounce and get out of it: that’s kind of what Bournemouth have done. But what’s really staggering is that they don’t seem to have prepared for the fact that relegation happens.
“Unlike Norwich, possibly even Watford, if Bournemouth go down you get the feeling it’s a long road back.”
Duncan Alexander added: “They have this image as a sort of plucky, underdog club, but they’ve spent a lot of money on transfer fees: £20million on Dominic Solanke. In lockdown, everyone focused on the rubbish on Bournemouth beach, but possibly the Vitality was the place to look.”
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