By 90Min
April 28, 2019

Eddie Howe's Bournemouth, in their nearly four seasons in the Premier League, have been one of the division's most consistent sides, finishing with similar point tallies in their three full seasons in the league. 

This points to a side who, when promoted were not given much chance of survival, yet have defied the odds and established themselves as a Premier League side, and have continued to improve year on year. 

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Under Howe, the Cherries have played exciting, fluid, attacking football, and although at times they have been exposed defensively, their brand of football has been effective in not only securing Premier League football but also pushing for top 10 finishes.

In their first Premier League season (2015/16), they finished with 42 points in 16th place, not bad for a newly promoted side with limited resources. This was better the following year as Bournemouth broke into the top 10 and ended the season in ninth with 46 points. They then finished last season in 12th place with 44 points, highlighting their consistency in the top flight.

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What this also provides is a base from which to improve. By showing that they can compete at the top half of the table, Bournemouth can begin to attract bigger and better players, which will only help them push further upwards. 

They need to be aware of the fate that befell Fulham, who spent money like it was going out of fashion last summer, on players who were not really bought with any sort of strategy or plan in mind. They disrupted the core team that won promotion from the Championship which affected the team's balance, something that Bournemouth avoided following their promotion.

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And this campaign, bar their poor run after the turn of the year where they couldn't string a set of results together, they could have been looking at challenging the likes of WatfordWolves and Leicester for seventh spot.

Next season, if Bournemouth keep hold of their exciting players and strengthen in the right areas, we could see this become the norm and include the South coast club in the 'best of the rest' bracket. 

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They have to be wary, as many of their players are on the watch-list's of bigger clubs, who have the money to tempt the likes of Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser, Nathan Ake and David Brooks away from the Vitality Stadium.

Wilson was the subject of interest from Chelsea in the summer, and the Stamford Bridge club may come calling again in the summer, as long as their transfer ban is postponed. Keeping hold of their top scorer would be vital if Bournemouth are to climb the congested Premier League table as goals win you games, and there are plenty of teams who can confirm that a proven goal scorer can work wonders (looking at you Huddersfield).

The fact that bigger clubs are interested in their players also points to the fact that Bournemouth are doing something right.

But it is not just up top where Bournemouth need to be wary of losing players. Dutchman Nathan Ake has had a stellar season a the heart of the Cherries' defence. Despite shipping 62 goals this season, Ake has been impressive, leading the Bournemouth line superbly, all the more impressive seeing that he is only 24 years old.

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It is crucial that Bournemouth buy well in the summer, and going by their past track record they should do just that. Brooks was a shrewd £11.5m acquisition from Sheffield United in 2018 proving Howe and his team can unearth yet another young gem. 

The Cherries need to strengthen defensively, as several of their defenders are not getting any younger, with some of them having been with Bournemouth since their days in the Championship and beyond. Chris Mepham, a reported £12m signing from Brentford is one for the future and is adapting to life in the Premier League

If Howe can get his side to stop giving away goals for fun, then he could get his team moving up the table, and even challenging for a domestic trophy. It's unlikely that in the age of Manchester City and Liverpool's dominance we could see the Cherries win the title, but it's within the realms of possibility that they could win an FA Cup or the Carabao Cup. 

Ultimately, Bournemouth are on the up, and although there seems to be a lot that they need to do to continue their improvement, it isn't impossible. Keeping hold of their best players is imperative, as is keeping Howe in charge, but if they do that, then I can see Bournemouth in the next few seasons consistently finishing in the top 10 as well as coming away with a trophy or two. 

Not bad for a club who almost 10 years ago to the day saved themselves from dropping out of the Football League altogether.

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