Bournemouth season preview: Cherries aiming to defy critics in their fourth Premier League season
By Ron Walker
Last Updated: 06/08/18 1:19pm
Bournemouth will be looking to continue their evolution under long-serving manager Eddie Howe.
Bournemouth are beginning to drift away from the relegation favourites after three years of defying the Premier League critics.
Even four defeats to start 2017/18 wasn't enough to leave the Cherries in danger last season, and in the end it was only goal difference that kept them outside the top 10.
And we are now at a stage where another summer of patient building on the south coast will surprise no one if it leads to another season of top-flight safety.
Bournemouth have consistently spent between £20-30m over a summer since their promotion and defender Diego Rico could be a strong addition in a defence which last season conceded more than Swansea and West Brom, who were both relegated.
David Brooks is a less clear-cut decision; the 21-year-old started only nine games for Sheffield United last season, in what was his breakout for the Blades, but Eddie Howe has helped the careers of enough players to blossom that his success would not come as a surprise.
For a team where survival is still seen as a success, Bournemouth are getting closer to becoming mid-table regulars than making a living of hanging above the drop, although they may find life more difficult with the quality of teams coming up from the Championship, and some of the big money being spent in the middle of the field this season.
Paul Merson's verdict
I always think Bournemouth will be alright. I always think they'll let in too many goals, and they've kept the same team except the full-back coming in, so they're going to let in more goals. Eddie Howe's been very loyal to the back four, they've been there for a long time and they're going to be another year older than last year. I think they'll be in a battle, but I think they'll come out of it alright.
We all like watching Bournemouth play. You know you're going to get an entertaining match, and they don't really sit back. Eddie knows he's going to give away chances in the Premier League so he doesn't go for a 0-0. I'm surprised they brought in Diego Rico, I like Charlie Daniels and I think he's done well for them - they needed a centre-back a lot more.