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2019/20 Premier League preview - Bournemouth: Eddie Howe's attacking ethos to go on

Richard Jolly runs the rule over Bournemouth ahead of the new season, including key player, new signing to watch and predicted league finish

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Lloyd Kelly of Bournemouth in action during the Pre-Season Friendly match between West Bromwich Albion and Bournemouth at The Hawthorns on July 26, 2019 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Lloyd Kelly of Bournemouth in action during the Pre-Season Friendly match between West Bromwich Albion and Bournemouth at The Hawthorns on July 26, 2019 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

The formula is idiosyncratic but reasonably successful. Bournemouth spend quite a lot of money, concede too many goals, record a couple of memorable wins against the top six and survive with something to spare.

They benefited from a good start, lost 17 of the last 28 league games, had an awful away record when they did not take a point on their travels between October and March, conceded more goals than Cardiff but stayed up by 11 points.

But it is a sign of Eddie Howe’s attacking ethos that only the top six scored more and, while £13 million Liam Kelly will be charged with improving their wretched defensive record, that firepower should take them into mid-table again.

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Who finishes where in 2019-20?

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Key player: Ryan Fraser

Only Eden Hazard got more assists in last season’s Premier League, and only by one. No one created more goals for one teammate, with Fraser setting up seven for Callum Wilson. That symbiotic relationship makes the Scot a matchwinner and while his excellence attracted Arsenal’s attention, Bournemouth can be relieved he has stayed.

Signing to watch: Philip Billing

The £15 million midfielder is a player of huge potential, even if he never quite fulfilled it at Huddersfield Town. He was voted Players’ Player of the Year last season but exiled from the team after falling out with Jan Siewert. A towering figure possesses a fine long-range shot, though he could do with improving his heading.

Talking point: What now for Dominic Solanke?

Bournemouth have shown great generosity towards Liverpool by paying inflated fees for squad members. The Under-19 World Cup winner Solanke joined for £19m in January, played only 342 minutes of football and failed to score.

With Wilson established as the potent spearhead, with the impressive, incisive trio of Fraser, Josh King and David Brooks all flourishing as the supporting trio, there is no vacancy in the side. Wilson is injury prone and has admirers, but Solanke’s signing feels strange unless he is going to play a more prominent role.

Prediction: 14th

Updated: August 2, 2019 03:23 PM

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