Ahead of Saturday's game against
Bournemouth at The Hawthorns, we spoke again with Cherries' fan Peter from the Bournemouth blog
He gives us his views on his
club's season so far, their survival prospects, and more. You can also follow Peter on
imagine Bournemouth's last couple of results surpassed all expectations? Did any
supporters honestly expect to have picked up six points off Chelsea and
I would not go as far as
expecting all six points, but I was not alone in telling other fans that AFC
Bournemouth were playing well and could get something out of at least one of
those games. I know it sounds crazy to people reading this, but when you watch
the team every week and see how they fought against Swansea and Everton it was
on the cards that a big result was coming so I was not that surprised - just
pleased that the players delivered what they had been promising to do. Once the
win came against Chelsea and we could see how deflated Man Utd were, after going
out of the Championship League, plus their injury problems which gave them a
very inexperiences back four, I made the Cherries as favourites to win the game
against them at home.
How would you
view your season so far? Better or worse than expected?
It's been really exciting and
even when results have not gone our way it has been good to see the team go up
against some of the best players in the Premier League and the stadiums that
we've only seen on TV before. I have probably been to more away games than I
expected, but AFC Bournemouth fans just want to live every minute of the season
and show their appreciation of the team.
If you are asking if the Premier
League falls short in any way then I'd just say that it is very different to the
Championship, which is a real football marathon. I think we have seen that you
have to get a good start in the Premier League as the games go quickly. We have
been lucky that most of our matches have stayed at the traditional 3 O'Clock
kick off time on a Saturday and the TV and newspaper coverage the club has had
just been amazing. So I'd say the Premier League has lived up to expectations
but I also think that AFC Bournemouth and the other promoted teams have added
something to it this season.
at the half-way stage of the season, how confident of Premier League survival
are you now?
Before a ball was kicked I said
the Cherries would finish 14th. When we on the back end of a four match losing
streak in November I was just hoping that the team could get out of the bottom
three and perhaps end the season in 17th, especially with the injuries that the
team has suffered. Now I am back to thinking there is no reason why the team
can't do even better in the second half of the season and the run of fixture we
have at the back end of the season don't seem quite as frightening now that
Chelsea and Man Utd have been beaten. The January transfer window will be very
important though and Eddie Howe will need to try and keep the momentum going.
As long as he does that we'll be fine.
How much of a
blow was the loss of Callum Wilson?
It took Eddie Howe and Jason
Tindall a good while to find a way of getting the team to play effectively again
up front after we lost Callum Wilson in the Stoke City away game. Callum was
flying and had five goals under his belt already and as he was the chief striker
the team needed a rethink in how it was going to go about getting goals. It was
not just Callum though that affected the balance of the team - we've lost Max
Gradel and Tommy Elphick who were also regular starters. So changes were made in
going to a five-man midfield when Harry Arter was ready to come back into the
team and Simon Francis has moved from right back to centre half, which has
allowed Adam Smith to get some starts. So there has been a lot of changes
compared to last season.
Are the club
likely to be active during the January transfer window and if so what positions
should they be looking to strengthen?
Eddie Howe has said that he will
be looking to bring players in of the right quality and for the right price but
he has said it is a very difficult window to operate in and that he would be
happy if he just kept the squad together. It is always helpful to buy in a
20-goal a season striker of course, but Josh King and Glenn Murray are hitting
form. I suspect the club will try to get another striker in, but Eddie's
favourite buys are always wingers and I can almost guarantee that the club signs
a new wide man this window. A powerful central midfielder might also be
tempting and Jonathan de Guzman at
Napoli, and ex-Swansea player, is the man everyone has been
talking about coming in since last summer. I don't expect additions to the back
four or keeper even if the team has found it hard to prevent goals and get clean
sheets. Eddie's emphasis is on attack and at least captain Tommy Elphick should
be able to come back into the team in January.
the eye for the Cherries so far this season?
The early matches were certainly
good for Matt Ritchie on the right wing and he scored a corking goal against
Sunderland, but of late everyone has been impressed by Junior Stanislas on the
left wing who has now scored five goals. He is quick and links up extremely well
with Josh King who has also grown into the role of being the main striker. I
don't think we have seen the best of Harry Arter yet either in centre midfield.
He's just warming up. In the last two matches as well, I have to say Artur Boruc
has been incredible so it is not a case of one player in particular finding form
but the team in general has started to find its feet at this level now.
Not really. There was the Man
City and Tottenham games when Artur Boruc and Adam Federici had their moments
shall we say, but they have more than made up for those individual errors since
with some brilliant match saving saves in other games. Individual errors as a
whole are the only thing that have been disappointing, but they happen for every
for Bournemouth's season?
I'll stick with my original
pre-season prediction of 14th place.
for Albion's season?
Tricky! Albion have always been
in games and have been competitive so I see them as a good bet for a safe
mid-table finish - I'll say 12th
My pre-season pick was Arsenal
and although I'd love
to do it I think it will be between Man City and Arsenal and it's about time
Wenger did it.
My picks back in August were -
Aston Villa, Newcastle and
Sunderland. I'll stick withe these but if
Swansea don't get the right
manager in and Norwich don't start picking up points I think they could both
easily replace Newcastle and Sunderland.
Thoughts on and prediction for
Saturday's game? How are Bournemouth likely to line up?
I felt a few weeks ago that the
Cherries would need to be on 19 points before Christmas Day to give themselves a
good chance of staying up and they are just three points off that now. Still, I
feel this game though will be harder than the last two games for the Cherries
and it could be a bit of a goal thriller. I'm going for 3-3 and a point apiece.
AFCB Line up (4-5-1)
Smith (RB), Francis (CH), Cook
(CH), Daniels (LB),
Ritchie (RW), Arter (CM),
Gosling (CM), Surman (CM), Stanislas (LW),