A Season In Review: Bournemouth

In this series of 20 articles, we take a look back at the Premier League season, focusing on each team individually. We take a look at transfer window activity, managerial changes, and key points throughout the season.

Check out the previous edition of my A Season In Review, featuring Aston Villa here!

Transfer Windows

In terms of departures, Bournemouth did a good job of keeping hold of the team that got them promoted. Only a few various players left the club on loan, such as Jamal Lowe, Marcondes and Ben Pearson, so it was very much a case of building on what they already had.

Bournemouth did bring in quite a few players. Jack Stephens arrived from Southampton on loan, whilst Ryan Fredericks, Neto and Joe Rothwell all arrived on free transfers. Matías Viña joined from Roma to bolster their defence, along with Marcos Sensei from Feyenoord and Ilya Zabarnyi from Dynamo Kyiv.

With their defensive ranks bolstered Bournemouth looked to strengthen their play in the final third as well. They brought in the ever-impressive Marcus Tavernier from Middlesbrough, youngest Dango Ouattara from FC Lorient, and in January signed Antoine Semenyo from Bristol City.

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Bournemouth had a good window, especially considering how some of these players performed over the course of the season. There were question marks over Tavernier and whether or not he would make the step up, but he proved his doubter wrong. A good season of transfers as far as Bournemouth are concerned.

Managerial Changes

Bournemouth had the earliest managerial change in the Premier League this season. Despite winning their first game of the season, a 2-0 win against Aston Villa, they went on and lost their next 3 games, 4-0 against Man City, 3-0 against Arsenal and a 9-0 thrashing against Liverpool.

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It was a tough run of fixtures to start the league with, but the Bournemouth board pulled the trigger on Scott Parker, who only lasted until the 30th of August. Gary O’Neil managed the club on an interim basis at first, but after impressing in his games in charge, they left him in charge. It was not until the 27th of November did Bournemouth decide who was going to get the job.

They decide to offer O’Neil an 18-month contract, taking him until the end of the 23-24 season. It was a decision that paid off in the end, as he steered Bournemouth to safety with a few games to spare, and picked up some impressive points along the way.

Key Games

It is always good for a newly promoted team to get 3 points on the first day of the season, but Bournemouth had much bigger and better games than that throughout the season. Bournemouth’s key games of the season came rather late in the season, with them struggling throughout the majority of the campaign.

After 25 games, Bournemouth sat bottom of the table and were in terrible form. They had a tough task, with a home game against an inconsistent but strong Liverpool side. Bournemouth put in an uncharacteristically defensive display, with Billing scoring the only goal of the game, giving Bournemouth a priceless 3 points and a clean sheet.

This result clearly had an effect on them, as, at home, they secured a good set of results to help steer them to safety.

Bournemouth had been terrible away from home all season. Up until March, they had only won 2 away games all season, against Nottingham Forest and Wolves. That was until April. They recorded back-to-back away wins against Leicester (1-0), and a brilliant 3-2 win against Spurs.

Their away form did not stop there, as after they got hammered by West Ham at home (4-0), they recorded their third straight away win, this time a 1-0 win against struggling Southampton. They chose the perfect time to win their away games when every team below them was dropping points, and more importantly, they were beating their relegation rivals in their games together.

Cup Competitions

Carabao Cup

Bournemouth entered the Carabao Cup in the second round and got given a potentially tricky tie away from home against Championship side Norwich. Bournemouth twice fell behind, first from a Jordan Hugill goal, and then an Adam Idah goal with 7 minutes to go.

Bournemouth did hit back twice, however, to take the game to penalties, with Marcondes scoring the first, and Genesini with the second. During the shootout, Todd Cantwell missed for Norwich, as Bournemouth progressed to the third round after winning 5-3 on penalties.

Their third-round tie was a home game against fellow Premier League strugglers Everton. An early goal from Jamal Lowe settled the hosts into the game, and Junior Stanislas doubled that lead 2 minutes after halftime.

Gray did pull one back for Everton, but further goals from Jaidon Anthony and Marcondes put Bournemouth through into the fourth round with an emphatic 4-1 victory.

A trip to Newcastle awaited them in the fourth round, and this one was always going to be a difficult game against an inform side. The game was settled by a single goal, an Adam Smith own goal, resulting in Bournemouth being knocked out.

It was a good showing for Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup, they had some tricky ties, especially their two games away from home. If they had been given more favourable ties they could have gone further, but it was not meant to be this year.

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FA Cup

The FA Cup was a different story for Bournemouth. A third-round home tie against Championship table-toppers Burnley was a tricky fixture for both sides, but Bournemouth did not live up to expectations.

Manuel Benson gave the visitors after just 6 minutes, but that did not deter Bournemouth from playing their own game. 6 minutes later, Ryan Christie equalised. There was still drama to be had in the first half, as Anass Zaroury scored twice in four minutes, sending The Clarets in 3-1 up at halftime.

Solanke gave Bournemouth the perfect start in the second half, finding the back of the net just 3 minutes after the restart. It was not meant to be for Bournemouth though, as 9 minutes later Manuel Benson got his second of the game, and Burnley’s fourth, sending Bournemouth crashing out of the competition at the first hurdle.

It was a tough game for them in all fairness. There is not much difference between the top of the Championship and the lower ends of the Premier League. Bournemouth will still be disappointed that they got knocked out so early.

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Season Overall

Overall, it was a brilliant first season back for Bournemouth considering they managed to make themselves safe with a few games to spare. It did start to look dire for them part way through the season when they were routed to the bottom of the table, but once they started to pick points up away from home, everything fell into place, achieving a spot in 15th.

Some of their signings really saved them this season. Sensei was solid at the back, and Neto certainly helped them when he was called upon. Ouattara was always going to help Bournemouth going forward, and he certainly did. His pace and trickery created plenty of chances.

The Antoine Semenyo signing seemed like a knee-jerk reaction when looking back at it. He was doing okay in the Championship, and Bournemouth were struggling for goal, but surely there were better options out there, some with Premier League experience, that would have been able to contribute more.

Billing was sensational towards the back end of the season, as he finished as the clubs’ top scorer in the league. He is such a big player for them, and if they can build the team around him, they could become a stable Premier League team.

Keep an eye out for the next issues of this Season In Review, which will feature Brentford!

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