It may seem premature, especially with roughly 10 games remaining, but with the title wrapped up bar a PSG like collapse and the relegation battle ending sooner rather than later as teams like Palace and Leicester begin to pull away I thought I’d take an early look at the three best ways to improve the current 20 teams in England’s premier football decision. I will break it down into 20 separate articles as a series of sorts in order to keep it shorter and more manageable to read so keep an eye out!
Invest for Eddie Howe & Target a Cup – Bournemouth have now been in the Premier League for two seasons and currently in 11th place [9 points above the drop] it is almost safe to say that this club’s historical rise will continue with a third season in England’s top flight. What is important, whilst they still have Eddie Howe, they make use of their window. Howe is one of football’s brightest young managers, proven at many levels, and because of this has become much sought after; Arsenal are strongly and continuously linked to the young manager.When Swansea completed their meteoric rise (now seemingly crashing back down to Earth and a relegation fight) through beautiful football, underrated players and an excellent manager they made the most of it with a memorable League Cup win. As great as placing high is, it wont last forever and unfortunately nor will Eddie Howe’s reign so I think they should be given the green light to really go for a long cup run before he eventually goes for pastures new. They could start by signing Jack Wilshere to a permanent deal at seasons end and maybe try to lure his parent club teammates like Oxlade-Chamberlain to play on the opposite side to Jordan Ibe – certainly they’d fit the playing style. They should also strongly pursue Ben Gibson and Harry Maguire – particularly if Boro and Hull go down as predicted – to sure up a defence that has conceded 1.86 goals per game and only managed a measly 7 clean sheets. Going forward they’ll continue to be strong with Wilson, King and Stanislas but if they close up shop they could be serious contenders for some silverware considering the way big teams rest players nowadays.
Increase the Capacity at Vitality Stadium – Bournemouth should be an incredibly attractive place to play with their style of football, reputable manager, consistent team and – for England – good weather and nice beaches. They are a team that whilst they retain their manager will continue to be on the rise but they need to make the most of this and maximize growth commercially as well. The capacity at their home ground is by far the smallest in the league at only 11,464. To put that into context, Cheltenham Town – a League 2 team – have a capacity of 7,066. The next smallest ground in the Premier League is the Liberty Stadium [Swansea City] holds 21,088. I understand that Bournemouth would want to consolidate their league status before making investments but I think as they move into their third season in the top flight they need to increase their match day revenue in order to push forward. At the moment they plan to add around 4000 seats to the South Stand but that would still leave them very short of the next smallest stadium. If a team is to keep growing on the field they need to grow off it as well in order to fund and attract new players and an increased stadium to go along with increasing TV revenues would serve the Cherries well.
Sometimes a Draw is Enough – the third element to improve Bournemouth is a difficult one to pinpoint. Josh King is the league’s joint 10th place top scorer with 11 goals equaling Llorente and Hazard’s totals for the campaign. They have 9 wins which places them midtable for number of victories, they are 7th placed for total goals scored (an impressive 42) and have even accumulated 7 clean sheets. I have already mentioned investing in the defence – see my first point – and so I was tempted to suggest adding a play-maker as Junior Stanislas has their highest number of assists with merely 5. However, I’m going for a duller, Pulis-inspired mentality. Bournemouth are currently 9 points above the relegation zone in a club best 11th position if they end up finishing there. They are scoring consistently and have won an impressive number of games BUT, they have lost 14 games; only 4 behind Sunderland who have remained rooted to the bottom since their manager left days before the season began for an infamous England reign. If Bournemouth had, at times, sacrificed some of their attacking style they may well be challenging for Europe if some of these losses had become draws. I don’t want them to lose their identity, just stating that sometimes a point is better than none.