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Bournemouth Stick To Their Principles To Become A Premier League Success Story.

Monday 14th March 2016
Bournemouth saw off a stubborn Swansea side to claim a third successive Premier League victory at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday. The win means that Eddie Howe's Cherries are now thirteen points clear of the relegation zone on 38 points, representing considering daylight between themselves and the teams languishing in the drop-zone, with just eight games remaining of the season.

There are still a lot of points to play for before now and the season's end and it is still too early to declare Bournemouth safe just yet, but the win over Swansea has surely all but ensured the South Coast club will remain in the top-flight for at least another season: just reward for a team that have not strayed from their principles and are seeing the benefits.
There can be many similarities drawn between Bournemouth and their adversaries at the weekend, with Howe's team echoing Swansea's early Premier League forays in trying to build from the back and play attractive football, with relatively successful results. It seems fitting then, that Bournemouth took a big step towards top level survival by defeating a team whose model, footballing philosophy, and rise through the Football League pyramid mirrors their own success story.

Bournemouth, Howe, and all of his players deserve enormous credit for what they have achieved and are still achieving this season. Howe has been resolute in sticking to his vision of how his promoted side have set up to play this season, and has stuck by many of the players who were instrumental in the club's climb through the divisions to their current place at English football's top table, despite plenty of those players lacking any prior top-flight experience before the start of the campaign.

It would have been easy for Howe to have opted for a more classically pragmatic approach to keeping the Cherries in the division, but that has never been the Eddie Howe way, nor would it have suited Bournemouth, acutely aware of what his side's strengths are and how they need to set up to suit the players at his disposal. Build from the back, try and play on the front foot, play with tempo; Bournemouth have a clear identity and style, something which has given them an advantage over relegation favourites such as Aston Villa and Newcastle United, who it is abundantly clear, do not have anything resembling the same kind of continuity and ideals Bournemouth have benefitted from.

It has not been all plain sailing for Bournemouth, the club was faced with adversity earlier on in the season in the shape of long injury layoffs to some of their key players, such as Callum Wilson and Max Gradel. Panic could well have set in at the Vitality Stadium having lost a number of the key cogs in their system. Instead, their manager was defiant, the philosophy remained in place, and the tide started to turn.
Losing striker Wilson appeared to be the biggest blow of all, even potentially fatal to the club's survival hopes, particularly given the importance of goals to a side like Bournemouth's chances of survival, and how Wilson's pace was pivotal to Bournemouth's attacking potency. The signing of Benik Afobe from Wolves in January has turned out to be somewhat of a masterstroke, with Afobe instantly hitting the ground running, and providing the goals and speed in attack to ensure that Wilson's influence has not been felt as keenly in the second half of the season. Howe once again deserves praise not only for identifying Afobe as an ideal replacement for Wilson, but also in how quickly he has managed to bed the forward into the side, an excellent example of recruitment which looks to have been fundamental in securing Bournemouth a second season in the Premier League.

This season appears to have confirmed that in Eddie Howe, AFC Bournemouth have a fantastic, young manager who has really moulded this team into his own image and ideologies. More impressively, Howe has succeeded in transforming this team into one able to navigate the Premier League waters, and they now represent a team worthy of their place in the top-flight for at least another campaign. Hats off to Eddie Howe and hats off to Bournemouth, who in sticking to their principles and style of football they believe in (and exceeded expectations) have proved to be one of the true success stories of this Premier League season.

Michael Soloman
Journalist. Long-suffering Derby County fan, Lionel Messi and Barca bandwagon-er.

Total articles: 38

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