In fairness to manager Eddie Howe, Bournemouth have stood stringently by the principles that saw them into the top flight last season. And after four games, the Cherries will probably feel a little aggrieved to only be on four points.
Bournemouth learned some harsh lessons in an opening day loss to Aston Villa and were on the rough end of some poor refereeing decisions against Liverpool at Anfield. But they turned on the style with a swashbuckling display at the Boleyn Ground against West Ham United, which was backed up by a credible draw at home to high-flying Leicester City.
All in all there have been plenty of promising signs and the newly promoted side seem to be getting better acquainted to life in the Premier League. Here’s a closer look at how they’ve got on so far.
Best Performer – Callum Wilson:
Of all the positions on the pitch, strikers find it the most difficult to adapt to life in the Premier League when making a step up, but Wilson seems to possess the cutting edge that’ll enable Bournemouth to trouble opposition defences.
Already we’ve been witness to Wilson’s vast array of talents. The former Coventry City man comes alive in the penalty area, as was evident with his classy hat-trick at West Ham. He’s also got an eye for the spectacular too, as we were witness to in earnest with a sensational overhead-kick goal against Leicester.
SEE MORE: Write Bournemouth off at your peril.
Keeping his goalscoring levels up will be key to Bournemouth’s vibrant attacking patterns being finished off. Already there’s talk of Wilson making his way into the England squad.
Most Improved Player – Simon Francis:
The experienced right-back has taken to the Premier League brilliantly during his first four matches. Francis is tenacious in the tackle, an astute reader of the game and has also made some vital attacking contributions when he does get forward.
Howe has rotated the players who play in front of the 30-year-old on the right flank and some consistency going forward will enable Francis to get even better. But in the Cherries’ solid start to the term, Francis has been one of the most underrated performers and certainly a player who has upped his game in the top flight.
Charlie Daniels (no return date), Max Gradel, (no return date), Tyrone Mings (no return date), Joshua King (Sept. 12), Harry Arter (Sept. 19)
In: Tyrone Mings, Max Gradel, Lee Tomlin, Adam Federici, Sylvain Distin, Joshua King, Artur Boruc, Glenn Murray, Christian Atsu, Tomas Andrade, Joe Bennett
Out: Darryl Flahavan, Josh McQuoid, Joe Partington, Miles Addison, Benjamin Buchel, Mohamed Coulibaly, Brett Pitman, Ian Harte
Manager Analysis – Eddie Howe:
Howe will be learning as the game goes by, but in the main his team have been very impressive. He sends his XI out with a clear plan and there’s a belief that exudes from him which manifests on the pitch. But as the season goes on and matches get more important, it’ll be interesting to see if the fresh-faced coach adopts some more pragmatic principles.
There are plenty of challenges to come for Howe, but he and his team continue to take things comfortably in their strides. We’ll learn a lot about the manager over the next few months.
Bournemouth are still striving to find the right balance and that’ll come as the season rumbles on. Wilson seems to be cut out for this level, while the likes of Max Gradel and Matt Ritchie will ensure there’s plenty of dynamic creativity in the side. Deadline day acquisition Glenn Murray will also chip in with vital goals.
Defensively they’ve yet to fully convince, but for a team who play such a daring style, that’s natural in the unforgiving Premier League. This team will learn more and more about top level football as the campaign goes on, but with a favourable run of fixtures to come after the international break, it’s vital Howe’s men begin to pick up the points their performances deserve.
Overall Rating – 3/5
Follow Matt on Twitter @MattJFootball
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