Last season: 9th
Bournemouth fans are probably bored of hearing the term ‘fairy-tale’ associated with their club, but the rags to riches story seems to become more remarkable with every passing season.
The Cherries were in real danger of folding less than 10 years ago and their recovery and rise through the divisions to the Premier League is, in many ways, almost as much an unexpected story as Leicester City’s shock title win two seasons ago.
Widely expected to be one hit wonders in the top flight, Bournemouth are entering their third season at England’s top table, having never seriously been in relegation trouble since being promoted in 2015.
The test will now be how they cope with higher expectations. Having smashed their transfer record to sign Nathan Ake from Chelsea and brought in veterans Asmir Begovic and Jermain Defoe this summer fans will naturally be looking up, rather than down the table, and it is imperative they do not lose the underdog mentality that has brought them this far.
Glass half full: Bournemouth fans have never had it so good. The club have strengthened a squad that was already good enough to finish in the top half of the Premier League and have one of the most highly-rated young managers in the country.
Glass half empty: Although they finished ninth last season the club were closer to relegated Hull City than they were to seventh-placed Everton in terms of points. Defoe, signed on big wages, is another year older and it is unclear how long he will be effective in the Premier League.
New kids on the block: Asmir Begovic – Chelsea, Jermain Defoe – Sunderland, Nathan Ake – Chelsea, Connor Mahoney – Blackburn.
Left the building: Callum Buckley – released, Jake McCarthy – released, Alexander Neale – released, Max Travers – Weymouth, Ryan Allsop – Blackpool.
The gaffer: Eddie Howe – The 39-year-old has cemented his reputation as one of the brightest young English managers over the last couple of seasons. Having already guided the Cherries through two Premier League campaigns without any major relegation worries the test will now be how he copes with increased expectations having brought in some big names this summer.
Star man: Joshua King – The Norwegian striker enjoyed a breakthrough season last term and his goals played a huge role in Bournemouth securing a top 10 finish.
One to watch: Nathan Ake – The young centre-back has made a permanent move to Bournemouth having spent the first half of last season on-loan at the Vitality Stadium. With a reported club record fee of £20million invested in him the pressure will be on Ake to show he was worth the outlay.
First five games: West Brom (A), Watford (H), Manchester City (H), Arsenal (A), Brighton (H).
Premier League Title Odds: 1000/1
Top Four Odds: 100/1
Relegation Odds: 6/1
Top Goalscorer Odds: Jermain Defoe 10/11
Star Bet: The Cherries finished last season in ninth spot and manager Eddie Howe has gone about his transfer business stoutly this summer. In come Asmir Begovic, Jermain Defoe and Nathan Ake while they are yet to see any notable departures. Two points separated eighth to 13th in the table last season and there’s no reason to expect Bournemouth not to finish in that region again. To finish in the top half – 11/4