Eddie Howe's Bournemouth fancied to increase last season's points tally

Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) takes a look at what we can expect from Eddie Howe and Bournemouth during the 2017/18 Premier League season.

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Background

Eddie Howe was rewarded handsomely for staying true to his principles as Bournemouth shot up seven places to finish ninth with 11 points from their final five outings. The Cherries came under serious scrutiny in February during the slump that followed centre back Nathan Ake’s recall by Chelsea but the tide eventually turned with a surprise stalemate at Manchester United. Ake returns on a permanent basis for £20m, while Asmir Begovic and Jermain Defoe add vast experience at both ends of the pitch.

Personality

In Living on the Volcano, Howe refers to himself as "an introvert, a deep thinker and an analyser", and his success is defined by a headstrong, philosophical reaction to bad breaks. He is an attack-minded, possession-oriented manager who lives for the bigger picture and is never swayed by short-term results. Whenever the Cherries struggle for form, pundits routinely call for pragmatism but Howe’s patience and persistence with the players and the system is continually rewarded in the end. He’s a tireless and open-minded individual who hardly ever complains about referees.

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Verdict

The Cherries have improved season upon season with Howe at the helm. It might be a tall order to match or better last season’s ninth-placed finish but they should be fancied to at least increase their points tally in a less-congested league. They amassed 42 points in their debut Premier League campaign and beat that by four last term, so 48-50 points seems like a reasonable target this time around. Their strong identity through the repetition of ideas enables them to persistently confound the doubters.

Prediction: 10th

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