For a club built around such sustained and consistent growth as Bournemouth, any association with the phrase ‘boom and bust’ may seem strange. But even amid their very definite Premier League stabilisation since 2015, it is hard to miss a definite trend.
Streaks of wins and draws. Streaks of defeats and draws. Bournemouth went nine games without winning in November and December last season. There was a similar nine-game sequence after Christmas in the previous season. Before that, and in their first Premier League season, a period between September and December sounded some alarm bells. The slump is again on, with Bournemouth going intoSunday’s match at Everton on a run of 10 defeats in 13 matches, including exits from both the FA Cup and League Cup.
Their strong start has already made relegation highly unlikely this year, but it does still prompt a question in what is now the club’s fourth Premier League season. It is not so much whether this current rut might yet push Bournemouth into relegation danger – they surely have the attacking flair to pick up sufficient further wins – but can Eddie Howe maintain that sense of renewal and upward trajectory?
New signings are one solution and Bournemouth have already been active in this transfer window. The arrivals of both Nathaniel Clyne and Dominic Solanke from Liverpool underlined a very definite ongoing shift in how the rest of the Premier league views Bournemouth. As Neil Warnock very publicly outlined, Clyne had the option of joining Cardiff City while Solanke might have moved to Crystal Palace. That they viewed Bournemouth as a better option was in itself instructive.
Both players cited Howe as a big factor in their decision and they believe that he shares much with Jurgen Klopp in his footballing philosophy. They also stressed that there was a wider feeling that Bournemouth are now firmly established in the Premier League.