Come on, admit it. You didn’t give them a shot. Not before the season began, and especially after Scott Parker was given his marching orders. Ever since they earned promotion back to the Premier League in May 2022, the vast majority consigned the Cherries to the drop.
And hey, they might still end up getting relegated. But did you envisage Bournemouth, one led by novice coach Gary O’Neil, being this competitive in 2022/23?
The south coast outfit will fight until the last, and they’ve given themselves a legitimate chance of survival with O’Neil proving his competence at the highest level and a couple of January signings quickly finding their groove.
Here’s how Bournemouth’s end to the season looks, including the most important fixtures heading their way.
Leicester vs Bournemouth
Every game is crucial from now until the end of the season, but Bournemouth’s next ‘crunch’ match doesn’t arrive until 8 April when they take on Leicester at the King Power.
The Foxes are slumping quicker than the 2008 housing market and desperately need the international break to offer them some respite. Who knows how they’ll look once they return from that two-week rest.
Bournemouth vs West Ham
Bournemouth‘s home form hasn’t exactly been great this season, but they’ve accumulated 16 points at the Vitality this season compared to eight on the road.
Their home form will be crucial down the stretch, and they play host to fellow strugglers West Ham in a mammoth relegation six-pointer on 22 April. With the Hammers set to advance in the Europa Conference League, this clash will arrive just a couple of days after their quarter-final second leg in the competition.
Southampton vs Bournemouth
Recent victories over Chelsea and Leicester in the wake of Nathan Jones’ departure has given a young Southampton side a fighting chance of staying up.
This crucial encounter arrives just days after Bournemouth’s home fixture against West Ham. It’s bound to be a pivotal period in the relegation scrap.
Bournemouth vs Leeds
Just when you thought Bournemouth were done with relegation six-pointers!
Their third monster clash on the bounce to round off April comes against Leeds on the south coast. The Cherries overtook Leeds in the table at the weekend following their victory over Liverpool.
Crystal Palace vs Bournemouth
Palace have got to enjoy an uptick in form soon, right? Their current position is perilous having last tasted victory in 2022, that being a 2-0 win over Bournemouth on New Year’s Eve.
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