Opposition view – AFC Bournemouth

We speak to Peter Bell of Cherry Chimes ahead of Bournemouth’s visit to the Liberty Stadium this weekend…

You’ve won your last 2 games after a slow start to the campaign. Are you happy with your opening dozen games?
Well, it’s three wins out of the last four and the Cherries have definitely seen a big change in results. There was no confidence in front of goal in the early matches and while Bournemouth played well against the big teams, like Man City and Spurs, defeat followed defeat. We can’t really complain about our situation now, as we have more than a point a game.

Who have been your star performers and who needs to up their game?
I’d say Nathan Aké has been the most consistent performer. He has more time than other players and just reacts extremely well when there’s danger around. Asmir Begovic has also been a big improver, while Callum Wilson has been like a new signing – and one that scores!

You made three new signings over the summer. How have they settled in to like at Bournemouth?
The player that Bournemouth fans would probably have thought would take the team on the most would have been Jermain Defoe, and yet he has really struggled to fit in with Bournemouth’s style. He just wasn’t getting enough of the ball and it’s shame as we so want him to do well, but his time might come. Nathan Aké fitted in like he never left and he is the best addition, a truly gifted international defender – just what we needed. Asmir Begovic has ousted Arter Boruc who was the fans’ player of the season in 2016/17. Begovic made a few mistakes and let in a few soft shots in the early games, but he’s been great since late October.

Until last weekend you’d found goals hard to come by which is unlike the Cherries. What had changed?
Eddie Howe had given all the strikers a go at starting in games. Nothing was quite coming off, but the Carabao Cup started to bring confidence in front of goal when Callum Wilson returned to playing. It pepped the team up to see him make his comeback and while he didn’t get a goal up at Newcastle, he came close and it certainly spurred him on to his hat-trick against Huddersfield last weekend. Josh King has been playing with a bit of a back injury, which might have been difficult for him, but I believe he will also get goals. Both he and Benik Afobe play well when either of them are partnered with Wilson.

What are your expectations for the season?
Emm, expectations? After the poor start I think most Bournemouth fans would be more than happy with survival. There is a sense that the Cherries can do better than that though and they are already in the quarter final of the Carabao Cup. I want us to beat a few of the top six sides, which is asking a lot. But in terms of the table it’s getting to the 50 point mark would be a big achievement.

What do you make if Swansea and which players if any do you fear?
I think Swansea have a reasonable team that are performing below their true standard. I feel they have lost a lot of leadership and it’s showing on the pitch. They could do with some characters and more gritty players like they used to have perhaps in Jonjo Shelvey and Ashley Williams. Alfie Mawson has the potential to do great things in time and the player who could make things difficult on Saturday is certainly Tammy Abrahams.

Predict the score and where both teams will finish…
I’m sorry, but I have this down as a 0-2 away win. Swansea have a poor record against Bournemouth and I don’t see it changing yet. Final positions are difficult in such a close table. I’ll say AFCB 48 points (11th) and Swansea 36 points (17th). There are other teams’ I’d much rather go down than Swansea, so I’m backing you to stay up.

Thanks for the chance to put my views across. Good luck this season.