For the first time since the inception of the Premier League Arsenal will not be entering the first day of the season as top of the table; this honor now falls to AFC Bournemouth. But will the Premier League new boys sink or swim in their first season in the top division?
After a successful first season in the Championship where they finished in a very respectable tenth position, the Cherries pushed on and made some very shrewd moves in the transfer windows. After a slow start, dropping to as low as 15th, the Cherries picked up their form before stealing the Championship title from Watford on the final day of the season.
New striker Callum Wilson took some of the weight off of Yann Kermorgant's shoulders, whilst Artur Boruc managed to keep he clean sheets at the other end.
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Bournemouth have once again been very shrewd in this transfer window with the club not rushing into buying players at an inflated price. The Cherries have brought in two goalkeepers this summer, both Artur Boruc and Adam Federici arriving on bosmans from Southampton and Reading respectively.
Sylvain Distin will provide Premier League experience to the squad and Joshua King will add competition to the wingers. The big transfer though was the signing of Tyrone Mings from Ipswich for £8,000,000 plus Ryan Fraser. As one of the hottest talents from last years Championship it will be interesting to see how well he makes the step up into the Premier League. On top of this they have brought in both Atsu, the winger from Chelsea and Filippo Costa, a left back from Chievo.
Who to look out for
As I said earlier it will be very interesting to see the development of the young English full-back Mings.
Also, the battle between Adam Federici and Artur Boruc for the goalkeeper position will be intriguing. However, the most intriguing player has to be the twenty-three year old Callum Wilson.
The talisman scored 23 goals last season after arriving from Coventry and his enthusiasm to run the defense ans, not only finish off the moves himself, but also create chances would be a valuable asset to any newly promoted club.
The defense. As with a lot of newly promoted teams the Cherries seem to be holding tight to their tried and tested center back pairings of Cook and Elphick. However, as good as these two are (even with the inclusion of Distin), they will find it very hard to compete with the big names of the Premier League.
Despite having the second best defensive record in the Championship, I believe that the Premier League will be a huge culture shock to the defense and not even the experienced, some would say ageing, hands of Boruc or Federici will be able to save them.
On top of this lack of quality in the depth of the team may hinder the team when injuries come in during the latter stages of the season
Unless the Cherries bring in another very good center back then, despite their attacking prowess, they will be in trouble come the end of the season. They will be part of a very tight relegation battle between five or six other teams but they will end up being relegated.