The old adage goes that you have to be crazy to be a goalkeeper and former Bournemouth goalkeeper David James went close to proving that yesterday.
James was speaking at a BT Sport media event to launch the broadcasters football coverage for the coming season. “I’m not biased but I think Watford and Bournemouth are probably heading for Europe” He laughed when speaking about his old clubs relegation prospects yesterday.
The Cherries may well be everyone's ‘second team’ next season but Rio Ferdinand, who this season will be working full-time as a football expert and presenter for BT Sport says that Eddie Howe must have “the balls to continue [his] philosophy.”
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Bournemouth play with a slick swagger in which ball retention is key, players work in unison in order to win the ball back and keep it, but never wasteful, their possession needs to have a purpose. “Swansea came up and done that and done it very well and showed it can be done.” Rio said.
The coming season will be about survival, Howe spoke last season of the togetherness of his squad, a lot of the players at the club were a part of the squad that saw them promoted from League One.
James says that in Howe, Bournemouth have a “terrific” manager, but as Burnley saw last season, a great manager does not automatically mean survival, the squad needs to be good enough.
Bournemouth’s recruitment process has been thorough. “Its not just about picking the best players, its about picking the ones that fit into the changing room.” He continued. Howe spends money as if its coming from his own pocket.
Bournemouth man to watch
Most are vying for the excitement of Matt Ritchie or Callum Wilson but in Harry Arter they have the kind of fight and leadership they will need next season. At 25 years old the former Charlton trainee has paid his dues in non-league and won’t let his Premier League chance get beyond him.
Arter is solid in the tackle and rarely concedes possession with a tidy 85% passing accuracy, making just one defensive mistake all season. Equally adept at the other end of the field, the recently capped Republic of Ireland international scored nine goals last season and three assists.
He will be sorely missed as he is expected to miss the beginning of the season.
‘BT Sport 1 has the first game of the new Barclays Premier League season with Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur this Saturday from noon, the first of 38 exclusively live Barclays Premier League games this season on BT Sport. This season BT Sport Europe is the new home of European football with all UEFA Champions League matches and UEFA Europa League matches exclusively live, visit btsport.com/europe.’
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