Six weeks on and Bournemouth are still suffering from the impact of Callum Wilson’s long-term injury. Since the blow, the Cherries have seen their Premier League form decline and the club now finds itself in the murky depths of the relegation zone.
There was little doubt the 2015-16 campaign would be a tough year for Bournemouth after their spectacular promotion the season before. Following years of lingering in the lower leagues, many saw their Premier League quest as a damned cause.
Equally, there was acknowledgement the form of Wilson would prove a pivotal variable in Bournemouth’s survival chances. The 23-year-old had scored 20 league goals in the club’s charge towards promotion and was widely regarded as Eddie Howe’s most potent asset.
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Despite starting their Premiership adventure with two clumsy defeats, Bournemouth’s spectacular 4-3 win at West Ham sparked a rise in fortunes. Wilson scored a hat trick in the hectic victory at the Boleyn Ground and he was proving himself on the biggest stage.
The ex-Coventry City striker was quick to reaffirm his importance in the following games. An acrobatic finish helped bag a point against high-flying Leicester and an early, thunderous strike against Sunderland sealed their first home win in the Premier League.
However, September 26 saw injury strike and the Cherries deprived of their key man as Wilson went down in a heap during the 2-1 defeat to Stoke. It was revealed after the game that the player’s knee was the culprit and he would be confined to the sidelines for at least six months.
With Bournemouth’s league form suffering a violent downward spiral since then, it is becoming increasingly apparent the absence of Wilson is one of the biggest contributors to the club’s recent debacle.
Howe’s men currently linger in 18th place and of the eight points won by the Cherries this season, only one has come since Wilson’s injury.
The club’s defence has always been leaky, as shown by their 5-1 defeats to Tottenham and Manchester City, but in their star striker’s absence the goals have also dried up. It seems with no Wilson, the club cannot get points on the board as their goal tally is often inferior to the floods of strikes they concede.
In fact, since Wilson’s crock, Bournemouth are yet to score two goals in a single game and the club have gone three matches in a row without finding the net. The Cherries have scored twelve league goals this season, but only three have arrived since that fateful injury at the Brittania.
It can no longer be considered a coincidence that Bournemouth’s recent form has coincided with the absence of Callum Wilson. Eddie Howe's men are winless since, struggle to find the net and their defence continues to leak goals.
Bournemouth have been stripped of their star player by the fickle finger of football injuries and their Premier League form has paid the penalty.
With Wilson absent for six months, the Cherries will need to improve soon without their superb English striker or face a swift return to the Championship.