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Eddie Howe’s side were among the favourites to be relegated straight back to the Sky Bet Championship last season but a spirited and at times skilful campaign ensured their safety in the top-flight with a handful of games remaining.

They rather limped across the line over the closing month with the pressure off so the second season could turn out to be a lot more testing with loftier expectations at the club. Teams will be much wiser to their tactics so the hugely promising Howe’s managerial savvy will come under the microscope as he attempts to establish the Cherries firmly in the section.

Superfly VI HERITAGE Striker Callum Wilson started the campaign in promising fashion but they were shorn of his services for an extended period after he suffered a nasty knee injury in late September so a good deal of credit must go to those team-mates around him who stepped in and filled the void until his softly-softly return in the spring.

superfly cr7 red Josh King, Junior Stanislas and even veteran Glenn Murray weighed in with important goals and with Wilson healthy again, Howe does seem to have a number of strings to his bow up front with certainly better expected from expensive arrival Benik Afobe, summer addition Jordon Ibe and Max Gradel armed with a new long-term deal.

neymar hypervenom phantom Matt Ritchie’s exit for Newcastle removes some creativity but Howe should be in his element nurturing the young talent at his disposal so the faithful at the compact Vitality Stadium should not lack for entertainment.

It is at the other end of the pitch where Howe needs to shore things up though having conceded 67 goals (joint-second worst with relegated Norwich) as situations where his forward line are constantly chasing games or involved in heart-stopping encounters (Everton last November for example) are probably best avoided.

superfly vi white So as likeable as Howe and Bournemouth are, I think it is realistic to think that we are going to be looking at bets involving the lower portion of the standings and it is no shock to see them a pretty prohibitive odds-on quote to end up again in the bottom half.

MercurialX Finale Street That said, I agree as well with them being heavily favoured (1/4) to maintain their status and a potential wager to keep your interest over the coming weeks and months could be for them to finish above Swansea.