Bournemouth’s relegation odds shorten after more defensive woe

Tipsters Review - 05-Mar-2020

 

Bournemouth’s relegation odds shorten after more defensive woe

With Bournemouth pulling off four straight seasons of reasonably comfortable survival, the sight of the Cherries entering March in the bottom three came as something of a shock. They did so in the aftermath of a 2-2 draw with Chelsea, which combined badly with other results on the day.

Last season, the sight of Josh King, Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser was one of the most feared away from the realms of the so-called ‘big six’ of the late 2010s. The Vitality Stadium was also an unforgiving venue for many greater teams, with the proximity of the fans to the players creating a unique atmosphere.

Flash forward a year, and they are a shadow of what they once were, Wilson’s early-season form has faded, even if he is still the Cherries’ greatest threat. However, Fraser is a lesser force compared to his 2018/19 self, and the now-unsettled King has still not managed to emulate the heights of his breakthrough 2016/17 season.

All this, along with Eddie Howe’s ever-shortening ‘sack race’ odds, has created the perfect storm and paints a very bleak picture down at the Vitality Stadium.

Better to burn out than to fade away?

Regardless of Bournemouth’s ultimate fate, the Cherries’ class of 2019/20 will always be remembered as born entertainers – even if not to a winning end. The Dorset club’s home match against Chelsea was their fifth consecutive league game to feature over 2.5 goals, and in turn, Bournemouth entered March as the only club to have seen their last five league games produce three or more goals.

However, it was also the eleventh straight league match in which they failed to keep a clean sheet.
The Cherries also take the spotlight for the wrong reasons in the in-play market, with over half of the goals they conceded during that eleven-game run without a clean sheet coming in the 60th minute or later. This habit has a profound effect on Bournemouth's pre-game odds as seen on well-informed sites such as Betzcenter, and Chelsea’s equaliser duly arrived in that same time bracket.

 


The run-in

The Chelsea match was also the eighth league clash in a row at the Vitality Stadium to see Bournemouth concede at any point.

Their failure to score a league goal at home before the quarter-hour mark was further elongated, and with relegation survival campaigns often reliant on strong starts in vital home games, the argument against Bournemouth’s survival gains extra ammunition.

On paper, Bournemouth’s run-in is not remotely enviable, especially as they entered March having lost over 60% of their league matches begun as matchday betting underdogs. Home matches with Tottenham and Leicester will undoubtedly prove challenging, with the two sides fighting for a Champions League spot.

Trips to the Etihad Stadium and Goodison Park also loom within the Cherries’ final five games, and with Howe's side failing to take even a single point from either ground since gaining Premier League membership, their form up to mid-April will be vital towards them keeping it.

 


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