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Lets start with some facts about Bournemouth as of March 29th 2017.
League Position: 11th
Goals for: 42
Goals Against: 54
Goals Difference: Do the math
Let’s put the above in perspective. Bournemouth would’ve ripped your arm off to be in 11th spot coming into April. If Eddie Howe was playing the odds at a casino, since their official sponsor is Mansion Group – a gambling giant who owns several online casinos like Mansion Casino, he would’ve cashed in. Yes, its only nine points away from the drop zone, but hey, its better than Sunderland who are 4 points into it.
The curious case though with the Cherries is their goals conceded. At 54 goals conceded they are worse off in that department than all of the nine teams below them in the table (except Hull and Swansea) but at 42 goals scored they are better off than three teams above them and tied with Manchester United. So their net goals at -12 (by the magic of math) is very respectable.
The concern for Eddie Howe though still remains that they are leaking too many goals at the back. With 54 conceded after 29 games played (A ratio of 1.86 goals/game), they should be in the relegation zone according to trends from the past six seasons. If we assume a linear pattern, Bournemouth will end the season with 71 goals conceded. No team in the past five seasons has conceded that amount of goals and stayed up. The only two teams to “achieve” this and not get relegated in recent history are WBA with 71 GA in the 10/11 season and Wigan with 79 in the 9/10 season.
Bournemouth aren’t strangers to this situation though as last season they shipped 67 goals (the second highest in the league after last placed Villa) and still managed to finish the season in 16th place.
“Don’t talk about goals, talk about net goals”.
Bournemouth might concede a lot of goals but when they do, they do it so well! They are really good at conceding goals. I mean good as in bad, but still good. When you analyse their results across this season, you can see what I mean by good at conceding goals. They either:
- Concede a lot of goals within the same game which they lose:
- Losing 6-0 or 1-0 still results in the same three dropped points, and this is what Bournemouth have done very well. A few examples include conceding four to City in September and six to Everton in February. These type of results mean the spread of goals conceded to points lost is quite favorable.
- Concede lots of goals where they still match or outscore the opposition to win or draw:
- Bournemouth have been able to do this a few times this season as in the cases of the 3-3 draw with Arsenal, 3-2 win over West Ham, and most notably the 4-3 win over Liverpool.
By design, if you give him the benefit of the doubt, Eddie Howe has managed to get this Bournemouth team scoring goals. Lots of them. The aforementioned 4-3 game against Liverpool sums up Bournemouth perfectly. Concede three goals, then roar back to win by scoring three in a row of their own.
Bournemouth, luckily, for a second season in a row, have worse teams than them in the league so they’ll stay up even if they continue their trend of conceding goals. Its to the advantage of the league that they do as they try to play football the “right way” and always provide entertaining games. It might be to the detriment of the health of Cherries fans but for the neutrals, it’s a blessing.