LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 28, 2015: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp and AFC Bournemouth's manager Eddie Howe during the Football League Cup 4th Round match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

2016/17 Premier League Opposition Preview: AFC Bournemouth

Next up in our season previews is Eddie Howe’s promising AFC Bournemouth side who are looking to build on their debut Premier League season.

Bournemouth joined the top flight for the first time in the club’s history last year and made a good impression to the start of life in the English top flight when they produced some free-flowing football.

The Cherries had a bright start to the 2015/16 season before dropping down the table and finishing 16th, five points off the drop, but Howe’s team could pose more of a threat in their second campaign.

Bournemouth have done some business with Liverpool ahead of the 2016/17 campaign which could help them prove to be difficult opponents this season.

Supporter Q&A

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 17, 2015: AFC Bournemouth's manager Eddie Howe during the Premier League match against Liverpool at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We caught up with popular blogger and huge AFC Bournemouth fan, Michael from @alldepartments, to get his thoughts on his side ahead of the 2016/17 campaign and for an insight into what the Cherries might bring to Anfield.

How well do you think AFC Bournemouth will do this season?

Survival has to be our top priority. I’d also expect us to have a decent stab at one of the cups as it presents our only genuine chance of glory.

Who are your star men and who do Liverpool need to look out for?

We were without our main striker, Callum Wilson, for most of last season but if he is fully fit again following a lengthy lay-off with an ACL injury he could make a big impact with his goals.

Our other forward Josh King shone last year after a bit of a shaky start and has become a huge fan-favourite.

It’s also worth mentioning Harry Arter, our tenacious ball-playing midfielder, who also had injury issues in the previous campaign. Our best run of form came when he featured regularly in the side over the winter months.

What changes have you made during the off-season and how do you think they will impact your squad for the upcoming season?

Eddie Howe has been quite a busy boy. As you will know, he has signed Jordan Ibe and Brad Smith from Liverpool and hopefully they will thrive at Dean Court.

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 15, 2016: Liverpool's Jordon Ibe on his way to scoring the first equalising goal West Bromwich Albion to level the score at 1-1 during the final Premier League match of the season at the Hawthorns. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We have also signed Lewis Cook from Leeds, Emerson Hyndman from Fulham, Lys Mousset from Le Havre, as well as Nathan Ake on a season long loan from Chelsea. None of these are household names but, like Ibe and Smith, they are all young players hungry to make their way in the game and Eddie will be confident he can mould them into established top flight footballers.

With that in mind, he has shipped out Lee Tomlin, Glenn Murray and loanee Juan Iturbe, all of whom did not really fit into our style of play and appeared to cause him problems of one sort or another off the pitch.

Greater sorrow was forthcoming amongst the fan base following the departures of stalwarts Matt Ritchie and, in particular, captain Tommy Elphick. Ritchie was outstanding in the Championship yet, despite the perception of the national media, was less effective in the Premier League.

Tommy remains our greatest ever captain, but his lack of pace was cruelly exposed at times last season. It is impossible to predict what kind of impact all of this activity will have on results, but at the moment it feels reasonably positive overall.

What formations and tactics do you expect your side to employ this year?

Despite our modest history, AFC Bournemouth have always had a reputation for being an attractive passing team and Howe’s tenure as manager has taken this to a new level.

I expect us to play four at the back with our full-backs bombing forward regularly. We may play with either four or five in midfield at different points of the season, but, regardless, there will be two out and out wingers and plenty of attacking intent.

We will also seek to dominate possession and deny the opposition the ball, a tactic that has been the hallmark of Eddie’s teams.

How do you think your side can exploit Liverpool’s weaknesses when they come to play each other this season?

I don’t pay enough attention to Liverpool to pin-point specific weaknesses, but you do seem susceptible to a few surprise defeats each season and hopefully our virtual anonymity will bring out a shock victory in at least one of the meetings.

What do you make of your manager Eddie Howe, the philosophy he has and the tactics he uses?

He can do very little wrong in my eyes or that of almost all Bournemouth fans. With the possible exception of Claudio Ranieri, he has to be the manager most loved by his own supporters in the entire league.

The only possible question mark is his desire to use defence as a springboard for attacking play. Our fans love this approach, but also worry it will lead to us shipping far too many goals, which I am sure Howe would admit we did too often last season.

What’s your home crowd like? What importance does home advantage have on your side?

Dean Court is extremely small by Premier League standards, but the close proximity of the compact stands to the playing surface can create a vibrant atmosphere.

Another upside of our minnow status is that the crowd is not as diluted by the influx of the many football tourists we saw at several of the bigger clubs last season.

That said, we only won four times at home last year and we will be looking to improve on that significantly in the 2016/17 campaign.

Dean Court

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 17, 2016: A general view of Bournemouth's Dean Court Stadium before the FA Premier League match against Liverpool. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Capacity: 11,464

When we play there: Saturday, 3rd December

Away fan’s pubs: The Percy Florence Shelly, Christchurch Road; Portman, Ashley Road; The Queen’s Park, Ashley Road

AFC Bournemouth 2016/17

Players IN: Jordon Ibe (Liverpool £15m,) Lys Mousset (Le Havre £5.4m,) Emerson Hyndman (Fulham, £750,00,) Nathan Ake (Chelsea, Loan,) Lewis Cook (Leeds, £10m,) Brad Smith (Liverpool £6m)

Players OUT: Jayden Stockley (Aberdeen, Free) Sylvain Distin (Released,) Tommy Elphick (Aston Villa, £3.6m) Matt Ritchie (Newcastle, £12m,) Lee Tomlin (Bristol City, £3m) Glenn Murray (Brighton, Loan) Jon Muleba (Released) Mason Walsh (Released) Stephane Zubar (Released,) Josh Wakefield (Released) Josh Carmichael (Released,) Joe Quigley (Gillingham, Loan) Harry Cornick (Leyton Orient, Loan)

Michael’s best starting XI: Boruc, Daniels, S Cook, Francis, A Smith, Gradel, Arter, Surman, Ibe, King, Wilson

2016/17 Predictions

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 17, 2015: Liverpool's Nathaniel Clyne in action against AFC Bournemouth during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

TIA’s Bournemouth predicted finish: 14th

Where Michael thinks Bournemouth will finish this season: 13th

Where Michael thinks Liverpool will finish this season: 5th

Read all our team-by-team season previews here

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