Bournemouth keep defying those who believe relegation will come sooner or later and there is no reason why they won’t impress again in 2018/19.
When we play them: December 8 (away); February 9 (home)
Last season: Won 3-0 (home); Won 4-0 (away)
Last season’s 12th-place finish was further proof that the Cherries are now an established Premier League side.
Eddie Howe is doing a wonderful job at Dean Court, as he continues to adopt an attack-minded approach with young players given an opportunity to shine.
This summer hasn’t been the busiest on the south coast but the signing of highly-rated Sheffield United youngster David Brooks sums up Howe’s promotion of youth.
Brooks is certainly one to watch as the season progresses, with the Welshman a prodigiously gifted attacking player.
Bournemouth are a team built on a wonderful team spirit and a nucleus of players who have been together for a long period now, which has been the key to them retaining their Premier League status over the last three seasons.
Granted, newly-promoted duo Wolves and Fulham have spent big, as have a number of other top flight clubs, but the Cherries shouldn’t be fearing for their safety.
Another mid-table finish has to be the aim.
Players in: Diego Rico, David Brooks
Players out: Benik Afobe, Lewis Grabban, Baily Cargill, Ryan Allsop, Adam Federici, Joe Quigley, Rhoys Wiggins (retired)
Best XI: Begovic; Smith, S. Cook, Ake, Daniels; Fraser, L. Cook, Surman; Stanislas, Ibe, Wilson
How optimistic or pessimistic are you for the new season, and why?
Cautiously optimistic. Being a long-term Bournemouth fan has taught me to hope for the best and expect the worst.
We do, however, seem to finally be filling in some of the shortcomings that have been holding the team back since time immemorial.
We are adding defensive depth and cover in front of the back four, so expect us to be more resilient defensively this season.
What are your aims for the season?
The first aim will be to avoid the drop again—assuming we can do that I would love a cup run.
Who’s your man to watch?
Lewis Cook—this season is going to be huge for him.
After being the first English men’s captain to lift a World Cup since 1966 last summer, and a breakthrough season that gained him his first full England cap, he is ready for the big time.
His playmaking abilities are bound to attract some interest next summer, but in the here and now he can add some much-needed cut and thrust to our midfield.
Away fans’ pubs: The best bet for away fans is to head into the centre of town before the match. The stadium is about three miles from it and there are plenty of buses and taxis to get you to the ground.
This will give you a much bigger variety of bars and pubs to suit any taste.
One piece of advice for visiting fan: My standard advice would be to make a weekend of it. Bournemouth is known as a tourist haven for a reason, with plenty of accommodation and things to do aside from the football.
The Jurassic Coast and Tank/Monkey Museums are all driveable and are must-sees for families.
I would also say bring a baseball cap or a coat. The away end isn’t the best-covered and with the low winter sun, you could well be blinded on a bright day.
Equally, you could be soaked on a wet one!
How do you rate Liverpool’s chances heading into the season?
For me this will be a huge year for the Jurgen Klopp project.
Man City will still be the team to beat but I can see Liverpool being the team to close the gap and make a chase of it.
The key could be restoring the tradition of silverware for Liverpool. We got a glimpse of it last year with the Champions League final but Klopp will need to bring something home soon.
Who’s going to be the Reds’ Player of the Year, and why?
It’s really hard to look past Salah.
I don’t think he will run away with it quite so much, but if Liverpool have a good season, he will as well.
TIA’s Bournemouth Predicted Finish: 14th (Average of the TIA writers’ predictions)
Where Neil says Bournemouth will finish: 12th
Where Neil says Liverpool will finish: 2nd
This is part of our club-by-club opposition previews this summer, getting the views of away fans on their club and their thoughts on LFC:
Arsenal | Bournemouth | Brighton | Burnley | Cardiff | Chelsea | Crystal Palace | Everton | Fulham | Huddersfield | Leicester | Man City | Man United | Newcastle | Southampton | Tottenham | Watford | West Ham | Wolves