by Dan Davis (@dan_davis20)
AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has admitted his concern for his team’s performances is growing, after the Cherries suffered another defeat this weekend.
A narrow 1-0 reverse against last season’s champions Chelsea leaves the south coast club in 19th place, with only the struggling Crystal Palace propping them up at the bottom of the table.
The Cherries’ performance was admirable against Antonio Conte’s Blues, with the five-man defence remaining resolute despite the array of attacking talent available to the enigmatic Italian. However, a mistake from captain Simon Francis allowed Eden Hazard through on goal, and the Belgian winger made no mistake as he fired home at Asmir Begovic’s near post to ensure all three points would be heading back to Stamford Bridge.
The disappointing defeat means that Bournemouth have only taken seven points from their fixtures so far this season, and Howe has admitted that the next month will be crucial for the Cherries in their battle for Premier League survival: “These performances can be misleading; they hurt you.
“It’s a crisis in the Premier League when you lose one game. It’s a commonly used word.
“We are concerned, of course we are. We have a key run of games coming up next month, particularly when you look at the games in December. We know this.”
Eden Hazard’s finish has led to some pundits and supporters criticizing Bournemouth’s summer signing, Asmir Begovic, for his role in the only goal for the game.
But Howe was quick to explain he thought the goal was a team error, rather than an individual mistake: “It wasn’t just a goalkeeping error. It was a really poor goal.
“They had a lot of the ball, we plugged gaps and threw our bodies in the way, but to then concede from our goal-kick with a couple of errors thrown in, that was hugely disappointing.”
Bournemouth now look ahead to their next fixture away at Newcastle United, who are enjoying a successful first season upon their return to the Premier League.
Both Junior Stanislas and Benik Afobe were forced off during the Chelsea defeat, with their own respective injury concerns and may be ruled out for the trip to St. James’ Park.
Howe explained: “Stanislas said his groin had gone. Benik we’re unsure of.”
The tricky run of matches for Bournemouth around the Christmas period, including clashes with Manchester City and their city rivals, United, and also a return trip to Chelsea means that the November games will be crucial in deciding whether Bournemouth will remain a Premier League team next season, starting with a must-win game on Tyneside.