EPL 2017/18: How AFC Bournemouth could line up this season 

A.F.C. Bournemouth v Manchester United - Premier League
Bournemouth finished in an impressive 9th place last season

Once considered "the smallest team to ever reach the Premier League", AFC Bournemouth have since then enjoyed two great seasons in the English top flight under manager Eddie Howe. Week after week they have shown progression, shown intensity, and most of all they have shown us goals - being one of the most exciting teams to watch over the course of the last two seasons.

Last time out, the South Coast club managed an impressive 9th place that they will have trouble improving upon. But with a great transfer market approach that saw them keep not only their manager but also all key players, and spend £30 million on improvements to the current side, the fans can only be hopeful that their team will exceed expectations yet again.

With a competitive squad of mostly English players, the Cherries wouldn't really need to use a classic formation such as 4-4-2 to give this "90's english side" vibe, but it is, in fact, the system they will most likely be using throughout the season. And the only reason stopping you from confusing Bournemouth with one of these teams would be the modern and attractive football that they have been practicing under Howe.

While competition in the squad is a good thing, every team needs stability in the starting eleven, so, this is how AFC Bournemouth should line-up this season.


AFC Bournemouth v Valencia CF - Pre Season Friendly
Asmir Begovic will prove to be a smart signing

Probably because former starter Artur Boruc will be 38 years old by the end of this season, the board thought it would be wise to buy a replacement, someone younger and with Premier League experience, and Asmir Begovic is exactly that.

The Bosnian goalkeeper wasn't happy with his gametime or the lack of it at reigning champions Chelsea and was looking for a club where he could replicate what he achieved at Stoke.

And he has been afforded that opportunity when the Blues accepted a £10m bid for him. We can now expect to see him defend Bournemouth's net for years to come


AFC Bournemouth v Southampton - Premier League
New club record signing Nathan Aké will be nailed on the Cherries' defence

While defence has never been Bournemouth's strong suit, it is definitely improving. At right back we should count on Adam Smith as a starter, although just behind him in the pecking order is club captain Simon Francis - who can also fill in at centre-back.

On the left side of the Cherries' backline, Charlie Daniels is most likely nailed on for the season, barring any injuries, and the Englishman will be wanting to best the already impressive four goals and three assists of last season.

At the heart of the defence, we will see the already established Steve Cook be joined by new club record signing Nathan Aké, who was bought from Chelsea for £19m after impressing on loan in the first half of the 2016/17 season. Tyrone Mings, meanwhile, will provide cover in this position.


AFC Bournemouth v Stoke City - Premier League
Stanislas and Fraser will provide width

Bournemouth's midfield is not likely to see any sort of change from last season. We should see Junior Stanislas as the main threat playing from the right wing as he did last season, getting seven goals and 4 assists in 13 starts from that position. On the opposing side, Ryan Fraser should be the starter, while facing competition from teammates Marc Pugh and Max Gradel - who didn't get much game time last year but is impressing in the current pre-season.

In the centre of the park, Lewis Cook will finally be getting his Premier League breakthrough season. The England U20 skipper played a secondary role last season but should be considered a starter going into 2017/18. Partnering him there will be Harry Arter, facing competition from Dan Gosling and Andrew Surman.


AFC Bournemouth v Valencia CF - Pre Season Friendly
EPL veteran Defoe will be Bournemouth's newest reference

The forward line is by far the most stacked position in Bournemouth's roster. Howe's men will most certainly play with two up top as they did last year and the options are so many that players like club icon Callum Wilson may find hard to get a starting spot. Jermaine Defoe will likely be leading the line for the Cherries.

The English striker returns this season to the South Coast after playing for Bournemouth in the 2000/01 season, on loan from West Ham, and is by far the most experienced Premier League player on the team, with over 450 top flight appearances and 159 goals to his name.

Behind Defoe and in the false nine position Joshua King should be starting and given the almost impossible task of topping last season's 16 league goals.

Benik Afobe is likely to play a secondary role this season and Lys Moussett is probably being sent out on loan.

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Edited by Souvik Roy Chowdhury
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