Bournemouth's journey to the Premier League was simply incredible. However, in my opinion, their survival campaigns have been massively overlooked. The Cherries perhaps haven't been given enough credit for their achievements and when they look at their squad, they've sneakily assembled a side that in 2-3 years could become a force in the Premier League.
However, I have to admit with just two signings coming in this season I don't believe the starting XI of the Cherries has been improved. Diego Rico appears to be a good signing and we know the impact David Brooks had at Sheffield United but I feel the majority of Premier League sides have improved their starting line-ups this season meaning Bournemouth might be dragged into a relegation battle if things don't go their way.
One thing is for sure, they must begin this season better than their last.
The signing of Asmir Begovic was a massive coup for Bournemouth last season and he proved his worth with some decent performances last season. If the Bosnian shot-stopper suffers an injury they've got the experienced Artur Boruc waiting in the wings.
With new signing Diego Rico joining Charlie Daniels as Bournemouth's left wing-back option they have got good cover there, this is added to the bonus of having Adam Smith or Jordon Ibe as options at right-back. Tyrone Mings and Simon Francis can also play right-back but both have been utilised in a central role recently.
With Francis, Nathan Ake and Steve Cook as regular starters for Bournemouth they could possibly do with one or two back up centre backs to bolster their options.
Central midfielders are where Bournemouth are almost overloaded for me, With Lewis Cook, Dan Gosling and Andrew Surman fighting it out for the two spots it'll be interesting to see the rotation the Cherries implement this season.
Emerson Hyndman and Harry Arter will be set for sporadic starts across the season and will likely bring lots of energy to a tired midfield later in the season. However, a better partner alongside Lewis Cook could see Bournemouth improve this season.
Bournemouth are also blessed in the wings - Jordon Ibe and Josh King were regular starters last season but King often moved into a central position with injuries to Callum Wilson. Junior Stanislas and Ryan Fraser will also be set for regular starts across the season.
With Wilson, King, Lys Mousset and Jermaine Defoe as their attacking options, Bournemouth have multiple strikers of a similar level who can equally damage teams across the season.
One to watch: Jordon Ibe
Best signing: David Brooks
Weak link: Dan Gosling/Andrew Surman
Players needed: 2
Expected started line-up
With how they've played in pre-season it is expected that Eddie Howe's side will start the season in the 4-4-2 formation. Whether they change their formation to a five at the back against the likes of Manchester City remains to be seen.
I can't envision either of Bournemouth's new signings slotting straight into the starting line-up against Cardiff. Rico made his first start in a behind-closed-doors victory against Amiens and I think he might become a regular later on in the season but I can imagine for the first game of the season Charlie Daniels will remain Bournemouth's first choice left back.
As for David Brooks, I think he'll start on the bench and make himself known as an impact substitute if things aren't going their way against Cardiff. All of their midfield impressed last season and I can't envision Brooks getting in ahead of King or Wilson at this stage. Personally, I think Bournemouth can still improve their central areas as a couple of injuries would leave them quite scarce.
Other than that, Bournemouth have a young core which will only improve with age and I'm very interested to see the impact that Lewis Cook, Nathan Ake and Jordon Ibe have as the highly rated prodigies they were when signed by the club. That being said, the experience of Steve Cook, Asmir Begovic and Simon Francis will be invaluable for the Cherries this season.
Final league position
The Cherries have five very difficult games in their opening six and if they fail to pick up a win against Cardiff they could find themselves in a very damning position early on in the season especially if they pick up some early injuries. Regardless, I think Bournemouth's main aim will be to have a decent cup run and avoid relegation which I think they'll manage this season.
Prediction - 15th
With Bournemouth's difficult start I suspect the EFL Cup will be at the back of their minds, Bournemouth will field a weakened team and likely lose to a Championship or Premier League side who're looking to prioritise the competition.
EFL Cup - Third Round
Bournemouth will be in a decent enough position come Christmas to give the FA Cup a go. I feel they'll be beaten by one of the stronger teams later in the competition but pick up some good results in their opening rounds.
FA Cup - Fifth Round
Agree with my predictions? Leave a comment with your predictions for AFC Bournemouth in the upcoming season.