It’s been a landmark season for Bournemouth and one they’ll be looking to cap off in style when they play Charlton Athletic at the Valley this weekend.
Ever since that 4-0 demolition at Huddersfield on the opening day of the season, Eddie Howe’s men have had a swagger and charisma about them that has seen them career past teams with style and finesse – and at times, with ease.
Following a few early season hiccups, they went to Bolton in October and after a battling win put together a formidable run that lasted through to Christmas, where they dispatched Millwall 2-0 at The Den. The same team that seven years ago sat bottom of League 2, embroiled in a financial struggle to survive and slapped with a 17-point penalty for their off the field troubles – an emphatic difference.
Eddie Howe, an ex-player himself has masterminded a rise through the divisions that has put him and Bournemouth slap bang in the limelight. They are fresh off the back of a renewed 16-game unbeaten streak, where Callum Wilson’s 20 goals this season has seen them smash past eight of their last sixteen opponents, none more satisfying than a 5-1 destruction away to Fulham – who themselves reached the Europa League final only five years ago.
After their home win against Bolton on Monday night, Eddie Howe said that he “never thought promotion was possible” but following a win at Charlton this weekend (providing Watford drop points), Bournemouth could end the season Champions – and who would begrudge them?
Safe in the knowledge they’ve secured one of football’s biggest windfalls, you’d forgive Bournemouth for taking their foot off the pedal this weekend. Perhaps dwindling on the thought of their £120m windfall granted to clubs entering England’s top flight - we don’t see it that way though.
Speaking after Monday night's win Howe said "we want to finish the season well, and are focusing very much on Charlton. The main focus is to win the game and do our bit."
Charlton sit comfortably mid table after an up and down season. They lost away to Birmingham in their last outing and have won only once in their last seven games.
We predict a Bournemouth win this weekend and the bookies aren’t disagreeing with Betfred offering 1/2
for an away win. The interesting part will be whether Sheffield Wednesday can cause an upset at Watford, propelling Bournemouth into pole position.
Eddie Howe will certainly be hoping so.
No matter what the result, it’s one of the great footballing stories seeing Bournemouth promoted this season. They are a fans favourite and will be a great addition to the Premier League. They’re a shoe in for any accumulator this weekend so be sure to include an away win on your betting slips.
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