1 BECOME BETTER ON THE TURN
The Cherries consistently lost aerial duels to most opponents last season and were vulnerable to through-ball attacks, which caught them out all too often. These two defensive frailties merit plenty of training-ground drills.
2 KEEP BEGOVIC ON HIS TOES
Asmir Begovic was regarded as an excellent addition when he arrived from Chelsea for $15m but he struggled a bit, making errors that were uncharacteristic of his career up to now. That must have irked Howe as he tried to address Bournemouth’s loose back line. They’ve just shipped out three goalkeepers, but Artur Boruc remains and can keep the big Bosnian honest.
3 STAY STEADY, EDDIE
Howe keeps his head when others are losing theirs, be it during a bad February slump in their second Premier League campaign or a false start to 2017-18 (the Cherries lost their first four and also spent Christmas in the relegation zone). He has remained sane by sticking to his own philosophy, saying: “You are often one result away from a crisis, but I am a firm believer in doing the right things – the luck changes.” Whatever unfolds this time, don’t expect a knee-jerk reaction.
4 START MATCHES STRONGER
This is easier said than done; it’s about as helpful as saying, “Try scoring more goals”. But Howe’s men do make life harder for themselves by regularly falling behind in games: 23 times last season, they conceded first. The way they kept bouncing back did showcase their spirit – impressively, they lost only 13 of those games – but ironing out issues around concentration early doors would save them the bother.
5 KEEP HOME ADVANTAGE
Howe believes the club must build that bigger stadium if they are to continue pulling off miracles and create a legacy of their top-flight adventure, however long it lasts. Still, while they are at their 11,400-capacity ground (a new 2,400-stand was only erected in 2013), they may as well use it to their advantage. Maintaining a fierce cup-tie atmosphere can boost a team that is already big on unity.