Title odds 2016-17 1000-1
Star man Simon Francis
Has played as full-back, centreback and captain this season, thriving in every role. At 31, and after a career spent previously in the Football League, his performances are both an inspiration to other professionals and an illustration of the club’s superb coaching environment.
What went right?
Bournemouth stayed true to their passing style of football and were totally vindicated by effectively clinching safety with fully two months of the season remaining. Eddie Howe rates this as the best of all his many achievements at the club.
What went wrong?
Three serious knee injuries to key players and a slump in form through September and October that, at one stage, appeared irreversible. Howe is also likely to be irritated by the recent slip in results once safety was secure.
Lame duck Juan Iturbe
Bournemouth beat off competition from Watford to bring him into the Premier League in January but he played only four games after appearing to struggle physically with English football and is now likely to return to Roma.
What’s the verdict on Eddie Howe?
Unless Howe was presented with an opportunity that he felt fitted with his philosophy and family life. Everton could have an emotional pull – he supported them as a child – but Howe is revered in Bournemouth and would not leave easily.