Bournemouth’s 3-0 win at Charlton earlier today meant that they have now been officially promoted to the Barclays Premier League. To further sweeten what has been a very successful season for the South coast club, they became Champions, as Watford could only draw 1-1 against Sheffield Wednesday.
Eddie Howe’s team weren’t a club many predicted to take the league by storm, however with the attractive attacking football that the team has produced, they have fully deserved to finish the season top of the pile.
They piped Watford to the Championship summit, but the Hornets shouldn’t be too disappointed, after achieving promotion back to the top division in English football last week at Brighton. It has been eight years since Watford were in the Premier League, but similarly to Bournemouth, they have a destructive offense, which makes them very difficult to beat.
Both teams defined the odds to achieve automatic promotion, but have they got what it takes to survive with the big boys of English football?
Firstly, they will have to rebuild their respective back lines to stand any chance. In the Championship, they both overcame teams merely due to scoring more than their opponents. 4-3s and 5-4s aren’t as easy to come by in the Premier League, once a team goes behind it must work its socks off to equalise.
Bournemouth conceded just 45 goals in their 46 Championship games this season. But the problem they face is that none of their defence has any Premier League experience. They need to recruit some players that know the league, and what it takes to remain in it.
Watford conceded 5 goals more than the Cherries, but similarly they don’t have anyone within their ranks with any experience of Premier League football.
Another hurdle both teams will need to jump is the pressure of bigger clubs coming in for their star assets. Ten Premier League clubs are reportedly monitoring Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson. The striker, who joined the Cherries for £3m from Coventry City last summer, has scored 23 goals for Howe’s team this season. Watford captain Troy Deeney scored 21 goals this term and once again is linked with a move to a more established Premier League side.
It’s hard to see why both players would want to leave their respective clubs. Both have an opportunity to show there worth exactly where they are. However football is a strange game and with the ludicrous amount of money players earn nowadays it is easy to twist the minds of the modern day footballer. Look at Raheem Sterling. He plays for one of the biggest clubs in the world (Liverpool) yet he won’t sign a new contract with a six-figure salary.
Wilson and Deeney both need to be tied down with new contracts, as they will both be key in the two team’s survival bids next season.
The future does looks promising for the two teams though, and I do believe that a number of factors will see the teams compete well in the top flight.
Bournemouth’s stadium only has a capacity of approximately 12,000, making it the smallest stadium in the league next year. But the Cherries can use that to their advantage and create a very intimidating atmosphere, like when a team draws a non-league side in the FA Cup away from home. The fans will have a huge bearing on the team next year, as they need to provide the ground with such an atmosphere that it evokes nervousness into their opposition.
Crystal Palace are a good example of this. They don’t have the biggest stadium in the league but the fans make so much noise that it stops the fluency of the opposition. Manchester City (this season) and Liverpool fans (last season) know what that feels like, seeing their teams lose at Selhurst Park at crucial times of the season.
Bournemouth scored an incredible 98 goals this season, making them the top goal scorers of any of the top four divisions in the country. Their army of offensive players have eradicated all defences they have faced this campaign. Leading Lieutenants Harry Artur, Matt Richie, Yann Kermogant and Calum Wilson have provided General Howe with nothing but goals, goals and more goals.
Teams will fear the Bournemouth forward line next season due to the sheer power that is at Howe’s disposal. The team shouldn’t change their philosophy now they are in the top league. Instead they should focus on adapting their current style. More wing play and more direct attacking football. They will defiantly get results the way they play.
Both Bournemouth and Watford have very good home records this term, which must be replicated next season. Both teams obtained 46 points at their home grounds (bettered only by Ipswich Town and Middlesbrough). Home form is crucial for promoted teams in the Premier League as away wins are difficult to come by. QPR this season only have two away wins to their name since being promoted back to the top flight last May.
With Bournemouth’s secret weapon being their atmosphere, Watford’s greatest asset is their connection with Italian club Udinese. Matej Vydra, Fernando Forestieri and Almen Abdi are all players that Watford have either signed or loaned from the Serie A side in order to gain promotion.
With Premier League status now achieved, it could be possible that Udinese send over even better players. Players that are more physical and more technical, which can only boost the teams’ survival chances.
So do I think that both teams will stay up next season? Yes. I think both have a great chance. Both team’s philosophies are to play sexy, attacking football and for me it’s the best way to achieve results. I can’t see either team hitting mid table but 15th and 16th? That’s a realistic target I think both teams can hit. The transfer market will be key. Both clubs need to sign good strong centre backs and perhaps a known goal scorer in the division. Going by what I have seen this season of the current bottom seven clubs in the Premier League, Bournemouth and Watford will defiantly compete. Can they turn their competiveness and determination into results? We will have to wait and see.