Win-streaking Bournemouth happy at Christmas, but drop still looms

Eddie Howe can tuck into his Christmas dinner feeling rightly pleased with his recent work at Bournemouth, having won three Premier League games on the spin to climb out of the relegation places.

With draws against Swansea and Everton preceding the trio of victories, the Cherries move into the hectic festive period unbeaten in five league outings and clear of the dreaded drop zone by five points.

As a result of their recent points gorge, the south coast club find themselves eased all the way out to 4/1 for relegation by Ladbrokes, having started Saturday priced up at 11/4.

But while their current form is among the best in the league – only three teams have won more points in the last six games – the fear of relegation still looms.

A testing Christmas period, with a squad already spread taxingly thin by injuries, and a fearsome final run in means Howe’s squad are certainly not out of the woods. More importantly, it means their current price for the drop represents fantastic value.

In the next three games, played over the course of eight days, Bournemouth must welcome away-specialists Crystal Palace, travel to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal two days later, then battle surprise-leaders Leicester as their first assignment in 2016.

Having defeated Chelsea and Manchester United in the current win streak, Cherries fans will argue that their club are clearly capable of taking points from that gauntlet of fixtures. Anyone firm in that belief can back the side to beat the Eagles on Boxing Day at 6/4.

However, it would be extremely unlikely for a side sat at the lower end of the division to go all season upsetting the big clubs. Even if Bournemouth extend their pleasing run over Christmas, the season’s end could bite them.

In the final eight games of the campaign, the Cherries will have to face Tottenham, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man United, by which time the 4/1 currently available on their relegation could have shrivelled.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.