How Bournemouth have gone from 66/1 to just 4/1 for relegation
While all the attention has been heaped elsewhere, Bournemouth are quietly being sucked into a relegation battle, and it’s all because of Olivier Giroud and Nathan Ake.
On January 3, the Cherries were moments away from going 12 points clear of the bottom three, before Giroud dramatically equalised for Arsenal at Dean Court.
That fixture was also the final game for Nathan Ake’s loan spell on the south coast.
The Dutch defender had become a key part of Bournemouth’s plans, forming a strong partnership with Steve Cook.
But parent club Chelsea took Ake back last month, and boss Eddie Howe admitted losing him was a ‘huge blow’. How right he was.
Back then Bournemouth were huge 66/1 to go down but today they’re just 4/1 for the drop.
Since that Arsenal draw and Ake’s departure, Bournemouth are winless and have slipped from ninth to fourteenth.
But what’s worse is a safety buffer which was seconds away from being 12 points has been reduced to just four.
The Cherries have picked up one point in six games since that 3-3 thriller – conceding 17 times – and they’ve only played one top-six side in that spell.
Which brings us on to Bournemouth’s next problem – fixtures.
A trip to Manchester United awaits this Saturday lunch-time, and the Red Devils have become a side where points for the opposition are few and far between.
Following that, Howe leads his team into two crucial home games versus West Ham and fellow relegation rivals Swansea.
Those two fixtures will go a mighty long way to determining Bournemouth’s future.
Especially because April could prove absolutely horrid.
After a south-coast derby away at Southampton to kick off the month, Bournemouth must then face Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham in succession.
They end the month with a home tie versus Middlesbrough and a trip to Sunderland, but by then, Howe’s men could be in very real trouble.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing