Eddie Howe has proved his worth beyond doubt by not only steering the Cherries into the top-flight for the first time in their history but more importantly establishing them in the Premier League for more than a single season. It’s not so long ago that Bournemouth were plying their trade in the fourth tier of English football, however they can now look to the future with a large degree of optimism with Howe determined to further cement their top-flight status in their planned new stadium.
The fact remains that while the Cherries have successfully avoided the drop back down to the Championship, the relegation battles are starting to get harder each season and Howe will look for some improved displays from some of his more experienced players this season. Indeed the Cherries boss will be more than happy to have been handed what looks a very winnable opening league match and we’ll be siding with the hosts to collect the three points against newly-promoted Cardiff City.
The Bluebirds were the surprise package in the Championship last term and they surprised almost everyone – ourselves included – when they finally made the leap into the top-flight, especially so given that boss Neil Warnock was brought in to stave off the threat of relegation to League One. He succeeded in making Cardiff a tough nut to crack last season and this was enough for them to finish second in the league table behind Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Cardiff City’s last foray into the Premier League was somewhat overshadowed by an air of discontentment amongst fans due to the unpopularity of owner Vincent Tan and managers who were clearly out of their depth, however under Warnock we expect the Bluebirds to once again prove hard to beat although we’re stopping short of backing them to win this weekend.
Home advantage is with the Cherries and we expect them to make this count on Saturday. Cardiff were strong in last season’s Championship campaign but the Premier League is a massive step-up in terms of quality and given that Neil Warnock’s summer signings have been from lower leagues, we expect them to be in for a very tough afternoon with a home win very much the order of the day, William Hill Bookmakers going 10/11 on Bournemouth to win.