Bournemouth have just enjoyed quite possibly the best season in their 118 year history this year, finishing ninth in the Premier League – their highest ever football league finish. Manager Eddie Howe has attracted plaudits for the job he is doing with the Cherries, but ultimately the players on the pitch deserve as much credit as those behind the scenes for their professional approach, and ability to get the job done.
Their defence was arguably the weakest link in the squad, despite such an impressive finish. They shipped 67 goals all season – more than any team to finish above 15th – at an average of 1.76 goals per game. While that emphasises just how impressive their campaign has been, it has also highlighted that they could have finished even higher if they could have kept a few more clean sheets.
With that, let’s take a look at how the Cherries’ back line performed in our EuroFantasyLeague game this season.
Charlie Daniels was, perhaps unsurprisingly, the best performing defender for the south coast club this season. He managed to earn himself 42 points throughout the campaign. That is largely thanks to four goals scored, and featuring in 10 clean sheets. Only a single booking from his 34 starts added to his stats, which reflect a solid presence, with a calm head and confidence in his own decision making. At a value of 7.00m he represented a wise choice for our fantasy managers, though his Price / Performance (P/P) score of 5.9 showed there were perhaps better choices out there.
Despite scoring the most points, Daniels was only the third most expensive choice in the team – but more on the two more expensive players in a moment.
Coming some way behind Daniels in second place was Adam Smith. The former Tottenham defender, who has been linked with a return to north London recently, managed to accrue 19 points. Like Daniels he managed 34 starts, but also made two appearances as a sub – six yellows and more goals conceded ensured he was some way off his colleague. A P/P score of 3.0 shows that managers with him in their squad could perhaps have made a better choice, especially given his 6.00m valuation.
That’s not to say Smith had a bad season by any stretch of course. That accolade could, in fact, be given to third and fourth place on Bournemouth’s highest performers out of their defence. Steve Cook and Simon Francis enjoyed better seasons than their stats reflect, admittedly, but given their higher valuations of 7.50m apiece they will be disappointed with their final scores of 14 and 11 respectively. Taking into account also their individual P/P scores of 1.7 and 1.3, fantasy managers may be well advised to see how their seasons start next term before opting to bring them into their squads.
Baily Cargill only made a single sub appearance for Eddie Howe’s men all season, but managed to finish third from bottom! Not a single point scored, but only a single goal conceded during his 18 minutes of action at Old Trafford against Man United mean he didn’t lose any points.
The same sadly can’t be said for Tyrone Mings and Brad Smith. Again, neither featured regularly with eight starts and four sub appearances combined, but scores of -5 and -13 are alarming. Mings tended to feature in games involving heavy Bournemouth defeats, so his score arguably doesn’t fairly reflect his potential. The points table doesn’t lie though!
As for Brad Smith, he managed to lose points in each of the five games he appeared in. The 6-3 loss at Everton proved his worst day of action of course, but two or more goals conceded in each of his appearances gave him a steady points loss.
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