ROUNDBALL DAILY

Two games, two very different results, and not many conclusions to draw for AFC Bournemouth so far into Premier League season

Manchester City vs. Bournemouth

Not much can be taken away from Bournemouth’s first two games, especially the 4-0 drubbing at Manchester City.

If you listen to “Football Weekly” or watch “Sky Sports”– piece of advice: look at Jamie Redknapp when he’s talking— you would’ve heard the same predictions about AFC Bournemouth heading into this Premier League season.

Not only were the Cherries chosen to be relegated by just about everyone, most pundits had them finishing dead last in the league. It’s understandable. Bournemouth didn’t bring in many players of significance coming off of a 2nd-place finish in the Championship last season, and for most clubs from that division heading into the Premier League, that’s a death sentence. More than any other sport, European soccer is reflective of Darwinism– adapt, or die. Improve, or be relegated.

But after two games in this brand new season, it’s possible that Bournemouth may have some Eddie Howe-era style tricks up its sleeve. The Cherries saw two very different results– the first a heartening 2-0 win at home over Aston Villa in their reintroduction to the league, and then a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of the best team in the world (on paper, at least).

Also see: Week 2 Premier League Reactions

It’s hard to glean anything from those two games, especially considering the emotion involved in Bournemouth’s EPL return at home, and the 11-man wrecking crew that City have become. Losing 4-0 at Manchester City is, as Football Weekly’s Max Rushden put it, about par for a non-top six club. So it’s frustrating for fans trying to speculate on how the season will go based on early results.

Bournemouth’s early schedule is debilitating, with Arsenal at home next and Liverpool away after that. Once they get through that gauntlet, they’ll have Wolves, Nottingham Forest and Brighton, but by then, confidence might be low.

It would have been nice to see Bournemouth get the chance to ease into their Premier League return with some winnable games, and happily for them, they did take all three points in the season opener. But this gauntlet of a start will certainly leave them behind the 8-ball not only in the standings but in belief.

It’s not impossible to think that Bournemouth could get something out of the next two games, and if they can manage a point– Liverpool is in crisis after opening the season with draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace– that would be more than enough to make fans in Dorset believe this team has what it takes to stay up.

If not though, we’ll have to wait another three weeks for the next winnable game– the next test of whether or not this club can look like it did in the season opener again.

There’s a heck of a long way to go in this season, and there will be many more disruptions, especially with the World Cup splitting the schedule into two mini-campaigns. It’s not the way you’d set up a fair competition at the beginning of the year.

But then again, this is the Premier League, and only the strong survive.

Bournemouth fans will have to wait a little while to find out whether or not their club has what it takes.

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