Hadvert the Premier League season began on 30 August, when Gary O’Neil used to be appointed Bournemouth boss on a caretaker foundation following Scott Parker’s dismissal, the membership would be 5th in the desk, simply 5 issues in the back of Arsenal. Bournemouth have picked up 10 issues from six video games below O’Neil. They have drawn 4 of the ones video games however, since he took over, they’re the most effective unbeaten workforce in the Premier League.
For a aspect that have been anticipated to drop directly again into the Championship, which they will smartly have performed had Parker remained at the helm, O’Neil merits a lot of reward. After their 9-0 defeat to Liverpool, Parker mentioned he “felt sorry for the players and felt sorry for the fans” as the workforce used to be “under-equipped at this level”.
Parker had expressed doubts about his squad earlier than the season began and the membership didn’t recognize his grievance of what he perceived to be a loss of transfers. “I have been clear how this season could look for us and I stick by that,” mentioned the supervisor after the Liverpool sport. “We need to make a decision and try to help this young group who at times are struggling for air.” Rather than making an investment on the ultimate day of the switch window, the membership made the determination to sack Parker.
They are actually tenth in the Premier League desk – degree on issues with the Liverpool workforce that beat them 9-0 – having long past unbeaten in six video games. Next up is the “El Clasicoast” derby in opposition to Southampton on Wednesday evening and, for O’Neil and Bournemouth, the most effective manner seems to be up – or a minimum of now not down.
O’Neil has set the workforce up otherwise than his predecessor. Parker favoured a three-man backline, possibly as a type of harm limitation – as they confronted Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool in the first month of the marketing campaign – although he moved to a 4-2-3-1 for the hammering at Anfield, that final sport in fee. O’Neil has became to a 4-4-2 to get their marketing campaign again on course.
Philip Billing has benefitted from the trade in form. The midfielder used to be out and in of the workforce below Parker at the get started of the season, however O’Neil has utilised his bodily presence to just right impact, pushing him additional up the pitch along or in make stronger of frontman Dominic Solanke. Under Parker, Billing failed to rating or arrange a objective this season, however he has since scored 3 and added an lend a hand below O’Neil. He is now the workforce’s most sensible scorer this season.
With a extra forward-thinking setup, Bournemouth are scoring extra targets and taking a look extra assured. They are taking 8.3 pictures according to sport below O’Neil, up from 5.3 below Parker, and their conversion charge has risen from 10% to 16%. They also are taking part in extra of the ball. Their ownership this season is simply 36.7% – the lowest in the Premier League – however that determine has climbed below O’Neil, from 35% earlier than he arrived to 37.7% throughout his tenure.
Some of those adjustments are to be anticipated given the difficult run of fixtures they confronted at the get started of the marketing campaign. The largest trade is use of the ball. There has been a hefty upward push in crosses, expanding from 8.8 according to sport to 14.3 according to sport. Bournemouth center of attention simply 21% in their assaults via the heart, the lowest in the Premier League. O’Neil has requested his workforce to unfold the ball temporarily to his wingers and full-backs so they are able to pick his two tall forwards, Billing and Solanke. It would possibly not be the maximum aesthetically pleasurable means, but it surely has taken Bournemouth up the desk – from the relegation zone to the most sensible part – and it offers the membership as just right a probability as any of staying in the Premier League.
The query now is whether or not or now not the membership must give O’Neil the job past his meantime length. The 39-year-old has steadied the send however is this a crimson patch below a new supervisor or a sustainable taste that may paintings over the subsequent 28 video games?
At least fanatics are taking part in a way more promising go back to the Premier League than seemed most likely six weeks in the past. Many of them would have anticipated the membership to yo-yo back off to the Championship, however this unbeaten run has given them causes for optimism. If O’Neil can mastermind their first house win over Southampton since 2016, the calls to give him the job completely will be exhausting to forget about.