AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe believes that a stronger pre-season schedule will improve his side’s chances of starting the Premier League campaign strongly.
Since winning promotion to the top tier of English football in 2015, AFC Bournemouth are yet to win an opening day fixture.
During their maiden season, they lost at home to Aston Villa, who would eventually go on to be relegated.
The following season they lost to Manchester United at home and last season, they lost away to West Bromwich Albion, who also went on to be relegated.
In fact last season, the Cherries lost their opening four Premier League fixtures, but still went on to finish in a comfortable mid-table position of 12th.
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For AFC Bournemouth’s fourth season in the Premier League, they kick off at home to newly-promoted Cardiff City, before a trip to West Ham United and then returning to Dean Court for a home fixture against Everton to finish August.
A solid start to the campaign could help AFC Bournemouth’s ambitions of not only a fifth campaign in the Premier League but another mid-table finish?
With perhaps an emphasis on a good start, Eddie Howe has looked at last seasons pre-season campaign and training schedule and added some stronger games to the friendly fixtures.
Starting this evening with Sevilla, the Cherries face three La Liga teams with Levante following on Friday and then Real Betis visiting Dean Court.
French giants Marseille will also be visiting the south coast, whilst the Cherries also travel to ambitious Championship sides Bristol City and Nottingham Forest.
Howe told the Daily Echo…
“When we reflected on our pre-season last year, one of the things we came away looking at was that we wanted a tougher games programme.
“When you are in the Premier League, your players need to be Premier League-tested during pre-season.
“We had a couple of really tough games against Napoli and Valencia last year but we also had a couple where we felt the standard of those games impacted on our start.
“We have tried to analyse everything and tried to find a way to make sure we hit the ground running this season.
Interesting that we only play one of top 6 in first ten games. Exactly the same in the last ten.
Therefore we have 10 out of 18 in the middle, but even then they will be rotating for Europe and December heavy schedules.
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