Everything you need to know about Middlesbrough's upcoming opponent AFC Bournemouth
League football kicks off again on Friday as Middlesbrough are set to face AFC Bournemouth. The Cherries are currently sat in 7th position with a game in hand on the other playoff competitors putting them in a great position to make them one of the four sides entering the knockout stages for promotion to the Premier League. The side has had a mixed performance since they dropped down from the first division as they ultimately sacked Jason Tindall as he failed to live up to the expectations of a side competition for automatic promotion. They have since replaced him with former Middlesbrough captain and manager, Johnathan Woodgate, who has managed to return the side to a more consistent run of form but has been unable to make a push further up the league.
It is the clash between Middlesbrough and their former manager that poses to provide ample excitement coming into the next round of fixtures. Many Middlesbrough fans were unimpressed by his display as the clubs manager and forecasted that he would not have a future in management. However early indications show that Woodgate may well have been the right man at the wrong time for the Teessiders.
Season So Far:
The Cherries currently sit on 59 points from 37 games, an average 1.6 points haul per game, that is typically considered good enough to be ‘there or thereabouts’ which is what has been shown by Bournemouth so far this season. The side has been good going forwards as they have found the back of the net 55 times that is joint 3rd highest goal haul within the top 10 sides and equally the side sits joint 4th in the top ten for fewest goals conceded. That indicates that the side scores hatfuls against weaker opponents when they also rarely concede, improving their goal difference but limiting the value of these goals in relation to the points return, explaining their position despite Swansea, Barnsley and Reading having a worse goal difference so far.
Form: W W D L W
Bournemouth has been performing above their season average in the weeks leading up to the international break as they managed to coup 2 points per game in their last 5 fixtures, a 0.4 points per game increase on their season average indicating that it is currently a bad time to face the side. This has come from a number of notably difficult fixtures to as they have had to face an, albeit out of form, Swansea, Barnsley and Watford during this period indicating that their form is actually above the station that the sides 2 points per game indicates.
These wins came against Watford, Bristol City and Swansea, as the side showed that they were capable of overcoming the stronger sides under Johnathan Woodgate. Though the sides 3-2 defeat to Barnsley will give Middlesbrough hope and an insight into how to overcome the side: by outscoring them. These fixtures came with a good goal return as the Cherries found the net 9 times in the last 5 games, or 1.8 goals a game. Meanwhile the side has conceded just 5 goals during this period, or a goal a game, yet removing their loss to Barnsley causes this output to plummet to 0.5 goals conceded per game. Bournemouth has been relatively defensively resolute over their most recent fixtures but the side appears particularly vulnerable when they concede early on and so a quick start from Middlesbrough may be the perfect remedy against the oppositions impressive form.
Top Goalscorer: Dominic Solanke (11)
Most Assists: Adam Smith, David Brooks, Dominic Solanke (5)
Most Yellow Cards: Jefferson Lerma (8)
Most Red Cards: Jack Wilshire, Jefferson Lerma, Steve Cook (1)
One To Watch: Dominic Solanke
Hot Prospect: Rodrigo Riquelme
Manager: Johnathan Woodgate