Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester United vs Bournemouth

Competition: Premier League – Manchester United vs. AFC Bournemouth

Venue: Old Trafford – Tuesday, May 17 – 20:00 BST (15:00 ET)

Match Odds: Man Utd 4/7 – Draw 16/5 – Bournemouth 17/4

Match Preview

Manchester United host Bournemouth on Tuesday evening in a postponed fixture from Sunday’s final day. A bomb scare at Old Trafford ahead of kickoff saw the match abandoned so the 2015/16 campaign has been extended by a couple of days until this game is concluded.

United came into the final weekend needing a win to stand a chance of qualifying for the Champions League. But local rivals Manchester City sealed a 1-1 draw at Swansea and have subsequently secured a top-four finish.

That will come as a major blow to United, who now need to focus on trying to secure fifth place. They are level on points with Southampton, who occupy fifth spot, but are behind on goal difference.

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A draw on Tuesday would guarantee European football for the Red Devils, although they will have to settle for the Europa League.

Bournemouth have nothing to play for other than pride here and will hope the disruptions surrounding this game don’t affect their chances too much.

Eddie Howe’s men have not won in four but have only lost three of their last 12 away games in the Premier League (W5 D4).

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A win at Old Trafford would cap off a solid season for the Cherries, who will be looking to kick on and improve further for next season.

The reverse fixture saw Bournemouth beat United 2-1 in one of the season’s shock results, although a repeat result looks unlikely here, given their contrasting end-of-season form.

Team News

Manchester United will be without Marouane Fellaini as he serves the final game of his suspension here, while Luke Shaw is not fit enough to return here. Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Will Keane all remain injured and won’t be involved. With a top four place no longer available, Louis Van Gaal may rest a number of first-team players ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final.

Several members of the Bournemouth team were set to go on holiday on Monday, but those plans have had to be changed as this postponed fixture needs to be played. Eddie Howe can name his strongest side available, but Tyrone Mings, Adam Smith and Sylvain Distin are all still out injured.

Key Points

Manchester United’s last five: W/W/D/W/L

Bournemouth’s last five: W/L/L/L/D

Key Stat: Bournemouth have yet to ever score a goal at Old Trafford in four previous attempts. They have lost all four games by an aggregate score of 12-0.

Key Player: Marcus Rashford – The young United striker has been called up to Roy Hodgson’s preliminary Euro 2016 squad and will look to sign off his whirlwind Premier League season with a goal here. He hasn’t scored in over a month but could end that mini-drought here, so long as he starts in attack.

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Score Prediction

Manchester United 1-0 Bournemouth – The drama from Sunday means that United now know ahead of kickoff that they cannot qualify for next season’s Champions League. That might affect Louis Van Gaal’s approach to the game, as Saturday’s FA Cup final is now the club’s biggest game of the year. That said, the Red Devils will want to end their league campaign on a high in front of the home fans and a narrow victory is expected. United have only conceded one goal in their last five home league games so Bournemouth are unlikely to walk away with three points.

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FA Cup Preview and Prediction: Bournemouth vs Everton

Competition: FA Cup: Fifth Round – AFC Bournemouth vs. Everton FC

Venue: Vitality Stadium – Saturday, February 20 – 17:15 GMT (12:15 ET)

Match Odds: Bournemouth 9/4 – Draw 12/5 – Everton 6/5

Match Preview

Bournemouth host Everton in one of three all-Premier League clashes in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday evening, with both sides looking to bounce back from disappointing league defeats last weekend.

The Cherries are still involved in a relegation scrap as they are just four points above the bottom three in the league. However, they’ve done well in the FA Cup so far and would love to reach the quarter-finals with a victory here.

This will be Bournemouth’s first home FA Cup tie of the season after 2-1 wins at Birmingham and Portsmouth got them this far.

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Last week’s 3-1 home loss to Stoke was disappointing for Eddie Howe’s side. They have the second-worst home record in the top flight this season and seem to play better on the road than in front of their own fans.

Everton are also coming into this one off the back of a frustrating loss. They fell 1-0 at home to West Brom last weekend, despite dominating the game and creating countless chances.

Roberto Martinez will be looking for an immediate response with victory at Bournemouth and will hope the team can keep a third-straight clean-sheet in the FA Cup here.

The Toffees beat Dagenham & Redbridge 2-0 in the third round before sailing past Carlisle 3-0 last time. They were one game away from reaching the League Cup final, and so the club would love to make up for that setback by going all the way in the FA Cup this year.

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These two sides have already played each other in Bournemouth this season in an entertaining game that ended 3-3 back in November, thanks to two very late Bournemouth goals. Everton were left devastated after leading the game 2-0 at halftime and will be out to make amends here.

Team News

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has no fresh injury concerns coming into the game but changes are expected to be made after back-to-back Premier League defeats. The likes of Josh King, Juan Iturbe and Lewis Grabban will all be hoping to start.

Everton could hand January signing Oumar Niasse his debut here, so long as the striker is match fit. John Stones remains doubtful and is unlikely to be risked, while Tony Hibbert, Tyias Browning and Muhamed Besic all remain sidelined.

Key Points

Bournemouth’s last five in all competitions: D/W/W/L/L

Everton’s last five in all competitions: L/W/W/W/L

Key Stat: Bournemouth have never beaten Everton in any competition (P4 – D1 – L3). They met in the FA Cup back in 1937, with Everton winning 5-0 that day.

Key Player: Junior Stanislas – Stanislas scored two late goals to rescue a dramatic point when Bournemouth drew 3-3 with Everton in November. He will hope to get a start here and will look to find the net against the Toffees once again.

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Score Prediction

Bournemouth 1-2 Everton – Bournemouth have really struggled to win games at home this season and were fortunate to get a point from their meeting with Everton in November. The Toffees have been in better form of late and have more depth to their squad, which could be crucial. Expect the away side to edge this one and book their place in the quarter-finals.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Bournemouth vs Arsenal

Competition: Premier League – AFC Bournemouth vs. Arsenal

Venue: Vitality Stadium – Sunday, February 7 – 13:30 GMT (08:30 ET)

Match Odds: Bournemouth 13/5 – Draw 12/5 – Arsenal 21/20

Match Preview

Bournemouth welcome title contenders Arsenal to the Vitality Stadium on Sunday afternoon in an important match for sides at either end of the Premier League table.

Bournemouth return back home after beating Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Tuesday night with a 2-1 scoreline extending their unbeaten run to three matches.

Former Gunner Benik Afobe scored the winner with what was his third goal since joining the club last month, having already scored against Sunderland and Norwich. The Cherries’ record signing looks to be a shrewd piece of business by Eddie Howe, and his goals could keep the club in the Premier League.

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The Vitality Stadium has seen some surprising results this term, such as the victory 2-1 against Manchester United and the crushing 3-1 loss to West Ham. An impressive away win over Chelsea will remain a fond memory for Bournemouth fans and they’d love to take three points from Arsenal this weekend too.

Arsenal have slipped to fourth, and are five points off leaders Leicester City after a poor run which has seen the club fail to score in three-straight matches for the first time since 2009.

This season is probably Arsenal’s best chance of lifting the title since they last won it in 2003-2004 and this fixture could get their title push back on track if they can seal the win they’re expected to earn.

Arsenal are winless in four league matches, firing blanks at home to Southampton last time out in Tuesday’s 0-0 draw. That followed a home loss to Chelsea by a single goal, and these poor results have seen them surrender top spot.

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Arsene Wenger needs to get his troops rallied for this one, as the last time they visited the south coast, they were annihilated by Southampton 4-0.

Alexis Sanchez is now back and fit. He’l need to fire on all cylinders for the rest of the campaign, while Francis Coquelin’s return should help protect the back four.

A lot of people will be expecting Arsenal to get all three points but Bournemouth will be resilient as they have been all season.

The reverse fixture at The Emirates saw Arsenal run out 2-0 winners but it could have easily been six or seven that day with the amount of chances Arsenal wasted.

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Team News

Bournemouth have doubts over Junior Stanislas but Callum Wilson (knee), Max Gradel (knee) and Tyrone Mings has been removed from the squad for the rest of the season.

Arsenal have a fresh injury concern in Tomas Rosicky, who could now miss three months after picking up a thigh injury against Burnley in the FA Cup. Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere remain sidelined.

Key Points

Bournemouth’s last five: L/D/W/D/W

Arsenal’s last five: W/D/D/L/D

Key Stat: Bournemouth have only registered three victories at home this season. Only Aston Villa have a worse record with one.

Key Player: Benik Afobe – The former Gunner will be out to prove he could of filled the void that predecessors before him have failed to live up to. He would love to help the Cherries to victory by netting against his former club.

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Score Prediction

Bournemouth 1-2 Arsenal – Both teams play attractive football and this should have goals in it as a result. Bournemouth play much more open than their opponents and if Arsenal can get their groove back on, they are so difficult to stop. An early goal could set the tone, but Arsenal should get their title tilt back up and running with a win.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Bournemouth vs Manchester United

Competition: Premier League – AFC Bournemouth vs. Manchester United 

Venue: Vitality Stadium – Saturday, December 12 – 17:30 GMT (12:30 ET)

Match Odds: Bournemouth 11/5 – Draw 23/10 – Manchester United 5/4

Match Preview

AFC Bournemouth host Manchester United in the late kickoff on Saturday evening in another Premier League first.

Bournemouth come into this tie after one of the biggest results in their history last weekend with that stunning 1-0 away win over Chelsea.

Eddie Howe’s side are throwing up all sorts of surprises and are now unbeaten in their last three games. They need to continue to build on that run and ensure they pick up points where possible to avoid the dreaded relegation scrap.

Both sides have a number of notable absentees, but Howe will be the happier of the two managers and he will have his players pumped and ready to attempt another masterclass performance to upset another Premier League giant.

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Manchester United need a pick-me-up in this one after crashing out of the Champions League in midweek, but this is not a fixture they will be looking forward to.

They come into the game after another dry performance against West Ham United last weekend as Louis Van Gaal saw his side draw 0-0 at home.

This is a must win game for United, but they are struggling in front of goal, and despite the midweek performance being one of their best attacking displays this season, they showed worrying defensive frailties in Wolfsburg.

The pressure is mounting on Van Gaal and he needs a reaction from his players here. This is a huge tie for Manchester United.

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Team News

Bournemouth’s injury woes continue. Tyrone Mings, Max Gradel and Callum Wilson are long-term absentees, while Tommy Elphick, Christian Atsu, Marc Pugh, Sylvian Distin, Lee Tomlin, Joshua King and Adam Federici could all miss this clash.

Manchester United could be without up to ten players for this one. Luke Shaw, Wayne Rooney, Marcos Rojo and Antonio Valencia are expected to miss out. Matteo Darmian, Chris Smalling, Morgan Schneiderlin, Ander Herrera and Phil Jones are questionable and Bastian Schweinsteiger is suspended.

Key Points

Bournemouth’s last five: L/L/D/D/W

Manchester United’s last five: D/W/W/D/D

Key Stat: Manchester United are unbeaten in their last seven Premier League games but have only scored eight goals in those ties.

Key Player: David de Gea – United’s reliable last line of defence has been in great form once again this season and will need to be at his best here as his side prepare to face a Bournemouth side growing in confidence.

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Score Prediction

Bournemouth 1-1 Manchester United – Given Manchester United’s recent displays we aren’t expecting a goal-fest here, Bournemouth are in high spirits and a draw seems a likely result.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Bournemouth

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Bournemouth 

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, December 5 – 17:30 GMT (12:30 EST)

Match Odds: Chelsea 4/11 – Draw 4/1 – Bournemouth 7/1

Match Preview

Chelsea host Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday evening in a game where both sides desperately need to take three points.

Jose Mourinho’s side come into this one off the back of their 0-0 draw away against Tottenham Hotspur, which given the start to the season they have had, was a good point and showed signs that things might be about to improve.

Chelsea sit 14th on 15 points and are 12 points off the top four coming into the weekend. Closing the gap on fourth in hope of reaching the Champions League places is the main aim for the struggling champions now.

They will see this a chance to pick up maximum points but they cannot afford to underestimate their opponents. Chelsea will just have to take things game by game and try to rebuild confidence.

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Bournemouth are finding life in the Premier League tough and are sitting 18th in the table after 14 games.

However, there are plenty of positives for Eddie Howe’s men, who showed great spirit and resilience to pick up a point in last weekends incredible 3-3 draw against Everton.

They know this is going to be a tough task, but as other teams have showed this season, Chelsea are not the force they were a year ago.

This has the makings of an open game, but Bournemouth must improve on their recent away form if they are to take something from this game.

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Team News

Chelsea are set to be without John Terry, Ramires and Radamel Falcao. Thibaut Courtois is expected to make the squad after his spell on the sidelines through injury.

Bournemouth’s injury woes continue. Callum Wilson, Marc Pugh, Tyrone Mings, Max Gradel and Tommy Elphick are expected to miss out. Harry Arter, Artur Boruc, Steve Cook, Adam Federici, Lee Tomlin and Tokelo Rantie are all doubts, while Christian Atsu has to miss out due to facing his parent club.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: L/L/L/W/D

Bournemouth’s last five: L/L/L/D/D

Key Stat: Bournemouth haven’t won any of their last eight Premier League games.  

Key Player: Willian – The Brazilian has easily been Chelsea’s best player this season and his energy will be key to them taking all three points here.

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Score Prediction

Chelsea 2-0 Bournemouth – We assume Chelsea will win this one at home and it is a chance for them to go three games unbeaten in the league, although nothing has been straightforward for the champions this season.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Bournemouth vs Newcastle

Competition: Premier League – AFC Bournemouth vs. Newcastle United 

Venue: Vitality Stadium – Saturday, November 7 – 12:45 GMT (07:45 ET)

Match Odds: Bournemouth 6/5 – Draw 12/5 – Newcastle United 11/5

Match Preview

AFC Bournemouth host fellow relegation candidates Newcastle United in Saturday’s early kickoff in the Premier League with both sides hoping to turn around a dismal run of form in what is a huge six-pointer.

With no win in five, Bournemouth will need to try and stop leaking so many goals as they have managed to concede twelve in their last three matches.

The promoted side had reason for optimism at the start of their campaign but following the injury to star striker Callum Wilson they have struggled with results. They must start picking up points at home to stand a chance of staying in the division.

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The home fans will be expecting a win against Newcastle this weekend and failure to do so would start to make things look very worrying on the south coast.

Bournemouth’s record in the Premier League: P11 – W2 – D2 – L7

Newcastle United have had a torrid start to the season and currently have the worst away record in the Premier League (P5 W0 D1 L4) and have only managed to score once in those five outings.

They have remarkably lost ten of their last 11 away from home and statistics like these won’t fill Magpies fans with any optimism going into the weekend.

They have only won once all season, showing just how bad this great club are doing, but will see a trip to Bournemouth as a game they need to win.

Newcastle’s record in the Premier League: P11 – W1 – D4 – L6

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This is certainly a six-pointer between two teams looking likely to battling relegation. It might only be November but the loser here will be in real trouble.

This will be the first meeting between Bournemouth and Newcastle since January 1992, when the two sides met in FA Cup, with Bournemouth advancing on penalties.

Team News

Bournemouth may be missing Steve Cook and Artur Boruc who both are doubtful. Tyrone Mings, Max Gradel and Callum Wilson are long-term absentees, while Tommy Elphick and Christian Atsu are both also expected to miss the clash.

Newcastle are without as many as twelve senior players, with Curtis Good, Emanuelle Riviere, Tim Krul, Steven Taylor, Karl Darlow, Gabriel Obertan, Jack Colback, Rolando Aarons, Rob Elliot, Daryl Janmaat, Kevin Mbabu and Massadio Haidara all definitely out of the match with injury.

Key Points

Bournemouth’s last five: L/D/L/L/L

Newcastle’s last five: D/L/W/L/D

Key Stat: Newcastle have lost ten of their last eleven away games in the Premier League, failing to score in nine of those. 

Key Player: Matt Ritchie – The Scottish winger has more than a couple of tricks up his sleeve and his creative ability will present Newcastle with a huge task trying to contain him.

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Score Prediction

Bournemouth 3-1 Newcastle United – Both sides will see this as a chance to get some valuable points, but we see the home side edging it. The game should be open as both aren’t great defensively and goals look likely to fly in.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Southampton vs Bournemouth

Competition: Premier League – Southampton vs. Bournemouth

Venue: St. Mary’s Stadium – Sunday, November 1 – 16:00 GMT (11:00 ET )

Match Odds: Southampton 8/15 – Draw 3/1 – Bournemouth 5/1

Match Preview

Southampton host Bournemouth on Sunday in the first South Coast derby of the season in what should be a great game in the Premier League.

The Saints are unbeaten in four so go into the game as overwhelming favourites as they look to continue their fine form.

Ronald Koeman’s men have been able to fully focus on the Premier League in the absence of European football and with only one loss in their last seven in the Premier League, it seems they are capitalising on that.

Southampton’s Premier League record: P10 – W3 – D5 – L2

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A 1-1 draw at Liverpool last week was followed by a 2-1 League Cup win over Aston Villa on Wednesday and they look to be in good shape.

Bournemouth approach the derby in a rut having lost 5-1 in each of their last two league games to Manchester City and Tottenham. They then fell 1-0 to Liverpool in midweek League Cup action.

They have lost their last three against the Saints and have never won at St Mary’s.

Bournemouth’s Premier League record: P10 – W2 – D2 – L6

With one win in their last seven Premier League games, it’s tough to see the Cherries picking up any points here. Injuries to Max Gradel and Callum Wilson have hurt the club’s chances of survival but they mustn’t let their heads drop.

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Team News

Southampton will be without long-term absentees Fraser Forster and Florin Gardos through knee injuries. Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez are expected to also be on the sidelines as they struggle to shake off knocks. Sadio Mane is facing a suspension following last weekend’s red card at Anfield.

Bournemouth are missing Tyrone Mings, Max Gradel and Callum Wilson through long-term knee injuries as all three are expected to miss the rest of this season. Tommy Elphick is out until December with an ankle injury.

Key Points

Southampton’s last five in the Premier League: L/W/W/D/D

Bournemouth’s last five in the Premier League: W/L/D/L/L

Key Stat: Bournemouth have never won away at Southampton.

Key Player: Graziano Pelle – The powerful Italian has been sensational early on this season and the goals keep on coming. Expect him to get amongst the goals at the weekend against a fragile Bournemouth defence.

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Score Prediction

Southampton 2-1 Bournemouth – The South Coast derby should be quite a spectacle but it should result in a home win for the Saints. Bournemouth are coming off back-to-back 5-1 defeats and the Saints should take advantage.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Liverpool vs Bournemouth

Competition: Premier League – Liverpool vs. Bournemouth 

Venue: Anfield – Monday, August 17 – 20:00 BST (15:00 ET)

Match Odds: Liverpool 4/9 – Draw 100/30 – Bournemouth 6/1

Match Preview

Liverpool welcome Premier League newboys AFC Bournemouth to Anfield on Monday night as the Reds fans will get their first look at their side without Steven Gerrard leading the team out for the opening league game.

After a summer overhaul that saw Gerrard and Raheem Sterling leave the club, Brendan Rodgers has taken steps to refresh the squad with new talent. The likes of Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke have added threat to a new look Liverpool attack as they look to break back into the top four after a disappointing campaign.

It’s a case of trying to rebuild whilst still aiming high for Liverpool. And after losing your captain and club legend Gerrard, it will be extremely difficult to do so.

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They won 1-0 at Stoke last weekend, gaining revenge from that 6-1 thrashing at the end of last season, but they were far from convincing and need to use Monday night’s game as a platform to impress.

The same can be said for Bournemouth, who will want to prove they deserve to be in the top flight after an impressive display in the Championship last term.

They lost 1-0 at home to Aston Villa last week but created plenty of chances and will look to relish the occasion of playing at Anfield here.

Eddie Howe has certain philosophy he has imprinted on the south coast but their positive style football must also bring points as they look to extend their stay in the top flight past the end of the season.

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This will be the first ever league meeting between the two, though they have met twice in less than two years, with Liverpool winning a League Cup and an FA Cup game against the Cherries, both away from Anfield.

Team News

Liverpool will be without Jon Flanagan and Daniel Sturridge who remain long-term absentees. Joe Allen is a doubt after sustaining an injury in preseason. Roberto Firmino will hope to start behind Christian Benteke up top.

Bournemouth have Christian Atsu and Shaun MacDonald as doubts but Atsu should play some part. Harry Arter is expected to miss Monday’s game after missing most of preseason.

Key Points

Liverpool’s form: W

Bournemouth’s form: L

Key Stat: Monday night will be the first time the two sides have met in the Football League.

Key Player: Christian Benteke – New Liverpool striker Benteke will want to open his Reds account after drawing a blank against Stoke last weekend and will look to impress on his home debut.

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Score Prediction

Liverpool 2-0 Bournemouth – Liverpool looked average at best last weekend but should have enough to win comfortably at home in what could be a tight game. Bournemouth’s free-flowing style of play could cause the Reds problems but it may be too tough a test for Eddie Howe’s men to pass this early on in the season.

2015/16 Premier League Predictions: Winners, losers and everything between

The 2015/16 Barclays Premier League season is just a couple of days away as one of the most hotly anticipated days in the football calendar edges ever closer. But for those looking past the opening round of fixtures, there’s another long campaign ahead with drama, thrills and spills guaranteed.

New teams, managers and players have arrived ahead of what looks set to be a close-run season at either end of the table, with sides strengthening across the division over the course of the summer.

The Premier League is almost impossible to predict, but we’re going to have a go anyway because who doesn’t like to sit back at the end of the season and think: ‘Wow. I didn’t see that coming.’

Will Chelsea retain their title? Will Harry Kane manage to replicate his scintillating form from last year? And will Sunderland ever go down? Read on to find out what our editor, Louis East is predicting for the 2015/16 Premier League campaign:

Title winners: Chelsea

Chelsea fully deserved their success last season as they ended up winning the title by eight points, despite a relatively poor end to the campaign by Jose Mourinho’s high standards. They may not have changed too much over the summer, but they didn’t need to. They were easily the best side in the country last time out and should be too strong once more, although they can expect to be pushed right to the end by Manchester City, Arsenal and possibly Manchester United.

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Relegated:  Norwich, Watford & Leicester

Always difficult predicting who will go down before a ball has even been kicked, but three teams have to be selected here. It’s easy to go with all three promoted sides but I’m expecting Bournemouth to hold their own in the top flight and so I think Leicester City will join Watford and Norwich in falling through the trapdoor. Without Nigel Pearson, the Foxes were doomed last year. Now he’s gone, it’s hard to see them staying up. Sunderland are always lingering near the danger zone but Dick Advocaat looked to turn things around and they should survive yet again.

Player of the season: Wayne Rooney

Eden Hazard lit the Premier League up last term but hasn’t looked as sharp so far in preseason and Wayne Rooney’s opportunity to play as the lone striker should see him pick up his first Player of the Year award since the 2009-10 season. He played as a striker that year, netting 26 times, and the England captain should find himself at the heart of everything United do going forward this year as they look to be serious title contenders once more.

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Best young player: Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling’s controversial move from Liverpool to Manchester City has seen the player attract plenty of criticism from those in and around football, but his quality cannot be questioned. Still just 20, Sterling has the opportunity to kick on and develop further at City and will look to record his best season yet under Manuel Pellegrini this year.

Golden Boot: Harry Kane

Few could have predicted what Harry Kane went on to achieve during the 2014/15 campaign but the young Spurs forward ended the year with 21 league goals and didn’t even establish himself as a first-team regular until October. He now has a full season to shine and should better his goal tally. Many are predicting his performances will dip, but he only seemed to improve last year and will be a better player from his experiences.

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Surprise package: AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth won the Championship in fine style last year, scoring more goals than anyone else with the second best defence in the league. The jump to the Premier League is a big one but there is a sense of real optimism around the club that they can hold their own in the top flight. Eddie Howe is a great young coach and should guide his team well clear of relegation as they look to be this season’s surprise package.

Shock of the season: Brendan Rodgers first to be sacked

Life as Liverpool manager has been tough for Brendan Rodgers. After narrowly missing out on Premier League glory in the 2013/14 season, the Reds dropped down to end last year in sixth, with that final day 6-1 defeat to Stoke one the fans were left devastated by. They start this season at the Britannia but Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling have gone and will leave Rodgers with further problems to fix. A flurry of new signings have arrived again but Rodgers might not have long enough to get them to gel this time around with pressure mounting rapidly.

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Signing of the season: Dimitri Payet

It was tough to neglect Petr Cech here as the goalkeeper will make Arsenal a much better side, but overall I think Dimitri Payet will prove more important to West Ham than Cech will to Arsenal this year. Payet arrives at the Hammers from Marseille off the back of a stellar season in France as he picked up 17 assists with seven goals in 36 league games. Only Lionel Messi made more successful through-balls in Europe’s top five leagues than Payet and he should ensure West Ham have a year to remember in what will be their last at the Boleyn Ground.

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Manager of the year: Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes has done a fine job with Stoke since taking over from Tony Pulis two years ago and doesn’t always receive the praise he deserves. Another fine summer of transfer business has seen the Potters strengthen with the likes of Glen Johnson, Marko Van Ginkel and Ibrahim Afellay arriving. Add that to the fact that Bojan will be back fighting and Hughes should have a Stoke side capable of replicating the stunning performance of Southampton last year.

What are your predictions for the 2015/16 Premier League season?

What should AFC Bournemouth expect in friendly against Philadelphia Union?

Premier League newcomers AFC Bournemouth play their first preseason game on Tuesday night as Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union will play host to the Cherries at PPL Park in what should be an intriguing game.

Bournemouth won the Championship with relative ease last season and so Eddie Howe‘s side fully deserve their place in the top flight of English football. But they know it will be a tough season and so their preseason preparations must be executed perfectly.

A trip to the United States to face the Union will improve team spirit and will help the new signings gel with their teammates before they play their first game together on Tuesday night in what will be a real test.

Preparation

The fact that Philadelphia are in the middle of their domestic campaign will help them as fitness levels will be at the perfect level, whereas Eddie Howe’s squad have not played a game for over two months.

Preseason is all about improving match fitness but the Cherries may suffer against physically more equipped opponents at this stage of their summer.

As well as fitness, Bournemouth will be looking for a positive result and there is no doubt that returning to England with a win will be the aim here.

Many Bournemouth fans, and perhaps players too will likely be surprised by the quality of play that the Union will be able to demonstrate. Major League Soccer has improved dramatically each year and teams are now in a position to give even the strongest Premier League sides a test.

Form

Philadelphia are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference and sit 16th in the overall MLS standings. It’s not been a perfect season by any stretch for Jim Curtin’s side but they haven’t lost in three and beat Portland Timbers 3-0 at home on Saturday night – a game the Bournemouth players watched from inside the owner’s box at PPL Park.

Five of their six wins this season have come at PPL Park and they are always better in front of their owns fans.

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Philly lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace in a friendly last July and will be looking to put in a better performance this time around against the Premier League newboys.

Over 15,000 fans turned out to watch the game against Palace last year and so another good atmosphere is to be expected for Tuesday night’s game.

Tactics

Jim Curtin will no doubt be prioritising Saturday night’s game against Toronto FC and so star players will not feature for more than 45 minutes on Tuesday. But a strong team is to be expected as Philadelphia will likely line up in their familiar 4-2-3-1 formation – a system Bournemouth will come up against numerous times in the Premier League this year.

Maurice Edu has made more starts than any other Philadelphia player this season and the versatile American will likely continue in defence for the visit of AFC Bournemouth.

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At the other end, CJ Sapong and Cristian Maidana will need to be watched closely. Sapong has five goals and two assists in his last nine games, while Maidana assisted all three goals in the win over Portland on Saturday.

Eddie Howe will likely opt to start with the 4-4-2 system that worked so well last term and new signings Sylvain Distin, Christian Atsu, Tyrone Mings and Joshua King will all expect to feature.

What do you think the score will be in Tuesday night’s friendly?