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Premier League 2016-17 season preview: Bournemouth

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AFC Bournemouth’s story is one of the most heart-warming in world soccer.

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A tiny club from a sleepy seaside town on England’s south coast, Bournemouth almost went out of business seven years ago as a fourth-tier team. Young manager Eddie Howe led them all the way through the leagues and last season was their first-ever in the top tier of English soccer.

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They play an attractive brand which is easy on the eye and they comfortably secured a second-straight season in the Premier League with some big wins thanks to plenty of talented youngsters who are flourishing under Howe’s trendy tutelage.

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Bournemouth’s bubble will burst and they’ll be relegated because… a sophomore slump, if you will. They will be hit by injuries early in the season to key players and Howe will be tempted to take on a bigger job come December time with the Cherries struggling.

Yet, they do have a chance of doing something special: That’s right, they actually do. With Howe’s boys having a year of PL experience under their belt and some exciting attacking additions in Jordon Ibe and Lys Mousset this summer, they might just surprise everyone and push for a top 10 finish. Underestimate the underdogs at your peril. This is a very good squad which is now two-strong in every spot.


Best possible XI

—– Boruc —–

— Francis — A. Smith — S. Cook — Daniels —

— Ibe — Surman — Arter — Gradel —

— Afobe — Wilson —

Transfers In: Emerson Hyndman (Free, Fulham), Jordon Ibe ($29 million, Liverpool), Brad Smith ($3.9 million, Liverpool), Lys Mousset ($7.1 million, Le Havre), Mark Travers (Free, Cherry Orchard), Mikael Ndjoli (Free, Millwall), Lewis Cook ($9.2 million, Leeds United)

Transfers Out: Tommy Elphick ($3.9 million, Aston Villa), Matt Ritchie ($15.8 million, Newcastle United), Lee Tomlin ($3.9 million, Bristol City), Josh Carmichael, Sylvain Distin, Jon Muleba, Jayden Stockley, Mason Walsh, Josh Wakefield, Stephane Zubar (All released), Glenn Murray (Loan, Brighton and Hove Albion), Joe Quigley (Loan, Gillingham), Harry Cornick (Loan, Leyton Orient)

Last season: In their first-ever season in the top-flight Bournemouth did themselves proud with a 16th place finish. Despite a slow start they were never in real danger of relegation and pulled off shock wins against Manchester United and Chelsea. A season to remember for a team who play attractive, attacking soccer.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 29: Callum Wilson of Bournemouth celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between A.F.C. Bournemouth and Leicester City at Vitality Stadium on August 29, 2015 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Star player: Callum Wilson – He burst onto the scene early last season but then suffered a horrendous knee injury. Battled back well to get some minutes late in the 2015-16 campaign and has looked incredibly sharp over preseason. Expect the powerful striker to cause plenty of problems.

Coaches’ Corner: Eddie Howe is Mr. Bournemouth. The youngster manager in the PL at 38 years old, he has taken the Cherries on a dramatic ride from League Two to the Premier League. The former Bournemouth defender has a clear philosophy of open, expansive soccer and they didn’t stray away from that during difficult spells last season. His teams are fun to watch and Howe was touted as a contender to be the next England manager over the summer. Luckily for Bournemouth he’s still around and he’s now aiming to take this project to the next level.

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Eddie Howe Manager of Bournemouth applauds the supporters after his team's 1-2 defeat in the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and A.F.C. Bournemouth at Britannia Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, United Kingdom. (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)
(Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

PST predicts: Many will expect Bournemouth to be struggling around the relegation zone but given the amount of money they’ve spent and the fact that their current squad has had a full year to acclimatize to the PL, you get the sense they’ve flown under the radar in recent months. If Ibe, Wilson, Gradel and Afobe click early in the campaign then Bournemouth has the potential to finish in the top 10. That said, PST believes they will finish safely in midtable and have some good runs in the cup competitions.

AFCON wrap: Diaby’s sensational rip highlights trio of matches

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The Africa Cup of Nations said hello to six more competitors on Monday, with a thrilling goal amongst the eight tallied across the competitions in Egypt.

[ MORE: Copa America roundup ]


Mali 4-1 Mauritania

Two different men named Adama Traore — neither of them the Wolves winger — joined Moussa Marega on the score sheet but it’s difficult to describe the class and small margins that defined the tournament’s goal of the day.

Sporting Lisbon’s Abdoulay Diaby somehow got this shot off through two defenders and into the upper reaches of the goal to open the scoring in the three-goal win for Mali, which is having some summer when you take into account the U-20 World Cup.

Ivory Coast 1-0 South Africa

There were only 13 total attempts in the game, and Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodija scored the lone goal of a tournament opening win for Les Elephants.

Tunisia 1-1 Angola

A draw was probably fair, as Youssef Msakni’s first half penalty was met by Djalma Campos’ late goal to split the spoils in Group E.

Copa America roundup: Uruguay tops Chile; Full knockout bracket

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Ecuador and Japan drew to allow Paraguay to sew up the final knockout round spot, sending Miguel Almiron and Co. into a match-up with Brazil.

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And Uruguay rode Edinson Cavani’s goal into the other side of the bracket, moving ahead of Chile in a tight match.

Ecuador 1-1 Japan

There was a lot to like in a match with 30-plus shots and the ultimate prize of a match-up with Brazil on Thursday in Porto Alegre.

Shoya Nakajima put the Asian side ahead a quarter-hour into the match, but Angel Mena provided an equalizer before halftime to put both sides in danger of failure to reach the knockout rounds.

Chile 0-1 Uruguay

Cavani scored for the second time this tournament as Uruguay claimed first place in Group A and a knockout round meeting with Peru.

Cavani’s deftly flicked header of a Jonathan Rodriguez pass pushed Uruguay above Chile, which had won both of its group matches and now meets Colombia on Friday.

Knockout round schedule

June 27
Brazil v. Paraguay

June 28
Venezuela v. Argentina
Colombia v. Chile

June 29
Uruguay v. Peru

July 2
Brazil/Paraguay v. Venezuela/Argentina
Colombia/Chile v. Uruguay/Peru

July 6
Third place playoff

July 7
Final

Norwich City adds Switzerland international Drmic on free transfer

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Norwich City has added a new star striker to a unit which produced 93 goals in the Championship last season.

Josip Drmic will join Swiss national teammate Timm Klose with the Canaries for the next three seasons, hoping to bring his Bundesliga and international experience to a Premier League safety campaign.

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Drmic turns 27 next month, and scored two goals in five appearances for Borussia Monchengladbach last season. He has 31 goals and seven assists in 107 Bundesliga appearances between Gladbach, Hamburger SV, Bayer Leverkusen, and Nurnberg.

Coach Daniel Farke got 30 goals from target forward Teemu Pukki, who plays a similar role to Drmic and has plenty of top flight experience with Celtic and Schalke amongst others.

Drmic can also operate on the wing, usually left over right, and has featured in both the 2014 and 2018 World Cup. From Canaries.co.uk:

“I’m going to do everything and give 100% on the pitch. I will be ready to give everything for the club. My job is scoring but I also want to help my team and help us be successful.

“When I first came to Norwich, the first thing I noticed was how kind everybody was. It’s given me a lot of positive energy and I’m excited to see what happens.”

Between Pukki and Drmic, Norwich can have faith that its well-prepared to have an answer up top.

Canada’s Beckie: Sinclair asked if I wanted to take penalty v. Sweden

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Prolific forward Janine Beckie didn’t dodge cameras after her missed penalty helped seal Canada’s fate at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, and she also explained why legendary striker Christine Sinclair wasn’t at the spot.

Beckie, 24, scored two goals in Canada’s run to the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and the Houston Dash forward and Texas Tech product has 25 goals in 57 caps.

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The American-born Beckie was called upon to try to level the score against Sweden on Monday in the Round of 16, and took a solid effort which was parried by Hedvig Lindahl in an outstanding bit of goalkeeping.

“I’m confident in my penalty,” Beckie said. “I thought I hit it really well. I thought she made a really good save. It’s the big moments. It’s the moments that you live for. You get all the glory if it goes in, and you take the blame it feels like if you miss. That’ll stay with me for a long time.”

So why was she at the spot? Here’s Beckie on TSN, and Sinclair’s confirmation of the tale. As we expected, Lindahl’s success against Sinclair at the Algarve Cup played a role.

“Christine actually asked me if I wanted to take it. That’s a big moment for me and it’s gonna be hard for a while.”

Full marks for stepping up to both places: The penalty spot and the post-match interview.