The League Cup returns to action this week, with 16 teams remaining, including 10 Premier League sides left in the pool. Half the matches are scheduled take place over the next two days, with two of those happening on Tuesday.
Bournemouth looks for its third League Cup quarterfinals berth in the last five years as the Cherries host Championship side Norwich City at Vitality Stadium. Reports suggest that Jermain Defoe could be one of many fringe Cherries playerse to appear in the side. Defoe has made just three Premier League appearances this season so far, but with Joshua King suffering from an ankle problem, the 36-year-old is expected to enter the fray.
While Bournemouth has seen recent success in the League Cup, Norwich has not. A win would give the Canaries their first appearance this deep in the tournament since 2012/13, and only their second quarterfinals appearance in the last 22 years. Sitting fourth in the Championship table, Norwich has had a fantastic start to the season thus far under manager Daniel Farke. Since falling to Leeds United in late August, Norwich has rattled off nine wins in 12 matches across all competitions, with just one loss in that span.
Also in action on Tuesday is Nottingham Forest visiting League One side Burton Albion. This match could be a wild one, given that Forest’s results have been all over the map of late. They have three wins, three draws, and a loss in the club’s last seven matches, even finishing a man down in two of the three victories.
Burton was relegated from the Championship last season and sit 16th in the League One standings this season through 15 matches, but the hosts will have extra motivation knowing that this is the first time Burton Albion has ever reached the Fourth Round of the League Cup. They knocked off Premier League side Burnley 3-1 in the last round just to reach this point.
Leicester City’s match against Southampton was postponed following the death of owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in a helicopter crash on Saturday.
Week 7 of the Premier League comes to its conclusion with a fine litmus test for a pair of mid-table hopefuls, as Wilfried Zaha and Crystal Palace head to the Vitality Stadium for a Monday meeting with Bournemouth (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
Bournemouth can move within a win of the Top Four with a home win, while Palace can pull in front of ninth place Palace with a win of its own.
Palace halted a losing run with a win over Huddersfield Town and draw at Newcastle United, but is antsy to get back into the win column and continue the progress it may under Hodgson late last season.
Bournemouth has one win in its last four, allowing two or more goals in all but one of those matches (including a 4-2 win against Leicester City).
What they’re saying
Cherries boss Eddie Howe on Joshua King: “There is no ceiling to what he can achieve if he shows the right attitude. I’d say he has developed a lot. He was a superbly talented player when we signed him, I don’t think there was any doubt about that and I’m sure Blackburn realized that as well.”
Palace’s Roy Hodgson on winger Andros Townsend: “There have been times in the last year when he has got into position but he has not quite found the net. It was delightful that he did against West Brom and I am hoping now he has found his range and when he cuts inside he will be producing a few more of those, because he has that in his locker.”
Let’s get awfully specific: Palace will twice lead, but see both goals canceled out by the Cherries. King and Jermain Defoe for Bournemouth, Zaha and Milivojevic (from the spot) for Palace.
Coming off a 12th-place finish in last year’s Premier League season, manager Eddie Howe has been patient in the transfer market, instead preferring to work with the players already at his disposal. Now in the club’s fourth-straight season in the Premier League, Howe has developed a side that plays free-flowing soccer at times as well as having a strong defense, with some players catching the eye of bigger clubs.
Lewis Cook is a Tottenham transfer target and with Bournemouth reportedly ready to break its transfer record to sign Colombian Jefferson Lerma, Cook could be allowed to leave. With two more friendly matches before the start of the season, Howe could put the finishing touches on his squad ahead of the August 9 deadline, as Bournemouth looks to rebound from a slightly disappointing season last year.
One good piece of news for U.S. Men’s National Team fans…Emerson Hyndman has been a full participant in Bournemouth’s preseason training and this may be his year to break into the first team for good.
Bournemouth will finish in the top ten because….Lerma, Nathan Ake, Asmir Begovic and Harry Arter play at the level that they have shown in flashes in the past. Although Bournemouth is a small club, the amount of talent on the books is impressive and if the team gels together and finds goals from new sources (with Benik Afobe off to Wolverhampton), the team can certainly push into mid-table territory, if not even challenge for the Europa League.
Bournemouth will barely survive relegation because…Jermain Defoe, who turns 36-years old in October, can’t be relied on anymore. Callum Wilson and Joshua King continue to struggle in front of net and while the defense is solid, it’s no match for the top-6 clubs. Bournemouth is in the thick of the relegation struggle but Howe manages to guide his team to safety, but only just. The lack of major signings in the summer comes back to haunt Howe, especially if the club can’t get the Lerma signing over the finish line.
Best possible XI: List the team’s strongest lineup for this season when everyone is fit
Transfers Out:Benik Afobe (Wolverhampton, $10 million), Max Gradel (Toulouse, undisclosed), Adam Federici (Stoke City, undisclosed), Lewis Grabban (Nottingham Forest, undisclosed)
Ranking their offseason: C+. It’s hard to tell so far how the new signings Brooks and Rico will do in the Premier League, with Brooks coming from the Championship and Rico from a small club in La Liga. The departures won’t hurt the club very much but if Bournemouth want to push on from where it finished last year, the current signings may not have been enough. Especially if the team loses Lewis Cook.
Star player:Asmir Begovic: The Canadian-raised Bosnia and Herzegovina goalkeeper has literally saved many points for Bournemouth since joining in 2017. If Bournemouth pushes into the top ten again, it will be thanks to strong goalkeeping from Begovic.
Coaches’ Corner:With Arsene Wenger now gone, Howe is currently the longest-serving manager with his club in the Premier League. The former Bournemouth defender has drawn praise from across the world for keeping Bournemouth in the Premier League and playing an exciting brand of soccer. At times over the last three seasons, Bournemouth didn’t back down from the Premier League giants, and against other clubs lower in the table, the team was able to express itself more freely and control possession. Howe has done a terrific job, but it will be interesting to see if he’s taken Bournemouth as high as it can go, or if he can lead the club to new heights.
PST predicts: We predict that Bournemouth will again be fighting relegation. As things stand, the club is not much improved since last season and other than the two new signings, – and potentially others before the transfer window shuts – the squad doesn’t seem like it’s improved more than the one that recorded just 44 points last season. There’s plenty of pressure on Howe to keep the team in the Premier League this season and return the club to the top ten.
Final place: 14th with 40 points Defining moment: Sacking new manager Marco Silva just six months into his reign. The Portuguese coach had his head turned by interest from Everton and everything fell apart after a superb start which had them in the top four. Sacking Silva in January undoubtedly refocused the players and saved Watford’s season. Biggest victory: The comeback 2-1 win against Arsenal in October which pushed Watford into the top four and had the Hornets faithful dreaming of European qualification. Low point: Losing 4-1 at home against newly-promoted Huddersfield in December was a crushing blow for Silva and he never really recovered. The defeat came amid a run of just one win in 11 games. Star man: Abdoulaye Doucoure was the star man for the Hornets (and their top scorer with seven goals) and it will be very surprising if he remains at Vicarage Road over the summer. The two-way midfielder can score and defend and has a little bit of everything. Seems ready for a top six club. Richarlison should also get a shoutout for his fine start to the season. Manager(s) marks out of 10: Marco Silva (4/10), Javi Gracia (5/10) Grade for the season: C+
Final place: 13th with 42 points Defining moment: After four defeats in five and ugly scenes as fans ran onto the pitch during a home defeat to Burnley, David Moyes‘ men went into a crunch relegation clash against Southampton knowing they had to win. They did and they were 3-0 up at half time. Emphatic. Biggest victory: Following zero wins in eight games, West Ham beat London rivals Chelsea 1-0 at home to spark Moyes’ men into life. Arnautovic’s early goal stunned the Blues and the Hammers could’ve won by a bigger margin. Low point: The 3-0 home defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion under Slaven Bilic has to be up there but there’s no doubt that the ugly scenes in March during their defeat to Burnley was the low point. Fan protests against owners David Sullivan, David Gold and Karen Brady will continue as fans revolt against their stadium move to the cavernous London Stadium. Star man: Marko Arnautovic is the clear winner here. Many raised eyebrows when West Ham paid Stoke $28 million for him last summer but after a dodgy start (a red card against Saints didn’t help) he flourished in a central role under Moyes, scoring 11 times as the top scorer. Manager(s) marks out of 10: Slaven Bilic (3/10), David Moyes (7/10) Grade for the season: D-
Final place: 12th with 44 points Defining moment: It’s a long time ago now but after losing their first four games of the season, trailing Brighton 1-0 at home in the South Coast derby wasn’t ideal. Andrew Surman and Jermain Defoe then struck twice late on to seal victory and Bournemouth’s tag of the “comeback kings” continue throughout the season. Biggest victory: The win away at Chelsea on Jan. 31 came amid a massive purple patch as the Cherries shook off early-season woes to win four times in six games. Howe’s boys pushed themselves away from the relegation zone with their exploits from Boxing Day until February. Low point: Probably the opening two months of the season which were demoralizing with six defeats in eight games, but they had a tough schedule with losses to Tottenham, Man City and Arsenal. Star man: Nathan Ake was sublime for most of the season after he joined permanently following his successful loan spell at Bournemouth in the first half of last season. The Dutch center back has a bright future in the game. Manager(s) marks out of 10: Eddie Howe (7/10) Grade for the season: C+
Final place: 11th with 44 points Defining moment: When Frank De Boer was fired after just four games in charge. Roy Hodgson came in and worked wonders with Palace. Plus, Zaha’s return from injury was a huge boost and season-defining. He’s probably the best player in the PL who doesn’t play for one of the “top six” clubs. Biggest victory: So many huge wins down the stretch with five victories in their final eight games, but you have to say the win against reigning champions Chelsea to snap their seven-game losing streak to start the season. That gave the Eagles players, fans and Hodgson belief they could get out of the relegation zone. Low point: That start. Woof. Seven defeats on the spin (without scoring a single goal) to kick off the season in record-breaking fashion. Enough said. Star man: There is only one star man at Palace: Wilfried Zaha is the top boy at Selhurst. His pace, trickery, goals and assists mean Palace will have to brush off several big-money offers for him this summer. Manager(s) marks out of 10: Frank de Boer (0/10), Roy Hodgson (9/10) Grade for the season: B
Final place: 10th with 44 points Defining moment: The 3-0 home win against Southampton pulled them away from the relegation zone in March and sparked a run of four-straight wins which pushed them into midtable. Kenedy was unplayable during that stretch and the Rafalution was in full flow. Biggest victory: The 1-0 home win against Manchester United in February was huge. Newcastle had won just twice in 13 PL games before that, but taking down Jose Mourinho’s side comfortably not only gave every at Newcastle hope they’d survive, it was also so sweet for Rafa… Low point: Probably the 3-0 home defeat against Watford early in the season. That came smack bang in the middle of a run without a win in nine games. Star man: Goalkeeper Martin Dubravka made a massive impact when he arrived on loan from Sparta Prague in January, while Kenedy had a huge impact after his loan arrival from January. But Jonjo Shelvey turned it on in the second half of the season and his passing coupled with a defense led by Jamaal Lascelles made the difference. In all honesty, Newcastle’s success was due to a total team effort but Shelvely’s quality on the ball gets him the nod. Manager(s) marks out of 10: Rafael Benitez (9/10) Grade for the season: B+
Burnley, so defensively sound all season long, slipped up – literally – at the death of the campaign as they lost a lead and fell to Bournemouth 2-1 at Turf Moor. Kevin Long slipped, allowing substitute Callum Wilson to score in second-half stoppage time, giving a great Burnley season a sour finish.
The best early chance fell to Bournemouth as they worked a shot for Lys Mousset in the 22nd minute, but Burnley keeper Nick Pope was best to it, sprawling to his right to keep out the low effort.
Despite slight possessional domination for the visitors through the opening 45 minutes, it was Burnley who picked out more shots, and they grabbed the opener six minutes before halftime on a sloppy strike. A cross from the left baseline looped in from Stephen Ward, and it fell to Chris Wood in all kinds of space on the penalty spot. The Burnley striker popped his shot and it deflected hard off Tyrone Mings to wrong-foot goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and the shot bounded in for the game’s first goal.
Bournemouth started the second half brightly, and had a header by Steve Cook go just wide moments after the break. Their initial spell was stymied by the solid Burnley defense, but the visitors would find an equalizer with 16 minutes to go on a rare mistake at the back by the hosts.
Jermain Defoe came off the bench and immediately had a solid effort, sliding to meet a cross at point-blank range, but Pope was there to impressively parry the effort. However, the home side couldn’t get the ball clear, and Bournemouth latched back onto possession, eventually finding Josh King who delivered a looping shot that tucked inside the top-right corner with no chance for Pope to make another stop.
Burnley had one more chance to grab the three points on 87 minutes, but Jack Cork‘s ball in for Sam Vokes was just inches too far, and Begovic could collect easily. Down the other end, Bournemouth had one more chance as well, as substitute Callum Wilson fired low to the left corner, but his shot skittered agonizingly wide.
It seemed wrapped up as the four minutes of stoppage time ticked down, but the Cherries had one more moment to savor at the end of the season as Bournemouth broke. Burnley defender Kevin Long slipped on the ball, and coughed it up to Defoe, and on the two-on-one, Defoe slipped in Wilson for the tap-in with a minute remaining in stoppage time.
The three points for Bournemouth moves them into a 12th-placed finish, holding off West Ham behind them with 44 points. Burnley will end the year in seventh, five points above Everton with 54 on the year, a fantastic finish despite the late hiccup.