Opposition view: Howe deserves chance to turn things around at Bournemouth
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Ahead of today’s Carrow Road clash, Norfolk-based Bournemouth fan Neil Perry explains where things have gone wrong for the Cherries this season.
Nine defeats in 11 league games, just what has gone so wrong recently?
Pretty much everything - and a bit more besides. The easy excuse would be that we have been missing some key players thanks to a horrific injury list of key players and some signings really failing to click. It's left us utterly without anything close to confidence. We used to be the second club for every fan in the Premier League - but now we are feeling pretty disposable from the league.
Callum Wilson and Dominic Solanke are really struggling for goals, are there any other options up front?
Nothing any better. The main problem is the lack of service. Our trademark used to be the amount of service we'd give the forwards from the wings, but the 4-4-2 that Eddie has been playing just feels flat and old fashioned at the moment.
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Eddie Howe is under heavy pressure but has done such a good job of establishing the club in the top flight, is it time for a change?
I remember putting money in collection buckets outside of Dean Court for 'playershare', something which essentially helped pay for the collection of loan signings we had at the club when we were down to the bare bones and without a pot to relieve ourselves in. It was that kind of money that brought Eddie back to the club as a once promising defender with a horrible injury record. He's been such a part of the club it scares me a bit to think what could happen if we ditched him. Who would we bring in? Would they do any better? Personally, I say stick with him and hope he can turn it around. It's not just him though, as if you look through the coaching staff there are the likes of big Stevie Fletcher, Carl Fletcher, James Hayter, Neil Moss, Stephen Purches, Alan Connell, Jason Tindell, Gareth Stewart and Shaun Cooper who are all former players who have played a part in taking us from the bottom of League Two to the Premier League. If anyone deserves the chance to turn things around it is most certainly them.
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What were the hopes for this season before a ball was kicked, after finishing 14th last year?
The hope for me was to keep playing our football, to finish top of our mini league in mid-table and maybe start a changing of the guard from some of the older players who've been a staple in the Premier League. They're not unreasonable expectations for a team with the record we have had in recent seasons.
Have any players been performing well?
This won't be a long list. Aaron Ramsdale in goal has really grown during the season to look like a proper number one, and Jefferson Lerma in midfield has also impressed me. I expect both would be high on shopping lists if we go down.
And which have been disappointing?
Most of the others unfortunately. There are some fine players in the squad but they've not been hitting the heights they have previously. It would be harsh to judge some of the younger and less experienced players who've been stepping up to fill gaps as they've been left high and dry.
Norwich are eight points adrift, are you surprised they're so far adrift?
I am to be honest as I thought they would have enough to get points against the teams around them, and maybe spring some surprises at Carrow Road. From what I have seen some performances have deserved much more, but it is a brutal and unforgiving league. We should know this season...
And finally, what's your prediction for Saturday's game?
I think whoever loses may as well pack their bags and head for the exit. If we can't beat Norwich in their position we don't deserve to be here. On the other hand, if Norwich can't beat us at the moment, then they don't deserve to be here either. I predict a 1-1 draw. Which doesn't help anyone really.