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Bournemouth vs Watford: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction

Rob Meech

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Bournemouth

Two clubs that have established themselves in the Premier League go head-to-head at the Vitality Stadium tomorrow. Bournemouth and Watford were promoted to the top-flight together two years ago – the Cherries as Championship champions, the Hornets as runners-up – and have exceeded all expectations in the two subsequent seasons. Survival will once again be the priority for both outfits, who continue to enhance their reputations under the auspices of two young managers.

Recent form

Bournemouth kicked off their campaign with a disappointing 1-0 reversal at West Bromwich Albion. Despite enjoying 70 per cent of possession at The Hawthorns, Eddie Howe’s men could not create enough clear-cut chances and left empty-handed. Watford picked up a point following a thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Liverpool. Miguel Britos netted a controversial 93rd-minute equaliser to ensure Watford avoided defeat in Marco Silva’s first competitive match at the helm.

Team news

Skipper Simon Francis is rated extremely doubtful after injuring his hamstring at West Brom. Adam Smith, who came on as a substitute for Francis, is set to be promoted to the starting XI in his captain’s place. Jermain Defoe had to make do with a spot on the bench in the Midlands but could replace Benik Afobe. Silva has a defensive puzzle to solve with the news that Roberto Pereyra and Daryl Janmaat have both been ruled out, along with Younes Kaboul. A late decision will be made on striker Troy Deeney.

Likely line-ups

Match prediction: Bournemouth 2-1 Watford

All four previous Premier League meetings between these two teams have ended in a draw – with both fixtures last season finishing 2-2. There should be goals on the south coast this time. However, in light of Watford’s crippling injury list, Bournemouth will fancy bagging their first victory of the campaign, perhaps by the odd goal in three.

Rob is a freelance writer, specialising in football, who previously worked as a sports journalist at the Dorset Echo. A long-standing AFC Bournemouth supporter, Rob can often be found on the terraces at the Vitality Stadium. Follow him on Twitter - @RobMeech

Bournemouth

Bournemouth move may help to get Danny Ings’ career back on track

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Photo: Getty Images.

The past few seasons have been full of frustration for Liverpool centre-forward Danny Ings, with injury set-backs continually hampering his progress after derailing his Anfield career only months after it began. Now, it looks as though he may have a chance to revive it with a move to Bournemouth.

Football Whispers say that a deal could be in the pipeline for the former Burnley man to move to the south coast, though there is no indication of if it would be on loan or permanently.

The 25-year-old has made only three starts in 2017/18 and even in a campaign where Liverpool were overloaded with fixtures thanks to a Champions League cup run, he barely featured and at times was below even youngster Dominic Solanke in the pecking order, casting an unfavourable forecast for his Anfield career.

(during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on April 28, 2018 in Liverpool, England.

That could make a season, or more, at Dean Court an appealing proposition. Ings has shown that even when he is struggling for fitness and game time, he is still an efficient finisher.

With pace and strength, he certainly fits into the tactical mould that Eddie Howe likes of his strikers, much like Callum Wilson, Josh King and Jermaine Defoe.

Given that there are reports from The Scottish Sun saying that Defoe may well be on his way out after a single season back at the club, and a disappointing one too, there could be a spot in the Cherries’ squad for a player like Ings to get the game time he needs.

Stagnation is a real risk for Ings career after such a promising few years at Burnley before moving to Liverpool and picking up two serious knee injuries, but if he can find form whilst with Bournemouth it could be his ticket back to the top of the game.

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Bournemouth

West Ham should bring Jermain Defoe back to East London

The 35-year-old made just 11 appearances in the league this season.

Josh Kerr

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Jermain Defoe
Photo: Getty Images

Despite a truly disappointing and underwhelming season for West Ham, the club managed to restore some pride when they finished the season with a 3-1 win over Everton at the London Stadium.

However, one result doesn’t shy away from a season of turmoil and rebellion from Hammers fans, as the club finished 13th with the toxic atmosphere in East London directed towards the owners.

The future is also uncertain for David Moyes but, if the Scotsman is to start thinking about potential transfers, the 55-year-old Scot should consider bringing former West Ham forward Jermain Defoe back to East London.

The 35-year-old hit 37 goals in 93 games for Sunderland before re-signing for Bournemouth on a free transfer last summer, a move that seemed a brilliant piece of business from the Cherries.

However, Defoe has been restricted to just 11 Premier League games this campaign, scoring just four goals. And, while the Englishman hasn’t hit the highs of last season, he is still a goalscoring threat to be reckoned with.

Despite Rangers being labelled the bookmaker’s favourites to sign the former Tottenham striker, according to Paddy Power, West Ham should definitely consider swooping for one of the Premier League’s ultimate poachers.

(Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images for Premier League)

West Ham have struggled with their forward options this season with Javier Hernández becoming frustrated on the bench, whilst Andy Carroll has also failed to hit the mark having struggled with injuries.

Defoe scored 18 goals during his time at Upton Park, quickly becoming a fans favourite, so should the Hammers bring back one of their former club heroes?

Considering Bournemouth have the likes of Joshua King and Callum Wilson in their forward line, they may be interested in offers for the 132-time Premier League scorer.

West Ham struggled for attacking firepower this term, with Marko Arnautovic largely relied upon upfront. Therefore, reinforcements are likely to arrive at the London Stadium during the summer.

When a player like Jermain Defoe shows even a slight sign of being unhappy, in this case, due to a lack of game time, it should then become the club-in-need’s priority to swoop.

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Wolves must ensure Benik Afobe stays at Molineux next season

Josh Kerr

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Afobe
Photo: Getty Images

Wolves have secured their promotion to the Premier League in emphatic style. Registering 99 points as champions is a fantastic achievement for the Midlands side.

However, there is still business that needs attending to before returning to the promise lands of England’s top division.

Wolves striker and Bournemouth loanee Benik Afobe’s future is still undecided and the Wanderers have to act fast if they are to make the deal permanent.

According to the Birmingham Live, there are terms of their loan agreement with Bournemouth that state the club have until May 31st to decide on whether they will make the deal permanent.

The Bournemouth Echo have also reported that Wolves will get first choice as to whether they sign the £12 million-rated striker on a permanent deal.

Despite not being a regular feature in the Championship all season, Afobe still boasts six league goals from nine appearances proving he could have more to offer next season.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Also, considering his experience in the Premier League, the 25-year-old would be a useful addition as they prepare for life in the top flight.

Afobe endured a successful first spell at the Molineux Stadium before his move to Bournemouth, reported by BBC Sport to be in the region of £10 million.

His initial two years at the club saw 23 goals in 48 appearances and the former England under-21’s star quickly became a fan favourite before leaving for the Cherries in 2016.

He rejoined Wolves in the January window, on loan, leaving the striker “crying in his car with happiness”, according to BBC Sport.

The 6ft striker has 63 Premier League appearances under his belt, and for £12 million it is surely worth the expenditure to have Afobe leading in the dressing room next season.

The move would be ideal for both parties as Afobe has failed to establish himself as Bournemouth’s first choice striker, falling behind the likes of Joshua King, Callum Wilson and Jermaine Defoe in Eddie Howe’s side.

Wolves supporters were delighted to see their former hero return home, and with a full season ahead of him, Afobe could be the man to help fire the goals that could keep the Midlands outfit in the division next season.

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