Bournemouth began their 2018-19 campaign in the Premier League with a 2-0 win over Cardiff, finally winning a matchday one fixture.
Eddie Howe’s side had not won on the opening weekend in each of their previous three seasons in the top-flight but goals from Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson put the hosts in the driving seat for three points – despite a first-half penalty miss.
The Cherries will head to West Ham next weekend in good confidence and can take some key lessons from their performances. Here, we have identified three things we learnt from Bournemouth’s win.
King & Wilson’s partnership
Scoring 16 goals last season, eight each, Joshua King and Callum Wilson played a key-part in Bournemouth’s push for stability once again. The Cherries will face another stern test this season, particularly due to the free-spending sides around them, so it was positive to see the duo shine.
The stand-out moment came in the build-up for the opening goal, where King teed the ball across for Wilson on the right side and he then cut the ball back into the middle for Fraser to latch onto and tuck home comfortably.
Both boasting bags of pace, the duo kept Cardiff’s defence under threat throughout the match and Wilson finished the game with a goal and an assist.
Fraser is the star
Entering the campaign on the back of a decent pre-season, 24-year-old Fraser wasted no time opening his account for the season and maintaining a superb run that extends from last term – as he has now played a direct part in six goals in his last eight matches at the Vitality Stadium.
Against Cardiff, Fraser was heavily involved in everything positive that the Cherries created going forward and his goal was just a fraction of his fine performance. He popped up in space all over the field, causing the Bluebirds plenty of problems and not shirking his defensive responsibilities.
Now with over 100 league appearances for Bournemouth, Fraser could be a crucial part of Eddie Howe’s side this season and the relationship he could create with Wilson and King is very exciting.
“If we can keep Ryan [Fraser] fit he’ll be a big player for us this season. We needed this win after a poor start last year.”
Penalty woes continue
Last season Bournemouth were far from prolific from the penalty spot and Harry Arter’s missed spot-kick against Southampton in early April was the third that the Cherries had missed in a row. While we saw plenty of penalties at the World Cup, Howe seems to have avoided penalty practice in training.
To be fair though, Callum Wilson’s first-half penalty against Cardiff was not a horrendous effort. He went low for the right-hand corner and was denied by a brilliant save from Neil Etheridge – although if you were to criticise you could argue he could have put more power behind it.
Fortunately, the miss did not come back to haunt the hosts but it certainly could have done, especially as Neil Warnock’s side looked a lot more threatening in the second period.