Bournemouth 2019/20 Review: End of Season Report Card for the Cherries

Eddie Howe
After an eight year spell with the club, Bournemouth and Eddie Howe have parted ways | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Ah, Bournemouth. After a valiant five-year stay in the Premier League, they've finally dropped back down to the second tier in one of the oddest seasons in English football history.

Relegation also brought an end to Eddie Howe's tenure at the club, with the 42-year-old leaving the Cherries after eight years in his second spell at the Vitality Stadium.

Having over-achieved for so long, the sad reality is that this was always on the cards for a club who, not too long ago, were fighting to stay in the Football League. That said, Bournemouth's limp performances this season – after years of fight and passion – will have disappointed many supporters.

Here's a look back over their campaign.

Premier League - 18th

A valiant effort at Goodison Park wasn't enough to save the Cherries, as Aston Villa's draw against West Ham ensured their survival at the south coasters' expense.

The aggressive, fast-paced brand of football they've been synonymous with over recent years disappeared this season - replaced by a string of slow, tired performances completely devoid of passion or penetration.

Bournemouth have always had a shaky defence. Howe loves an overlapping full-back, and commits to winning games by taking the fight to the opponent - a tactic that has proven successful. Those defensive frailties had always been offset by that attacking threat, but this year the goals dried up.

Callum Wilson
The forward has had a tough year | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

After scoring 14 goals and providing ten assists in 2018/19, Callum Wilson could only muster eight goals and three assists this term. Similarly, Ryan Fraser, one of the league's standout performers last season, saw a staggering decline in output.

With their forwards firing blanks, Bournemouth continuously came up short. A string of embarrassing defeats after Christmas to Brighton, West Ham, Watford and Norwich highlighted how far off the pace they were..

Results scarcely improved and Bournemouth managed just four wins in 2020 – two of those coming in the final weeks of the season as a late rally gave them some hope.

Domestic Cup Performance

FA Cup: Fourth Round

Bournemouth recorded their biggest winning margin of the season as they brushed aside Championship newcomers Luton Town in the FA Cup third round, the Cherries winning the match 4-0.

They played Arsenal in the next round and despite facing a youthful Gunners team, Howe's side struggled to gain control of the match. Two goals before half time from Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka should have been a wake-up call for Bournemouth, but their lacklustre performance continued in the second half.

They came alive in the dying seconds when Sam Surridge pulled one back but, much like their late league resurgence, it was too little too late. A disappointing performance - one that typified their season.

Carabao Cup: Third Round

Bournemouth scraped past League Two side Forest Green after young keeper Mark Travers saved three penalties in a penalty shootout following a goalless draw.

Howe would have demanded a better performance from his side in the following round against another lower league side, League One's Burton Albion. He was left frustrated again as the Cherries were thoroughly outplayed at the Pirelli Stadium, the home side winning 2-0. Bournemouth could only muster one shot on target in a dismal performance against a side two leagues below them.

Best Player

Easily the Cherries' best player this year
Easily the Cherries' best player this year | Pool/Getty Images

You dread to think where Bournemouth would have ended up without Nathan Ake this year. The Dutchman was a level above his teammates this season, his performances not deserving of a side whimpering towards relegation.

Far too good for the Championship, Bournemouth fans can have no ill-feeling about his impending departure, especially as the significant transfer fee paid by Manchester City may be vital in getting the Cherries back to the top flight.

Worst Player

Ryan Fraser
A really poor campaign from the Scot | Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images

A standout season last year saw Ryan Fraser linked with a host of top teams. After no move materialised last summer, his manager would have hoped the winger would apply himself this season, guaranteeing himself a move to a top club when his contract expired.

It's fair to say that didn't happen. The Scot produced just one goal and four assists all season and barely looked bothered at times, admitting that the summer's speculation has contributed to his downturn in form. He burned all bridges with Bournemouth fans when he refused to sign a short term deal after the restart as the club were battling relegation.

Now without a club, he's gone from being linked with Arsenal and Tottenham to Crystal Palace and Fulham. Things could have been very different for Bournemouth and Fraser if he'd actually kept his mind clear this year.

Manager

It's difficult to be too critical of Howe given the fantastic job he's done in the last few years, but he just seemed to run out of steam this year.

He hasn't been helped by the board, mind - Arnaut Danjuma the latest in a series of attacking flops signed by the Cherries.

The fans may have hoped he'd stick around and try to get the team back into the Premier League, but Howe left the club shortly after the season finished.

Aaron Ramsdale
It's been a bad season for Bournemouth | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Rating: F

A season no Bournemouth fan will want to remember in a hurry. A disappointing end to an otherwise brilliant story.