The Premier League is back in business this weekend with all 20 teams in action. There are several great games for football fans that have been dying for league play to start, but maybe none as evenly matched as Bournemouth vs West Brom. Both clubs are well run, consistently overachieving, and similar in style. If you are looking to avert your eyes from the star power of the big clubs and watch a match that embodies the true essence of the Premier League, look no further.
Keys for AFC Bournemouth:
Although it is no secret that the Cherries find their success in the form of discipline and team chemistry, there are still some underrated individuals in the squad to watch for.
Josh King was silently one of the best scorers in the league last season, netting 16 goals in his 36 appearances. Look for him to use his pace to get under the skin of a relatively slow West Brom defense.
New signing Asmir Begovich and (kind of new) club record signing Nathan Ake will look to reinforce what was already a stout defensive setup for Bournemouth last season. Given that West Brom is not the most explosive team, the Cherries should be optimistic of keeping a clean sheet.
Keys for West Brom:
Not unlike Bournemouth, hosts West Brom are a team that thrives off of the grit they bring to the pitch every week. It is easy to look past them but there is a reason why they consistently finish mid table despite spending very little relative to other teams. West Brom grinds out points.
Many Baggies fans will be slightly worried about the defensive depth, or lack there of, for their squad. But this is the opening weekend and basically everyone is healthy so there should be no reason not to expect West Brom to be tough as ever at the back. They should be slightly worried about Bournemouth catching them on a counterattack, but if they bend they are not very likely to break. A clean sheet is a realistic goal for West Brom that may be necessary if they are to take 3 points home.
Talented attacking individuals are at a premium for the Baggies, so Solomon Rondon and Nacer Chadli will need to step up and produce against a stingy Bournemouth team. With the home crowd behind them, fans should be hoping a couple of goals are produced by the team’s greatest attacking threats.
If this match was played 100 times Bournemouth would probably have the slight edge. But given that Saturday’s match will be played at The Hawthornes and it is the first game of the season, a draw is probably a fair prediction.
Bournemouth 1-1 West Brom