Steve Fletcher: Key matches from AFC Bournemouth's 2016-17 season
PUBLISHED: 14:59 14 July 2017
Fletch looks back on the key matches of the 2016-17 season, that saw AFC Bournemouth achieve their highest-ever league position
As I write this column, just days after the 2016-17 season has finished, the enormity of our players’ achievement in securing our best-ever league position hasn’t quite sunk in yet.
Before our final match of the season at Leicester City, our manager Eddie Howe spoke about his desire to win and continue the good run of results we were on. Eddie told the players that potentially they would make AFC Bournemouth history by becoming the first-ever Cherries team to finish in the top half of the Premier League.
A 1-1 draw at Leicester was enough to see us do just that, as we came ninth in the league in the end. Surviving in the Premier League is a massive achievement in itself, so finishing where we did is beyond many people’s wildest dreams. Not Eddie Howe’s mind. He was always of the belief that a top ten finish was possible for us and what’s more, he thinks there is even more to come from this talented team in the years ahead.
Looking back over this memorable season there are no shortage of highlights. Beating West Bromwich Albion and Everton in the early weeks of the campaign were big results for us. A month later our performance in securing a draw at home to Tottenham Hotspur, also stands out as, for me, Spurs were the best footballing side in the division in 2016-17.
Only two clubs managed to beat us both home and away this season – champions Chelsea and third-placed Manchester City. To have taken points off the other 17 teams in the division is an incredible achievement. That included a win and a draw against Liverpool and the same against Leicester City, who were champions in 2015-16 of course.
You won’t go through a Premier League campaign without some disappointment, otherwise you’d be the champions! We had a disappointing run of results from the start of January through to early March when we went eight matches without a win in the Premier League. We went from the top half of division to looking over our shoulder as we slid down the table.
A 1-1 draw against all the odds at Manchester United in March, when we were down to 10 men for the entire second half, was the trigger for another good run of results. We beat West Ham United and Swansea City in our next two matches, which went a long way to help banish any relegation fears.
It continued to be a case of onwards and upwards in the last few months of the season. Our point at Leicester on the final day was part of a sequence of five matches in which we’d won three and drawn two. Momentum counts for a lot in football, and it will be great to kick off the 2017-18 Premier League campaign with that kind of form behind us.
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