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Scorching Bournemouth run could mean the end of promotion chances


When Bournemouth played for Reading in November, Jason Tindall’s side ended up two goals short of halftime. And yet – despite being clearly in a boring situation – there was never any panic among the Cherries XI.

Like an 11 year old player playing FIFA, they just sat down from their slumped position and said “okay, I’m going to start playing right now” – and that’s exactly which they did, crushing four goals in the second half at home to secure a 4-2 victory.

Josh laurent
Bournemouth has been completely overtaken by Reading | Richard Heathcote / Getty Images

However, when they found themselves in the exact same position in the reverse game on Friday night, there was no such bluster.

Again, they looked like the aforementioned 11-year-old, but this time he had lost his father in a supermarket, and there was a look of panic and fear on their faces as they desperately searched for someone. one to help them.

No one could help, and even a late consolation only served to add a crumb of solace alongside Tindall as they returned to the South Coast with a 3-1 loss.

Having looked like the only team able to hand over the tail to league leaders Norwich, the Cherries have now only taken one win in seven games, a series that includes four losses – double the amount they suffered during the first. half of the season.

The smooth, fast-paced and dynamic football that saw them comfortably perched under the Canaries in auto promotion spots seems to be a thing of the past, and instead their game feels labored, bulky and almost lazy.

The signing of Jack Wilshere in January has been hailed by some as a masterstroke, and the former Arsenal man is unquestionably a talented footballer. But his halftime introduction against Reading was enough to suggest he has no place in this Bournemouth side if they are to gain a foothold in the promotion race.

Cherries’ early-season stellar form was built on pace and energy, and Wilshere’s introduction brought an already failing machine to a shameful standstill. Cycle possession and make things slowly turn out in midfield as well and well, but not when your team is 3-0.

While it may seem premature to suggest that a team’s promotion hopes may already be over while they’re still in the play-off, it’s not as ridiculous as you might think.

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Josh King has yet to score in the league this season | Naomi Baker / Getty Images

Tindall’s Men are still in the top six, but there’s every chance they’ll be ousted from their position in the next few weeks, and nothing in their game to suggest they’ll end their scorching form run.

The likes of Josh King and David Brooks are expected to replicate the likes of Emiliano Buendia at Norwich – clearly too good for this league and tear up teams with regularity – but instead they are just working towards the end of the season, as s ‘they could. don’t wait until it’s over so they can get off the ship.

It remains to be seen whether the Bournemouth hierarchy chooses to keep the faith with rookie boss Tindall, but one thing is for sure – something needs to change on the South Coast or the Cherries will certainly run out of promotion this season. And with some of their best underperforming players still garnering interest from elsewhere, they might be ready to stay at tier two for a long time.