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Bournemouth 2022-23 season review - star player, best moment, standout result

Sports Mole takes an in-depth look back at Bournemouth's 2022-23 season, which saw them enjoy a positive return to the Premier League.

Having gained promotion back to the Premier League following a two-year absence, Bournemouth were labelled as relegation favourites before a ball had been kicked in 2022-23, but the south coast side ended up finishing comfortably clear of the drop zone.

Despite an early managerial change and a mid-season takeover behind the scenes, the Cherries managed to remain focused on the pitch and retain their top-flight status, with Gary O'Neil guiding the club to safety against the odds.

Here, Sports Mole takes an in-depth look back at Bournemouth's 2022-23 campaign, which saw them enjoy a solid return to the Premier League.



SEASON OVERVIEW

Bournemouth manager Gary O'Neil before the match on May 13, 2023© Reuters

Final league position: 15th

EFL Cup: Fourth round

FA Cup: Third round

Top scorer: Dominic Solanke, Philip Billing (7)

Most assists: Dominic Solanke (7)

While promotion adversaries Fulham and Nottingham Forest splashed the cash on countless signings ahead of their respective top-flight returns, Bournemouth experienced a relatively low-key summer transfer window, making a limited number of alterations to their squad.

Argentine defender Marcos Senesi was signed in a £13.5m deal from Feyenoord, while Marcus Tavernier joined from Middlesbrough for £10.7m, but the other arrivals – Ryan Fredericks, Joe Rothwell, Neto and Jack Stephens – were either free transfers or loan deals.

The Cherries kicked off the campaign with a 2-0 victory over Aston Villa, but the good times did not last long, as Scott Parker's side suffered a 4-0 thrashing against Manchester City, a 3-0 defeat to Arsenal and a humiliating 9-0 mauling at the hands of Liverpool.

After taking a solitary point from a possible 12 – conceding 16 goals in the process – Bournemouth parted ways with Parker less than a month into the season, leaving assistant coach Gary O'Neil in charge on an interim basis.

AFC Bournemouth's Jefferson Lerma celebrates after the match on April 30, 2023© Reuters

It is fair to say that Bournemouth benefited from the early managerial change, as O'Neil oversaw a six-match unbeaten streak to propel the club into the top half of the table, scooping September's Premier League Manager of the Month award for his troubles.

However, October proved to be a very difficult month for the Cherries, who suffered three successive defeats before throwing away a 3-1 lead to lose 4-3 at Elland Road, with Leeds United inflicting a fourth consecutive loss on the south coast outfit.

In desperate need of a win, Bournemouth finished the first phase of the season with back-to-back home victories over Everton, booking their place in the fourth round of the EFL Cup with a 4-1 triumph before claiming a 3-1 win over the Toffees in the league, which saw O'Neil's side enter the World Cup break in 14th place.

Having taken 13 points from a possible 33, O'Neil was appointed as Bournemouth's permanent manager during the winter layoff, while American businessman Bill Foley and his partnership Black Knight FC completed their takeover of the club.

Despite making a number of high-profile signings during the January transfer window – including Dango Ouattara for £24m and Ilya Zabarnyi for £19.9m – the Cherries endured a nine-game winless run after the World Cup, suffering five league defeats while dropping out of both the EFL Cup and FA Cup.

AFC Bournemouth's Jordan Zemura on February 18, 2023© Reuters

Following an agonising 3-2 defeat at Arsenal, Bournemouth found themselves rock bottom of the Premier League table in early March, but a subsequent run of six victories in nine matches saw them climb to 13th place, with memorable wins over Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur coming in that sequence.

O'Neil's men thrashed Leeds 4-1 at the end of April to all but secure their top-flight status for another season, while Bournemouth's safety was mathematically confirmed when Everton lost to Manchester City a fortnight later.

Although the Cherries ended the campaign with four straight defeats – falling to Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Manchester United and Everton while scoring just once – they finished 15th and five points clear of the relegation zone, thanks largely to the manager's composure during testing periods and the team's togetherness throughout the season.

Given that Bournemouth were among the pre-season relegation favourites, O'Neil and his players can be proud of their efforts in 2022-23.



PREMIER LEAGUE STATS

Wins: 11 (=15th)
Draws: 6 (=19th)
Losses: 21 (=4th)
Goals scored: 37 (17th)
Goals conceded: 71 (3rd)
Yellow cards: 69 (12th)
Red cards: 0 (=20th)
Passes: 13,931 (18th)
Shots: 358 (20th)
Big chances missed: 27 (19th)
Saves: 136 (3rd)
Tackles: 618 (12th)
Own goals: 3 (=8th)
Hit woodwork: 5 (20th)
Clearances: 971 (1st)



HOW DID IT COMPARE TO LAST SEASON?

Bournemouth manager Scott Parker before the match on April 9, 2022© Reuters

Naturally, Bournemouth's 2022-23 campaign was very different to the season prior, as the Cherries gained promotion last year following a hugely successful Championship campaign.

Under the guidance of Scott Parker, Bournemouth finished second in the Championship – two points behind title winners Fulham – picking up 88 points to finish the season with a points-per-game average of 1.91.

By contrast, the Cherries' points-per-game average dropped to 1.02 as they battled to avoid relegation in 2022-23, although they will not be overly concerned about that drop-off due to the level of opposition in the Premier League.

In 2021-22, no team in the second tier suffered fewer defeats than Bournemouth's eight, while no side conceded fewer goals than Bournemouth's 39, so Parker and his players set the foundations for a successful return to the top flight.

It is worth noting, however, that only relegated pair Southampton and Leicester City recorded more losses than Bournemouth in 2022-23, while only the Saints and Leeds posted poorer defensive records than the Cherries.

The Dorset outfit enjoyed a marginally better FA Cup run during their promotion-winning campaign, reaching the fourth round before falling in the third round last term, although their run to the fifth round of the 2022-23 EFL Cup was an improvement on their second-round exit the season before.



PLAYER OF THE SEASON: DOMINIC SOLANKE

Dominic Solanke celebrates scoring for Bournemouth on April 30, 2023© Reuters

There are certainly a number of honourable mentions when it comes to discussing Bournemouth's player of the season, with the likes of Philip Billing, Jefferson Lerma and Neto worthy of a spot in the conversation.

That said, it is difficult to overlook the impact that Dominic Solanke made on the team throughout the course of the campaign, as the 25-year-old striker finished the season with seven goals and seven assists to his name.

It would not be unfair to say that Solanke struggled during his previous Premier League campaign, scoring three goals in 32 appearances back in 2019-20, but after netting 44 goals across two Championship seasons, the former Chelsea and Liverpool youngster now looks like a genuine top-flight player.

After scoring against Nottingham Forest, Fulham and Leeds prior to the World Cup, Solanke bagged important goals against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Tottenham and Leeds after the break, playing a key role in his side's survival.



STANDOUT RESULT: TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2-3 BOURNEMOUTH

AFC Bournemouth's Dango Ouattara on January 21, 2023© Reuters

Bournemouth travelled to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in mid-April on the back of three victories in five matches, having defeated Liverpool, Fulham and Leicester to enhance their chances of survival.

However, when Son Heung-min put the hosts ahead in the 14th minute, it looked as though O'Neil's men were set for a long afternoon, as Spurs dominated the early stages while keeping Bournemouth quiet.

Despite Tottenham's dominance, Roma loanee Matias Vina equalised in the 38th minute before Dominic Solanke gave the Cherries the lead six minutes into the second half, sending the travelling fans wild while silencing the home supporters.

Bournemouth appeared to be heading for victory as the clock ticked down, but when Arnaut Danjuma scored an 88th-minute equaliser against his former club, Spurs looked the most likely to claim all three points.

Remarkably, there was still time for more drama, as Dango Ouattara came off the bench to score the winning goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time, wrong-footing Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg before calmly slotting the ball past Hugo Lloris.

The last-gasp victory saw the Cherries climb to 13th place in the table, and it will always be remembered as one of the club's biggest away wins in the Premier League.

> Click here for a full list of Bournemouth's results from the 2022-23 season



BEST MOMENT

Bournemouth's Philip Billing celebrates scoring against Leeds United on November 5, 2022© Reuters

A fortnight after the victory at Tottenham, Bournemouth picked up arguably their most important result of the entire season, thrashing Leeds 4-1 at the Vitality Stadium to more or less guarantee their top-flight status for another campaign.

Jefferson Lerma scored two goals in the space of four first-half minutes to kick-start the party at Dean Court, while Dominic Solanke and Antoine Semenyo found the back of the net after the break to wrap up the rout.

That win saw Bournemouth register their highest league position since October, as O'Neil's side found themselves 13th after notching seven victories in 12 games, and the club's safety was confirmed two weeks later.

In addition to being Bournemouth's biggest win of the season in terms of goals, the victory over Leeds was the biggest in terms of the club's survival bid, as the Cherries laid down a marker and sent out a statement to their relegation rivals.



TOP PRIORITY FOR SUMMER

Southampton's Kyle Walker-Peters celebrates after the match on August 20, 2022© Reuters

Although Bournemouth enjoyed a positive return to the Premier League, the south coast side cannot afford to rest on their laurels, as failing to strengthen the squad during the summer transfer window would almost certainly prove costly.

Due to the millions of pounds that top-flight teams will inevitably spend during the off-season, the Cherries' new owners must make transfer funds available this summer, or O'Neil's side will struggle to progress.

It is no secret that Bournemouth require reinforcements at both ends of the pitch, as they finished the 2022-23 campaign with the third-worst defensive record and the fourth-worst offensive record.

With standout midfielders such as Lerma, Billing, Tavernier, Ryan Christie and Hamed Junior Traore in their ranks, Bournemouth will likely target defenders and forwards this summer as they aim to both prevent and score more goals.

The Cherries would be wise to consider players from the recently relegated teams, given that Leicester, Leeds and Southampton all have plenty of quality on offer, with a host of players looking to earn an immediate move back to the Premier League.

Defenders such as Armel Bella-Kotchap, Kyle Walker-Peters, Robin Koch and Caglar Soyuncu would enhance Bournemouth's backline, while forwards like Kelechi Iheanacho, Patrick Bamford and Che Adams would bolster O'Neil's attacking options.

Ultimately, Bournemouth will need to strengthen in almost every department in order to keep up with the demands of top-flight football, with squad depth becoming more important each season.



FINAL VERDICT

If the Cherries had been offered 15th place at the start of the season, they would have gladly accepted the offer without kicking a ball, as the main aim was always to avoid an immediate return to the Championship.

When Scott Parker was sacked just four games into the campaign following the embarrassing 9-0 thrashing at Anfield, it looked as though Bournemouth would struggle to beat the drop, but Gary O'Neil steadied the ship and guided the club to safety.

Of course, Bournemouth would have preferred to have not recorded three separate four-match losing streaks while leaking goals at a steady rate throughout the season, but they achieved their goal of staying in the Premier League and can now enjoy a well-earned summer break.

Alongside the three promoted teams, Bournemouth will likely find themselves among the favourites for relegation again in 2023-24, but they will back themselves – with the addition of some key summer signings – to push on and enjoy another successful campaign.


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