It’s funny how any fixture can become a grudge match.
On paper, this one would normally be a prime candidate for that prized post-midnight slot on Match of the Day. But no, no, no, hold your horses – this is big.
The Gary O’Neil Derby.
The Cherries are desperate for a win. Wolves want to keep the good vibes going. Gary just wants vengeance.
Let’s get it on.
After John Eustace was ruthlessly sacked to make way for Wayne Rooney the other day, I saw someone on Twitter commenting that football club owners shouldn’t go looking for problems.
The logic being that Eustace was going along fine, so why rock the boat? The same could be said of Bournemouth’s treatment of O’Neil.
There must have been a feeling that Andoni Iraola was a significant upgrade, but he’s only been managing for a few years longer than his predecessor and has zero experience of the Premier League. It was a risky move and the early signs aren’t good.
Maybe it will prove correct in the long run, but after a winless start (three draws and five defeats), including that 3-0 humbling at Goodison Park last time out – the pressure is enormous for his side to deliver a victory tomorrow.
In mitigation, they’ve had a lot of injuries and a tough run of fixtures to begin the campaign (not quite as hard as ours mind) – I thought this was an interesting graphic in a decent post on the BBC Sport site.
But they’re the lowest scorers in the league so far (5) and conceding three against an Everton team that hardly scores must have set the alarm bells ringing.
I think if Lemina and Semedo weren’t suspended it would be difficult for Gary to change the team following two excellent performances. But in their absence, he might be tempted into more radical changes.
But if we’re following the mantra of ‘don’t go looking for problems’, I’d stick with the same shape and just make the easy, like-for-like decisions – Doc for Semedo and Boubacar for Lemina.
It’s handy to have Bellegarde back again because we can easily change shape and get that extra attack-minded body in midfield, but I’d start with the more defensively rigid shape to make it difficult for Bournemouth in the early parts of the game.
Well done to Teddy and Liz who correctly predicted 1-1 against Aston Villa. Apologies to anyone who couldn’t get their forecast in prior to that game. The server went down on the website and there was nothing I could do to get it back online until later in the day. We’re also having some technical issues with the site that need to be resolved so the current Prediction League table isn’t quite correct. I’ll try to look at that this week.
I’m backing us to come out on top tomorrow. They need to win really and I’m hoping that desperation opens them up to mistakes that allow the likes of Pedro and Cunha to break at speed. That’s where we do the majority of our damage.
As always, if you’d like to join in with the Prediction League this season, it’s simple – just leave your prediction in the comment section below using the boxes provided. Then repeat for every preview article throughout the season, making sure you always use the same email address to make your prediction. Your email is what ties you to your overall score.
Up The Wolves!