Howe has plan to stop Wilshere

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has identified Jack Wilshere as West Ham's main threat ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash between the two teams.

The Hammers, who signed Wilshere from Arsenal this summer, slumped to a 4-0 defeat to Liverpool in their opening game of the campaign while the Cherries clinched a fine 2-0 win against Cardiff City.

Wilshere spent the 2016/17 season on loan with the Cherries, featuring in 27 Premier League matches for the club.

Howe said: "West Ham have a very experienced manager and they've recruited some really good players. This will be a good marker for us on where we stand.

"It was good to see Jack Wilshere when we played Arsenal last season. He could have a big bearing on the game and it's up to us to stop him."

Howe was pleased with his side's performance against the newly-promoted Bluebirds but believes his players can improve still further.

He added: "It was a nice thing for us to get that opening-day win – it gives you a nice confidence lift. Cardiff made it difficult for us and we didn't play to our best potential but we found a way to win, which is very pleasing."

Bournemouth can be backed at 5/2 to finish in the top half of the Premier League table this season while they are 14/5 to beat West Ham. Wilshere is 9/2 to score at any time in the encounter.

Francis vows to prove his worth

Bournemouth captain Simon Francis is determined to force his way back into Eddie Howe's starting eleven after being named as a substitute on Saturday.

The 33-year-old defender has been a regular starter for the Cherries in the last two years but had to settle for a second-half substitute appearance during the 2-0 win against Cardiff City.

Bournemouth visit West Ham United on Saturday and are 12/5 to win again, while they can be backed at 5/2 to finish in the top half of the Premier League table this season.

Francis, who missed the friendly victory against Marseille earlier this month, admitted: "It was tough but I had an inkling from the Marseille game that the manager may do it.

"Nobody could argue because the lads were excellent in that game but I had to show what I could do on Saturday.

"It's been a long time since I have come off the bench. I just want to help the team be in the right mind-set and, hopefully, I can. If I get a chance, like on Saturday with 25 minutes, you have to try to change the game."

Meanwhile, Howe has urged his established stars to maintain their high standards.

Summer signings Jefferson Lerma and Diego Rico were not involved against the Bluebirds, with Howe saying: "Those players who have done so well for this football club over a long period of time have just showed the right attitude to keep going, learning, progressing and improving in the hardest league in the world – and they are excelling at this level.

"The ultimate aim is you hope the players who have been here a long time help nurture the new guys who come in."

Howe happy to finally land Lerma

Bournemouth head coach Eddie Howe believes new signing Jefferson Lerma has plenty of qualities which will help him impress in the Premier League.

The 23-year-old Colombia international midfielder featured for his country in all five of their games at the World Cup earlier this summer and has now completed a move to the Cherries from Spanish outfit Levante.

And, with a prolonged chase for Lerma finally over and a five-year contract signed and sealed, Howe is looking forward to seeing how his new club record signing gets on this season.

He told the club's official website: "It's no secret that Jefferson has been someone we have chased for a while this summer.

"It's been a complicated deal, but I am certain it will be worth all the hard work that people have put in to make this happen.

"Jefferson is an extremely talented player and a very good athlete who will bring a different type of play to our midfield.

"He has a lot of qualities that will be suited to the Premier League and I'm really looking forward to working with him."

Lerma becomes the third major signing made by Bournemouth this summer, with defender Diego Rico having joined from Leganes, while midfielder David Brooks has been recruited from Sheffield United.

The Cherries begin their Premier League campaign at home to newly-promoted Cardiff City on Saturday, with the two sides having last met in the Championship during the 2014/15 season.

Bournemouth can be backed at 10/11 to make a winning start and are 17/2 to claim a 2-0 victory over the Bluebirds, with the Cherries 6/4 to keep a clean sheet.

View all Soccer betting

Gunnarsson ready for Premier League return

Cardiff City's Aron Gunnarsson says there is a togetherness within the squad that can help them as they return to the Premier League.

The Bluebirds first season in the Premier League back in 2013-14 ended in instant relegation back to the Championship.

Gunnarsson scored their first goal then, in the 3-2 win over Manchester City, a rare highlight in a disappointing season.

However, Neil Warnock's side are back and Gunnarsson, returning from World Cup 2018 duty with Iceland, is ready for the challenge.

He says that those teams that have gone up and thrived are an example for Cardiff to follow as they seek to avoid another instant relegation.

He told the club's official website: "You look at the teams who have worked their way up like Bournemouth and Burnley, and it's about creating a togetherness in the team to go that extra mile for success and I can see that in our players.

"They're willing to go that extra mile and do anything to get that success and I'm hopeful we can stick together as a team and make that happen.

"The professionalism in this squad is second to none and we know what is expected of us. We know our strengths and we need to build on that. We've got a lot of leaders at this club and that's only a good thing."

The Bluebirds play their final pre-season fixture, at home to Real Betis before getting their Premier League season underway at AFC Bournemouth next Saturday.

They are 11/4 for the win, Eddie Howe's side are 19/20 with the draw 5/2.

Their first home game back in the top flight is a week later when Newcastle United are the visitors to the Cardiff City Stadium.
Cardiff are 4/6 to be relegated at the end of the season while they are 16/1 to finish in the top half.

View all Soccer betting

Cherries close in on Lerma

Colombia international Jefferson Lerma, who has been linked with a move to Bournemouth, has handed in a transfer request at Levante.

The Spanish side have reportedly rejected a bid from the Cherries for Lerma, who helped his country reach the round of 16 at World Cup 2018.

The 23-year-old joined Levante, initially on a 12-month loan, in 2015 after starting his career in his homeland with Atletico Huila. He signed a permanent four-year deal in July 2016.

Meanwhile, boss Eddie Howe thinks Diego Rico will prove to be a big hit in the Premier League.

The defender joined the club for an undisclosed transfer fee – believed to have been £10.7million – from Leganes earlier this week.

The 25-year-old Spaniard penned a four-year contract with the Cherries, who are 5/2 to finish in the top half of the Premier League this season.

Howe said: "Diego is a player we have been tracking throughout the summer and, although we had to be patient, it's great to finally be able to call him a Bournemouth player.

"He's a really nice footballer and someone who will fit our philosophy and style of play.

"Once he gets used to the way we play, we believe he can be a real force for this football club."

Bournemouth can be backed at 11/8 to earn over 43 points in the Premier League this season.

Howe expecting Rico to impress

Bournemouth head coach Eddie Howe has backed new signing Diego Rico to become a 'real force' for the club following his arrival from Leganes.

The 25-year-old Spaniard has joined the Cherries on a four-year contract, with an undisclosed fee reported to be in the region of £10million having secured his services.

And Howe has high hopes that the attacking left-back will prove to be a big hit at Dean Court, telling his club's official website: "Diego is a player we have been tracking throughout the summer and, although we had to be patient, it's great to finally be able to call him a Bournemouth player.

"He's a really nice footballer and someone who will fit our philosophy and style of play.

"Diego is fast, physical and aggressive in attack and aggressive defensively. He takes an excellent set-piece and has a powerful left foot.

"Once he gets used to the way we play, we believe he can be a real force for this football club."

Rico had spent the last two seasons with Leganes, having started his career with Real Zaragoza.

The Cherries, who finished in 12th place in the Premier League last season, have also drafted in Wales midfielder David Brooks from Sheffield United this summer.

They can be backed at 9/2 to be relegated next season, with Brighton & Hove Albion priced at 2/1 and Crystal Palace available at 11/2.

View all Soccer betting

Howe lands striker Brooks

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has managed to persuade Sheffield United striker David Brooks to join the Cherries.

The highly-rated 20-year-old is believed to have moved to the south coast for an initial transfer fee of £10million, with add-ons potentially increasing the deal to around £11.5million.

The Wales international has penned a four-year contract with Bournemouth, 5/2 to finish in the top half of the Premier League table in 2018/19.

Brooks, who is Howe's first signing of the summer, said: "The chance to play for a club in the Premier League is a great opportunity. I'm delighted to be on board.

"When you look at Eddie Howe as a manager, you want to be involved in something like that. He's got big ambitions and develops young players well and gives them a chance.

"That's something I'm looking for and he was one of the main attractions for me to come to Bournemouth."

Brooks made 30 appearances in the league, although only nine were starts, for the Blades and has won three caps for Wales.

He scored three goals in the Championship for Sheffield United, 13/2 to be promoted in 2018/19, last term – against Leeds United, Millwall and Burton Albion.

Surgery ends Stanislas’ season

Bournemouth forward Junior Stanislas will miss the remainder of the Premier League season after undergoing surgery on a serious knee injury.

The 28-year-old has seen his campaign disrupted by injures on several occasions, however, Stanislas had found form after overcoming those problems, scoring four goals in his last eight appearances for the Cherries.

He has now been forced back on to the sidelines, with head coach Eddie Howe confirming the bad news ahead of a weekend visit from Crystal Palace.

Howe told reporters: "He picked up a serious knee injury against Watford and has been operated on.

"We'll be looking now towards next season and whether he'll make the start. We'll have to see how his rehab goes. He's a big miss for us.

"At first our medical team were worried about him doing his cruciate ligament, but it was the anterior, the lateral meniscus.

"It's probably the better of the two evils. It has been operated on and repaired, we're quite happy with how that has gone."

Meanwhile, Howe confirmed that Adam Smith will miss the weekend action, but has not yet been ruled out for the rest of the season, with the defender currently sidelined by a knee problem.

The Cherries and the Eagles shared the spoils from a 2-2 draw at Selhurst Park earlier this season, with Jermain Defoe netting both goals for the visitors.

He can be backed at 13/8 to score at anytime on Saturday and is 11/2 to net the first goal of the game, with Bournemouth 9/1 to win the game 2-1.

View all Soccer betting

Howe sees value in Hornets win

Bournemouth head coach Eddie Howe expects the clash with Watford at Vicarage Road to be a tense tussle, with a win for either side a major boost to their season.

The Cherries and the Hornets are locked on 36 points apiece heading into the weekend action, with a three-point return on Saturday almost certain to see the winning team dismiss any lingering fears of being dragged back into the relegation dogfight.

And Howe is well aware of the importance of the game, with his ultimate target the matching or an improvement on the 46-point return of last season in the Premier League.

He told reporters: "I think the weekend's result will go a long way to helping the winning team.

"We always try and set a target or bar. I think it's healthy for the players to see an objective at the start of the season. If we can get close to or beat our target from last season, we'll be in a good position."

Meanwhile, Howe was also full of praise for the fighting spirit and determination shown by his squad, with the Cherries having only lost twice in their last 12 league games.

He added: "I think a lot of it is within the players themselves. They are a great group, they want to do well and want to win.

"When you have those characteristics within you, you never give up and never quit. I don't think you can."

The Cherries are without a win in their previous five Premier League meetings with Watford and are 23/10 to take all three points on Saturday, with a 1-1 draw priced at 6/1 and a 2-2 final scoreline available at 12/1.

View all Soccer betting

Howe expecting Spurs backlash

Eddie Howe says his Bournemouth side are expecting a backlash from Tottenham following their dramatic exit from the Champions League this week.

Spurs looked like they could be heading for the quarter-finals of the prestigious European competition but suffered a defeat to Serie A title-holders Juventus on Wednesday night.

Tottenham now head to the Vitality Stadium on Sunday looking to get back to winning ways in the Premier League and consolidate their top-four position.

Howe knows all about the qualities in the Spurs squad and is expecting his side to come up against a Tottenham team determined to bounce back on the south coast.

The Cherries chief said: "Spurs have been playing really well recently. Of course, the [Champions League] exit will hurt them, just because I think they will be believe they should have gone through, they were the better team for the majority of that game.

"But I am sure they will be focused on this weekend's match, which is important for them and very important for us."

Bournemouth are 11/2 to win, 7/2 to draw and 8/15 to lose to Mauricio Pochettino's side.

Spurs full-back Serge Aurier is available after missing the defeat against the Old Lady because of a European suspension, while Tottenham will monitor the fitness of midfielder Eric Dier who is nursing an elbow injury.

View all Soccer betting