Bournemouth: 18-0 might be enough


The good news is that we might not have to win by nineteen goals.  Middlesbrough have to play their part by winning their game at home to Brighton and they will surely manage to do this by at least two goals. This means that we should be able to take our foot off the pedal at eighteen.

The bad news is that Bournemouth have only failed to score on three occasions all season, and only once in their last nineteen games.  They have scored more goals than any other team in the league (95) and will fancy their chances at reaching 100 on Saturday.  If we are 18-0 ahead with five minutes left it will therefore be foolish to go on the defensive.

The Cherries started the season as they meant to go on. Marc Pugh scored their first goal after 26 seconds at Huddersfield. Their shrewd new signing Callum Wilson (largely funded by the sale of Lewis Grabban to Norwich) scored twice, and some French bloke rounded off the scoring for an impressive 4-0 win.  They then stumbled a bit. They were beaten four times before the end of September and found themselves in the bottom half of the table. They got into gear in October and a run of seven consecutive wins (including the 8-0 at Birmingham) took them to the top. They didn't lose another game until Norwich beat them at home in early January.  They slipped to fourth place after a run of five games without a win in February but they arrive at The Valley unbeaten in their last twelve, of which they have won eight, scoring 28 goals in the process.  Some of their best performances have been away from home. In addition to the demolition of Birmingham, they also beat Blackpool 6-1, Fulham 5-1 and Rotherham 5-1 in the FA Cup.

Much has been made of their flirtation with FFP rules but they escaped censure because of the windfall they received from Southampton when Adam Lallana was sold to Liverpool.  Canny Bournemouth had included a sell-on clause when he left them for the Saints as a twelve year old.  They certainly haven't spent a great deal in the transfer market and Eddie Howe's team building has to be admired.  Tommy Elphick, Charlie Daniels, Steve Cook, Marc Pugh, Matt Ritchie and Harry Arter have come up through the divisions with them.  We don't know exactly how much they paid for the French bloke but Andrew Surman only cost £500,000 from Norwich when he joined earlier this season.  Only Callum Wilson (£3m from Coventry) can be counted a major signing and how many can say that they had heard of him before this season ?  Also, how many Charlton fans would have predicted Simon Francis being in a Premier league squad next year ?

It is a real shame that Middlesbrough sent their goalkeeper up for a corner in the last minute at Fulham last week and consequently lost the game 3-4.  If they had gained a point, then Bournemouth would go into the game on Saturday knowing that they could still be caught.   More to the point, it would mean that Charlton would at last be playing a game with something riding on it.  Sure, Bournemouth will still want to be champions but it will hardly be nail biting stuff, and the likelihood is that we will have to spend the afternoon like gooseberries at someone else's party.

Prediction:   A 19-0 win for Charlton (Buyens 15 pens; Solly, Fox, Johnson, Gomez), but Bournemouth still promoted as Boro fail to beat Brighton.   Roll on next season.