Paul McNamara, Bournemouth Daily Echo
We're eight matches into the season now, but of the summer arrivals, who has stood out so far?
Paul: "Only two of the summer arrivals have made a real impact in the Premier League so far. One of those is Jack Wilshere. He came into the side as a substitute against West Brom and has started every game since. He’s playing slightly higher up the pitch than we’ve seen him at Arsenal, in behind centre forward Callum Wilson, where everything he does, his touches, his vision, is closer to the opponents’ goal. He’s proving popular so far.
Below: Jack Wilshere
"The other one to play regularly is Jordan Ibe, who Bournemouth paid a lot of money for from Liverpool, he’s a slow-burner at the moment and I think he’s the only player to be substituted in every game in the Premier League – he’s started eight and come off in eight. His best performances have come in the last two home games against Everton and Hull. In the game against Everton he was switched to the left, Junior Stanislas moved to the right, and he’s kicked on from there. His decision making needs to improve, he doesn’t always pick the right pass, but there are signs that he’s settled and starting to make an impact."
Below: Jordan Ibe
It looks like Bournemouth are starting to hit form, is that the case?
Paul: "The performance against Everton was the best all-round display so far this season. Bournemouth did well last season, surprised a few people and there was always an expectation from the outside that they would be fine this season, but when they made a slow start, people started to think ‘maybe they will struggle a bit’. The game against West Brom was a tense, tight affair but Bournemouth finally got the three points, went to City the following week and got thumped but since then, they’ve managed to put that to one side and pick up where they left off against West Brom. Everton came to Bournemouth unbeaten but weren’t given a moment to breathe, they couldn’t get into their stride. Bournemouth scored early and were exceptional that day. In the games since, they had enough chances to win at Watford and that was a disappointment because they led twice, but the message from the manager was clearly ‘we have to be more ruthless’ because you saw how it paid off against Hull."
Below: Bournemouth celebrate a goal in the 6-1 win against Hull
We've seen the highlights of the 6-1 win against Hull, but you were there - how good were Bournemouth last week?
Paul: "Bournemouth were very, very good but funnily enough, I don’t think it was as complete a performande as against Everton. Hull were poor on the day, but Bournemouth were very good. There was no let up for Hull. Every time they had the ball in midfield, two or three black and red shirts were on them straight away and when they won possession, they were very sharp. The full-backs get forward whenever they can and made good decisions in the final third, Junior Stanislas is in good form and it all came together. The only worry was when Hull scored, completely against the run of play, you thought they might regret only scoring once in that opening half-hour but they didn’t let that knock them out of their stride, scored another couple before half-time and that gave them the platform."
Below: Adam Smith
How are our former players Charlie Daniels and Adam Smith getting on?
Paul: "I spoke to Adam after Saturday and he still holds Tottenham in very high regard, it’s the first fixture he looks out for. His hope when he joined Bournemouth was to play in the Premier League but I don’t think he necessarily thought that would be with Bournemouth! He perhaps thought he would do well in the Championship and catch the eye. He just fits perfectly into how Eddie Howe wants to play and he puts a lot of how he plays the game down to his upbringing at Tottenham. This season, his game has gone up another level. He’s been fantastic, to the point where he was mentioned in terms of the last England squad and that’s a measure of how well he’s playing at the moment. Like most modern-day full-backs, he’s formidable as an attacking force – as underlined by how the full-backs play at Tottenham.
Below: Charlie Daniels
"Charlie was being spoken about in the same terms last season but this season, he’s not been as reliable defensively. At the same time, he’s lost nothing going forward. He scored early against Hull and from there, his confidence was up and he was solid in all aspects of his game. They are two important players for Bournemouth, a lot of the attacking play comes from the full-backs and the understanding they have with the players in front of them. Adam Smith in particular has a great understanding with Junior Stanislas down the right. So in summary, they are two popular players who are doing very well at Bournemouth."
Below: Eddie Howe
How do you expect Bournemouth to line-up on Saturday? Is anyone missing?
Paul: "As far as we know, not. Eddie Howe is very coy and will never tell you anything before a match, which is fair enough! If you look at the side that started last weekend against Hull, that’s pretty much what I’d expect to see again, unless anyone has picked up an injury this week. Eddie Howe goes with a 4-4-1-1 formation with Wilshere the one in behind Wilson. It’s been the same back four all season, Stanislas had an operation in the summer and came into the side once he was fit. It’s the same central midfield pair in Surman and Arter. You pretty much know what you are going to get, there are no real secrets."
Below: Harry Kane with Hugo Lloris and the matchball after his hat-trick at Bournemouth last season
Finally, how do you think it will go on Saturday?
Paul: "It’s a really tough one to call. I wouldn’t place too much stock on my predictions because I thought they’d beat Hull 1-0! I’ll go for a scoring draw, 2-2. Bournemouth are starting to look more ruthless in the final third. Before last Saturday, they’d only scored six goals in the Premier League, for all the possession they’ve had, so they doubled that in one afternoon! It’s slightly at the expense of how tight they can be at the back and against a team like Tottenham, one slip and you’ll get punished. It will be hard to keep Spurs at bay for 90 minutes. I think it will a very energetic game, two teams that will run and run and I’m expecting an exciting game."