Bournemouth have enjoyed about as good a start to life in the Championship as they could have hoped for. The Cherries have picked up seven points from their first three games, including impressive wins against a Blackburn side that scores goals for fun and recently-relegated Norwich.
Considering how other relegated teams have struggled at the start of the Championship season in the past, Bournemouth’s start to life after Eddie Howe is certainly nothing to be sneered at. They now have the chance to temporarily move to the top of the Championship table on Friday night if they can overcome the challenge of recently promoted Coventry, who have also enjoyed a solid start to life in the division.
Mark Robins’ side have picked up four points from their opening three games and were unlucky to lose out to Bristol City on the opening day of the season, a side that currently sits at the summit of the table. This will not be an easy game for Bournemouth, but they have looked quite impressive this season, even dumping Crystal Palace out of the League Cup before pushing Manchester City all the way in a 2-1 defeat in the third round.
They should consolidate their positive start by going top on Friday night.
Solanke’s Premier League goalscoring record has been much-maligned, but a season in the Championship might do him the world of good. He had been showing some positive signs towards the end of last season, scoring twice against Leicester and once against Everton as Bournemouth launched one last desperate and unsuccessful bid to stay in the Premier League.
Those goals should have given Solanke a massive confidence boost, however, even if they couldn’t keep Bournemouth in the top flight. He has already scored once this season – a peach of a backheel against Middlesbrough – meaning that this is already his second-best goal return in an English league season, and he seems to be a key part of Jason Tindall’s plans.
The English striker has started up front in all three of Bournemouth’s games so far in the Championship and it seems as though he has rediscovered some confidence in front of goal. Another goal on Friday night would do his confidence no harm.
Both Bournemouth and Coventry recorded their first league clean sheets of the season last weekend, but neither had been exactly watertight prior to that. The Sky Blues, who shut out a Barnsley side that has hitherto failed to score in the league, conceded four goals in their opening two games against Bristol City and QPR.
Bournemouth, meanwhile, who kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over a stuttering Norwich, looked porous in their 3-2 win against Blackburn on the opening day of the season and didn’t cover themselves in glory in their 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough.
Both sides are more than capable of finding the back of the net and it could be an entertaining night of action at St. Andrew’s.
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