Five Point Preview: West Brom
AFC Bournemouth welcome West Bromwich Albion to Vitality Stadium on Saturday, with a 3pm kick-off scheduled.
The Baggies currently sit rock bottom of the Premier League, whilst the Cherries lie in 12th, but who will come out on top ahead of March’s international break?
Ahead of the game, we picked five points to look out for on Saturday.
Six in a row
Alan Pardew’s side have lost six Premier League games in a row and haven’t lost seven on the bounce since April 2003, when they were relegated a month later.
Manchester City, Southampton, Chelsea, Huddersfield, Watford and Leicester are the most recent teams to overcome the Baggies, who last recorded a Premier League win against Brighton on 13th January.
One to watch
Salomon Rondon’s goal last weekend was his 22nd Premier League strike. Since the beginning of the 2015/16 season, he has netted 12 more goals for the Baggies than any other one of their players.
This season, the Venezuelan has eight goals to his name already, with his most pivotal of those coming in a 1-1 draw against Tottenham at Wembley. He also netted in a home draw with Watford back in September, as the teams were tied at two apiece.
West Brom have dropped 21 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season, more than anyone else in English football’s top flight.
Both Stoke and Newcastle have secured points against the Baggies having been a goal down, whilst West Ham came from behind to steal all three points at the London Stadium in January.
Head to head
In the Premier League, the Cherries and West Brom have an identical record. Both teams have won two and lost two, with the fifth game a 1-1 draw between the sides in May 2016.
However, at home, Eddie Howe’s side have avoided defeat in both of their top flight games against West Brom, drawing the first and winning 1-0 in the second thanks to an exquisite Callum Wilson backheel.
Pardew arrived at the Hawthorns almost four months ago - coming in for former Cherries manager Tony Pulis - but has yet to have the turnaround effect that the fans would have hoped for - Pardew overseeing just one Premier League win so far.
However, an impressive FA Cup win away at Liverpool did show the potential of the Baggies side, who still have eight games left to battle their way to safety.
Injury news: Update given on King and Fraser
AFC Bournemouth play host to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, with the battle for Premier League survival the key point of consideration at Vitality Stadium.
Going into the fixture, manager Eddie Howe spoke about the fitness within his squad.
"We have a couple of injury doubts," he said. "Ryan Fraser has been nursing a back problem and he hasn't trained as much as we'd have liked. Joshua King has an issue with his neck but looks like he's going to be okay.
"We have a couple of other niggles but we'll wait and see."
In his press conference, the Cherries boss also spoke about midfielder Lewis Cook, who was called up to the England squad on Thursday.
"I'm very very pleased for him and his family," said Howe. "It's an historic moment for him. We're delighted, he's such a level headed down-to-earth lad and he's improved greatly since he's been here, now he's got the recognition he deserves.
"Last year was difficult for him at times, we signed him and then there was a process of working with him behind the scenes and there was a lot of work from Lewis to stay with the project.
"He's reaped the rewards this year and since he broke into the team he's got better and better."
Matchday Schedule: West Brom
It's AFC Bournemouth's second home game in as many weeks as West Bromwich Albion travel to the south coast.
Here's what going on around the ground ahead of another big Premier League encounter, which is our designated Level Playing Field day, to promote their weeks of action campaign to highlight the importance of inclusiveness in football.
9am SUPERSTORE AND TICKET OFFICE OPEN
The Superstore is open from 9am and there's still a massive 50% off all Umbro gear - an offer not to be missed!
Elsewhere, the ticket office also opens at 9am, with Liverpool away tickets available to purchase.
The ticket office, Superstore and retail pod will be open 20 minutes after the game.
9am SOUTH STAND CAR PARK OPEN
Just behind the stadium, the South Stand car park is open for just £1 to all supporters.
It does tend to fill up approximately 75 minutes before kick-off and there will be delays of up to half an hour leaving post-match. Please be aware, you can turn left at the exit of the car park, and right at the roundabout, which will bring you out via Gloucester Road in Boscombe.
Alternatively, the Sovereign Centre on Christchurch Road, which is approximately 10 minutes’ walk from the ground, is available for matchday parking for both Saturday and week night games. Parking the cost just £2 for 4 hours and £4 for 24 hours.
Supporters will also be able to use Harewood College for parking Saturday home games free of charge.
This parking facility has the advantage of being away from the congestion around Kings Park, while only a short walk to Vitality Stadium, allowing easier access.
Available from 12.30pm, the car park will be manned by a steward until kick-off and is completely free to park. If using your satnav, please put in Harewood Avenue as the college’s post code sends you slightly off course.
Several residential roads adjacent to the ground have parking restrictions which the club asks supporters to adhere to. Where these do not exist, please be mindful of existing drive entrances and avoid parking illegally or unsafely.
Residents have direct access to parking enforcement officers on a matchday and so to avoid any issues please respect their access.
12pm RETAIL POD OPEN
Our retail pod behind the Colmar Construction Ted MacDougall South Stand is open from 12pm and you can get your home and away shirts and plenty more - all Umbro gear will have 50% off!
12pm 1910 BAR OPEN
Want a drink before the game? The 1910 bar is open for home supporters and is located next to the press entrance in the Vitality Main Stand. Supporters are required to show home ticket on entry.
Hot food is available in the bistro section this bar does get busy, but below is an alternative…
12pm GREAT ESCAPE OPEN
Our outside bar is open for business from 12.15pm, with last orders at 2.15pm and the bar closes at 2.30pm. Situated between the Thistlebarrow Road entrance and the Superstore, it’s a great place to meet friends before entering the ground for a drink and a hot snack.
12pm NORTH STAND KIOSK
The kiosk behind the North Stand selling hot food and drinks will be open and taking purchases from 12pm.
12.30pm FANZONE OPEN
Our Junior Fanzone is open for young supporters at 12.30pm. There’s plenty going on with an Xbox One, table tennis tables and lots more going on. Check it out!
We've got FIFA 18 for our young supporters to play and lots of other games and activities.
12.30pm DC LOUNGE OPEN
The DC Lounge is open to both home and away disabled supporters pre-match.
It is based on the ground floor and first floor in the East Stand for the use of disabled supporters only.
This offers Sky/BT Sport TV and a refreshment service, and a great opportunity for supporters to socialise before the match. There is also a lift available for supporters using the platform. There are also two accessible toilets and a matchday quiz as well.
1.30pm TURNSTILES OPEN
The exception is Turnstile B which will open 1 hour before kick-off due to the Junior Fanzone.
EARLY BIRD OFFER
Up to 2.30pm you can take advantage of a pie/pint for £5 or pie/hot or cold drink for £4.
Supporters who have entered the ground up to 45 minutes before kick-off will be entered into a draw to win a signed Adam Smith shirt.
2.15pm PRE-MATCH ENTERTAINMENT BEGINS
We’ve revamped our big screen so there’s plenty of new entertainment on offer this season – get involved and get your flags from the yellow wheelie bins to show you support. We do ask if you take a flag, to please return it so it can be used until the end of the season!
We get underway against West Bromwich Albion!
Local reporter insight on West Brom
AFC Bournemouth will seek to return to winning ways when they welcome West Bromwich Albion to Vitality Stadium this weekend.
And ahead of the fixture, afcb.co.uk caught up with the Birmingham Mail’s senior sports writer Paul Suart to talk all things West Brom.
afcb.co.uk: How would you sum up the season so far for West Brom?
PS: I suppose the first word that comes to mind is underachievement. Albion have a collection of experienced internationals and a smattering of Premier League winners in their side and should probably be sitting mid-table. For whatever reason they haven’t gelled. The players deserve to shoulder a degree of responsibility and haven’t delivered results under two experienced managers in Tony Pulis and Alan Pardew. They’ve lost a lot of points from winning positions which obviously hasn’t helped.
afcb.co.uk: How big of a game is this for West Brom?
PS: There isn’t much belief around the place at the moment. A lot of people are already planning for next season. When they were approaching the Huddersfield game a few weeks ago they were in with a shout, but they lost that game and are now on a run of seven straight defeats. There’s an air of resignation about the place at the moment. The game is up and they’ll want season to end.
afcb.co.uk: Presumably that win on the opening day feels like a long time ago?
PS: That remains Albion’s best display of season. They played well that day, accepting that Bournemouth were a bit off the pace and had a few missing through injury. It does feel like a long time ago and the side haven’t reached those levels since.
afcb.co.uk: Which players do you expect to play a key role for the Baggies in the season’s run-in?
PS: It’s hard to pick someone. Saloman Rondon has found a bit of form and has scored three goals in his last six games. Oliver Burke could also have an impact. He started just his second game of season last weekend and made the goal for Rondon. His pace in frightening and whilst he is very raw, on his day he can be a handful to any full back.
afcb.co.uk: And finally, a prediction?
PS: I’ll go for a 3-1 Bournemouth win.
Supporters can follow Paul on Twitter, @PaulSuartWBA.
Ref watch: Scott in charge down south
Graham Scott will be the man in the middle, as the Cherries host West Brom at Vitality Stadium on Saturday.
The official has handed out 28 yellow cards, one red card and awarded four penalties in his 15 Premier League games this season.
This weekend will be the third occasion that Scott has taken charge of the Cherries this term, refereeing the goalless draw with Leicester in September and the 1-0 loss at Old Trafford before the turn of the year.
He has taken charge of the weekend’s visitors just once in 2017/18, as they lost out to Southampton at St.Mary’s in October.
On Saturday, Scott will be assisted by Peter Kirkup and Constantine Hatzidakis, with Tim Robinson the fourth official.