Tuesday 14 January 2020 2:47 pm

Struggling Bournemouth need reinforcements but should stick with Eddie Howe

Bournemouth looked desperate in their 3-0 defeat to Watford last weekend, which saw them slide into the Premier League relegation zone.

In a wholly disappointing performance the Cherries looked disjointed, low on confidence and were overpowered by a physically superior Watford. 

It feels as though there is a disconnect within the club and they are no longer playing like the team we have come to expect. 

Prior to the match, manager Eddie Howe appeared tense, as though he recognised the importance of this game against a side that had previously spent all season below them. 

Those nerves translated onto the pitch and there was a feeling of desperation as the players struggled to get a grip on the match. 

A real sticking point has been up front. They’ve scored just once in five league games and there is no sign of where the goals are going to come from.

Callum Wilson and Harry Wilson have six league goals each this season, while £19m signing Dominic Solanke hasn’t scored once in 19 top-flight appearances. 

Part of the problem is a lack of belief, but against Watford Howe’s side also looked lightweight in midfield with Dan Gosling and Jefferson Lerma not providing enough aggression.

January recruits

With two weeks left of the transfer window Bournemouth ought to be looking to bring some signings in on loan at the very least. 

They need players who can add physicality to their starting line-up but who also have experience of fighting relegation and turning that situation around, perhaps from another Premier League club. 

This weekend is the first of two cup finals for Bournemouth. They face Norwich away and Brighton at home within the next week and the results could determine the trajectory of their season. 

Carrow Road has proven a difficult place to go and it will be a vital game for the two sides who are currently propping up the league table. 

Any of the bottom seven teams will be concerned about relegation, but we are just over halfway through the campaign and it is not the time to panic.

Relegation battle

Watford’s transformation under Nigel Pearson has been like Jekyll and Hyde and their victory over Bournemouth made it four wins in five, moving them up to 17th. 

It now looks as though they will be okay, while I also expect West Ham to stay up under David Moyes and Burnley to be safe with serial survivor Sean Dyche in charge.

The table doesn’t lie and presently all of Norwich, Bournemouth and Aston Villa look in trouble. 

They are not competing in matches regularly enough, but things can change quickly and the Cherries are just three points off safety; this time next week they could be out of the relegation zone.

I still believe Howe is the right man to lead them through this challenge. Although he is young, he has walked the walk and has plenty of experience at this level. 

He knows the club inside out and is a great fit. And if the worst comes to worst and Bournemouth do get relegated, I expect he will stay and fight to get them back in the Premier League.

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