The Swans will be looking to get their train to survival back on the rails against Bournemouth on Saturday, after a disappointing defeat at fellow relegation candidates Hull City last week. Ahead of the game, I picked the brain of Bournemouth fan Peter Bell from Cherry Chimes.
Here’s what he had to say…
Name – Peter Bell
Age – 50
Q: A lot has changed since New Years Eve when we last met. What have your thoughts been on the Swans since then?
The impact that Paul Clement has made has been huge. I had to be worried for Swansea fans at Christmas as the situation wasn’t looking good, although I’ve never had the Swans in my three to go down. The side have always played good passing football and I just think they lost their way for a while. Now they are one of the form teams in the bottom half – even if they were out punched in front of goal at Hull City.
Q: Your win against West Ham last week was your first since that game against us. Why do you think you experienced such a dip in form?
I’d love to know the answer to that myself. Everybody points towards the first 45 minutes against Arsenal that the side had when we were 3-0 up. AFCB have never been in that kind of position before against one of the ‘big teams’ and I guess when nerves got the better of them in the second half. It clearly had a bad effect on the players’ confidence, even if they still managed to pick up a point with ten men. I’d say the Hull away defeat (3-1) and the Crystal Palace home defeat (0-2) were the only disappointing results. While the team lost heavily against Everton, it was just a mad first 30 minutes and sometimes you have to credit the opposition. Man City are clearly a great side and everybody’s been saying how well West Brom have been playing, so I don’t think the Cherries were ever that far away from getting a result.
Q: As a Bournemouth fan, who has been your standout player this season?
It is a hard choice between Josh King and Ryan Fraser. While I think King will win the fans’ choice of player of the season, I will probably vote for Ryan Fraser. He’s broken into the first team, got his first senior Scottish cap and his game against Liverpool at home was just amazing – I know he’s only going to get better. It’s a shame we didn’t get to keep Nathan Ake all season or else I would say he would have been in line for the best player at Bournemouth this season.
Q: Is there anybody in particular we should be wary of? Is there anyone showing particularly good form that may have gone unseen?
King and Fraser are certainly in from, but Marc Pugh has been winning penalties and creating chances in and around the box and it is mad, but Jack Wilshere hasn’t scored for us yet – you could say he is rather overdue a goal or two.
Q: As ridiculous as it may sound, are you surprised there hasn’t been more speculation over Eddie Howe’s job in recent weeks?
I guess you’re asking why he hasn’t been under more pressure to lose rather than why he hasn’t packed his bag for the Emirates stadium? Well, if Eddie Howe had a great season by getting us into the top 10, I would be sure that a bigger club would come in for him. But the way things have worked out, I see Bournemouth holding onto him for some time yet. If the club went down to the Championship, who would be better than Eddie Howe to get the club back up? No one. And if we stay up, which I believe we will, Eddie Howe will want to have a major part in getting the new stadium just right for the club. While there have been some who have been annoyed at the FA Cup teams that Howe has played and the lack of impact our Summer signings have had on the side, at the end of the day, Bournemouth fans know what is good for the club and where it would be without Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall.
Q: Without wanting to dwell too much on it, what were your thoughts on Tyrone Mings’ red card against Man Utd?
Oh that nice, easy question to answer! Thanks. While only Tyrone Mings knows if he meant it or not, I was annoyed that he was prejudged in the FA saying that his charge would carry more than a three match ban if found guilty. The pictures looked awful in slow motion, but did they prove without any doubt that he meant to injure? To be honest, I don’t really know – but if it had been the other way around I would have been angry at a Man Utd player landing on Tyrone Mings. Both players probably should have seen red, but the two incidents would not have happened if Kevin Friend had acted earlier on several chances he had to cut the niggles out between the two players. He didn’t, and the whole thing kind of detracts from what was a great point for the Cherries.
Q: Are there any weaknesses in your side you think we could exploit?
Well, AFC Bournemouth don’t know how to keep a clean sheet. The last one was against – ah, yes Swansea City at your place – erm, not sure if that is of any help to you.
Q: How do you think you’ll line up this weekend?
A Smith, Francis, S Cook, Daniels
Fraser, Arter, Surman, Pugh
Q: What’s your score prediction for the game?
If Swansea are without Llorente it is going to be tough for them. I know the Swans will come and attack though and, while a draw is a good possibility, I feel that AFC Bournemouth will just scrape it 2-1.
Q: And finally, what three teams do you think will face the drop this season?
The two I have stuck with all season are Sunderland and Middlesbrough; the third is more difficult. I had thought Hull City from day one but they’ve got a new found spirit and momentum. For once, it could be the season when Sam Allardyce’s luck runs out. So I’m going to suggest that Crystal Palace might be in the Championship next season – sorry Eagles fans! (I want the southern teams to do well – less travel to games for me).
A huge thanks to Peter for taking the time to speak to us! You can see more of his work over at the Cherry Chimes website, where I’m sure there will plenty of discussion before and after the game.