It was only six years ago when AFC Bournemouth completed their fairytale promotion to the Premier League. They were initially a force under ex-boss Eddie Howe, but the players lost their way over the coming season, and their football went stale as they were relegated in 2019-20. However, the Cherries look to have found their identity again as they look fresher than ever under new boss, Scott Parker.
The Cherries boss Scott Parker was named Championship Manager of the Month for the second consecutive time. Parker, who also claimed the award for September, collected the October gong after Cherries completed a perfect month on the pitch.
Having started the month with a 2-1 win over Sheffield United in October, Cherries embark on a run of four more victories without conceding a goal. They went to Bristol City and Stoke City within the space of four days, coming away with 2-0 and 1-0 victories respectively. A 3-0 home thumping of Huddersfield Town followed, before rounding off October with a 2-0 victory at Reading, as Cherries stayed top of the table. The run was all the more impressive, given the heartbreaking off-field news that midfielder David Brooks had been diagnosed with cancer earlier in the month. The Cherries secured a 100% win record in the month and conceded just one goal in the Championship in October, which is a fantastic achievement.
They have had an excellent start to the season, sitting atop the Championship table with only one loss in 17 games. Their head coach has had an instant impact at Vitality Stadium since his summer arrival from Fulham. He has quickly implemented his style and long-term vision on his players, and they have all bought into it as they look to make a swift return to the top-flight.
Parker never has to worry about goals, with Dominic Solanke leading the line. The English forward has been a key figure for Bournemouth this term, with eight league goals to his name. It is refreshing to see him performing and enjoying his football after a tough start to life in senior football, dealing with the heavy baggage of expectation as a young star in the Chelsea academy. After a disappointing spell with Liverpool, Solanke looks to have found a home in Bournemouth, and his development is excelling with the Cherries. With his performances under his new boss this campaign, the 24-year-old looks already set to beat his last year’s tally of 15 league goals. The eight goals Solanke scored in September and October played a huge part in Parker getting the award twice in a row.
At the other end of the pitch, Bournemouth have the most stable defense in the league and have conceded the lowest number of goals. The Cherries have managed to keep 10 clean sheets in 17 games, conceding only 10 goals in the process.
Signing former England international Gary Cahill, after his release from Crystal Palace in the summer, is already proving to be one of the best bits of business the Cherries have made in a long time as the veteran defender has already formed a formidable partnership with Lloyd Kelly in the heart of Parker’s defense. The ex-Chelsea centre-back has brought a wealth of experience from the Premier League and the Champions League to the Cherries’ backline and has helped strengthen their organization. He will be a great mentor for his defensive partner Kelly who has also been turning in some outstanding performances this season.
Scott Parker has brought a new belief, desire and winning mentality. The players and supporters have all bought into his philosophy, and the results speak for themselves. With less than half the season played, the Cherries look to be an unstoppable force in the second tier, and with each passing game, their claim for promotion gets stronger.