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Watford vs A Villa : That meeting on December 29th was a big one. Brighton’s 2–0 victory at the Amex was part of Bournemouth’s miserable recent form, which now stretches to Brighton vs Bournemouth winning just four points out of a possible 36. It also represents the Albion’s only win in seven, but we’re keeping quiet about that.
This clash at the Vitality Stadium looks equally important. Brighton haven’t won there since September 2007, when Bas Savage and Dean Cox scored in a 2–0 League One win for Dean Wilkins’ side.
If they can end another barren run against Bournemouth — December’s win was their first league success in 12 against the Cherries — then it will push Eddie Howe’s side further into the mire while providing a real boost to our own hopes of survival.
Bournemouth were formed in 1889, spending the first 34 years of their existence playing in local leagues in Hampshire. They joined the Football League in 1923 and have remained in the professional ranks ever since, mainly moving between the third and fourth tiers.
The 1990s and 2000s proved to be tough decades for the Cherries. Twice they almost went out of business and Albion fans of a certain vintage will remember chucking their loose change in buckets at Dean Court as Bournemouth fans desperately tried to raise money to keep their club afloat.
Nobody could have imagined back then that a Russian oligarch would one day swoop in and fund a rapid rise through the divisions. Almost overnight, Maxim Denim arrived and Bournemouth went from begging fans for their pennies to survive to racking up losses of £38.3m in a single season when they won promotion to the Premier League for the first time.
They’ve remained a top flight club ever since thanks to Denim’s roubles and Howe’s shrewd management, but their place among the elite is coming under serious threat in a 2019–20 season that is proving the most challenging yet of the Denim era.
When we spoke to Bournemouth fan site Cherry Chimes for our opposition fan preview ahead of Brighton going to the Vitality Stadium, they told us that the Cherries would end the season relegated. Howe’s side currently sit 19th in the Premier League and suffered defeat away at bottom club Norwich City on Saturday, which is what has convinced many Bournemouth fans that their race as a top flight club is run.
There does appear to be an air of crisis around the club. Even the media have begun to report the real story. Nobody seems to be talking about the myth of the Bournemouth fairy tale anymore, where Howe has led the club from the bottom tier to the top flight with nothing but a bag of magic beans.
The Athletic reported last week on Bournemouth’s wage bill being 85% of their Premier League television money and looked at their poor recruitment. Should they end up relegated and see their share of broadcast revenue drop dramatically in the Championship, they could find themselves very much in the brown stuff — which is hardly surprising when they are rumoured to be paying north of £50,000 a week in wages for a reserve goalkeeper like Asmir Begovic.
Of course, one good result can often lift all the doom and gloom. And Brighton seem like the perfect opposition for Bournemouth to pick up against, given our recent record against them. We need December’s result to not be a mere flash in the pan, otherwise the Cherries could receive a real boost to their season while the Albion get dragged further into the relegation scrap.
Brighton’s head-to-head record with Bournemouth
Brighton and Bournemouth have been regular opponents across every level of the Football League since their first meeting back in 1923. There have been 119 matches with the Albion winning 40, the Cherries 49 and 30 stalemates.
Albion doubles over Bournemouth are extremely rare. 2007–08 is the only season since 1989 when we’ve beaten them in both league fixtures, so add that to the list of records that could be broken with a win at the Vitality Stadium.
One league win in 12 years doesn’t exactly make for great reading. But hopefully that 2–0 success delivered by Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Aaron Mooy is a preview of a bright new future in which Brighton fans don’t go into games with Bournemouth with nothing but dread.
From a Bournemouth point of view, we know that Steve Cook is suspended. The Cherries captain and ex-Brighton player produced a stunning full length diving save in Saturday’s defeat to Norwich, the only problem of course being that he wasn’t the goalkeeper.
Still, VAR had to check to see if there was a handball in there and once the guys at Stockley Park had reviewed the footage of a centre back pushing the ball over the bar with his hand, they decided that he could be red carded. Thank God we’ve got them, eh?
For the Albion, two games in 72 hours might normally see Graham Potter rest players. Given that we won’t play again for another 18 days thanks to our elimination from the FA Cup and the Premier League winter break, the need to do that may not coming into his thinking — although we’d hope that he will respond to the weekend’s lacklustre second half against Aston Villa by shaking things up a bit.
Bournemouth’s top scorer is midfielder Harry Wilson with six, which perhaps goes part of the way towards explaining their troubles this season. The normally reliable Callum Wilson is enjoying a less fruitful season than he’s used to, which may put his place in the England squad ahead of Euro 2020 under threat.
Defender Nathan Ake meanwhile is earning rave reviews with Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City all said to be interested in securing his services. Should he move to Stamford Bridge, then it would cool Frank Lampard’s rumoured interest in Lewis Dunk.
A good WeAreBrighton.com memory of Bournemouth away?
There aren’t many. Our last victory there in 2007 did take place on a Tuesday night though, after which we enjoyed a semi-decent night out in Bournemouth. Generally, trips there have been about as enjoyable as covering your testicles with nectar and shoving them in a bee hive.
A bad WeAreBrighton.com memory of Bournemouth away
Three hours in a car hungover on New Year’s Day, only to see Wayne Henderson miscontrol a routine back pass in the 90th minute to give Bournemouth a 1–0 win. People think the reaction that Gaetan Bong got when he was substituted against Sheffield Wednesday was bad but back in 2007, 90% of the away end booed and started shouting “Wanker, wanker, wanker” at Henderson when he came over to applaud the fans on the final whistle.
Our favourite player to play for Brighton and Bournemouth
We only ever got a sneak preview of Steve Cook’s talents before he left Brighton for Bournemouth, and even then that was mainly of his massive throw.
Given that he’s been an established Premier League player for five years and now captains a club in the top flight, you could say that Cook is the best player that the Albion youth system has produced this century alongside Dunk. And Gus Poyet sold him for just £150,000.
The away stand at the old Dean Court used to be called the Brighton Beach End. Sadly, it wasn’t entirely reminiscent of Brighton beach — there were no pebbles, you didn’t have to worry about treading in broken glass, 25% of the people there weren’t smoking joints and nobody would try and enter the sea naked at 3am in the morning after leaving Coalition.
We’ve never predicted an Albion win in a Brighton versus Bournemouth match preview for obvious reasons. That isn’t changing today either — a 1–1 draw in the ‘South Coast Derby’ between two clubs 97 miles apart.