The Promoted

Bournemouth’s defence assessed ahead of FPL return in 2022/23

Our series on the newly-promoted Premier League sides continues with this look at Bournemouth’s goalkeeper and defenders.

In this article, we will assess the Cherries’ overall clean sheet chances and then present a player-by-player rundown of their backline ahead of their Fantasy Premier League (FPL) return.

We’ve asked Bournemouth supporters and Fantasy Football Scout users PaulRUK3 and FPLScofield for their input here, to provide a fan’s view.

Articles on manager Scott Parker and the Cherries’ attack will follow, while you can read up on Fulham via the links below:


READ MORE: What to expect from Fulham manager Marco Silva in FPL
READ MORE: Fulham’s defence assessed ahead of FPL return in 2022/23
READ MORE: What can we expect from Aleksandar Mitrovic and Fulham’s midfielders in FPL?


The stats in this piece are taken from Fbref, Fotmob and WhoScored, with the heatmap courtesy of SofaScore.

WHAT IS BOURNEMOUTH’S CLEAN SHEET POTENTIAL?    

PWDLFAGDPTSCS
Total46251387439+358821
Home2313734121+20468
Away2312653318+154213

Bournemouth came up from the Championship with the best defensive record in the league, both in terms of clean sheets and goals conceded.

Interestingly, 13 of their 21 shut-outs came on the road; perhaps this was due to less pressure from the Dean Court faithful on Scott Parker to deviate from his usual conservative style.

“Away from home, we were very solid. We had a clean sheet rate of 57% on the road, the best by far in the league. Over half of our home games saw both teams score, by contrast. I’m not sure how that will translate into the Premier League, though. We may have to be more cautious at home and so we’ll play how we did away last year at home this coming year possibly. And away, I think we could struggle but our blueprint will be to keep it tight.” – FPLScofield

We’ve got one, cautionary word for you: Watford.

The Hornets were last year’s ‘Bournemouth’, boasting the meanest backline in the English second tier. They even beat the Cherries’ 2021/22 clean sheet tally in that campaign (23 v 21) and conceded far fewer goals (30 v 39).

And look at what happened to the Hornets this season, as they disappeared back to the Championship with the lowest shut-out count in the division.

Perhaps we’re comparing chalk and cheese here, with Bournemouth seeming like a less volatile club (Watford played well over 50 different players in pre-season last summer, going into Gameweek 1 without any kind of defensive cohesion), but it’s worth stressing that solidity in the Championship often doesn’t translate into clean sheets in the division above:

Team (season promoted)Goals conceded in Championship promotion seasonClean sheets kept in Championship promotion seasonGoals conceded in following Premier League seasonClean sheets kept in following Premier League season
Norwich (2020/21)3618846
Watford (2020/21)3023774
Brentford (2020/21)4217569
Leeds (2019/20)35225412
West Brom (2019/20)4514766
Fulham (2019/20)4817539
Norwich (2018/19)5713755
Sheff Utd (2018/19)41213913
Aston Villa (2018/19)6112677
Wolves (2017/18)3924469
Cardiff (2017/18)39196910
Fulham (2017/18)4615815
Newcastle (2016/17)4019479
Brighton (2016/17)40215410
Huddersfield (2016/17)58125810
Average43.817.862.48.3

The underlying stats are perhaps a concern, too.

Whilst the Cherries did finish first for fewest goals conceded and most clean sheets, plenty of debt was owed to multi-award-winning Mark Travers; if your goalkeeper ends up as Player of the Season, he’s not been quiet.

Indeed, the Cherries faced over 40 more shots on target than 10th-place West Bromwich Albion, although the expected goals against (xGA) tally would suggest that plenty have been routine in nature.

Bournemouth’s 2021/22 total (rank v other Championship clubs)
Goals conceded39 (1st)
Clean sheets21 (1st)
Shots conceded429 (4th)
Shots on target conceded155 (6th)
Saves made120 (9th)
Expected goals against (xGA)47.3 (3rd)

Above: Apart from clean sheets, 1st means fewest in the division and 24th the most.


THE PLAYERS

APPS, GOALS AND ASSISTS

PlayerPositionStarts (Sub Apps)MinsGoalsAssists
Mark TraversGK454050
Lloyd KellyCB40(1)362411
Jordan ZemuraLB32(1)291431
Jack StaceyRB24(1)21312
Chris MephamCB12(10)1091
Gary Cahill*CB21(1)19391
Adam SmithRB/LB2017152
Nathaniel Phillips**CB171530
Leif Davis**LB7(5)5731
Ethan Laird**RB4(2)374
Zeno Ibsen RossiCB3(1)2731
Steve Cook***CB3246
James HillCB0(1)1
Ørjan Nyland***GK190

*released by the club at the end of 2021/22
**a loanee in 2021/22, has returned to parent club
***was transferred elsewhere in 2021/22

GOALKEEPERS

The Cherries will have to delve into the transfer market for goalkeeping reinforcements as their list of shot-stoppers consists of current number one Mark Travers and youngster Will Norris, who hasn’t played any higher than the National League.

Orjen Nyland started 2021/22 as back-up option before departing for Reading, while Freddie Woodman arrived from Newcastle on loan in January and didn’t play a game.

On top of the Golden Glove for most clean sheets in the Championship, Travers scooped the Supporters Player of the Season, Vice President’s Player of the Season and the Daily Echo’s Player of the Season.

“He probably epitomises the squad. He probably epitomises everything we are, to be honest with you. Mark Travers in goal at the start of the season, let’s get right, you’re looking at a keeper that looked young.

“You looked at times thinking ‘is he is he ready for this?’ But we stuck with him. And more importantly, Mark Travers has worked tirelessly. He took the bumps along the way and improved drastically.

“What the boys (coaches Gaz Stewart and Rob Burch) have done with him is incredible. He epitomises it.” – Scott Parker on Mark Travers

Travers’ save percentage of 76.9% was the fourth-best in the English second tier.

Fotmob had the Ireland international’s ‘goals prevented’ tally at a modest +0.8, although reliable expected goals data is harder to come by in the Championship.

He’ll be priced up at £4.5m in FPL next season and his appeal will likely be dictated by who else is available at that rung, with David Raya and/or a Newcastle goalkeeper probably more inviting alternatives should they be given budget tags.

Early-season fixture difficulty will of course come into the equation, too.

Parker’s Bournemouth are much more conservative than the Eddie Howe incarnation, at least, and a £4.5m shot-stopper who racks up the saves is always one to monitor.

“We’re possession based, primarily, but hard working out of possession. We’ll be hard to beat if not the most entertaining. Expect low-scoring matches.” – PaulRUK3 on Bournemouth’s playing style

DEFENDERS: THE CENTRE-HALVES

There’s actually very little to discuss at this early stage when it comes to Bournemouth centre-halves.

Gary Cahill, a big part of the defence in the first half of the season, has been released on a free transfer, while the long-serving Steve Cook departed for Nottingham Forest in January.

Zeno Ibsen Rossi and James Hill are both inexperienced youngsters, with the former embarking on an unremarkable loan spell with Dundee earlier this calendar year and the latter making only one substitute appearance following his January window move from Fleetwood Town.

Chris Mepham, meanwhile, has had a frustrating campaign at the Vitality Stadium, mostly playing second fiddle and making only one Championship start since the turn of the year. His substitute appearances almost outnumber his starts in 2021/22, with Parker semi-frequently turning to him off the bench to close out games.

That leaves Lloyd Kelly as the only other senior centre-half in Parker’s squad.

The Cherries’ club captain started all but one of the 41 Championship fixtures he was available for, with his only benching coming off the back of a quad injury.

He’ll likely be a reliable starter in 2022/23 but don’t expect a deluge of attacking returns: he’s scored just two goals in 85 league appearances for the Cherries. Whilst he does get forward at set plays, a total of 11 shots and seven chances created in over 3,600 minutes of second-tier football last season is on the meagre side.

A £4.5m starting price beckons, although he could at least benefit from the occasional bonus point if/when the Cherries keep a clean sheet: Kelly’s average number of passes per match (71) was the fifth-highest in the division last season thanks to Parker’s tippy-tappy approach, and passing is one of the contributing metrics on the Bonus Points System in FPL.

As for Kelly’s partner for much of 2022, loanee Nat Phillips, he has now returned to parent club Liverpool. We’ll profile the towering 25-year-old stopper if/when he returns to the south coast but he’s a name to follow wherever he ends up, having outshot Kelly (albeit without scoring) despite playing less than half as many minutes.

DEFENDERS: THE FULL-BACKS

As is the case at centre-half, Parker will almost certainly be dipping into the transfer market to snap up a full-back or two over the summer.

Two on the books last season, Ethan Laird and Leif Davis, were loanees who have now returned to their parent clubs.

Local media suggest the Cherries are unlikely to take up the option of signing Davis, who was second or third choice at left-back for much of the campaign, on a permanent deal. Laird, a right-back, similarly struggled for opportunities after a January move to the south coast.

Jack Stacey, one of three senior full-backs permanently on the payroll at Bournemouth, doesn’t seem to be part of Parker’s plans, meanwhile. The right-back did make 24 starts in the Championship but was only deputising for the injured Adam Smith and he ended up third choice in his position once Laird arrived. Again, Dorset Live think he will be on his way this summer.

That only leaves Smith and Jordan Zemura to discuss, Parker’s first choices at full-back when fit.

The versatile Smith, able to play on either flank but more of a natural on the right, is someone FPL managers will be aware of, having come to the fore as a playing £4.0m enabler in 2015/16 and then banking a respectable six attacking returns from a £4.5m starting price the following campaign.

Zemura is a new name to many of us, however, with 2021/22 being his breakthrough season.

More attacking than Smith and a key cog in the Bournemouth machine (the Cherries won just two of the 13 matches he missed), it’ll be interesting to see if Parker trusts him with regular starts in the Premier League given his inexperience and defensive shortcomings. A move to a wing-back system would be one way of compensating for that, allowing him the freedom to get forward.

Mepham and Stacey will leave I think. I would expect Zemura, Anthony and Christie to be very much challenged for game time from new signings. Possibly Travers too if a new goalie comes in, but I hope not.” – PaulRUK3

Zemura’s underlaps are worth mentioning. Not a touchline-hugger or prolific crosser from out wide (he completed just four deliveries all season), he frequently wandered into more central areas during Bournemouth attacks. His brace against Barnsley came from two infield forays, while his total of six shots in the six-yard box was beaten only by Dominic Solanke and Phillip Billing among Cherries players in 2021/22; Smith registered zero.

Above: Jordan Zemura’s heatmap in 2021/22

Zemura and Smith are much of a muchness for chance creation, with the former more of a goal threat.

Zemura’s minutes-per-shot averages are nevertheless more Nelson Semedo than Marcos Alonso, to temper expectations:

Mins per shotMins per shot in the boxMins per chance created
Adam Smith285.8571.7122.5
Jordan Zemura138.8182.1121.4

FINAL THOUGHTS

Travers and Zemura are the only two names that stand out at present from the Cherries’ backline but, even if they retain their shirts after the inevitable round of summer recruitment, they will be competing against more seasoned Premier League players from the likes of Crystal Palace and Brighton for our investment in the £4.5m bracket.

History tells us that newly promoted sides will struggle to exceed 10 clean sheets in their first season back in the Premier League but there are some rare success stories, such as Sheffield United in 2018/19.

Parker being a more cautious manager than Eddie Howe should at least boost the shut-out potential a tad.

For two-thirds of Parker’s last season as a top-flight manager (Gameweeks 4-27 of 2020/21), Fulham had one of the best defensive records in the Premier League, albeit while overachieving their expected goals conceded (xGC) tally.

c

Above: Teams sorted by goals conceded from Gameweeks 4-27 of 2021/22

Even the final ‘goals conceded’ count of 53 wasn’t terrible, especially considering that 10 of those strikes arrived in the first three Gameweeks.


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40 Comments Post a Comment
  1. fusen
    • 10 Years
    25 days, 13 hours ago

    I find it sort of odd that the top 3 players in the overall rankings all have Twitter accounts with 'FPL' in their usernames.

    Is this going to become a thing now? Basically if you have a lucky enough season to finish top 5 then you turn yourself into a twitter brand?

    1. Deulofail
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      25 days, 13 hours ago

      If I was the best at something, I would do the same. Unfortunately, my rank history is woeful so my Twitter handle is still just @SexDeulofail

      1. The Knights Template
        • 8 Years
        25 days, 6 hours ago

        FPL_Edgar_Allen?

    2. RedRo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      25 days, 13 hours ago

      Has anyone taken x_FPL_God_69_x yet? Asking for a friend.

    3. Ⓙⓐⓡⓥⓘⓢⓗ
      • 7 Years
      25 days, 11 hours ago

      Depends how needy you are for attention I guess. Borges doesn't have a Twitter account.

      1. Zim0
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        25 days, 10 hours ago

        He is the Goat after all

    4. FPL Pillars
      • 5 Years
      25 days, 11 hours ago

      I finished 91st and re-branded. Then I got into Twitter spats and rage quit it

    5. NateDog
      • 1 Year
      25 days, 8 hours ago

      I've noticed that the vast, vast majority of accounts I see posting anything to do with FPL or on FPL-related posts all have FPL in their usernames. Seems like it's nearly a necessity now for that "community"

    6. Tomerick
      • 7 Years
      24 days, 22 hours ago

      Like it or not, FPL has gone mainstream and there’s a real gold rush happening. It would be very difficult to turn down potential sponsorship deals from gambling sites etc but ultimately, I do think it is bad for the game and community.

  2. FFS Ultras are for Kinnear
    • 9 Years
    25 days, 13 hours ago

    Hopefully they have a 4m starter

  3. RedRo
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    25 days, 13 hours ago

    Man City sign Castellanos from Atletico. Has almost a 1 goal every 2 games ratio for both club and country.

    1. Echoes
      • 1 Year
      25 days, 12 hours ago

      Yeah, set and forget captain in womens league's FPL

      1. RedRo
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        25 days, 11 hours ago

        Yeah, quite possibly. She’s extremely consistent.

  4. Freshy
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 11 Years
    25 days, 11 hours ago

    Luk out Tross in

  5. FFS Ultras are for Kinnear
    • 9 Years
    25 days, 8 hours ago

    Place is buzzing for a Friday night

    1. FFS Ultras are for Kinnear
      • 9 Years
      25 days, 8 hours ago

      This is the first time I've seen the real effects of the FFS community dead. In yesteryear even in off season the regulars would keep the place going. Now there's just silence

      1. Jimmers
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 11 Years
        25 days, 8 hours ago

        We're after an incredibly long and arduous season, like nothing we've ever seen in the history of FPL. I'd say most people are just chilling out and charging the batteries for the season ahead.

      2. TokyoRed 東京赤
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 10 Years
        24 days, 23 hours ago

        Wait until the excitement of the site going live and getting a low ID kick in!

      3. Tomerick
        • 7 Years
        24 days, 22 hours ago

        Agreed. I haven’t been here for a lot of last season and it seems like many of the regular faces have gone too. No doubt because of the direction this site has chosen.

        1. The Mentaculus
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          24 days, 21 hours ago

          Haven't seen any sponsored articles here since end of the season. And as a new reg (I guess I am if I'm posting this time of year...), they really don't bother me at all. It's really obvious which articles are advertisements, so I just skip to the comments on those. If people have drifted away I imagine there are multiple causes, not least of which being Covid disruptions

          1. Tomerick
            • 7 Years
            24 days, 19 hours ago

            It’s not just the sponsored articles. It’s the type of articles, the style of the articles and the new faces which, imo, don’t hold the same appeal. I suppose it’s that coupled with the plethora of new options.

            FFS used to feel like a little club. I get that it needed to change to grow but change inevitably loses people that preferred it how it was even if it does gain people long term.

    2. KAPTAIN KANE’S SON
      • 5 Years
      25 days, 8 hours ago

      Busy planning the greatest Komeback ever seen!

  6. Inazuma X1
    • 4 Years
    24 days, 23 hours ago

    11 more days to go

  7. FPL Virgin
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    24 days, 22 hours ago

    I knew sweet FA about Bournemouth's defence before reading this. What an excellent briefing. I'm fully up to speed now.

    My only minor constructive criticism is that a local journalist from The Bournemouth Echo should have been sourced for opinions rather than "punters" from FFS.

    1. Skonto Rigga
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 4 Years
      24 days, 19 hours ago

      Yeah, we have occasionally done that in the past but they're generally unresponsive (either holidaying/too busy to respond). Fantasy managers are far keener to chip in. On top of that, a lot of the article already references or takes info from sites like Dorset Live/The Athletic so we'll have indirectly heard opinion from these local reporters anyway and it's good to get an alternative view from the fans who eat, sleep, breathe the club as much as the hacks who are often bussed in from elsewhere in the country to cover these teams. Paul above, for example, canvassed opinion from a Cherries message board, so you're getting group-think viewpoints, too.

      1. FPL Virgin
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        24 days, 19 hours ago

        That's a good point, thanks Neale.

        The planet FPL correspondents for the promoted teams may also be good to approach. I know you have one already 😉

  8. FPL Virgin
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 5 Years
    24 days, 21 hours ago

    Anyone know why the link to the original (and best) members area has been removed from the menu on the left hand side?

    Please don't get rid of it. All my stats tables are there 😥

    1. The Mentaculus
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      24 days, 21 hours ago

      Gasp!
      When I login (on android), there's a popup in top right corner that says "return to old site". It's also the last option in the menu (top left)

  9. Tomsk
    • 1 Year
    24 days, 19 hours ago

    How many minutes after fpl goes live will I have to register to get an id in top 10k?(my only realistic chance to make top 10k during season!).

    1. Skonto Rigga
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 4 Years
      24 days, 19 hours ago

      A complete guess here but something like half an hour? Maybe even sooner. I remember registering less than a minute after launch in 2020/21 and still getting an ID of circa 150.

      1. Tomsk
        • 1 Year
        24 days, 19 hours ago

        Thanks for that. Half an hour not to bad, even I might manage that(I thought it might be something ridiculous like 2 or 3 minutes).

    2. RedLightning
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 11 Years
      24 days, 19 hours ago

      Last season, about 350k registered in the first 24 hours.

      I would guess that to get an id of 10k or lower, you probably need to register in the first 15 minutes, perhaps a lot less.

      1. Tomsk
        • 1 Year
        24 days, 19 hours ago

        Oh dear that’s not so promising.

        1. RedLightning
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 11 Years
          24 days, 18 hours ago

          First two or three minutes probably gets you a three digit id, but there's likely to be a stampede as soon as everyone realises that it's launched.

        2. Konig Luther
          • 9 Years
          24 days, 18 hours ago

          do auto-complete, and hit confirm, to be more quicker

    3. Tomsk
      • 1 Year
      24 days, 18 hours ago

      Thanks all. I’ll give it my best shot and hope I don’t get distracted just at the wrong moment.

  10. Dr0216
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    24 days, 19 hours ago

    Test

    1. Tomerick
      • 7 Years
      24 days, 19 hours ago

      icle

      1. FPL Virgin
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 5 Years
        24 days, 17 hours ago

        One, two ................................ THREE?????!!!!

  11. Andy_Social
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    24 days, 16 hours ago

    Done and submitted. I'm feeling pretty confident - I usually get these things right, give or take a couple of million either side.