Premier League preview week: No. 14 Bournemouth and No. 13 West Bromwich Albion

Jermain Defoe could add more goals for Bournemouth, which is trying to continue its upward trajectory. (The Guardian)

Welcome to FC Yahoo’s Premier League preview week. We’ll take a look at each team in our aggregated predicted table, counting down from No. 20 to No. 1, and also reflect on some issues surrounding the league as kickoff approaches on Friday. Follow along with everything here.

14. BOURNEMOUTH

Last season – Bournemouth took another step forward by finishing ninth in the Premier League. Striker Josh King scored 16 times and the Cherries improved as the season went on, losing just three times in the final third of it. The club took points off the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal, too.

Key transfer notes – You’d be hard-pressed to find many Premier League clubs who have done better business this summer. Bournemouth plundered Chelsea for experienced goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and center back Nathan Ake, who impressed during a loan spell last season on the South Coast. What’s more, striker Jermain Defoe, who’s scored the seventh-most goals in Premier League history and isn’t showing signs of slowing down, joined the squad on a free transfer from Sunderland.

FC Yahoo take

Joey Gulino: Ever since standout manager Eddie Howe took over in 2012, the Cherries have done nothing but ascend, gaining promotion twice and improving their league position each season. That might not necessarily happen again this season — although Bournemouth finished ninth last year, six teams were separated by two points in the middle of the table — but that doesn’t mean Bournemouth won’t be better. Especially after the transfer window reinforced a squad that keeps its shape, presses high and is opportunistic going forward.

Henry Bushnell: It might as well be an annual Premier League tradition: Every year, around the time winter recedes, spring arrives and the season prepares to enter its home stretch, teams comfortably relaxing in the middle of the table lose urgency, while those still battling relegation heighten their focus and make a late charge. Last year, Bournemouth fit into that latter category. The Cherries struggled for much of the season, leaking goals left and right, and sat just four points above the relegation zone in March. Their eventual ninth-place finish was extremely impressive. It was also, however, deceiving. The defense should still be permeable. Defoe is not an upgrade up top, and King’s goal tally (16 last season) should regress to the mean. Expected goals models pegged Bournemouth as roughly the 15th best team in the league last year, and that’s around where they should be expected to finish in 2017-18.

Betting odds (via SkyBet)

Win Premier League – 1000/1
Relegation – 13/2

Predicted finishes

Shahan Ahmed: 14 | Ryan Bailey: 15 | Alex Baker: 15 | Henry Bushnell: 15 | Joey Gulino: 12 | Leander Schaerlaeckens: 15

Fans know what to expect from Tony Pulis and West Brom: Premier League survival and not much else. (Reuters)

WEST BROMWICH ALBION

Last season – Stop us if you’ve heard this one: A Tony Pulis-managed side frustrated opponents, played a bunch of long balls and stayed in the Premier League. Pulis’ tactics are antonyms to entertainment, but he’s still never had a team relegated so they’re undeniably effective. A potential cause for concern, however, is the Baggies’ failure to win a single match over the final two months of the season.

Key transfer notes – Acquired from Southampton, Jay Rodriguez is an England international whose reputation exceeds his six-goal output from last season. The Baggies have also signed Chinese striker Zhang Yuning from Vitesse Arnhem. The 20-year-old, who scored just four goals in 27 appearances for the Eredivisie side, will be loaned to Werder Bremen.

FC Yahoo take

Henry Bushnell: Who wants to hear a crazy Tony Pulis stat? [Nobody raises a hand] Well cover your ears then … Over the last six seasons, after Pulis teams have hit the 39-point mark, effectively ensuring themselves of Premier League safety, they have won just three games. THREE. They’ve played 37, lost 19, drawn 15 and won three. Yuck. So how is this a case for West Brom this season? Because it shows how brutally and monotonously effective Pulis’ teams are before they secure another season in the top flight (and basically stop caring). With an uninspiring yet league-average squad that spent the majority of last campaign in the top half, there’s no reason to expect Pulis and Co. to be stuck in a relegation scrap this upcoming season.

Alex Baker: It’s difficult to pin down what a good season looks like for a club like West Bromwich Albion. Last season the Baggies achieved a solid mid-table finish. The new campaign is shaping up to be another in which the Midlands outfit will be unlikely to get sucked into the relegation battle. But it’s just as unlikely that Pulis’ side will kick on and fight for a berth in the Europa League. And with many of the teams in the same bracket having improved in the transfer market, West Brom could slide a few more rungs down the ladder.

Betting odds (via SkyBet)

Win Premier League – 1000/1
Relegation – 11/2

Predicted finishes

Shahan Ahmed: 11 | Ryan Bailey: 10 | Alex Baker: 14 | Henry Bushnell: 14 | Joey Gulino: 13 | Leander Schaerlaeckens: 13

More previews

Arsenal | Bournemouth | Brighton & Hove Albion | Burnley | Chelsea | Crystal Palace | Everton | Huddersfield Town | Leicester City | Liverpool | Manchester City | Manchester United | Newcastle United | Southampton | Stoke City | Swansea City | Tottenham Hotspur | Watford | West Bromwich Albion | West Ham United