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Bournemouth Must Give Defoe Better Service

 • by Ryan Baldi
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Bournemouth have only scored four goals in their opening six games so far this season, and summer signing Jermain Defoe has laid claim to just one of those.

The Cherries are 19th in the Premier League and are being outscored by every team other than goalless Crystal Palace.

Eddie Howe is beginning to come under pressure and the former Burnley boss will be seeking solutions to his side’s lack of goals.

Defoe, signed on a free transfer from relegated Sunderland, came with big wages and high expectations, having scored 37 times in 93 games for the struggling Black Cats over the last two and a half seasons.

But, it is fair to say, many will have expected the England international poacher to have found then net a little more regularly than he has at the Vitality Stadium thus far.

As a veteran of the Premier League, it was hoped that the 35-year-old would hit the ground running on the South Coast, and form a dynamic and devastating partnership with Tottenham Hotspur transfer target Joshua King – who also only has a solitary strike to his name this term.

However, in digging beneath the surface a little, it becomes apparent that Bournemouth‘s lack of goals so far this term is not a result of profligate finishing from the first-choice front two, but rather a worrying lack of creativity in midfield.

Indeed, Defoe has been feedings off scraps somewhat since joining the Cherries, taking a paltry total of just six shots in his four starts and two substitute appearances to date.

Perhaps a knock-on effect of Bournemouth’s loss of Jack Wilshere, who spent last season on loan at the Vitality Stadium, and subsequent failure to replace the England international with a playmaker of equivalent vision and technical quality, Howe’s men are not conjuring enough scoring opportunities.

The 25 chances that Bournemouth have created so far this season ranks them 19th in the Premier League, with only Swansea City (24) getting fewer sights of goal.

Bournemouth

As the above graphic shows, of all the Bournemouth midfielders to have started more than two league games this term, Ryan Fraser has thus far proved the most creative, with just one key pass per 90 minutes.

If Bournemouth are to get the best out of Defoe, the deadly hitman signed to bag double figures, they need to offer him much better service.

They have the chance to put this right against Leicester City on Saturday afternoon. At Football Whispers, we utilise a unique algorithm to predict the line-ups for every upcoming fixture, and you can see how we think Howe will send out his team at the top of the page.

You can click on the interactive graphic to select your own Bournemouth XI to face Leicester, and share it with friends on social media. Think you can solve the Cherries’ creativity problems?

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