Bournemouth are in danger of being dragged into the relegation battle at the foot of the Premier League due to their poor run of form since the beginning of the year. Eddie Howe’s men are slipping down the table and are now just six points clear of the drop zone following a horrid run of results.

The Cherries were taking plaudits for their performances in the first half of the campaign, including an impressive comeback win over Liverpool at Dean Court. However, since the beginning of 2017 their defence has fallen to pieces, conceding goals with regularity to put the club in trouble.

Due to their decline in form, it might be prudent to check the best football odds on Paddy Power, who back Howe’s men at 7/1 to descend into the Championship. There are still plenty of teams below them that will get dragged into the mire first, but the Cherries have to buck up their ideas sooner rather than later to avoid any potential drama at the end of the term.

One of the main issues Howe has to resolve and rather swiftly is his side’s issues at the back. Only Swansea City have conceded more goals than Bournemouth this term. Since the end of November, the club have shipped three or more strikes in eight Premier League matches.

Recently the Cherries have conceded two strikes apiece against Manchester City, Crystal Palace and Watford, while Everton put six past them at Goodison Park. It has become an epidemic for Howe and his team at the back, with no answers forthcoming at least for now.

Their attacking style of play could be blamed for their lapses, while the quality of their backline is also an issue. Simon Francis, Steve Cook and Charlie Daniels have come through the leagues with the club and may have been playing slightly above their level, with their skipper Francis being exposed with regularity on the right flank due to his lack of pace.

The departure of loanee Nathan Ake has been more telling than previously thought. The 21-year-old performed well in the heart of the defence alongside Cook, and due to his displays, Chelsea recalled him at the beginning of January. Tyrone Mings’ return to action from injury was timely but unfortunately for Bournemouth he has struggled immensely since his comeback, notably in his side’s 3-1 defeat to Hull City on the road.

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