Entering the October international break, Bournemouth find themselves sat in the relegation zone after not winning any of their first eight games of the season.
They have only managed to secure three draws, but surprisingly these have come at home against West Ham & Chelsea, and away against Brentford.
So, why the extremely bad start, especially with expectations being slightly higher with Andoni Iraola being at the helm? Does he have the calibre to turn it around, or will it be another fight for survival this season?
A Positive Start
It was not all doom and gloom to start with for Bournemouth, as they kickstarted their season with an impressive draw against the Europa Conference League winners West Ham.
They conceded early in the second half to a Jarred Bowen goal, but they continued to dominate the ball, as they had from the start of the game, and continued to carve out chances.
Dominic Solanke grabbed an equaliser in the final 10 minutes of the game, but Bournemouth could not push on to get a second, and had to settle for a draw.
They then had the daunting task of facing Liverpool away from home, a game in which last season they lost 9-0, also early on in the season.
This season was a different story. They came into the game full of confidence after a positive result against West Ham, and they blew Liverpool away in the early stages.
Bournemouth had an effort ruled out in the first minute, after VAR intervened and deemed the goal was offside, before Antoine Semenyo gave The Cherries a third-minute lead.
Despite Bournemouth continuing to cause problems for the Liverpool defence, that was as good as it got for them, with Diaz and Salah both finding the back of the net in the first half.
Even after MacAllister received a dubious red card in the second half, Liverpool still created chance after chance, as Jota made it 3-1, handing Bournemouth their first loss of the season.
Despite only gaining one point from their opening two games, the positive signs were there for Bournemouth going forward. Defensively, they were miles better than last season, and looked like they had kicked out all the silly mistakes.
Going forward, the lack of a goal-scoring striker was still obvious, but they were creating more chances than last season, and looked much more confident when attacking the final third.
It was not just results on the pitch that were improving, but also the quality of signings in the transfer window.
Bournemouth added some exciting English talent to their ranks, such as Max Aarons from Norwich, and one of the standout players of The Championship last season, Bristol City’s Alex Scott.
They even looked abroad for some exciting youth to bring in, and found just that in Justin Kluivert from Roma and Milos Kerkez from AZ Alkmaar.
After chasing him throughout transfer deadline day, Bournemouth also managed to snag Luis Sinisterra on loan from relegated side Leeds United, an attempt to bring even more creativity to their ranks.
In terms of outgoings, Bournemouth did not have to deal with too many big losses, if any at all. A lot of fringe players found themselves released from the club, the biggest name being Jefferson Lerma who made the switch to Crystal Palace.
It was very much a case of improving on what they had in the transfer window, and they managed that. Bournemouth’s squad was an ageing one, but they resolved that with a fresh intake of young, exciting, attacking players.
It was a very successful transfer window, with the only downside being that they still did not have a striker capable of scoring on a consistent basis, leaving the club and the fans hoping Dominic Solanke could fill that role.
Why Has It Gone Downhill?
Since that opening goal at Anfield, Bournemouth have gone downhill massively. They ended up losing that game 3-1, which many may have expected, but some of the other games they have played show worrying signs.
They came up against a Chelsea side, at home, who were struggling to score, could not break down any team put in front of them, and were, defensively, awful, at the time.
The Premier League had not had a 0-0 draw before this game either, and it is no shock that one team involved in the first 0-0 draw of the season was Bournemouth.
The positive attacking signs were there. They created some opportunities against Chelsea, but none of them were good enough to win them the game, and the lack of a prolific striker was evident once again.
The silly mistakes in defence were slowly but surely starting to creep their way back in. The style of play evidently prioritised the attack over the defence, but when their attack is not performing, and individual mistakes are creeping in, that can only spell disaster.
Their game against Everton just before the international break highlighted just how bad they are at the moment.
Last season, Bournemouth lost 1-0 at Goodison Park on the final day of the season, and in front of their own fans, beat The Toffees in back-to-back games, winning 3-0 in the league, and 4-1 in the cup.
This time, Bournemouth looked out of ideas and their confidence looked shot. A struggling Everton side produced their performance of the season so far as they ran out 3-0 winners, giving them their first home win of the season.
The international break may have come at a good time for Bournemouth, as it will now allow them to regroup, go back to basics in defence, and hopefully, for them, find a way to get the ball in the back of the net.
Whilst Solanke is never going to be a 20-goal-a-season striker, he needs to be scoring more than the 3 he has managed so far this season. Outside of that, only 2 other Bournemouth players have found the back of the net this season, those being Semenyo and Brooks.
Bournemouth have some brilliant attacking options, both in the first team and on the bench, and these kinds of players need to start getting on the scoresheet, otherwise they will remain in the bottom 3.
The forward-thinking style of play also seems to have slowed down. In games where Bournemouth have been creating a plethora of chances, they now only create a few.
Against Arsenal at home, they managed just one shot on target in their 4-0 loss, and it was straight at David Raya. In their home loss against Spurs, they managed three. Even away against Liverpool at the start of the season, they managed five.
The lack of confidence is creeping in and affecting them all over the pitch. It is restricting their style of play when moving forward, and allowing those individual mistakes to occur more often.
Can Andoni Iraola Turn It Around?
It should only be a matter of time before Bournemouth pick up their first win of the season, and when they do, it will boost their confidence massively, and it could kickstart their season.
The style of play is perfect for Bournemouth, as long as they are scoring. They are never going to be the most stable team in defence, so they may as well go all-out attack.
Iraola has shown enough so far to convince people that he is the right man for the job. Bournemouth have looked impressive at times, and once they have the confidence to do that over the course of 90 minutes, the results should start to come in.
The signings that have been brought in are all exciting, and once they adjust to life in the Premier League, should help Bournemouth to recover from this poor start.
They have two crunch games coming up against Wolves and Burnley, and it will be easier to predict how Bournemouth will be throughout the rest of the season after these games. It may only be October, but both games have the feel of relegation six-pointers.
If they lose both of those games, then they, and Iraola, will be in trouble. If they win just one, or both, then that confidence boost should be enough to keep them going.
Overall, Iraola has impressed during his difficult start to the season, and the signs are there for him to be successful at Bournemouth, he just needs to find a way to secure that first win of the season.