Oddschecker football writer Ryan Elliott is expecting another tight affair at the Amex when Bournemouth visit

The Result

Pride. Pride was the overwhelming emotion that gripped Albion fans as the players—clearly devastated—slumped to the Wembley turf following their gallant effort against Manchester City, arguably the best team in the world.

But while every sinew of energy would have been spent against the Premier League champions on Saturday, upon the final whistle, Chris Hughton’s mind would have been immediately cast to the bigger task at hand – staying in the Premier League.

With Cardiff refusing to go down without a fight, Albion will know their home fixtures against Bournemouth this weekend followed by the Bluebirds on Tuesday are season-defining.

The Cherries have been hopeless away from home this season—losing ten of their last 11 on the road—but considering Albion have recently lost at home to Burnley and Southampton, you simply can’t rule out Eddie Howe’s men. How can you rule out a side containing Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser?

Cardiff’s trip to Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon should act as an extra incentive for the Seagulls. Neil Warnock’s side are more than capable of winning that, and should Albion slip-up against Bournemouth, there would just be a two-point gap between the sides.

While I’d be wary of writing Bournemouth off, Albion are 11/8 to win on Saturday, which I see as really good value. Yes, home form has been patchy recently, but now that push has really come to shove—like against Huddersfield last month—I can see Albion scraping to victory.

Bournemouth haven’t scored in six of their last nine away matches, but they also have a goalkeeper issue, with Asmir Begovic and Artur Boruc chopping and changing between the sticks – a move which rarely ends well.

Albion haven’t beaten Bournemouth on home soil since 2008 in League One, but with the Cherries clearly on the beach, there will be no better opportunity to end that run. It’s Albion’s biggest week since promotion – they simply must deliver.


The Banker

Don’t be surprised to see this pan out like the Huddersfield game – Albion will have plenty of the ball, but the magnitude of the occasion and nerves may well play a part.

With this in mind, my banker is for a draw at half-time, best-priced at 15/13.

Albion have gone into the break level seven times at home this season, and while Bournemouth generally find themselves trailing at half-time, I don’t think the Seagulls have enough firepower to bank on an early breakthrough.


The Longshot

It’s looking like Shane Duffy’s five goals will see him end the season as Albion’s second-top Premier League goalscorer. The hulking centre-back has been a constant threat from set-pieces all season, and my longshot is for the Irishman to score first – priced at a generous 22/1.

Only Huddersfield and Fulham have conceded more goals than Bournemouth this season, so plumping on Duffy to bag first from a set-piece—particularly at that price—isn’t a bad idea.