Meet the opposition | Bournemouth

24th January
First team

As Swansea City prepare to face Bournemouth in the FA Cup, we take a closer look at the Cherries.

What's their story?

The Cherries are in their second season back in the Premier League after securing promotion as Championship runners-up in 2022.

They spent the 2020-21 and 2021-22 campaigns in the Championship after a five-year stint in the Premier League came to an end in 2020.

Enjoying their greatest period of success under Eddie Howe, the club rose from the bottom tier to the top-flight and  finished 16th in their first season in the Premier League and went on to enjoy a best-ever league finish of ninth in the 2016-17 season.

They finished 15th in the top-flight last term, with Gary O'Neil leading them to safety prior to this summer's appointment of Andoni Iraola.

How's their form?

Philip Billing

Very good. After a tough start to the season the Cherries have come on strong of late. They have lost just two of their last 10 games in all competitions, with those defeats coming against Tottenham and Liverpool.

They have beaten Newcastle and Manchester United during that run, seeing off the Red Devils 3-0 at Old Trafford.

Who's the gaffer?

Andoni Iraola

Andoni Iraola. The Spaniard took the reins at the Vitality Stadium following the conclusion of his successful three-year stint in charge of Rayo Vallecano, which culminated in their 11th-place finish in La Liga last term.

He had led them to promotion to the top-flight in his first season, while they were Copa del Rey semi-finalists the following year.

Iraola started his managerial career with AEK Larnaca in Cyprus before a stint with Segunda Division outfit Mirandes.

A right-back as a player, he won seven caps for Spain and made more than 500 appearances for Athletic Bilbao, before having a spell with New York City FC which took in their first two seasons in the MLS.

Who's the captain?


Neto. The Brazilian keeper took over as Cherries captain in February and has retained the armband under new boss Iraola.

The 34-year-old, who has one Brazil cap to his name, started his career with Athletico Paranaense before making the move to Europe with Fiorentina in 2011.

A free agent in 2015, he made the move to Juventus and, while he was back up to Gianluigi Buffon in the league, he played in two successful Coppa Italia campaigns for the Turin giants, while they also reached the 2017 Champions League final in Cardiff.

From there he made a switch to Valencia where he won the Copa del Rey, a feat he repeated that Barcelona prior to his arrival on the south-coast.

He also has an Olympic medal to his name having helped Brazil to a silver medal at the London Games.

Who are the key men?


David Brooks

Striker Dominic Solanke is enjoying an outstanding season for the Cherries, with his tally of 12 Premier League goals putting him only behind Mohamed Salah and Erling Haaland.

Solanke came through the ranks at Chelsea, winning the FA Youth Cup and Uefa Youth League during his time with the Blues.

He had a loan spell with Vitesse before making a high-profile move to Liverpool in 2017, spending two years at Anfield and being part of the squad that lost the 2018 Champions League final to Real Madrid.

He joined Bournemouth in 2019 and, after a slow start to life on the south coast, has matured into a reliable goalscorer. He helped the Cherries secure promotion back to the top-flight in 2022 and he has 69 goals in 197 appearances in all competitions.

His form this term has seen him touted for a return to the England senior squad.

Towering midfielder Philip Billing has been an outstanding presence in the Cherries midfield since joining from Huddersfield Town in 2019, and he is their joint-top creator this season with four assists.

While his eight makes him effective from set-pieces and deliveries in both boxes, Billing offers plenty with the ball at his feet too, with his ability to carry the ball adding an important dimension in attack, while he is an accomplished defensive player in deep-lying position.

He also has an eye for goal, and his opener in defeat to Arsenal in March was the second-fastest Premier League goal in history, taking just 9.11 seconds from kick-off.

Former Middlesbrough man Marcus Tavernier has been another to impress for Bournemouth this season, scoring three goals and setting up a further four.

The 24-year-old is in his second season at the Vitality Stadium, having joined from Boro in the summer of 2022.

Tavernier, younger brother of Rangers' captain James, started his career in the youth ranks at Newcastle before moving to Teesside.

He came through the ranks to make the cut at senior level, and the forward made 155 appearances for the Riverside Stadium club, scoring 18 goals, before signing for the Cherries.

Tavernier has since made 40 Premier League appearances and is a lively presence with his desire to drive forward with the ball.