Bournemouth

Transfer Battle: Slavisa Jokanovic vs Eddie Howe

When Fulham take on Bournemouth in the Premier League at Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon, there will be a host of attacking talent on display.

The home side will be expected to field the likes of Aleksandar Mitrovic and Andre Schurrle who have both made impressive starts to the season.

Meanwhile, the visitors will have Joshua King, Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser among others to call upon.

But aside from that, what makes Saturday’s encounter such an interesting one is the match up between Slavisa Jokanovic and Eddie Howe — two very modern and like-minded coaches.

Slavisa Jokanovic

Under Jokanovic, Fulham have become known for being a team who enjoy retaining ball possession and like being on the front foot.

Such an approach, however, has seen the west London club leak goals for fun since gaining promotion back to the Premier League.

Jokanovic’s men are the only side in English football’s top flight yet to keep a clean sheet, but the Serbian has reiterated that he will not abandon his attacking principles.

“If we don’t attack we aren’t going to score any goal in any game,” Jokanovic told Sky Sports.

“I don’t understand the sense to be part of this business without trying to attack the opposite team. We must defend and we must attack. We must find more solidarity and defensive coordination and discipline without avoiding trying to be a danger in front of the opposition goal.”

It remains to be seen whether Jokanovic can eventually get Fulham to strike a balance between defence and attack. And if he does, it could come too late.

But even if that were to be the case, the overall job Jokanovic has done at Craven Cottage has been outstanding.

TT Grade: B+

Eddie Howe

Like Fulham, Bournemouth also had their defensive troubles in their first season in the Premier League with Howe at the helm.

In that campaign, only bottom of the table Aston Villa conceded more goals than the Cherries.

Nevertheless, Howe’s men were able to avoid the drop and have only gone from strength to strength since then.

They currently sit sixth in the table following 12th and ninth place finishes in the two previous seasons.

What has been particularly impressive about Bournemouth, though, is the style of football they have been playing since their promotion.

They have not compromised on the football that saw them promoted, persisting on building from the back, pressing high and really taking the game to opponents.

And with the addition of higher quality players such as Nathan Ake and Asmir Begovic thanks to the Premier League television money, the team will only continue to grow under Howe.

TT Grade: A-

TT Verdict:

Howe and Bournemouth are examples Jokanovic and Fulham would clearly love to follow. Not only have they managed to maintain their status as a Premier League side since winning promotion back in 2015, but they have done so sticking to their principles.

However, while it is still early days, of course, that looks like it could be too much of a difficult feat for Jokanovic and Fulham to achieve.

During his time in the Premier League at Bournemouth, Howe has also shown he can be flexible with his use of different formations.

With all of that in mind, Jokanovic has some way to go before he can match Howe’s Premier League credentials.

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