When Town slipped into the relegation zone after a commendable but ultimately fruitless performance against Manchester United, finally it seemed that the pundit predictions were coming to fruition.
In spite of these predictions, the stance from within the Town camp differed.
On the topic of Town dropping into the relegation zone, David Wagner was optimistic as he stated that the season started now and today was opportunity for his side to chase the rest of the pack.
As I’ve mentioned previously, when David Wagner has targeted games and his side is in desperate need of a victory, they find a way to do it.
Today was yet another example of that.
Rather than grinding out a win like many fans were hoping for, we saw Town play with a positivity and an intensity which hasn’t been on show in the Premier League since the victory over Watford.
Spilling over from the FA Cup 4th Round victory over Birmingham City, the air of confidence and restoration of self-belief was visible in Town’s performance from the first whistle.
However, rather than Championship opposition, they faced a Bournemouth side flying at the top of the form table with aspirations of sneaking into Europe.
Despite being well drilled and known for their technical ability and possession football, Town’s cohesion and intense pressing forced mistakes and made Bournemouth look ordinary.
From the high aggressive pressing and full-blooded challenges to the direct effective nature of Town’s forays forward, there was a return to the footballing philosophy that David Wagner and his side are well known for.
The level of desire and commitment shown by Town was simply too much for Bournemouth to contend with, as was the brutal clinical nature about Town’s play.
We have seen how unforgiving the Premier League can be and yet on this occasion, it was any mistake made by Bournemouth, either self-induced or as a result of the high press, which was fully capitalised upon by Town to the fullest extent.
Aside from the singular lapse in concentration which allowed Junior Stanislas to equalise, once again, when a win was needed, Town found it and they did so with style.
The Bigger Picture
Whilst the performance was excellent, the result was a necessity.
With teams in the bottom half beginning to find form and a means of consistently picking up points, Town had to find a way to stop the rot and lift the club’s spirits going into a crucial month.
There was a must-win feel going into the clash with Bournemouth or at the very least, a must not lose scenario. That was what made the victory over the Cherries so massive.
Not only did it end the five-match losing streak and help Town climb out of the relegation zone after a solitary week, it also offered a sense of optimism.
As well as confidence and self-belief being restored on the pitch, today’s performance and result was also a confidence booster for the fans.
David Wagner has shown over the past two seasons that he is a master of man management will use this result as a springboard for the coming weeks. This could be a turning point, the catalyst for success.
Building upon the victory over Birmingham City, Town’s return to their footballing philosophy and the massive win offers some momentum ahead of the free hit against Manchester United in the FA Cup 5th Round before Town’s next Premier League outing, a crucial trip away to the Hawthorns for yet another season-defining fixture.