Vilified referee Rob Jones gifted Bournemouth the best kind of early Christmas present at the City Ground on Saturday, as Forest defender Willy Boly was questionably dismissed for two bookable offences inside the opening 25 minutes of Nuno Espirito Santo’s Tricky Trees debut.
Nevertheless, the spirited Garibaldi fought valiantly with 10 men on the pitch as Anthony Elanga and Chris Wood both breached the Cherries’ backline, but Dominic Solanke had already struck twice by the time Wood headed home, and the Bournemouth marksman flaunted his aerial excellence with another brilliant header deep into added time.
As newly-appointed Forest boss Santo was left to rue the officiating performance, hat-trick hero Solanke conducted the unbridled Cherries celebrations as Bournemouth enhanced their mid-table credentials, shooting up to 12th place in the standings, behind Wolverhampton Wanderers on goal difference following their Christmas Eve beating of Chelsea.
Boasting a phenomenal 16 points from the last 18 on offer in the top flight, Andoni Iraola’s crop are now just 90 minutes away from marching to four successive Premier League wins, something which Bournemouth have never done before in a single top-flight campaign.
The Cherries did enjoy a quartet of consecutive top-flight successes in 2018, but those victories were spread across two separate seasons, and Iraola’s footballing philosophy has now been firmly instilled into the hosts, who have scored at least twice in each of their last six contests.
Fulham could do with an attacking pointer or two from their hosts on Boxing Day, as Marco Silva’s men failed to make their 19 shots and 66% possession count for anything worthwhile against Burnley, who surprisingly left Craven Cottage with a two-goal success to their
name.Just two minutes after the second half commenced, Wilson Odobert beat Bernd Leno all ends up with a fabulous curling strike into the top corner, before turning provider for Sander Berge to complete the job with a well-placed low effort 19 minutes later.
Silva conceded that his side were made to pay for their glut of missed opportunities in West London, which leaves Fulham in an unlucky 13th place in the Premier League table, albeit with just one-point deficits to make up to Chelsea, Wolves and their imminent hosts.
Defeat to Vincent Kompany’s basement battlers was a rude awakening for Fulham after their progression to the EFL Cup semi-finals, and the Cottagers are yet to rediscover the formula for success on the road, losing their last three Premier League away fixtures and going winless in their last eight such battles since narrowly overcoming Everton on the opening weekend.
Even the most ardent Cottager will admit that their Goodison Park success in August was fortuitous, and their trip to the Vitality in April ended in a 2-1 loss to Bournemouth, who have only been beaten in one of their last 12 meetings with their capital counterparts.