Thursday, 21 September 2017

What can Defoe do now he has scored?

Now that Jermain Defoe has got his first goal, he will be very keen to keep the run going. He might have been a bit disappointed that he didn't score before the fifth game this season, but he has had one or two more opportunities where he has been unlucky by hitting the post or seeing a keeper saving a well directed shot, as happened in the Man City game. Being precise in his finishing though is what we saw against Brighton last weekend, and that's what he will be aiming to replicate.

Jermain will soon start to feel at home if he finds goals easier to come by.
The Cherries have only scored more than one goal in the league cup second round and in the premier league match against Brighton. So Eddie Howe knows that the team is not managing much more than a goal a game at best at the moment. This is really a signal that the team is not creating enough chances, and while I know the central midfielders have been short of form, it's also surprising that we have seen a bit more change in who starts on the wings. Eddie usually changes his wide players more than most, but Fraser (six starts) and Ibe (2 starts) have probably seen the most minutes, even if Pugh has had 3 starts. Stanislas will now increase the competition, which can only be good news. 

Watching Jermain, we can see that he likes to slip past defenders by sitting on their shoulder and just getting a yard on them in the box, down between the full-backs and centre backs. But he hasn't been able to spring that position very often yet. Bournemouth have also found it hard to get much pressure in and around the opposition's box, and while Jermain can score from distance, his most effective work is done in the penalty box. The service for him just hasn't been their for him or for Josh King in my opinion.

If the team can get Defoe ready to turn on goal from the edge of the box though you'd back him on testing the keeper more often than not. We know Defoe scores hat-tricks - he's done it for Sunderland, Spurs in the top flight and it would be great if he could do it for the Cherries at this level. Jermain is still quite a few behind Alan Shearer's 11 hat-tricks but maybe he can get a little closer by the end of the season.

Bournemouth still have players that are out of sorts

Not everything is quite yet right at AFCB. There are more than one or two players who will still be wondering why they are not playing better at the moment. Even though it is a collective game, the individual matters in how they contribute, and it's hard to put a finger on exactly why some of the players are finding it hard to make passes that they would normally do withe ease.

The Cherries have to find more penetrative play from central midfield.
It's all about the pressure of course and some players deal with it better than others. I can understand though why the team is a bit baffled, in that they finished last season so well and had fallen off a cliff at the start of this season. I don't think many people saw it coming after the fabulous end to last season, but when you get over confident in the Premier League there is always something that soon comes to knock you back down.

Bournemouth's problems have hopefully just been confidence rather than a more major deep-seated problem. Integrating Begovic, Aké and Defoe has brought its disruptions and assimilating them quickly has been more difficult than was perhaps expected. If the side can pick up an unbeaten run though the new players should find that the fans are very pleased to have them in the side. 

When you are winning everything is fine, but Howe has been clear that the side was never far off getting it right. We can hold judgement for a few more games as a couple of wins doesn't mean much in the overall scale of things if the team loses to Everton, but at least they have experienced the winning feeling.

Against Brighton in the league match, it was noticeable to me that Simon Francis wasn't always able to pick out passes or get to grips with his man, but Adam Smith was also finding himself under pressure when he lost the ball up field, and Harry Arter just had one of those games when it didn't click for him. AFCB got away with it that time, but they need more players hitting top form to get themselves out of the bottom three.

The league cup match had a totally different line up, but the positives were many with Junior Stanislas coming back and Josh King getting his first goal. It was a game where there were a lot of chances created, but the finishing edge was not quite there. Hopefully, the team finds that cutting-edge in the next game. 

AFCB have drawn Middlesbrough at home in the Carabao Cup Fourth Round

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Josh King was due a goal

The way in which Josh King finished last season, it is no wonder that he was being linked with a move to Spurs and Everton over the summer. Yet, he has had a very quiet start to this season and is probably wondering why it took him until the Carabao Cup game last night to get on the score sheet.
King tip-toed his way to the winner.
Josh has had to move from being the number nine striker to playing just behind Jermain Defoe. While that means he will be a bit deeper, it should not have that much of a difference in seeing King get a few chances. In short, the chances have been limited for both strikers and it is hard to score when you are starved of the ball. 

Josh is one of the players that drives at the opposition, but that too has hardly been evidence. King's physicality is a big part of his game and we need to see more of that. Hopefully, that is changing though with the performance he put in against Brighton in mid-week, when he was able to make an impact as a sub. Marc Pugh found him in a good position, just inside the box, and King almost skipped his way past three Brighton defenders, as if on ice, before poking the ball over the line. 


He has started in all five Premier League games and he was probably due a bit of luck in front of goal. I'd like to see him play even closer to Defoe, if he can, on Saturday as by both of them going through the middle at pace, Bournemouth should be able to give problems to Everton. The real threat of King comes when AFCB's wingers or full backs get behind teams and pull the ball back for him. At the moment the team is struggling to do this at pace and much of the play has been predictable.

It's noticeable that Bournemouth have not been awarded any penalties yet either and I wonder who has pulled rank on taking them? Defoe likes to take them and yet Josh has a pretty good success rate. We'll find out soon enough. But Josh will know that he needs to get going, Junior Stanislas is on his way back and Callum Wilson will only be a month or so behind at my guess.

The pressure is always on strikers to score, but King adds so much more to the team than just that, so I'm hoping he gets one or two more at Everton.

King finds his goal scoring touch to beat Brighton in the Carabao Cup

Match Description
AFCB 1 v  0 Brighton AET

Carabao Cup Third Round
Attendance: 10,372

Josh King came on as the super sub to earn AFCB a place in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup after a gruelling encounter that went into extra time. The Cherries may have dominated the early stages of the game, but Brighton had the best chances of the first half to go ahead and soon had the majority of possession. Izquierdo was the root of most of Brighton's good work and Boruc was called upon more than once. Jordan Ibe came closest for the Cherries in a first half that remained goalless. When Stanislas hit the post early in the second half the game looked destined to be goalless. Brighton came close to after Murphy intercepted back pass from Steve Cook. Lewis Cook and Lys Mousset nearly broke the deadlock, but it was all square at 0-0 on 90 minutes. Only King's late intervention prevented a penalty shoot out, but on shots and chances AFCB did enough to win through.

Bournemouth made nine changes to the team that played Brighton on Friday night with Simon Francis and Ryan Fraser retaining their starting roles, although Fraser would play at right back. The big news was that Junior Stanislas was back from injury and Lewis Cook would also get a start in midfield. There were also places for Emerson Hyndman and Connor Mahoney on the bench.
AFCB official photo: happy days! Pugh, Smith and King celebrate.
Official match Blog (comments by minutes) and Club Tweets
Tweet: And we're off! Come on you Cherries!!
02 Live Blog - We've dominated the ball and a tricky Francis ball over the top forces Hunemeier into an awkward clearance. It's really early, but a good start!
A quiet start here at Vitality Stadium, with both teams enjoying spells of possession.
05 We're bopping it about as we do, but no clear cut openings yet. We're enjoying plenty of the ball though and are well on the front foot.
06 It's Boruc who palms away Izquierdo's effort. The winger (we'll call him that - it's a hard name to type!) cut inside from the left and blasted a right footer which Boruc had to be alert to. First effort on goal of the evening.A good stop from Boruc early on, palming away Izquierdo's shot from the edge of the area, as Gosling clears.
08 From Mousset. Some good possession play gives him half a yard 25-yards out but his low drive is easy for Krul to save. Unlucky.
Mousset picks up the ball in the middle of the park and works himself some space but the shot is
comfortable for Krul.
10 Brad Smith steams forward and attempts a left-footer from 20-yards, Krul has it covered as it flies
wide. But again, positive inroads past the Albion back line.
11Some really, really good sharp passing around the edge of the edge of the box sees Afobe play a one-two with Stanislas, but Junior's touch can't control it when he looked certain to shoot!
As we type, Lys blazes over in the box. All us!
Tweet: Some great work from the Cherries, as Afobe wins the ball back and tees up Mousset but the Frenchman fires over!
18 Ibe, full of confidence from Friday, beats his man with ease and 25-yards out blasts one over.
Cherries playing some flowing stuff here, still goalless though.
Tweet: Some nice build up play for the Cherries sees an opening for Ibe, but the winger can't divert his shot on target.
21 Mousset looks up for this! He fizzes an effort from 25-yards from a tight angle, it's excellent technique and it skids low but Krul gets down early to stop it. Good effort from the Frenchman.
22 Boruc parries Skalak's effort and it falls kindly to Murphy who should tap Brighton into the lead here against the run of play. Somehow it hits Boruc from four-yards and goes out. Brighton should be winning, a huge let off.
Tweet: Double save from Boruc, as Skalak strikes from range, before Murphy almost nets with the follow up.
28 A short corner eventually finds Franno at the back post and he dinks a high effort into Lys who nods over from 10-yards.
Tweet: A break in play, as Mousset receives treatment on his back, but the Frenchman looks fine to continue.
31 Junior fizzes a fine ball into Benik's path in the box but as he holds off his man he goes down. Not seen a replay, but Benik looked convinced!
Tweet Penalty shout for the Cherries!! Stanislas plays a ball into Afobe's feet but he looks to be pulled down in the box.
32 Izquierdo is an inch away from opening the scoring.
Causing problems on the left, he beats Franno and smashes a low left footed effort in the box narrowly past the right post.

It's so close, they've had the best two chances.Tweet Chance for the visitors! Izquierdo gets in behind the Cherries defence, but his shot is dragged just wide.
36 Izquierdo is an inch away from opening the scoring. Causing problems on the left, he beats Franno and smashes a low left footed effort in the box narrowly past the right post. It's so close, they've had the best two chances.
41 More good play gets Benik free in the box, he shifts his body to beat the defender but it deflects off the Brighton man and just narrowly past the post! Could be 1-0!
Tweet: CLOSE! Ibe looks to feed through to Afobe but Brighton clear just in time for a corner. 

He makes beating players look so easy!
Ibe strides past his man and hits a low drive which Krul is at full stretch to palm away!
Excellent from Ibe!
Tweet: Great chance for the Cherries and it's Ibe again, this time striking from range as Krul gets fingertips to it.

Half time stats (BBC sourced)
AFCB    Possession 33%, Shots 9, Shots on target 4, Corners 5, Fouls 4
Brighton Possession 67%, Shots 3, Shots on target 1, Corners 1, Fouls 4

Second half
Tweet: We're back underway here at Vitality Stadium. Come on you Cherries!!
46: Back underway...Benik gets us underway for the second half.No changes for either side.Mousset's brilliant drive deflects into Afobe's path, and Benik headed it which forced Krul into a low save. But the save fell to Stanislas at an angle, four-yards out and Vitality Stadium were on their feet. But it rattled the inside of the post!! SO unlucky, It's somehow still 0-0!
Tweet: OFF THE POST! Mousset's long shot is helped on by Afobe and Stanislas can only hit the post from close range.
Brett Pitman is in the stands tonight. Welcome back Brett!
Tweet Now it's the visitors who nearly take the lead. Cook's backpass is intercepted but Murphy's shot is well saved.
Cookie plays a back pass short and Murphy goes clean through on goal and with the whole goal to aim at, somehow, Boruc manages to tip the effort, which looked a certain goal, around the post.
Some save that!
56 Ibe crosses and it reaches Stanislas at the back post. It's not the easiest chance but he volleys it from eight-yards and it flies well over. Another good opening.
Tweet: Ibe's cross takes a deflection on the way and falls to Stanislas, but the winger swings wildly over the bar. 
61 A moment of magic from Lewis Cook! He picked the ball up 25-yards out and shoots - it's a lovely effort and Krul is at full stretch to tip away! Corner!
Tweet What a shot from Lewis Cook! He drills one from 30-yards and only fingertips from Krul keep it out.
61 From the resulting corner, Mousset meets it, it's a looping header to the right post and Rosenior nods it off the line! We're getting closer, having a good spellTweet First Cherries change... Stanislas off, Pugh on 
63 It's Junior coming off - a good return from him and he could have had a goal or two.
68 IBE is causing problems! He cuts in from the right onto his left, hits a low drive which is blocked and it causes a scramble in the middle. Brighton snatch a clearance and it's away from danger.
Tweet Ibe in the thick of it once again. He cuts inside but sees the shot deflected on its way to goal.
73 Ibe at it again! He skins two men and tries to slip it into Benik but a Brighton defender nicks it away just before Benik is set to pull the trigger!
Tweet: Ibe causing more problems down the right. He dribbles 20 yards into the box, but his ball can't quite find Afobe.
78 Whacks one from 25-yards and it's not far away! Was always rising, but lovely hit from Weeman.
79 King is on. Mousset comes off, Lys looked lively once again, another good run out for him.
86 Ibe with a great knock, it sets Fraser away on the right. Weeman crosses and Pugh is waiting at the back post, he looks to make contact but Scheletto JUST clears!
Tweet: Fraser now bursts down the right and puts a great ball into the box, but Pugh can't quite get on the end of it.
87 Big save that! Brighton are sitting so deep, Afobe capitalises and hits a high effort from just inside the area and Krul is at full stretch once again to tip it away!
Tweet: The fourth official has indicated that there will be a minimum of four minutes added time here. 
Tweet The ball falls on the edge of the box to Fraser, who hits it well but straight at Krul.
90 Fraser zings a really good effort, it's low and firm but Krul has it covered. Looks like we're going to extra-time...

Stats (BBC sourced)
Bournemouth possession 41%, shots 23, shots on target 7, corners 11, fouls 7
Brighton possession 59%, shots 5, shots on target 2, corners 3, fouls 8

Extra time
Tweet: No way through. We're headed for extra time...
Tweet Great play from Lewis Cook who wins the ball back and starts the attack. Pugh's eventual shot goes over the bar.
94 Pugh cut inside into the area - trademark Pugh, apart from the finish which is sky high. Unlucky!
97 There's some tired legs out there! Ibe picks up the ball in the box and from 10-yards his goalbound effort is blocked! A really threatening opportunity and one which looked like it was going in from up here!
Tweet: King now races down the left and looks for Afobe in the box, but his touch sees the ball go beyond Krul's post.
Tweet: Ibe now with the close-range shot! It's deflected and out for a corner.
99 Finally we take the lead!
A lovely goal!

Pughie and King combine in the middle and the striker races into the area and hits a deft finish into the far corner.
Great interplay - we're ahead!
Tweet: Some great link-up play between Pugh and King sees the Norwegian deftly finish from close-range. It's 1-0! 
Tweet 103: Izquierdo and Skalak are replaced by Knockaert and March for Albion's first two changes.
112 Adam Smith comes on for Ibe, who looks like he cramped up. Ibe has been good again this evening. This now poses a problem for fast typers, we've got two Cooks and two Smiths on!
Half time In extra time. We've been well on top and have the goal to show for it. Another 15 minutes to go.
Tweet: We are underway for the second half of extra time, as Propper replaces Schelotto.
110 King burns his man down the right hand side and crosses superbly but Benik is just in front of it and it zings to safety. Almost perfecly into Benik's path!
Tweet 110: Rosenior is replaced by Mateju for Albion's fourth change.
111 Adam Smith could score! Fraser cross is cleared but it's perfectly into Smith's path and he wallops it wide of the left post from 14-yards. Could be 2-0 and surely passage would've been sealed!
Tweet Adam Smith finds Fraser well down the right, but the Brighton defender is there for the cross and it's cleared.
We get four subs now, as we're in extra time. Weeman makes way for Emerson Hyndman. Hyndman has been involved with the under-21s recently.
Tweet: There will be a minimum of four minutes added on at the end of extra-time.
Tweet: Full time: AFC Bournemouth 1-0

Bournemouth are through to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.

Stats (BBC sourced)
Bournemouth possession 42%, shots 29, shots on target 9, corners 14, fouls 10
Brighton possession 58%, shots 8, shots on target 3, corners 5, fouls 11


Boruc, Fraser, (Hyndman 116) Francis, S Cook, B Smith, Stanislas (Pugh 61), L Cook, Gosling, Ibe (A Smith 100), Mousset (King 79), Afobe

Ramsdale, A Smith, Simpson, Hyndman, Pugh, Mahoney, King

Krul, Goldson, Hünemeier, Rosenior (Mateju 110), Schelotto (Pröpper 105), Ahannach, Molumby, Bong, Skalak, Murphy, Izquierdo Mena (Knockaert 104)

Brighton Subs
Dunk, Knockaert, Mäenpää, March, Pröpper, Mateju, Tilley

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The new men are starting to making an impact at AFCB

It may be that AFCB have been suffering a little from integrating their new players into the starting line up, despite these players having played for the club before. This could account for the side's slow start, but it is strange as Asmir Begovic, Nathan Aké and Jermain Defoe have all played reasonably well and yet their positions run right through the spine of the side and change in this main part of the team is going to take a little time for other players to get used to.
Bournemouth just need games to start getting more integrated.
Eddie Howe has been disappointed about the start to the season but he hasn't come out and said what he really feels is the reason for the slow start. Yes, the Cherries did not play well enough an ddid not create as many chances a every one would have liked in those early games but it was a puzzle even t him as to why so many players seemed to be off form. The only reason I can come up with is that by playing the new players who came in over the summer the structure and stability of the side has been affected slightly. While the new players have played at the club before, it is only Aké that was here last season and it's not always possible to expect players to just fit back into the side without having some difficulties.


Hopefully the games that have gone will have helped the players move on from these early problems. I believe we should see some more consistent performances now as things are starting to bed down. The changes at centre-back have particularly not helped the team settle and it will be important for Eddie Howe to come to a conclusion on what his defence should be for the majority of the season as quickly as he can. With four players though vying for two spots which includes the captain though, it is not going to be as clear cut as usual seasons, especially if they all remain fit.

When Junior Stanislas and Callum Wilson also declare themselves fully fit the competition will rise steeply among the forwards. This competition up front I find more healthy than at the back as when s a striker hits from you don't take him out of the team.

I think there is not much to call between Francis, Steve Cook, Nathan Aké and Tyrone Mings and these players will have a stop start season for a while if Eddie does not decide quickly to stick to the two that he feels will do best for the side.

It's Brighton again but the Carabao Cup this time

Bournemouth will line up against Brighton again knowing that they disappointed in the cups last season and have a good chance of progressing to the latter stages of the Carabao Cup. It will be attempted by a much changed team from the one that took on the Seagulls a few days ago, but it will be tightly monitored as to how many regulars are kept in the starting line up.
Brighton come back to Dean Court for their League Cup tie against the Cherries tonight.

Having gone out so quickly last season, I'm hoping that Eddie puts some of his big hitter son the bench like Defoe and King to bring on if need be in the second half. It's okay to give players who haven't been getting games at the club to my mind though, as Eddie may find that someone is playing well enough to then start for the next Premier League game. If he always plays the same players he won't learn much about other in testing games.

Still how many players should he rest and which ones should he play? The keeper jersey will surely be given to Artur Boruc and Steve Cook will must likely come back into central defence after his recent knock. Dan Gosling and Lewis Cook must be favourites to play in the middle, while Benik Afobe and Lys Mousset will probably complete the central spine of the team. But Howe has room for flexibility and has mentioned that Stanislas is close to being fully fit, while Jordan Ibe only played some 30 minutes against and Ryan Fraser has started all five league games but might find he is rested for the cup games. 

Whether Connor Mahoney or Emerson Hyndman are any closer to getting involved was not shared by Howe in his press conference, and I imagine that the manager is not going to put all his young players under pressure in a game like this that he is very keen on winning. Eddie may do well to remember what happened last season and that it is good to have plenty of experience on the field, so I'm hoping he doesn't change all 11 from the last game, but I suspect it will be most of them.

My guess is the team could look something like this.

Boruc, A Smith, S Cook, Mings, B Smith, Ibe, S Lewis, Gosling, Fraser, Mousset, Afobe 

Subs from
Ramsdale, Francis, Aké, Daniels, Hyndman, Surman, Mahoney, King, Defoe

Brighton beat Barnet 1-0 in the second round and their starting line up that night was as follows.

Mäenpää, Rosenior, Goldson, Hünemeier, Bong, Molumby, Ince, Knockaert, Towell, Skalak, Hemed

In other news, AFCB have announced that selected supporters will be able to collaborate with Stadimax on their needs for the design of the new AFCB stadium.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Is Ibe now settled at AFCB?

Eddie Howe has been praising Jordan Ibe for his ability to make an impact from the bench and it is apparent that Ibe is determined to have a better season than he did in 2016-17. He knows he has to get his head down and start to deliver and if he can build up a good understanding with Jermain Defoe, many of Bournemouth's problems this season could quickly be overcome.
Ibe has been slow to get into the groove at AFCB but he's staring to pick up now.
Ibe has been a player that is easy to pick on for his inability to get crosses into the box and make the most of his situation when he has beaten the first man. His decision making is really his weak link from what I can see, and if Eddie Howe can get him to pick his head up and find another Bournemouth player once he has the run on a defence, then he will become a more regular starter. Bournemouth also need Ibe to help out the defence as well, and this is another side of his game where Howe could do some more work with Ibe.

The main thing is that Ibe is learning and starting to take things on board which must be satisfying for Howe. Bournemouth need to see a player that is fearless and not afraid of taking players on. Even when there were times when it didn't come off against Brighton, he hurried back to try and win the ball back and we would not have done that last season. Once the understandings come though with the strikers and Adam Smith, it would not surprise me if Ibe becomes more of a fans' favourite at Dean Court. He has age on his side and just needs to be more organised in how he plays and to really get to enjoy going past defenders again.


The big difference from Ibe will probably come when he gets that first goal that he has been waiting for. He has to believe he is going to score for it to happen though, and we need to see the positive body language that we saw in the Brighton league game from Ibe. He certainly seems a more settled player this season, and if he continues to learn off Eddie Howe we could find that he was a decent buy, having been given time to see how he best fits into this Bournemouth side.