Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Tyrone Mings puts in a brave and heroic performance at Birmingham

Tyrone Mings has hopefully started the turnaround in AFCB's season that they so needed. He might not be the man that is always going to pop up and score the goals, but he put his body on the line to keep Birmingham from increasing their lead at St Andrew's in the first half.
Tyrone Mings chose to go in the right direction to
 keep Birmingham from extending their lead.
Bournemouth had fallen behind to another soft goal that was largely of their own making. A corner that was poorly defended cost AFCB an easier game and when Birmingham's Vassel showed he had the  strength to get away from Steve Cook. While he had the where with all to round Artur Boruc and get his shot away on target, it looked a hopeless cause to AFCB fans looking on. But Tyrone Mings doesn't give up easily, and he timed his run to perfection to meet the ball as it was about to cross the line. Having the quickness of thought to back heel the ball certainly saved the Cherries from going 2-0 down, and the cost to himself was fairly major as he smashed into the supporting post holding up the netting at the back of the goal.

It took quite a few minutes for Mings to recover with some treatment, but that is what centre-halves do. So often its the strikers that get the plaudits but Eddie Howe was certain that Mings' commitment to the team at that moment was a pivotal moment for the Cherries. It changed the likely outcome of the game as Bournemouth rarely had to defend their box as much in the latter parts of the game. It gave the players a moment to see how Tyrone so much wanted not to lose the game and it generated positivity in the team.

While it was great to see Ryan Fraser and Marc Pugh get the goals that would carry AFCB through to the third round of the League Cup, it is Tyrone Mings who should be getting many of the pats on the back for helping AFCB through this time. It gives Eddie Howe something to think about as well. Tyrone is a player that does well in big games and it's something that we are all becoming more aware of.

The Cherries fight back to win at Birmingham 1-2

Match Description
Birmingham City 1 v 2 AFCB
22 August 2017
Carabao English League Cup
Second Round
Attendance: 8245 (with 526 AFCB fans)

Ryan Fraser gets AFCB off and running in goals as Bournemouth
comeback against Birmingham in the Carabao Cup.
AFCB got the boost they so needed on the night having been close to disaster after being 1-0 down from Maikel Kieftenbeld's opener, and Tyrone Mings salvaging an almost certain second Birmingham goal. The Cherries found some momentum and Ryan Fraser got the Cherries' first goal of the season just a few moments into the second half. AFCB kept their possession high and found a winner when Marc Pugh met a cross from Lys Mousset. A few close shaves had to be survived before the end but the Cherries held firm and now have something positive to take into their weekend game.

AFCB picked a team with a sprinkling of first team regulars such as Steve Cook, Adam Smith, Ryan Fraser and Marc Pugh, but also opened the door to players that fans want to see challenge for the first team places like Lewis Cook, Dan Gosling and Tyrone Mings. Defoe was given his first start as promise by Howe and it was good to see Lys Mousset also given a chance to impress from the start. It was eight changes in all from the team that began against Watford.

John Williams on Radio Solent was pleased to see AFCB started the match playing quicker than they have in the two league matches with several runs up the left side as Brad Smith and Marc Pugh got on the ball. Lewis Cook and Lys Musset's first thinking seemed to be to look for Defoe, but they were not finding the ball sticking

Birmingham began slowly but Tyrone Mings had to intervene quickly to stop Vassel and conceded a corner. But from the corner Bournemouth did not mark up well, a header is knocked back from the far post and Maikel Kieftenbeld has a simple right foot shot to put the home team 1-0 up after 11 minutes.

If AFCB didn't think they were under pressure they certainly felt it after that.

Defoe made a quick turn in the box but his shot is saved by Kuszczak. Defoe again wins the ball back and shoots just wide of the right post.

Maghoma also shows his pace and Boruc has to guard his post as the ball flashes wide.

Pugh threads Defoe through but Kuszczak saves. Pugh takes a shot but the keeper is there again. Kris Temple is already mentioning that the Cherries have already had more shots than they have had in their first two Premier League games.

Birmingham take off Nsue at right back and Wes Harding is on. Bramell is out acing Fraser and Adam Smith.

Gosling is struggling a bit with a knock. Lewis Cook adds another shot on target to the stats but t was straight at Kuszczak.

Steve Cook is caught out and Vassel is through, around Boruc, but Mings gets back to back heel the ball away. Mings has injured himself in the process. He has hit his head on the metal bar that runs behind the goal. Mings is back up and he no doubt has a headache.

Bournemouth win a couple of corners and start to build some pressure before Gosling has the last touch and loses possession.

Mousset turns well but then gives the ball away and gets a yellow card. Free kick to Birmingham. Brad Smith is putting some good crosses in. Ryan Fraser over runs a ball that Steve Cook put through for him.

Mousset has a drive from inside the box, well hit but saved by the keeper. This is better from the Cherries. Lewis Cook then shoots well over.

Brad Smith finds Mings who gets a shot at the near post, but it's at the keeper. Kuszczak has been the busier keeper but all the saves have been comfortable for him and Birmingham lead 1-0 at half time.

Second Half
Birmingham make a sub with Vassel replaced by Jutkiewicz. Adam Smith plays it into the near post and Fraser is on the end to make it 1-1.

The Subsitute Jutkiewicz now makes Boruc fully stretch to keep his attempt out at the other end. Mousett low shot and Kuszczak is down to save at his near post.

Fraser puts Defoe in who finished, but he is offside. Shotton gives away a free kick as Defoe tries to go past. A yard outside the penalty area, Fraser gets ready to take the free kick.

Zack Maghoma gets a yellow card for not retreating. Fraser hits it over the bar.

Bournemouth are enjoying good possession now. Birmingham are trying to make a fight of it. Shotton picks up a yellow card for stopping Mousset. The keeper gets the free kick having gone to ground.

Break on with Harding and he wins a free kick. Gleeson takes the kick and Steve Cook clears to Fraser who is chopped down.

Mousset, shot from Pugh sliding in - "trademark finish," says Kris Temple. It's a strange feeling to be in front in a game. Birmingham trail 1-2 on 68 minutes.

Defoe has a deflected shot that goes out for a corner. Brad Smith shoots and it just goes over the bar - "a real fizzer," says Temple.

Mousset great effort, flicked up and volleyed but Kuszczak saves. Mousset has worked hard and has cramp. Afobe is replacing him.

Kris Temple's assessment is that Lewis Cook and Gosling have been steady. Brad Smith has played well and Defoe looks very sharp. In fact, Kris says he'll be astounded if Defoe does not start on Saturday.

Bramall is subbed by Robinson. Corner to AFCB, last 10 minutes. "It's been a collective performance tonight," says John Williams.

Fraser is replaced by Jordan Ibe. Jutkiewicz is fouled by Brad Smith. Corner now to Birmingham. Defoe finally clears up to half way. Jutkiewicz has a shot but its wide.

Lewis Cook fouls Davis. Brave header from Adam Smith at the back post. Maghoma gets the ball across to Jutkiewicz but he's got his angles all wrong when he had a great chance to equalise from the six yard box.

Afobe on the run sees his shot turned behind by Kuszczak. Mahoney is getting ready to come on.

Ibe sees his shot deflected into Kuszczak's arms. Adam Smith picks up a booking for a foul on David Davis. There is four in the AFCB wall. Mahoney is putting his tracksuit top back on. Afobe heads away.

It's a bit of a relief to know that the Cherries have upped their game from what we have seen so far this season. Birmingham City are not Man City, but a win was vital for confidence. It also allows Bournemouth to progress in the cup which is great for the development of players. Eddie Howe will have learnt more from this match than he has from the league games and he'll be pleased there was some spirit shown and some defiance after being a goal down. So now we'll see if Bournemouth can build on this positivity.

Boruc, A Smith, S Cook, Mings, B Smith, Fraser (Ibe 82), L Cook, Gosling, Pugh, Mousset (Afobe 77), Defoe

Ramsdale, Aké, Simpson, Hyndman, Mahoney, Ibe, Afobe

Kuszczak, Nsue (Harding 23), Shotton, Roberts, Grounds, Bramall (Robinson 78), Davis, Kieftenbeld, Gleeson, Maghoma, Vassel (Jutkiewicz 45)

Stockdale, Tesche, Gardner, Jutkiewicz, Cotterill, Robinson, Harding

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Howe and Redknapp go toe-to-toe in Carabao Cup

Bournemouth travel to Birmingham in the Carabao sponsored League Cup desperately searching for some goals. It's not been a bad place to go to for the Cherries in recent years with their bountiful 8-0 win in October 2014. Now St Andrews has a familiar place installed as their manager, and I suppose it has been a match up that is long overdue to see Redknapp and Howe put their reputations on the line in a managerial contest for a cup game.
AFCB hope St Andrew's remains a happy hunting ground for them.

Birmingham have not been getting fans that excited with four points from four league games, but at least their team has been scoring. A 5-1 home win against Crawley in the last round of the league cup was something for the Blues fans to celebrate and three of their league points have come at home with a 2-1 win over Bristol City.

Harry has been busy signing players too. Luton sold Isaac Vassell on a four year deal. Redknapp has been bemoaning the lack of strikers he can get on the market and he has had to drop don a league to pick up Vassell. David Stockdale has joined from Brighton in goal. Cheik Ndoye is a midfielder that has signed from French side Angers. Dan Scarr boosts their midfield having come from Scarbrough and Marc Roberts is another defender who joined this summer from Barnsley.

Birmingham have also seen Kerim Free move to Istanbul Buyuksehir, while Che Adams and Koby Arthur were released.

Eddie Howe will see this as a match where he plays the back up players to the main team. It could backfire if they get a beating as there would be nowhere to turn to if there aren't a couple of positives to take from this game. The manager will take the criticism himself up to a point as it is his decision like it was last year to make the rotation, but it has to benefit the team come next Saturday. Some times you can play yourself into form and there is a case for suggesting that the bench should be lined with players that need to improve. But having time to think and rest is also important.

At least with Howe taking on Redknapp there is a nice friendly nature to the fixture in the boardroom and the two of them will probably share some friendly chat about how things could have gone better for them both this season.

Possible AFCB XI
Boruc (GK), Worthington (RD), Mings (CD), M Wilson (CD), B Smith (LD), Mahoney (RM), L Cook (CM), Gosling (CM), Pugh (LM), Mousset (FW), Defoe (FW)

AFCB Subs Federici (GK), Wiggins (LD), Hyndman, Butcher, Taylor, King, Afobe

Monday, 21 August 2017

Are AFCB's expectations set too high?

In pre-season there was a lot of talk about where AFCB should be aiming this season. After such a great final position last time there is added pressure on the team I feel. It is always an aim to move the club forward and to have a better season than the previous one, but that is not going to be easier as the seasons move forward. So much expectation can have a negative affect, and the form of Bournemouth's players at the start if this campaign would indicate that they are not coping with matters very well.
Things have not being going well for an expectant crowd.

The third season in the Premier League could be AFCB's toughest yet. Losing to WBA and Watford is not going to be the start that everyone wanted, and the prospect of having to match Man City and Arsenal next has not lessened the task of getting points on the board. The pressure is simply escalating with each poor performance, and so that is why the upcoming game against Birmingham City is so important, as it could release a bit of the frustration even if most of the regulars are rested.

Bournemouth have to look at why they are not getting shots in on goal and why they aren't finding each other with their passing. Until they get these two fundamentals right they will continue to struggle. AFCB's players have been doing a lot of ball watching rather than reacting or anticipating where the ball will be, and it's this sluggish waiting for things to happen that is stopping the team from being on the front foot.

We can pick out individuals easily enough, but it goes further than that. The mood needs changing and only the players can bring that about by playing well and getting the fans behind them. The fightback must start soon, before the mood sets in any deeper.

Bringing the game back to basics is where AFCB have to go. Beating the team in front of you is all they can try and do. It doesn't matter if it's Birmingham or Man City. The club needs a solid performance and belief that they can compete. It's a matter of focus and more work not dreaming of where AFCB will be next May.

AFCB are still waiting for their season to start

There was great excitement for the start of the season. Everything was in place for another push up the table and with star names like Jermain Defoe, Nathan Aké and Asmir Begovic joining the team it seemed that only a few games would be needed to see AFCB back in the top 10 and enjoying a positive time in the top flight. But two games in and the picture looks very different. AFCB are still waiting for their first point and their first goal. In short, the season hasn't started yet for the Cherries.
It's just not happening for AFCB's players.
AFCB have started poorly in all their Premier League campaigns and Eddie Howe believes this is the worst start of all of them as there was no Liverpool, or Man Utd in the first couple of fixtures as in previous seasons. Looking around Dean Court on Saturday, it was noticeable that not everything was quite the same. The turnstiles seemed busy enough with their new automated gates, but when entering the stadium it was apparent that some fans were still enjoying their summer holidays, and perhaps the players were finding it difficult to return to their bread and butter work, which slumped again in the last full days of full sunshine.

There is a disquieting puzzlement about the team's lack of performance and no easy reason given for the slow start that has been made. It is almost as though AFCB have become too familiar with being in the Premier League and have forgotten what has got them there in the first place. Too many simple errors have accrued to keep the Cherries from being content in their own individual performances, and it can be no surprise that the results have been poor.
It's time to re-focus and stop patting everyone on the back. It's a new season and it has started. There is no more warm ups or friendlies – AFCB need to be on it now. We can't expect them to win every game, but they have not looked like posing a real threat on goal as of yet and they have to find a way of breaking their duck.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

"Something needs to change quickly," says Steve Cook

"Awful. Our worst Premier league performance," said Steve Cook to BBC Radio Solent's Kris Temple. A lack of spark and individual errors are a major cause of the problems Cook feels, but the team is finding it hard to drag themselves out of the whole they have been digging for themselves.
Steve Cook walks off after warming up for the Watford game.
The words of Steve Cook were blunt, but probably need saying in the dressing room as well as in public. The players know that they are under performing and they are not happy about it. Acknowledging that is at least a start, AFCB's players need to believe they are making it tougher on themselves than they could be and if they can cut out the short passes, the lapses of concentration and complacency when they are not in possession they just might be able to start building something. That's the real shame of this season so far – Bournemouth have not looked like scoring.

I looked on with some dismay that Callum Wilson was still looking down on proceedings from the hospitality suites at Dean Court. Along with Junior Stanislas, Eddie Howe could do with having such firepower options available to him. Instead he has; Jermain Defoe who is not considered to be ready to play 90 minutes, Josh King who is not yet charging at defences, Benik Afobe who needs a goal to get him going and Lys Mousset who is lucky to get 10 minutes.

It's not an attack that is worrying defences. Bournemouth need to get these forward players on the ball more often and get their number of touches going up. It's only when they start seeing that they are troubling defences that they will start believing that they can score. 

Most of the match against Watford saw plenty of Bournemouth possession, but how much of it was in Watford's box? And even when it was there, how often did Huerhelo Gomes have to make a save? Well, it was just two shots on target from the Cherries – the same as in the WBA match.

Match Report: Watford heap more problems on sorry Bournemouth 0-2

Match Report
AFCB 0 v 2 Watford
19 August 2017
Attendance: 10,501
Sunshine welcomes the teams at Dean Court.
While an opening day defeat was hard to take for supporters of the Cherries, this home defeat left them reeling about how lacking in positivity Eddie Howe's team has become. All the prospects were good. A home match. A chance for Jermain Defoe to lift the mood. A Watford side visiting who finished below the Cherries last season. Yet, Defoe didn't start, Watford fans sang loud and proud, and it was Bournemouth that cam away from the game scratching their heads. Richarlison had opened the scoring in the second half and Etienne Capoue had sealed the Hornets win with a spectacular half volley from outside the box. Bournemouth were a shadow of last season's team and questions are already being asked – why?
No Defoe in the line up yet.
The team news was the first thing that started whispers going around Dean Court. Jermain Defoe on the bench again? Why isn't he starting? There was less surprise at Simon Francis not passing a fitness test and Adam Smith coming into replace him. Marc Pugh would also have to be content with a place on the sub's bench.

Watford players have their final chat.

There are more pictures on
Match Day Gallery.

First Half
Games against Watford are usually high friction encounters. This one looked to be warming up nicely when Abdoulaye Doucouré sent Harry Arter airborne in the first few minutes. Waved to play on, by referee Roger East, Bournemouth's Benik Afobe raced on and together with Josh King forced the first corner.

Watford soon put pressure on Bournemouth though, as Tom Cleverly's shot smashed into Nathan Aké's face in the box.

The zip in AFCB's game looked to be returning when Fraser took King's pass to bring a save out of Gomes, only for Benik Afobe to see his follow up shot deflect over. 

At the back Nathan Aké had André Gray in his pocket and there were encouraging signs with Gomes opting to punch when Daniels started to get crosses in.

Sian Massey-Ellis was kept active in raising her flag for the offside Gray as the half wore on, and Bournemouth looked in control, if not quite playing their full pressing game. Afobe was also more than doing his fair share of defending.

Matters became more scary when Nordin Amrabat started pinging his right-sided crosses in, and Nathaniel Chalobah just headed wide from one of them after 19 minutes.

Adam Smith was in the wars again when he clashed heads with Richarison, but both players managed to play on after some treatment.

The first name in the book was Miguel Britos, who took out Harry Arter, although Arter did his best to jump out of the way. Afobe then went close after a long ball from Steve Cook, but Gomes made the save on the angle when Afobe shot across goal. It was to be just one of two attempts Bournemouth would have on target all afternoon.

Arter got rather angry at the referee having not won a goal kick, following a crunching tackle on Richarlison. While Fraser and Ibe swapped wings, the former Liverpool player still failed to provide a telling cross or pass.

Moreover, it was Watford that were wondering how they were not going in one up at half time when Richarlison did some amazing work in turning Adam Smith inside out on the left side of the box, picking out André Gray who put the ball over the bar from six yards!
AFCB's subs at half time.
Gomes remains unbeaten.
Josh King gets ready for starting the second half.
Second half 
It was early Bournemouth pressure in the second half. Steve Cook was annoyed he didn't get a good, clean header in from a corner,  Ibe then went very close with his cross that deflected off Doucouré just onto the top of the net.

Arter was naughty in shouting at Chelobah to leave a ball that the Watford player was getting ready to hit, only to collect the ball himself when Bournemouth had lookedin danger. The referee did not hear it, but the Match of the Day cameras picked it up.

Begovic had to make a great on-on-one save by standing up to Chalobah on 56 minutes and André Gray was carded for his protesting, when Steve Cook ran into Gray during the Watford move.

The entry of Jermain Defoe on 60 minutes was well received, with Afobe departing a bit disappointed by the way he shook his head. Pugh was also introduced to replace Ibe, while Steve Cook was booked on 61 minutes.

Another yellow card, this time for Chalobah on King might have made AFCB fans thinking that they were wearing Watford down. But this is when the Hornets started  to ramp things up with a couple of corners. The opening goal came when Gray took up possession from a Bournemouth move with Pugh in Watford's half. Gray profited and reached the AFCB box to put a cross in for Richarlison. Begovic and Adam Smith looked to have contained the Watford man at first, but the ball came back to Richarlison who finished from close in on 73 minutes.

Watford fans went crazy and started a bit of a pitch invasion. Several of their fans were taken out of the ground by the police. Still it meant a lot for them to be ahead, while Bournemouth fans were silent – almost in disbelief.

Fraser had a shout for a penalty when he went down between two Watford players in the box, but Roger East didn't see anything in it. Moments later, Fraser was subbed for Lys Mousset, while Watford started making their subs at a rather slower pace. Richarlison even tried to go and shake the referee's hand to waste time before Capoue came on after 79 minutes.

A Bournemouth attack followed with Pugh's chip falling for King who headed over from short range.

Amrabat was subbed for Christian Kabasele with seven minutes to go. The hope was fading for Bournemouth to do something, and it slipped away completely when Capoue drilled in a shot from 30 yards out to make it 0-2 to the visitors on 86 minutes.

Ben Watson was brought on for Chalobah as Watford knew it was job done. Six minutes of added time did see Lys Mousset have a half chance with the ball at his feet in the six yard box, following a corner but he did not get his shot away. He was hardly the only Bournemouth player guilty of that on the day.
The new scoreboard shows a first home defeat of the season.
Bournemouth have only played two games, but there is a depressing mood taking hold that must be dispelled quickly. They just aren't playing to their strengths and the speed of attack that we are so used to seeing just isn't there. None of the units of the team is working effectively and getting momentum through the passing is something Howe is going to have to get the players carrying out with more effectively. Surman is passing way too many balls backwards and Arter is not taking charge of the midfield to set a tempo. The wing play isn't getting behind teams and the forwards are starved of chances.

This is not the Bournemouth we have come to see over the last few seasons. They need to get back to doing what they have done well in the past. It's not down to a single individual that AFCB are falling short all over the pitch, it's a collective lack of injection in their play. It needs to change and the players need to forget about tables and season targets, and just play the team in front of them.
Defoe with Watford players.
Celebrating Watford fans.
Watford did more than enough to win the game.

Begovic, A Smith, S Cook, Aké, Daniels, Ibe (Pugh 60), Arter, Surman, Fraser (Mousset 78), King, Afobe (Defoe 59)

Boruc, Mings, B Smith, Gosling, Pugh, Defoe, Mousset

AFCB Ratings
Begovic 7, A Smith 6, S Cook 5, Aké 8, Daniels 5, Ibe 5, Arter 5, Surman 4, Fraser 5, King 5, Afobe 6

Gomes, Femenía, Prödl, Britos, Holebas, Cleverley, Doucouré, Chalobah (Watson 90+1), Amrabat (Kabasele 82), Gray, Richarlison (Capoue 80)

Referee Rating: Roger East 6/10 He kept in control by carding a few Watford players, helped by his assistant linesman. But he probably should have booked Arter as well for some of his antics.