Saturday, 29 October 2016

AFCB seek elusive away win at Middlesbrough

The pressure is all on Middlesbrough today. They'll know that if they don't perform they are likely to fall into the bottom three and that is pressure. AFCB need to play their normal game in many respects, but having not won away from home it must be a game that Eddie Howe needs to improvement from if the Cherries are to consider themselves as a permanent top 10 side.
Who will be quick out of the traps today?
While it may seem unexpected that AFCB are starting to challenge at the better end of the table, they can't afford to forget that it has been more difficult to get results away from some so far. The Watford match was a really determined effort to get the three points but the Cherries could not finish off the Hornets and I expect Middlesbrough to be just as determined. It has been characteristic of AFCB to get ahead in a couple of these away games and yet not keep the opposition out. But I feel the performances of Artur Boruc have rubbed off on the back four who have been working hard to get the blocks in and make those clearances. So if AFCB can get ahead there should be more reason to believe that they can then stop a Middlesbrough side, who have netted just three times at home, from scoring.

For AFCB to get Middlesbrough heading backwards though, they'll need to start picking up their finishing. It may seem strange to say that after a 6-1 win and a draw against high flying Spurs, but Josh King has not scored in two games and Junior Stanislas has been injured and these are two of the players that have been catalysts for the strong start that the Cherries have made this season. Max Gradel too is only just returning after injury and Andrew Surman has missed his first game in more than a season. So there is some fragility about the known performance levels that we can expect from the players.
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It may come down to the finishing of one of the subs like Benike Afobe or Ryan Fraser to see if AFCB can steel the points and while Josh King and Dan Gosling has scored having come on from the bench, there are one of two who are still looking to make a real impact from the bench when they get their chance. UTCIAD!

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