Monday, 20 November 2017

Yellow cards mount up for AFCB

The disciplinary record for the Cherries took a big hit with Lee Probert having the whistle and cards in his hands on Starurday. He had been fairly lenient in the match earlier this year, when Bournemouth played Stoke City, in only giving Harry Arter a yellow card, but he was sure that AFCB were the main offenders in the match with Huddersfield and he could have even handed out more punishment at times.
Simon Francis has the worst disciplinary record of any Bournemouth player in 2017.
Now the Cherries have picked up a further five yellow cards and one which culminated in a second yellow and consequent red card for Simon Francis. Before the Huddersfield match Bournemouth were on 21 cards for the season so it's about a 25 per cent rise in the yellow card offences from just one game and yet I don't believe it was an overly fired up game. Huddersfield could have expected Charlie Daniels to see a card and AFCB certainly might have expected more than the two yellow cards that Huddersfield were awarded.

The pressure might be on a few Bournemouth players now to walk the tightrope in terms of their discipline in the next few games. Steve Cook is now on four yellow cards along with Adam Smith and it is in defence, where AFCB may find problems with Francis already suspended. Harry Arter is also climbing up the board with three cards, but Marc Pugh is less of a worry on two having also picked up a card in the Huddersfield match.

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Francis now has an unwanted record of being the equal highest Premier League player to see red in 2017 with only Watford's Miguel Britos keeping him company on the naughty step. Francis uses his strength and power at times but is not always the quickest which I think lands him in trouble, because he is so strong. The second challenge that got him sent off was certainly late though and I wonder if Francis is losing some of his reaction time or his pace? As captain though, it is not great for Francis to be top of the chart for misdemeanours and it's something that he has to put right as the season goes on.

Having a fully-fit Wilson is inspirational

Callum Wilson silenced any critics who said he would not be the player he was before his two horrific cruciate ligament injuries. He's not only back, he's better than before because now he has lost time to catch up on and he's not hanging around in getting his goals. The annoyance he felt at missing a chance up at Newcastle was soon lost in the game against Huddersfield, when he seemed destined to get a hat-trick as soon as he had two goals in the first half.
Callum's like having a new player for the squad.
The best things is that the rest of the team look more complete and have the utmost faith in Callum to keep scoring. He just has that clinical edge to his game that make him such a big player for AFCB when they have struggled so much to get goals. If the fans thought Jermain Defoe would be the automatic starter in the summer and felt Wilson would be the support act, then they've been wrongly mistaken. Callum only wants to be the first pick on the team sheet and he's going about his work in just the right way to ensure that.




I've also been impressed with the hold up play of Josh King and how he worked so hard to create the chance for Callum's third goal. Together these two strikers compliment each other so well and I just hope they can both start scoring and become the best Premier League strike partnership, because while many teams have one on form striker it has been a long time since any club could really talk about two great strikers at their club.

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I think Afobe, Defoe and Mousset will also be pleased for Callum, but it should want them to raise their game. Callum has just come in and blown the other strikers away, but there will be games when the other forwards are needed and AFCB need them to be inspired by what Wilson is doing rather than feeling down by their prospects.

Cheryr Chimes is on the Daily Mail Fans' Verdict

Sunday, 19 November 2017

10-men Bournemouth celebrate with Wilson hat-trick against Huddersfield 4-0

Match Report
AFCB 4 v 0 Huddersfield
18 November 2017
Attendance: 10,879
Callum Wilson with the match ball.
Bournemouth are making a habit of beating newly promoted sides. The Cherries may have had a slow start to the season, but they are going through the gears with Callum Wilson spearheading the attack, the goals are starting to flow. Huddersfield Town certainly made thing difficult early on and they fought hard to win first balls and knock downs, but they defended poorly and Wilson took full advantage. The first goal from a corner broke the ice, and from then Wilson gleefully put the second in after a free kick that had him totally free at the back post. Even the second yellow for Simon Francis could not slow the eagerness of the Bournemouth players to get a result and Harry Arter wrapped the game up when he slice open Huddersfield defence again to get his first goal of the season. There was still time for Wilson to complete his hat-trick and send Bournemouth fans home very happy indeed.
Bournemouth and Huddersfield before the game.
Eddie Howe kept the same winning line up from the Newcastle game and that meant Josh King was judged fit enough to play. While Benike Afobe replaced Jermain Defoe on the bench.


Huddersfield fan Steve gives his pre-match views.

More pictures are on Match Day Gallery.

Bournemouth began in hesitant fashion with Asmir Begovic kicking straight to the opposition. Huddersfield were making great strides with Hadergjonaj whipping in crosses from the right. The first shot came in from van La Parra, but Begovic made a terific save going down to his right at great speed and tipping the shot away.

Just as alarming was the work of former Cherry Scott Malone on Huddersfield's left wing, who created a shooting opportunity after taking a pass from Mooy, beating Begovic but in excusably sending his shot wide of the right post on 10 minutes. What a let off!

We hoped this would wake Bournemouth up, but it only gave Huddersfield's players more confidence. Van La Parra stole in on the left with Ibe and Francis failing to shut the door on him and AFCB were lucky to escape by just conceding a corner. A good break from Callum Wilson took the game up the other end then, where the Cherries would get their first corner on 11 minutes off Scott Malone. Arter hit a shot fro the resulting corner into the South stand. 

Francis was not having the best of games, missing a tackle on Malone. Aké too was under pressure having to try and win headers against the tall Depoitre.


Huddersfield were winning every ball and La Parra volleyed wide before King made a good turn in the box, despite the persistent shirt pulling, and Wilson flung himself at the near post and was just kept out from scoring. King had an air shot from the corner as Hiuddersfield escaped. Daniels was then lucky to escape a booking or a foul when he went in on Hadergjonaj. Bournemouth kept winning corners and when Wilson rose early on 26 minutes to beat Lössl, and put the Cherries ahead, it was very much against the run of play. Mooy just hadn't got up for the header after jostling with Wilson, and it cost his team

Steve Cook was booked shortly after the restart for a foul on Kachhunga, but it was not to be the last booking of the day. When Pugh won a free kick on the left side, a well taken cross found Wilson alone at the back post and he fired home his and Bournemouth's second from 10 yards out. The Huddersfield defenders had all been sucked in and Callum could not believe that he had so much freedom to score - where was Craine?

The game had totally turned round after half an hour. Ibe was still continually losing the ball and turning into trouble, but there was more appetite from Arter and King at winning the ball, but King would shoot wide. Francis picked up a yellow card for a shove on van La Parra as Huddersfield started to mount a real challenge to get back into the game. A couple of corners could have given them the goal they needed when Craine lost control at the vital moment and saw the ball cleared from right in front of him when he was staring down at Bournemouth goal just six yards out.

Bournemouth suddenly added the swagger to the game with a great move from Daniels and Pugh, up the left, which led to a Surman drive that was headed for the top right corner before Lössl made the save. Steve Cook shortly after followed up with a powerful shot that just zipped over the bar from a good distance out.

Jordan Ibe was subbed for Adam Smith. Ibe had been down holding his left knee earlier in the game, but he had been playing poorly anyway. Arter then pulled back Tom Ince and was immediately carded, which made it more infuriating later in the game when Huddersfield players got away with the same foul. Scott Malone shot wide again just before added on time. It was then that Simon Francis appeared to get away at first with a late challenge on van La Parra on the half way line, but it looked like the fourth official intervened and Lee Probert decided it was a second yellow and a red for Bournemouth's captain! He had to go.
Lee Probert does well to hide himself.
A great score at half down but AFCB are a man down.
Second half
Bournemouth lined up with King dropping into midfield and just Callum up top. It was Huddersfield who made a sub at half time with Williams being replaced by Mounie. 

Referee Lee Probert began to lose the plot even more in this half. He had already been lenient on some blatant fouling on Wilson and Adam Smith was caught by Kachunga right in front of him but no free kick was awarded. Even more rage worthy was Pugh's yellow card came out of thin air just for implying that he had won a throw, but Probert gave the throw to Huddersfield and booked Pugh. Bournemouth players were incensed. 

Huddersfield made a double sub by bringing off Craine for Sabiri and Kachunga for Quaner on 61 minutes. We knew the second half would be tortuous but it was becoming a joke with the refereeing decisions. 

Aké did not lose his head though and made an outstanding tackle on Mounie to stop him from shooting 10 yards out. Bournemouth won a free kick around half way when it was taken quickly by Arter and King drove up the left and into the box, before the ball was won by Scott Malone. Malone only ran into Harry Arter though, just outside the box, he cut back inside on to his left leaving two Huddersfield defenders, Mooy and Jorgensen, scrambling, before sweeping his shot to the left and low past Lössl to make it 3-0 on 70 minutes.

Begovic was kept busy with Huddersfield corners but Adam Smith was also on though end of things being pulled back by Malone and not even getting a free kick. Even more amazingly the referee gave nothing when Wilson was up against Hadergjonaj and recived a push in the back just outside the box. Huddersfield were still throwing what the could at Bournemouth, but Mounie could only fire straight at Begovic.

The game was well and truly up when King and Wilson engineered another opening with King beating van La Parra, Mooy and Malone, before passing to Wilson for his hat-trick on 84 minutes. Jubilent Bournemouth celebrations broke out. 

Quaner was then carded for fouling Wilson and Bournemouth took King off to put Gosling on. While a header from Sabiri from a corner went wide, AFCB looked comfortable now. Arter was subbed for Lewis Cook and Hadergjonaj was booked for fouling Wilson.

Pugh put another chance wide before a great move in added on time saw Pugh and Wilson cause all sorts of problems for Huddersfield on the left with Wilson finally trying to square the ball for Gosling when he could have shot himself. Not that it mattered - four goals was more than enough on the day for Huddersfield.

Thee points for the Cherries.
Summary
While Bournemouth have played better than this it was the best home result of the season. It was made easier by Huddersfield losing their way a bit when they went 2-0 down, but if they had scored the next it would have been a tighter game. The Cherries also got the decisions at times in that Daniels got away with a rash tackle before the first goal and the second goal looked offside on playback. Still Bournemouth took their chances. They still need to start games better than this, even if they are turning into a strong second half outfit and on this afternoon they did that with 10 men. A suspension for Francis is not helpful, but a clean sheet and back-to-back wins made it another special day. With Wilson and King staying fit Bournemouth look a very different prospect and it's very pleasing to see the points really starting to flow now. Keep the goals coming Callum!

Dan Gosling grabs hold of goal hero Callum Wilson at the end of the game.
Wilson enjoys the moment.
AFCB Ratings
Begovic 8, Francis 4, S Cook 6, Aké 8, Daniels 6, Ibe 5, Surman 6, Arter 7, Pugh 7, King 7, Wilson 9

Cherry Chimes' MOM Callum Wilson


AFCB Subs
Boruc, A Smith, Gosling, L Cook, Fraser, Mousset, Afobe

Huddersfield Town
Lössl, Hadergjonaj, Jorgensen, Cranie (Sabiri 61), Malone, Mooy, Williams (Mounie 45),
Kachunga (Quaner 61), Ince, van La Parra, Depoitre


Huddersfield Subs
Coleman, Smith, Whitehead, Sabiri, Löwe, Quaner, Mounie

Referee Watch: Lee Probert -3/10 - He really had a really awful game, even though he got the sending off right or rather the fourth official did.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Can the Cherries capitalise on Newcastle win?

It's been a long two weeks since the Cherries ran out again in a Premier League match and a lot has happened during the international break. The Newcastle win was the first game this season before the international break, where the Cherries have gone into a break period on the back of a win, and although it was not the most impressive performance on the pitch this season, the result was certainly significant. The aim now is to kick on and to have a really successful points gathering in November.

Will we see a changed line up from the Newcastle starters?

While there were five changes to the side that ran out against Chelsea, it would be great if Eddie Howe could go into the Huddersfield game now and be able to name an unchanged side. The fact that the team kept a clean sheet is great news for Eddie and it was done with playing four at the back in an away game. In fact, it was the first clean sheet the Cherries had earned away from home, and only the second of the team this season. In large part, the team rode their luck to get a clean sheet and Begovic played a massive part in keeping Newcastle out.
It can be amazing what one win can do for a team. But this was not just a win, because it moved the team out of the bottom three. Instead of feeling that everything is going against them, the players now have a positive sense that things are starting to go for them and that this is their period when they will pick up points. It should not make such a massive difference, but just being happier on the training ground and looking forward to the next game to carry on the good work does help the team go into the next game with a better frame of mind. If Everton had not got their dramatic win against Watford, things would have looked even better in the table. 

So, yes, I don't see why Bournemouth can't kick on from here. They felt like underdogs at Newcastle with just 1600 fans in the stands and playing against a team that had only been toppled once in the league at home. Now they feel like they are up and running and it remains for the team to get better at their finishing, and to try and really make Dean Court more of a problem for visiting teams. The home form has not been as strong as it might have been and that will be the next objective where Eddie Howe will want to see an improvement.
Possible AFCB line up v Huddersfield Town
While I hope Josh King plays, it's just as likely that Jermain Defoe could also partner Wilson up front with perhaps Benik Afobe returning to the bench if Josh King is rested. I think this could be one of the hardest home games for Bournemouth this season, because Huddersfield will really be keen to turnaround their away from. The Cherries have not had a back-to-back win yet and to achieve that would really give the side a bigger boost. 

Friday, 17 November 2017

Should we be impressed by the start Huddersfield have made?

Huddersfield fans will be pleased with gathering 15 points from 11 games in the Premier League. They were written off by many including myself in the summer, not just because they would be new to this level, but because they had only just scraped through the play-offs, by not scoring many goals, had a manager who would be severely tested at the higher level and practically had a new squad with their big summer recruiting.
The Terriers have been running off their leash and are high
up the league, even if they don't travel so well.  
All of that should have been a recipe for a really toxic mix when coming up against the likes of Man Utd and Tottenham Hotspur, etc. But they have even beaten United at the John Smith's stadium and they have been very impressive with their vocal supporters getting right behind David Wagner and his team.

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While 1.3-1.4 points a game would take Huddersfield to a respectable 49-53 points come the end of the season if they can maintain such form, I wonder if we are starting to see a slowdown in their points accumulation? In August they were flying with two wins against Palace and Newcastle and a draw with Southampton. In September though there were defeats to West Ham And Spurs, even if they got draws against Burnley and Leicester, while the Man Utd result stands out in an otherwise barren October. They needed the win against WBA in their last game and hanging on with 10 men was really massive for them. Had they lost that game then they would have been much more apprehensive for their trip to Dean Court.

Still it is an away record that is one of the poorest in the league having amassed three points on the opening day of the season away at Crystal Palace. David Wagner still has not come up with the right ingredients for a more solid team on the road and he will probably need that to ensure Premier League football for the Terriers, as we have seen how close it can get last season with a team like Burnley picking up loads of points at home but virtually nothing in away games.

Eddie Howe will look at Huddersfield's record and will know that they are vulnerable and I expect the Cherries to really try and bombard the opponent's box in the first half hour to see how much pressure they can take. If AFCB can make it an uncomfortable start, we have not see Huddersfield come from behind in too many games.

Huddersfield Away Form
LLDLL

AFCB Home Form
LLWDL

Thursday, 16 November 2017

How fit is Josh King?

The demands of the Premier League may be pushing Eddie Howe into playing Josh King more often than really would be wise. In the last week we have seen that Josh has been withdrawn from the Norwegian squad from the international friendlies with Macedonia an Slovakia. He did play against Newcastle Utd, but keeping him playing just might be essential for AFCB.
AFCB need Josh to be 100 per cent fit. 
I don't like to hear it when players say they played even though they were not quite right. We heard it earlier this season with Ryan Fraser and he almost immediately became injured almost immediately in the game against Arsenal. We know that players have to carry knocks some times, but it has already been said that King's original back complaint goes back to last March and it still hasn't really sorted itself out.

King has been the workhorse up front in what he achieved last season and a lot is being asked of him again this time around. While I think he is a natural first pick with his ability to pair with any of the other Bournemouth strikers, it will be a shame if he is not fully fit to play the important games in these next three weeks. At least by missing the international games, King will have had some time to ease his way through the training at Bournemouth and not travel.
At present it looks like Defoe, Wilson and Mousset are the fully fit strikers at the club, but even if Josh is at 80 per cent then he would still be an asset to the Cherries. That is the worrying thing, as I don't want to see him breakdown completely and be out for a few months. The staff at AFCB are used to knowing how much they can push players though and if King is not right I hope he gets the rest he needs. 

Cherry Chimes' Match preview for ASKFans on AFCB v Huddersfield Town

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Franno and Smith are back in right back competition

Adam Smith found himself left out of the starting line up at Newcastle. I had expected him to play, but the need to try and keep Francis in the team as captain I feel is now becoming a struggle when there are more than two centre-backs to choose from.
Adam Smith was used as an impact sub in the Newcastle match.
We may find that Adam Smith was not entirely fully fit enough to play 90 minutes and while he did come on towards the end of the game, it was in more of a right midfield position and we know he does well there in driving forward and cutting inside. Adam is one of the players that I don't believe gets the recognition he deserves in the team. But the position of right back he has pretty-well made his own up to this point when Simon Francis moved to centre-back.
Simon Francis has been pushed out of his centre-back role.
Now the two players look to be going head-to-head again for the same position, because the competition at centre-back is so strong with Aké and Cook's form predominantly the best at the moment. When Tyrone Mings comes back it is going to be even harder to win a place in the heart of defence. But for me it should come down to who is making fewest mistakes and at the moment Francis is probably lucky to be keeping his starting place.


Eddie Howe said there is no place for sentiment in the Premier League, but his choices of who to play have resided with the players that have got the team to the Premier League. It is possible now though that he can see he is going to be unable to ensure that this remains the case. Francis is not the only player under pressure and I suppose we should be pleased that there is now more competition, but I find the amount of changes to the team every week is not always in the best interests of player confidence and Eddie needs to assess sometimes what impact all the swapping and changing is making to player confidence.

In other news, the Republic of Ireland were crushed 1-5 in their second leg World Cup play-off by Denmark so Harry Arter, who was subbed at half time, misses out on the finals in Russia. Lewis Cook was an unused sub in England's 0-0 draw with Brazil.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

AFCB are still playing catch up

While The Cherries three points at Newcastle has lifted them out of the bottom three this season, they are still going to have to pick up a few more wins in November to pull themselves a head of what they were achieving at the start of last season.



The good news is that AFCB are level with what they were managing in 2015-16 and they still have three more matches yet to play this month, which is well and good because December has been a month of fantastic results in the last two seasons and AFCB will do well to match those kind of results this time around. Last season AFCB had reached 15 points by December and there is every reason to believe a similar or better total might be reached by this December.
Can the Cherries keep their upward momentum going?
After the draw against Leicester City, I  estimated that the Cherries would need five wins from their next 10 games to get to almost the half way point in the season with a good chance of avoiding being involved in a relegation scrap, and so far they have picked up two more wins from four games and another three wins from six would put them on 19 points from 17 games. Of course, we want AFCB to do even better than that, but 24 points is the best the club has ever had on the board going into January, the lowest was 20 points in 2015-16 and the club stayed up that season. Even with the hard run AFCB have in December, I would expect them to pick up more than a point to go into the New Year n more than 20 points.

So perhaps the poor start is starting to be ironed out and it is not too late for AFCB to not only catch their best finish but surpass it. What AFCB can't expect is any favours from teams above them punishing any of the struggling teams - Watford's penalty miss against Everton still feels like a big blow to the Cherries!

Other news
There's a bit of a dilemma over whether to watch the England or Rep Ireland game tonight, but hopefully there will be a Bournemouth player in both games.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Begovic is almost as busy as Fabianski

I have no doubt that Asmir Begovic has been improving in the last few games and one look at the Premier League stats shows that he is now second, behind Swansea's Lukasz Fabianski, in the number of saves he has made this season.
Begovic has to keep his high standard up now.
I'm in two-minds as to whether I really want to see Begovic so high up in such stats, as while it is great that he has been making saves it would be rather nice if he was getting so well protected that he wasn't having to make many saves. But the Cherries have been better than most in getting their blocks in and I'd argue a good deal of them have been made by Nathan Aké and Steve Cook in the heart of the defence.

Begovic has kept his hands warm with the amount of saves he has been making.
They do say a good goalkeeper will save a team 10-15 points a season and on such a basis I would say that Begovic is already about six points along that scale, but I would put a few other keepers ahead of him in the best keeper stakes in the Premier League.

The best saves that Begovic has been making have been from distance shots which gives me hope that he can do well against Huddersfield who have scored a few from outside the box this season, even if not as many as the Cherries. A lot of the goals that Bournemouth have conceded have been from close range, whether you look at Everton and the Niasse impact or Diouf's consolation goal for Stoke. That might indicate that the Cherries are not doing so well at cutting out crosses or defending them when they do come int the box.

I like to see Begovic come for crosses. He did miss a punch in the Newcastle game, but when he is decisive it does put strikers off and that's often good enough when keepers don't get a clear clearance in. Pleasingly Begovic hasn't had to face any penalties yet, although he may well have been lucky to get away with that in the match against Stoke City.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Arter helps Ireland build a Russian roadblock for the Danes

It was good to see Bournemouth's Harry Arter get the call to play against Denmark for the Republic of Ireland in the first leg of their World Cup play-off final last night. Arter was very much used as a blocker and frustrater for the Irish, who set up to make it especially hard for the Danes to break down. In an interview with SkySports after the match, Arter admitted he had some cramp but was happy with the result. 
Arter - a step closer to the World Cup finals?
It was very much like the game that Ireland had against Wales, and in such can't lose games it is hard to see how the Danes would get much joy against a well drill Irish side. Free kicks did get the Republic up the field and that is when Arter would be hovering over taking the kick. As a whole though he had a roving, marshalling role in front of the Irish defence and Tottenham's Christian Eriksen was kept on close watch.

Containment and shepherding play away from the Irish goal seemed Arter's main purpose and while he did venture up field on occasion, it was always in a supporting capacity in the first half. The times when the Danes did look like they would score was when Eriksen latched onto Cieran Clark's defensive error, and Sisto was guilty of missing a clear sight on goal. But Arter had been bypassed on that occasion and the long diagonal ball was perhaps Denmark's best hope of getting through.

Arter was playing very much on the left side of the centre-midfield in the first half and he, and WBA's McClean, outside him, have formed a good partnership for Ireland. By the second half, Arter was more over to the right and booting the ball up field most of the time. Luckily Arter was not pulled up for a possible handball when he turned his back on a shot from Eriksen just before the hour mark, in almost a repeat of the incident that Northern Ireland suffered in their play-off first leg.
The more this game went on though it didn't look like Martin O'Neill's side wanted anything but a 0-0 result. Arter took a blow to the head on 65 minutes from Poulson, but he recovered quickly. He was caught again though on his right ankle by Bendtner on 76 minutes, which looked worse. Arter was then lucky not to be carded from bringing down Kvist, which would have ruled Harry out of the second leg. Poulson again fouled Arter in a build up, but Arter's role was to be obstructive so it was no wonder he was getting the punishment and on 88 minutes, with job done, Harry was replaced by Glenn Whelan. 

While Poulson had a late header tipped over by Randolph and a low shot from Larsen blocked, the Republic will have to do it all again on Tuesday, may be with more attacking intent.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Lewis Cook gets senior England call up

Gareth Southgate has been true to his word of getting the U21 players involved in the senior squad even if these players are not getting a great deal of time at their clubs. Bournemouth's Lewis Cook is the latest player that could get a look in against Brazil at Wembley on Tuesday.
Lewis Cook is moving up in class.
This is a big moment for Lewis even if their are some six Tottenham players that have pulled out of the England squad. The recognition means that Cook is not so far away from Southgate's thoughts and it shows that he is being noticed when he plays for Bournemouth as well as for the U21s. As the captain of the U21s it is perhaps not such a surprise that Southgate has decided he can call upon Lewis now for the senior squad, but it will start to put pressure on Eddie Howe to think about playing Cook a bit more I feel, if Lewis really has a chance of making the plane to Russia.


The World Cup could well have quite an impact of AFCB now. Arter, King and Defoe are very much in contention and perhaps Lewis Cook and Callum Wilson can be added to that picture, if things go right for them in the next few months. I think it can only help the Bournemouth team to play better if they have several players in the thoughts of international managers.


It is quite a rise though for Cook who has six starts this season, including two starts in the Carabao Cup. To go from a handful of Premier League games into contention for an England squad place demonstrates that it only takes a good run to get picked. Lewis has deserved his call up for his controlled displays and many have tried before to force their way into the centre of AFCB's midfield and not shifted Arter or Surman, so the progress Cook is making really encouraging and who knows perhaps he could even get a start on Tuesday against Brazil.

Arter and Republic of Ireland's big opportunity

Today the Republic of Ireland play Denmark in the first leg of their two-leg play-off final and Harry Arter is hoping to be involved. Harry hasn't had a marvellous start to the season, but he has managed to get into the starting line up for the Republic of Ireland, and he may well get the nod again this weekend to try and get them to the World Cup in Russia.
Playing in a Wold Cup would be another goal achieved for Harry Arter.
The Republic of Ireland finished second in group D to Serbia in the World Cup qualifiers and that put them against Denmark in the final draw for qualification. Harry played in central midfield with Jeff Hendrick, and while he lasted 77 of the 90 minutes he had a big part in the goal that Hendrick scored against Wales to give the Republic the win they needed. The Republic set up to be very defensive which is characteristic of Martin O'Neill sides, and in this first leg against Denmark they are away, and that implies to me that Arter is probably going to play as he is a good market and does a lot of running for teams.



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Whether a defensive approach will be enough against the Danes is going to be tested. But if the Republic do not concede in the first game they will fancy getting a win on Tuesday when they are at home. Denmark finished five points behind Poland in group E and had a goal difference of 12, so they do have players that will have a go on goal if the opportunity arises. Andrews Cornelius is their main striker, but Arter will probably be most wary of Tottenham's Christian Eriksen playing just behind.

If Arter makes it to the World Cup it will be really sweet for him having missed out last summer on the European Championships. Not many AFCB players are likely to make it to the finals with Aké seeing the Netherlands go out already and Begovic not qualifying with Bosnia-Herzegovina. While we may watch England with lots of Premier League players, it will be something else to see Arter playing for the Republic in matches in Russia - let's hope he gets there.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Was Lewis Cook unlucky to be dropped for Newcastle game?

When the team sheet was called out at St James' Park I had not expected to see Lewis Cook suddenly put on the bench again with preference given to Harry Arter. Arter must have had a good week in training or Eddie might have felt that Arter's aggressive kind of attitude is something that would be needed to counter a player like Johnjo Shelvey.
Has Lewis Cook been sidelined too quickly?
Whatever my thoughts on whether Arter or Lewis Cook is best to play with Surman, I have to say Eddie Howe made a good call with the team winning. Arter still didn't have a great game. But it was better than Surman's first half performance that again left a lot to be desired. Surman grew into the game though as it went on as did Arter. A few mistakes by Arter were still popping up in the second half and the notable one was when he went down in the centre of the pitch when to me it just looked like he had been caught off guard and surrendered position. That's how the Newcastle fans saw it anyway. Bournemouth did get a few decisions that I thought were lucky on the day, including the disallowed goal Newcastle had. 
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But would Lewis Cook have played better than Arter or Surman? I believe Lewis is as good as either of them, and when he plays a few more games should be harder for Arter or Surman to shift. It may be that Eddie did not want to overplay Cook with an U21 international week coming up, but Lewis has shown he can do a job in the centre of midfield. How soon he gets another run in the team may come down to how Arter's on/off Achilles holds up. When you look at all of Bournemouth's central midfielders it's the shooting quality that now appears one of the weakest part of their game. Okay, Surman has put a couple away this season, but he hasn't a stunning record of scoring and Arter's attempted shots seem way off the mark far too often.

Lewis Cook has to keep up his ability of not giving the ball away and trying to have a few more cracks at goal. If he can get a goal or two he would give Eddie more cause to pick him above others you'd think. 

Lewis plays in Ukraine today in a first round UEFA Euro England U21 qualifier. The team will be a bit weaker with senior call ups for Tammy Abraham, Joe Gomez and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Wilson has no need to worry about missing a chance

There are moments as a striker or defender when you want the ground to open up and swallow you. I guess one of those moments came to Callum Wilson in the Newcastle match when he raced into a ball that was fed forward leaving him with just Rob Elliot to beat. He had the goal at his mercy, but probably took to long to think what he was going to do. That's unusual for Callum, and he perhaps needs to not try and over think things too much and just concentrate on staying calm when he is in a good position.
Callum will be more eager than ever to hit the target next time he gets through on goal.
That's easy to say of course and harder to do in practise. But Callum has only just come back and the descriptions of being a bit 'rusty' in front of goal are perhaps said to try and take some of the criticism off him, as a striker will back himself to score in such situations most of the time. That's what got to Callum on the day. He expected to score and found it quite frustrating to come away with a face full of the ground and a wayward shot that didn't even need Rob Elliot to make a save.


While Callum might be disappointed in not getting the goal, he has plenty of more games to try and have a big season. He looks the sharpest of AFCB's strikers at the moment by a long way and that is down to his eagerness to be a success and his dedication to his rehab which could not have gone much better. Wilson is quicker and stronger than when he came back after his first cruciate ligament injury and I believe the type of energy and enthusiasm he brings to the team is just something Eddie Howe has to bottle and release him each week.
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We may have Jermain Defoe and Josh King who might have something to say about who is the leading Bournemouth goalscorer this season, but they are going to have to play well to stop Callum from grabbing that honour this season.

Cherry Chimes' AskFans match report Newcastle Utd 0 v 1 AFCB

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

What did Eddie say at half time in Newcastle game?

Bournemouth went in at half time at Newcastle knowing that 0-0 was a bit of a lucky escape. It wasn't that the Cherries had been overly poor, but Newcastle hadn't let Bournemouth play and the form of Ritchie and Shelvey was too hot to handle at times. Eddie Howe got hold of his team though and got things switched on in the second half.
Eddie is inspiring the team to pull out winning performances again.
The speed of the balls up to the front were certainly quicker in the second half. By speeding up, it was clear that Surman and Francis were also not getting caught so much near their own penalty box. Some times playing from the back is open to being challenged and Newcastle did press very high and won a lot of ball in places just in front of Bournemouth's back four. Winning the second balls was also something Newcastle did well in the first half.

Eddie Howe did not let that happen in the second half. Bournemouth started to also win the ball a little further up the pitch, which gave the Cherries' attacks more chance of success. The pleasing stat I saw was that by the end of the game Bournemouth had made 12 attempts at shooting and half of them were on target, which was a step up on previous games. Even the Stoke away win only saw Bournemouth make six attempts at scoring with three on target. So the team is making more chances at last and while it took Steve Cook's injury time header to break the deadlock, I though Marc Pugh would certainly have scored on another day and Wilson could have given Bournemouth a bigger win had his second half run resulted in a goal.

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So there were a lot more positives in this latest performance. The first half was lacking in the kind of intensity Eddie Howe likes to see from his team, but they found a better second half performance and importantly kept a clean sheet. I'm not sure quite what Eddie said at half time, but Newcastle may well have run out of steam, which gave Bournemouth more time to find their passes. The substitutions also helped as Adam Smith got on the ball a lot when he came on and Jermain Defoe got the Newcastle defenders thinking about him, which put them more on edge I felt.

Premier Talk - Is Moyes really a better choice than Bilic?
AFCB U18's hit six against QPR
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