Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Cherries have to improve when they don't have the ball

There as to be a reason for AFCB letting n so many goals and to me the side lacks composure when it has not got the ball. It's almost as they are expecting a goal to come against them and that's not a good place to be.
Okay, we've lost the ball - let's get organised.
Getting back to being organised and compact is where they can start to address some of their worst problems. We have seen how well Hull City have started to pick up points by making themselves more organised and holding their shape better so that teams can't get in behind. But AFCB clearly have a lot of issues in defending crosses and they need to start stopping them coming in. While AFCB play some great possession football, there will be times when they lose the ball and there has to be a quick snap in the players' minds to get the ball back or at least get into a shape where they can't be counter-attacked or suffer a shot on goal.

But it is never that simple during a game. Take poor Harry Arter getting caught out at WBA when he tried to clear the ball in his own half but was closed down extremely quickly and a chance ended up falling to Nacer Chadli in an instance. The luck another day would have seen the ball fall to a Bournemouth player. I suppose Eddie Howe will be asking his players to do better at keeping the ball in the first place, but when confidence is low the hesitancy in not wanting to make a mistake causes more problems.

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If as I believe Eddie wants to team to defend from the front, then we must see more in the way of chasing down by Jack Wilshere. Jack may be a luxury player, but he can't be given a strolling role just to create anymore. He has been suffering with an ankle injury and I don't think he is fully fit. The side is leaking goals and they need the running power of Josh King in more than one area of the team. Against the better teams like the upcoming match at Old Trafford I would go against popular opinion and play five across the midfield with Gosling come into the side and seeing if the side can keep things tight until the second half. Being disciplined and aiming not to concede is not in Howe's make up, but at times you have to protect the team a little and Utd will be looking for blood after their cup weekend win. 

What will be tested at Old Trafford is how good the Cherries are without the ball and at the moment we can all see there has to be a more determined approach from them in this side of the game.

Fixture changes in April

AFCB have to start holding their leads

While WBA are recognised for their stout defence and being hard to breakdown if they go a goal up, AFCB have a long way to go to get a similar reputation. You can count all too many games where AFCB have had the lead - Arsenal, Hull City, WBA, Southampton - the list goes on, and yet the Cherries have not been coming away with wins and in some cases not even draws.

The first goal is not as important in games for AFCB at the moment simply because they are conceding two or three goals a game. The strike force just can't keep up with such a high rate of goals to get in every match, and until the side starts to find a way of getting clean sheets they will find it hard to keep any of their early leads in games for long.
Fast starters - but AFCB are not going the distance.

While Eddie Howe will never want his side to be boring and ultra defensive there are key moments in games when they have to be more focused on keeping the opposition out. There are individual mistakes that Howe says only come with teams that are in bad runs, and while the team takes these blows week after week as a combined set-back, I wonder if the individuals are really getting the arm round them and a word in their ear about the problems. Building players back up is something that everyone takes for granted, but we have seen individual errors from just about all of the back four and the goalkeeper this season. They need to look at those clips, no matter how hard that may be and work out why they made the wrong decision at the time.
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Putting yourself in the moment again may seem painful and counter-productive at first, but it can be a good medicine for when your out on the pitch and about to do the same thing again. You try something different and at that moment, AFCB need to have a few game plans for when they do get ahead and are not inviting pressure on themselves by over thinking or complicating passes, when all they need to do is play through the phases and get the ball up the pitch. 'Keeping the foot on the gas' is the well-known phrase when you get ahead and we need to see more of that in the next few matches for the Cherries.


In other news, Stephen Purches has been promoted to first team coach.

The Cherry Chimes' Newsletter is out tomorrow.

Cherry Chimes' March Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month, plus there is a special Newsletter article entitled: What does the Spring hold for AFCB?

To sign up for the newsletter just complete the form below - like all good things it's free:





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Monday, 27 February 2017

League position has become a pressing concern for Cherries

I liked the question that Kris Temple put to Eddie Howe about the league position perhaps now being a pressing concern to the manager. Eddie Howe was keen to get across that the club was not blinkered and knew exactly how precarious its Premier League status was looking, even if they are still 14th in the table. But five points above the drop zone is better than being in the relegation places - ask Leicester City fans.

AFCB players were grateful for the fantastic away support at WBA.
Finding positives at the moment is fairly difficult for AFCB fans. With just two pints gained in 2017, the table has taken on a nasty appearance. But AFCB can find that things quickly change if they can just get a win. and Eddie Howe is certainly not going to be distracted by pondering too long on what has already gone. There are 12 games to go, which is about a third of the season. That's plenty of time to get the necessary points required for safety. 

While the match against Man Utd away is not going to look like a fixture that could be seen as a great game to have next, when your side needs points, other sides have gone to Old Trafford this season and got a result. AFCB have to try and add their name to that list. 

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In a way it is a mini league now at the bottom and three of seven sides will be relegated. But if AFCB can get to the 29 point mark in the next two games it will more than add further pressure to the bottom sides. It would be demoralising to them when they thought they were getting closer to Bournemouth and sucking them into the relegation zone. It's down to AFCB's players though to make the most of the slim points advantage they have at this stage.

Conceding from corners - here we go again!

The Cherries have a problem at corners all right. It was not that the goal that WBA scored to take the lead came from Artur Boruc's poor punch that should dominate talk about the weekend's defeat, important though it was, every time that Albion put the ball in Bournemouth's box there was a sense that a goal could well be coming.
Boruc gets his punch all wrong.
The corners were a particular strong point of Albion's game and yet we didn't see a massive amount of eager striped shirts trying to run away and get a yard on the Bournemouth players. The ball was just lofted into the area of the six yard box or the far post, and the attacking West Brom players just waited for mayhem to unfold. Bournemouth created many of their own problems at the back. When you see a keeper drop the ball, you get their first and you put the ball out in row z. It's not pretty, it's not cultured, but it stops a soft goal, and yet why is it that AFCB always look on their heels when a ball bounces along their six yard line? The reactivity of the players should be high in that they must expect the worse could happen and that Boruc might not get to the ball cleanly, but by not having a dominant keeper it was essential that the team won their headers and helped him out - we knew this before a ball was kicked.

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While Albion's players are tall and powerful in the air, AFCB had to match them. Any side that go to the Hawthorns and don't have a physicality about them will be swept aside and I just felt that it was last ditch tackling all afternoon from the Cherries whenever WBA came forward. There needs to be an organiser at the back who is yelling at other players as soon as the Cherries concede a corner these days. The side needs to be more aware of what players they are marking and who the strong headers are in the opposition team. 

Personally, I wouldn't mind if the side is made to defend corners all week. They need to get it into the heads that they don't concede from corners, no matter what. If they can just cut that out of their game they are more likely to pick up a few points and at the moment 0-0 draws sound like fantastic results.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

The Cherries slip further into trouble at the Hawthorns 2-1

Match Report
WBA 2 v 1 AFCB
25 February 2017
Attendance: 24,162

All friends - the two teams at the start of the game
WBA had not beaten an AFCB side in the Premier League before this game, but it is a testament to how things have been going for Eddie Howe's side that even when they score first they end up losing games. Ryan Fraser was as usual too hot to handle for the opposition and he earned an early penalty that Josh King slapped away on five minutes. The perfect start. But Craig Dawson's deflected shot just five minutes later flew like a looping arrow into Boruc's top corner and from then on AFCB's back's were against the wall. Corners were a particular on this wet day and as Boruc missed his punch, Gareth McAuley gratefully shot home from three yards to put the Baggies ahead. There was a late rally from the Cherries with Lys Mousset foiled by Ben Foster's heroics in goal and a missed targeted header from a let corner, but it was no win in seven for AFCB and that sinking feeling just won't go away. 
Bournemouth set themselves up.
WBA looked to improve on their impressive form.
AFCB made two changes to the starting line up with Marc Pugh coming in for Jordan Ibe who had a knee injury, and Tyrone Mings replacing Simon Francis, who was out with a hamstring strain. On the bench there was also a place for Lys Mousset. WBA made just one change with Jonny Evans coming in for Matt Phillips.
The two captains.
Morrison and Fletcher for WBA.
There are more pictures on Match Day Gallery.

While AFCB's luminous shirts were brightening up a dull, wet and windy day in the Midlands the AFCB fans had more reason to think it was a fabulous day when WBA's Alloca Nyom pushed into Ryan Fraser in the first few minutes of the game. There was no hesitation from Marc Clattenburg who pointed to the spot and Josh King stuck away his seventh goal of the season. 

If the Cherries' lead was going to last they'd have to stand up to WBA's lively midfield and Brunt almost equalised soon after the restart as he shot just over the top corner of the goal with Brom fans thinking he had scored for a moment.

Adam Smith can also let fly with shots from outside the box and he tried to cut inside and beat Foster after some good work from Pugh, but Foster tipped it over to safety.  

In the ping pong exchange of shots, it was the Baggies who came out on top when Craig Dawson decided to take target practise from outside the D and his shot flew off of Charlie Daniels attempted block, and span viciously past Boruc and into the top left corner of the goal - it was 1-1. 

Bournemouth were still enjoying the possession and making several attacks up the left side. Fraser was certainly the player that they needed to get the ball to though as he was liking the conditions.

Warning signs that the Bournemouth defence around their own box was not that solid was highlighted just before 20 minutes when Arter's attempted clearance hit Chadli running at him and the rebound favoured Chadli who had a shot blocked by Steve Cook, before another shot from Morrison deflected wide for a corner.  

AFCB knew they would have set pieces to defend and this first corner  for WBA there was chaos in the Cherries' six yard box. Boruc had come to punch, but the ball slipped off his one handed attempt at a despairing glance that left him out of position. The ball fell to the ground right in front of McAuley who just had to raise his leg and net from a few yards out, while AFCB's defenders looked transfixed by the ball an unable to react. It was a horrible moment, but the Cherries were now behind.

There was plenty of fight about AFCB with Steve Cook knocking Rondon flying, after he got the wrong side and was in on goal. Boruc hadn't come out fast enough and Cook had to stop the forward anyway he could. Rondon was left sat on the ground pleading with Clattenburg for a decision, but he didn't get it.

WBA were a real threat at corners and Boruc was glad to see another corner fall into his hands having first escaped him and his defenders.

Tyrone Mings was reading the game well and was a good match up for Rondon. He made a superb tackle on the forward off a long bal, while the Baggies were screaming for a penalty. Even more danger was coming from the deeper runners, like Morrison who nearly broke through when Brunt tried to lift a ball in over the top to him.

Two-one down at half time was not so bad that AFCB were not in the game, but it was noticeable that Foster had not had much to do in WBA's goal apart from trying to save the penalty.
The teams go off at the break.
Clattenberg is defending his calls from the first half to WBA players.
Second Half
The second half began with Nyon getting booked for fouling Adam Smith. WBA fans were not happy with the referee but he was having a good game. Then a corner to WBA was cleared at first, but McAuley's subsequent header struck the bar.

When the ball came out to the right, a cross back in caused mayhem. Steve Cook and Dawson clashed heads, and the ball was headed in at the far post by Chadli. Clattenburg consulted his assistant referee and disallowed the goal for offside, but Dawson had been knocked out and had to be subbed by McClean.

McClean wasted no tim in getting involved and brought out a good save from Boruc as Bournemouth were holding on.

Fraser was still offering hope of an equaliser as he crossed just a smidgen too high for Pugh to get on the end of. Arter also had a low drive that went a yard wide.

Wilshere and Arter then went off as Afobe and Gosling came on after 66 minutes. AFCB's fans were really getting behind the team now with their cries of 'Barmy Army and Eddie Howe'.

McClean was booked for fouling Fraser and the momentum was starting to be more with AFCB. This caused Pulis to sub Morison and bring on Yacob.

Howe subbed Pugh for Lys Moussett as his final move. Sam Field also came on for Chadli with just a couple of minutes remaining of normal time. It was the five minutes of added time when the real chances for AFCB came to eqaulise. First Lys Mousett hit a great shot that would have beaten some keepers, bit not Foster who stretched to tip it over. The corner gave a headed chance, for Tyrone Mings who and the ball went wide as did AFCB's hopes.
Another defeat for AFCB.
Eddie Howe seeks out the referee.
Summary
The pundits will look at the league table and will say AFCB are in real danger now, but for much of this game they played calmly with measured passing and some clever play that unlocked WBA at times. What they didn't do was get enough pressure on Ben Foster and in their own box, it was like a mad storm at every corner. WBA didn't have to be amazing to win this game - the Cherries just slipped up when they had to clear the ball. A draw would not have been impossible in this game but AFCB didn't do enough in the second half to really worry Albion.
Bournemouth players thank the fans.
The Cherries can't fathom why they have lost again. Six defeats in seven.
WBA
Foster, Dawson (McClean 54), McAuley, Evans, Nyom, Livermore, Brunt, Fletcher,
Morrison (Yacob 73), Chadli (Field 88), RondΓ³n

Albion Subs
Myhill, Olsson, Robson-Kanu, Yacob, McClean, Leko, Field

AFCB
Boruc, A Smith, S Cook, Mings, Daniels, Arter (Afobe 66), Surman, Fraser, Wilshere (Gosling 66), Pugh (Mousset 79), King

AFCB Subs
Allsop, B Smith, Gosling, Stanislas, Gradel, Afobe, Mousset

AFCB Ratings
Boruc 4, A Smith 5, S Cook 7, Mings 8, Daniels 6, Arter 6 (Afobe 5), Surman 5, Fraser 8,
Wilshere 6 (Gosling 5), Pugh 6 (Mousset 5), King 7

Ref Watch: Marc Clattenburg: 9/10 - fine referee - he talked to players and even told Pulis off when he went berserk over a foul. A shame he'll be leaving the Premier League for Saudi Arabia.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Pulis has done miracles at WBA

I can't say that Tony Pulis has many fans, yet what he has achieved of late at WBA is pretty fantastic. Supporters always want a team to play with flare and creativity and perhaps Tony's sides have edged towards the defensive merits of the game first, but I don't think you can say that about the Baggies anymore.
WBA are chasing Everton in seventh.
What has changed then? I'd say the signing of Matt Philipps has made a big difference as he has added finishing quality to their midfield. There have been other good signings too like Jake Livermore, but much of the side has been with Pulis for a while. It just may be that it has taken Pulis a while to get the team playing in a more positive fashion and to get the best out of Solomon Rondon. Now that Berahino is out of the club, there is every need for Pulis to get the best out of the strikers he has got.

It is a bit unfortunate for the Albion that they did not get further additions in the January window to make an even bigger assault on the top places in the league. Still Pulis has done exceptionally well, and the team that AFCB will play will have far more confidence that the side which was narrowly defeated by the Cherries earlier n the season. Ben Foster has also been strong for them in goal and when you are not conceding you always have a chance in games.
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The Baggies' home form has been strong in recent games and you have to go back to 17 December when they played Man Utd at home to see them fail to score at the Hawthorns. Some of the wins have come against bottom sides in Hull and Sunderland, but that is an even bigger plus point in my book as these sides are giving it everything to try and get out of trouble. Pulis will be looking forward to playing AFCB and even a draw at WBA is hard to come by these days.

WBA Home Form
LWWWD

AFCB Away Form
LWLLL

Probable AFCB line up
Boruc (GK), A Smith (RB), S Cook (CD), Mings (CD), Daniels (LB),
Ibe (RM), Gosling (CM), Surman (CM), Fraser (LM), King (FW), Afobe (FW)

Friday, 24 February 2017

Is Mings ready to step in for Francis?

While Simon Francis limped off in the last game with a hamstring problem, it is hoped that he will be fit for the away game to WBA. If it happens though that he can't lead the side out it will be Tyrone Mings that resumes his partnership with Steve Cook which has not been that successful in recent games.
Tyrone has to try and make the central defence like a brick wall for WBA attackers.
It will mean Steve Cook moving to the right side of the central back pair if Mings plays and while this is not as comfortable for Cook he always puts in a good shift. When a side is struggling in keeping goals out though, it's not ideal to have to shift the defence around. The two-central defenders will have to be working hard to keep Solomon Rondon quiet and if it is Mings and Cook, they'll have to ensure they win their headers. There will be runners from midfield as well for the defence to contend with as Matt Phillips, Chris Brunt and Nacer Chadli have been scoring of late for the Albion, while Jake Livermore is an energetic addition to their team.
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While Tyrone always looks to be pointing and organising, I wonder how much in control he is of his own game. He needs to be fully concentrating at all times and has to be good with his discipline not to be pulled out of position when it must be natural for him to stray to the left side. Tyrone has to make the most of his opportunities though as Francis is not usually one to miss many games. If he can get a clean sheet with Steve Cook it will ask the question of Eddie Howe if he should keep Tyrone in the team. So it could be a lucky break for Tyrone and that is how he should see this match if he does get selected.

Tyrone probably needs a win just for himself at the moment. His run in the side has not brought the results he will have wanted, but perhaps this will be a chance to change that.

Rival Lines: Pulis has released the shackles at home

Rival Lines
Match Preview: WBA v AFCB
Blogger Interview: Albion Till We Die
Twitter: @albiontillwedie



This week I spoke to Mark who works on the Albion Till We Die website. I imagined that Mark was like many Baggies being very pleased with how things were going at the Hawthorns. But what I didn't know is whether Baggies were really happy with Tony Pulis and the players they have at the club or if there was still some anxiety about things at WBA despite the team doing well.

CC: Do you think that Tony Pulis should be pretty high up on the list for manager of the season?

ATID: Well I suppose that if you take into consideration the resources he's had and the money spent by the vast majority of clubs currently below us, you have to say that Pulis has done a fantastic job in getting us into our current 8th position. Obviously the likes of Conte and Pochettino are bound to walk away with the accolade come the season's end but Pulis and perhaps even Sean Dyche at Burnley do deserve plenty of credit for going head to head with the big boys.

CC: Are Baggies fans more fond of Pulis than the media would suggest?

ATID: Well, he's certainly more popular now than he was a while ago that's for sure but I think the jury is still out for quite a lot of Albion fans. The last few months have been great but the absolute dross we suffered for the previous 12 months or so will take some time to forget. Having said that I'd say the majority of fans are now behind Pulis.

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CC: What are the main reasons do you put WBA's good form down to, since that 0-4 home defeat back in October to Man City?

ATID: There's definitely been a change in our style of play, helped in no small part by the form of Matt Phillips and the return of Chris Brunt and James Morrison. Earlier in the season we lacked players that could create chances and cause problems for the opposition but in Phillips, Brunt and Morrison, along with Nacer Chadli, that problem has been solved. I think also that Pulis has released the shackles slightly, especially at home. At one stage it appeared that our sole intention in games was to purely frustrate the opposition and play for a draw.

CC: You signed Marc Wilson on loan until the end of the season in January from AFC Bournemouth, as well as Jake Livermore (Hull), but was the January window disappointing for WBA fans?

ATID: After only a couple of appearances for the Baggies, Jake Livermore is starting to look like a great signing for the club and one that fits perfectly into Tony Pulis' style of play. Apart from the former Hull man however the transfer window was indeed once again disappointing for Baggies' fans. We have desperately needed a quality striker for some time now to take the burden off Salomon Rondon, who to all intents and purposes is the only senior striker at the club. If the big Venezuelan picks up an injury anytime soon then the failure to sign a striker in January could be disastrous.

CC: Has the new ownership of Guochuan Lai made a difference to where the club wants to aim to be?

ATID: Six months on from Lai purchasing the club there seems to have been absolutely no difference in the way the club is run. Whether that's a good or bad thing is open to debate. The majority of Albion fans were hopeful that the club's new ownership would see the shackles lifted on the club's notoriously tight transfer budget but as of yet it seems that the previous regime's modus operandi has been continued by Lai.

CC: How good is Salomon Rondon and do you expect him to stay next season?
ATID: I'll be honest, and I'm probably in the minority here, but I'm really not a fan of Rondon at all. He works hard and puts himself about, and can be dangerous in the air but his finishing with his feet and his hold-up play leaves a lot to be desired.

There was talk of a big money move to China for the player in January and that would probably be the most likely place he would eventually end up. If the player has had his head turned by the reported interest, I think the club will probably be better off selling him in the summer.

CC: Why do you think Matt Phillips has fitted in so well and was he a better buy than Nacer Chadli?

ATID: I think they are both good signings in their own ways. Phillips has added pace and creativity to the side whilst Chadli has added a little bit of unpredictability and class to the team.

Phillips actually started the season quite slowly and supporters were far from convinced that he was a good signing. Chadli on the other hand started the season on fire. As the season has progressed Phillips has got better and better whilst Chadli has struggled to hit his early season form.

CC: Was the FA Cup defeat to Derby a wasted opportunity leaving WBA fans with little to play for? Or is trying to catch Everton for seventh place enough to keep WBA fans happy?
ATID: The cup defeat against Derby is undoubtedly the biggest disappointment of the season so far. With the 50th anniversary of our last cup final appearance fast approaching fans are desperate to see us once again lift the famous old trophy. A seventh place finish in the Premier League is meaningless to the majority of our fans compared to success in the FA Cup.

CC: It was a close game between Bournemouth and WBA at Dean Court earlier this season, but are you at all worried that Pulis has found it hard to get points off of Eddie Howe's teams?

ATID: We do seem to have struggled to pick up results recently against Bournemouth but I feel Saturday's game might be a slightly different affair. There's definitely been a change in the way Pulis approaches home games and whilst the Cherries are a good attacking team you always fancy them to concede goals. I'm more confident going into this game than I have been for any of the previous recent meetings.

CC: How do you expect WBA to set up for this game?
ATID: I'd expect us to line-up as we have done in recent games with Foster in goal, Nyom, McAuley, Dawson and Brunt across the back, Livermore and Fletcher as the holding midfielders, Chadli and Phillips out wide and Morrison playing behind the lone striker Rondon.

CC: Is there anything visiting fans should look out for when coming to the Hawthorns for the first time?

ATID: If any Cherries fans are looking for somewhere to go for a pre-match drink or food then definitely check out The Vine. It's about a 15 minute walk from The Hawthorns and it does get very busy but as pre-match venues go it's up there with the best.

CC:Some great points from Mark. I thank him for his time and for making AFCB fans welcome at the Hawthorns. While a seventh place finish might seem meaningless to some, there are many AFCb fans who would take 17th now if it would mean another season in the top flight - things are getting tight down the bottom. There is no such worries for the Baggies though and I get the feeling this game will be more about which AFCB turns up than the Albion who are becoming a consistent side. Don't forget to checkout the Albion Till I Die site.

Premier Talk 
Have Leicester made the right decision to sack Ranieri?

Thursday, 23 February 2017

How can AFCB stop shipping goals?

Looking at the amount of goals AFCB have now let in there are big reasons for the Cherries to find better defenders come the summer if he can't tighten up the defence he already has. The need to find away to keep the opposition out is now paramount, and the Cherries will have to find a solution for the remaining part of this season.

Artur Boruc's form will be paramount in the run in.
While there will be those who will point out that every one of the defenders and goal keepers have made mistakes, they are trying to halt the slide. Against the top sides it is noticeable that the Cherries have not been thumped (Everton aside) - Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool have not put the Cherries away. So why have the Cherries been leaking so many against lower teams in the table? I suggest it is because of the way the side goes at teams and sometimes makes poor decisions in defending set plays and individual mistakes.

Yet, you can't accuse AFCB of behaving naively against Man City. I felt that the defence was coping well and that was made more difficult with Simon Francis having to come off early and Aguero coming on for Jesus. Eddie Howe has to work with what he has now for the rest of the season and I'm sure the penny has dropped that no matter what happens for the rest of this season, he does need to buy a centre-back of high quality. He might even need two.
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The other notable point to make about the Man City game is that Adam Smith, Charlie Daniels and Simon Francis (although he had to come off) had not played for a few weeks, and the game will have been helpful to them and AFCB need those players to be strong for the run in.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

AFCB need to stick at it

While it won't have seemed pleasant for AFCB fans to see the Cherries take another defeat, the match against Man City finally restored a bit of pride to the way the team has been playing. The challenge will be to take this progressive football and impose it once again on teams that don't have the quality of Man City. AFCB will pick up enough points if they keep to being positive like they were against Pep Guardiola's side.

Josh King is doing a good job.
I know that there were no goals for the Cherries and while Josh King is working so hard just to get the ball and to try and keep it in games, it is asking a lot for him to also come up with the goals as well. He was by far the best player for the Cherries in my reckoning and it is imperative that he keeps making a nuisance of himself when in the opposition's half. 

The midfield was also much more pushing forward with the ball than we have seen of late and even though Jack Wilshere had to go off, I'm confident that the side will continue to pass the ball in the ambitious way they sought to break through the City back line. 



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The main concern will be to see that Simon Francis recovers well. The defence is not going to feel that it has contributed extremely well to a match until it keeps a clean sheet, and Francis will want to be a part of that side. While Tyrone Mings is getting game time, he hasn't got the same understanding yet with Steve Cook that Francis will have and AFCB simply haven't got much time to get things right now.

WBA will be a physical encounter and everybody will need to be 100 per cent for that game. At least the period away in Spain will give the majority of players a chance to recover for what is now going to be the most important game of the season so far.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Arter makes the difference to this AFCB side

Like every father, I found it quite incredulous to have helped bring new life into the world. It is a watershed moment for any couple and for Harry Arter it could well be not only a special moment at home, but it could give him even more determination to be a success on the pitch.
Harry can fully concentrate on his form and can lift the team with his
great news.
When all is good with AFCB its is usually found that number eight is at the centre of things. Harry is not a bystander when the going gets tough and now he can enjoy his family while setting about winning pints for the Cherries with a smile on his face. There is something very humbling and settling about having children and I think it will give Arter a new perspective on things.

The year has been a busy one for Harry who has had to overcome tragedy and yet has broken into the Irish team ,and has launched his own football academy. I don't think things are going to slow down for him now either. But there are aspects of his game that have perhaps not gone as well as he might have hoped for this season. With a return of one goal from his 24 games, he'll want to do something about that before the end before the season.

Arter will throw himself into everything and I'm sure he will have his eye's set on picking up points. While AFCB search for a winning team selection, there is pressure on every player to be at their best but even with Lewis Cook waiting to play his part, it will be Arter that I expect Eddie to encourage to find yet another gear. Know Harry, he'll probably find something extra to give in games. UTCIAD!

Do you want to own a pair of signed Jack Wilshere's Nike boots?

Well you can if you visit the Givergy website, and bid on the online auction. Givergy is holding the auction to raise funds for St. John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity. There are some 8 days left to bid!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Is the Cherries belief restored?

Belief is something that managers talk about all the time. Having been bashed by Everton 6-3, it was not unexpected that the Cherries wanted to show they were better than that for the visit of Man City. Arter said that the side really picked up after the first half at Everton, and while it was too late for that game, AFCB have played a game and a half now in much better form.
AFCB - on their way back.
Still the goals against doesn't read well, no matter whether you look at one, three or five games in the current run. But goals can go in against you even when the side is paying well and I thought the Man City match was typical of that. Some times the ball just doesn't run for you and Man City were special in the areas of the pitch where it mattered. Had the last game been against a bottom three side then I expect we would all still be wondering what had been happening to the side, but because it was City I have not heard too many fans criticising the performance.

Eddie Howe was certainly pleased that the fans stuck with the team despite them going down. The atmosphere at Dean Court was excellent and it will be that kind of support that Eddie will want to hear for the run in. It certainly gives the players more belief when they have the crowd chanting and I have noticed that in recent weeks it has been deadly silent when things were not going so well.
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The real belief will only come when the team gets the next win and the next clean sheet. Eddie is very clear in his message of picking up the points as soon as possible and communicating that he never thought the side was safe, even when the points were coming more frequently. I'm not sure that the players took their foot of the gas, but they kept losing an early goal and have found it hard to get back into matches when that happened. The players needed a fresh start, and I think they got that in the City game. Now they can put things behind them and look forward to the challenges to come.

Do you want to own a pair of signed Jack Wilshere's Nike boots?
Well you can if you visit the Givergy website, and bid on the online auction. Givergy is holding the auction to raise funds for St. John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity. There are some 8 days left to bid!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Real Madrid trip should fill AFCB players with more ambition

To me it seems hard to see AFCB aspiring to even greater things than what they have already achieved under Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall. They have reached the pinnacle of the Premier League and yet they still need to see that there is more they can do to improve their game and being at Real Madrid's training ground at Ciudad must be something special for them.
AFCB are becoming a more stellar team themselves.
The friendships that AFCB have made with Real Madrid have certainly been a big plus when you can take the team out to their facilities and mix with their world famous players. I imagine the game at the BernabΓ©u last week was also an electric occasion for AFCB players to watch in such a setting. It is of course the next level up for AFCB players and while they have played an exhibition game on the pitch with Real Madrid stars it is quite another thing to see how those players live and train over in Spain. I just hope it does not give one or two of AFCB's players an incentive to go and learn Spanish!

While the Cherries will no doubt enjoy their time out in Spain they will be worked hard and have to prepare for the WBA match coming up. This will be a very tough fixture and the squad will need to be very switched on for the end of the season push. If the players want to remain on the Premier League and to aspire to play teams like Real Madrid then they will have to graft a lot more, and I guess it is easier to reach a dream when you have seen what it would be like in front of you. The Hawthorns might not be at the same level but WBA are guaranteed Premier League football next season, and AFCB have to come back with much more purpose and resolve to get the points they need now.



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It is one step at a time that AFCB has overcome its challenges and this next test over the following 13 games will need everything the players have got, so I can see why a great trip such as the one to Madrid has been organised. If you can't run out on the pitch at Ciudad without a smile on your face then there is something wrong with you. Let's just hope that some of the winning style of Real Madrid rubs off on the AFCB team.

Do you want to own a pair of signed Jack Wilshere's Nike boots?
Well you can if you visit the Givergy website, and bid on the online auction. Givergy is holding the auction to raise funds for St. John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity. There are some 9 days left to bid!

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