Saturday, 22 July 2017

Does having Defoe take the pressure off of King?

The signing of Jermain Defoe was said to be a significant moment by Eddie Howe. Defoe has years of Premier League experience and has scored 158 times in the top division. By bringing him in, AFCB know they have a player that is capable of 20-goals in a season and that should be used to take some of the workload off the shoulders in Josh King, who has to try and repeat what he did lasts season.
King will be able to focus on his game more knowing that
he has another top striker alongside him to share the goal scoring.
Josh King has always stated his desire to remain at AFCB and learn more from Eddie Howe and by staying at the club he is going to have a first-grade striker to watch and study in Jermain Defoe. Defoe is a natural finisher and has never worried too greatly about any spell when he hasn't been scoring. In most cases it has only happened when he has not been getting the ball, but at AFCB he should see plenty of it as AFCB move the ball through the phases and up to the last third.


I remember how Spurs fans used to moan that Defoe was not getting long enough and that when he did get full games he tended to score more often than not. What I like about Defoe though is that he doesn't rest at one goal if he can get more in a game. Josh King has to find that kind of streak as well, although he already got his Premier League hat-trick last season against West Ham, as the Daily Telegraph recalls.

Defoe will hopefully look to get his name at the top of the goalscoring this summer as well and we could see a bit of competition in the friendlies to see who the sharpest striker is.

Having Defoe around though should be a big help to King when the pressure of games not going the way he wold have hoped come around. Defoe will have been through that many times before and for Josh it could be the extra help he needs to get him up to those 20 goals he will surely now aim for.

Enjoy today's game - UTCIAD!

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Friday, 21 July 2017

Portsmouth will have an old friend hoping to score against the Cherries

It looks like Bournemouth fans could well see their former striker make his debut for Portsmouth this weekend in the Pompey pre-season friendly. Brett Pitman joined Pompey earlier this month having decided that it was not working out for him well enough at Ipswich Town. 
Brett Pitman could well line up against AFCB on Saturday.
Now Pitman, 29, will be seeking promotion back to the Championship with Portsmouth and Pitman will have fond memories of how he ripped it up with goals in League One with the Cherries.  

Pitman is in no doubt that he can do well at Portsmouth and help them get promoted: "This is too big a club for League Two and arguably it’s too big for League One, so our collective aim has to be to go up to the next level," he said.

But first he is likely to face many of his former teammates at Fratton Park on Saturday and I'm sure the Bournemouth players will be looking forward to rubbing  shoulders with Brett on the pitch. It is going to be hard for Eddie Howe not to let Simon Francis have a centre-back spot and I hope Francis does get the job of keeping Pitman quiet. Francis needs to make a real statement if he is to lead the side out next season as he has real competition for his place in the team.

Portsmouth may have a team that is less well known to the Cherries now, but they still have a goal threat in Gary Roberts, who scored against Bournemouth the last time they met in the 2015-16 FA Cup. Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain, younger brother of Alex is also a Pompey player in central midfield will also be interesting to see.

It will be Pitman that is the big draw though and the timing could not be better. He scored 15 goals in 42 starts and 28 sub appearances for Ipswich, His sharpness in front of goal may appear to have dropped off a little from his Bournemouth days, but Pitman says "Maybe the style of football didn’t suit me down to the ground at Ipswich.”

We'll soon know how much at home he finds things at Portsmouth.

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Thursday, 20 July 2017

AFCB may move for Leicester winger if Gradel leaves

The fate of Max Gradel looks to be coming to a conclusion, as we draw near the end of the transfer window. Toulouse have put in what the Sun describes as their second bid for Gradel to take him on loan for the season with an option to buy afterwards. The offer may be great for the French side, but would AFCB rather sell now and raise some more transfer funds?
Max is very much in demand, but will AFCB be happy with a loan move?
The option of a loan rather than a sale could be a sticking point, as Gradel is a player that would command a reasonable transfer fee, and Edie Howe may not wish to let him go on loan. While AFCB have suggested that their main business has been done, a transfer fee for Gradel could open up the purse strings again for a winger replacement.

SkyBet have quickly moved AFCB to the top of the odds to sign Leicester City winger Demarai Gray, who turned down the offer to join the Cherries from Birmingham when he joined the Foxes. Bournemouth are now 5-2 favourites to sign Gray. Would Gray be a good improvement to Bournemouth's squad? 


The competition for wingers is already tough, but Gray is at a level that would challenge for a starting spot in my opinion, and would be favourable to Gradel in terms of age and potential. But with players like Pugh, Stanislas, Fraser and Ibe all wanting starts, it won't be easy for any new winger to walk straight into the side.

The transfer fee that Gray would cost is probably also in line with Nathan Aké's and Howe has already mentioned in the Bournemouth Echo that he is not comfortable with the high fees, but that is what players cost now.

The form of Gradel was excellent in Marbella, and while that has only heightened interest in Gradel, it could be best for AFCB if they hold out to see if a club is going to offer a permanent deal. That would give them a bit more cash for the Demarai Gray deal or another winger if Howe really feels he needs to replace Gradel.

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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Allsop swaps seaside towns

Yesterday, AFCB broke the news that Ryan Allsop would be on his way to League One side Blackpool for a season-long loan. It represents a good chance for Allsop to get his playing career back in the swing of things with match after match situation and should be just what he needs at this stage of his development.
Allsop takes a step forward in his career by taking a loan at Blackpool.
The number of keepers at AFCB was making things crowded, and it is not such a big surprise that Allsop is the player that has headed out on loan with his more limited experience to the likes of Boruc, Begovic and Federici. He has to make a name for himself and while he will be doing that away from Bournemouth, he should start to get that team feeling and respect that he no doubt craves for making saves week after week.

Blackpool won promotion to League One via the play-offs and they will have to first ensure they are competitive in their new league. Allsop will need to exude some confidence and show his teammates that he can be relied upon. Eddie Howe has always been supportive of Allsop and has kept him when it would have been simple for Allsop to have been left behind as the club grew in stature. Allsop has a long way to go to make it as the number one at Dean Court, but he has been doing enough right over the years to earn his place in various squads and I hope he really plays well.


Having made his Premier League debut against Everton the season before last, and getting a full game against Leicester City last season, Allsop should be looking forward to running out in League One. It should be a place where he can excel and hopefully save a few penalties or be man of the match a few times.

Keeping is a specialist position and is not perfected overnight, but Allsop has been persistent and now he has an opportunity to really shine again, so I think Blackpool is a good place for him to go and play football. Give it your best Rockie!

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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Will Lewis Cook still be behind Surman in the pecking order for AFCB?

The places for central midfield have been more or less set in stone for the Cherries since their league one days. But in 2017-18 there will be serious challenges to the Surman/Arter duo and it will be important that some other players can step in when required. Whether Lewis Cook can oust Andre Surman from the starting line up will be something that fans might well ponder over the summer.
Is Lewis Cook ready to challenge for a starting place at ACB.
For me, I think Lewis is a great technician at the final pass from central areas and he will have been learning from Andrew Surman in the last 12 months. Taking over though is going to need more than a few good games from Cook. Surman knows where to be in the right place, when attacking moves breakdown, and his vision is amongst the best at the club for spotting runners going forward.

Lewis Cook will continue to improve though. The question is how fast will he improve under Eddie Howe? Will Eddie do what Gareth Southgate wants and play England U20 players like Lewis Cook more often? Well, Lewis only played in six games last season, mainly near the end when Surman became injured. It is one thing filling in for an absentee and another pushing them out of the starting line up.


Lewis still has time to develop further and I'd expect him to target 10 appearances in the league next season and may well feature in a cup run or two. But Eddie Howe may well use him a little more often in the second half of games, if he does believe the ex-Leeds player is ready to start more often. 

I think that is the point at which Lewis Cook is at the moment, but Dan Gosling has been in a similar position for the last few seasons, and it's not easy for players to force their way into the AFCB line up when results have been excellent over the past season.

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Monday, 17 July 2017

Would AFCB be 10 points better off if Arter can play a full season?

Harry Arter, 27, has been a brilliant servant for AFCB. He has seen it all at the club, and has ridden the wave that has taken him and the Cherries to the Premier League. His extended contract will keep him at the club until he is 31, and it is very exciting to speculate what ACB could achieve in those four years with Harry in the centre of midfield.

Arter is happy to build his career at AFCB.
The midfield maestro has been unable to play a full season of 38 games in a Premier League game to date, but he did manage 35 appearances last season, which was a big improvement on the 21 appearances in 2015-16. Two of his appearances last season were as a sub though, and when Arter is not playing the side certainly miss his driving force.

I'm not sure that Arter would add as many as 10 points if he played in every game, but he'd probably add more five or more points. Eddie Howe would do well to ensure he isn't going into the new season carrying any knocks. There are now rising players like Lewis Cook and Emerson Hyndman who can share the workload, with Dan Gosling, when Arter is not fit, but the Cherries haven't got a harder worker than Arter on the pitch.

Arter could probably play in front of larger crowds if he did move club, and AFCB fans should be delighted that Harry needs nothing more than the Cherries. Next season will be a big one for him with a Word Cup at the end of it. Playing well for Bournemouth will be imperative for him and having missed out on the European Championships in 2016 for the Republic of Ireland, I'm sure he's raring to go.

In other news, well done to England U19s and Aaron Ramsey - European champions!

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Sunday, 16 July 2017

The Cherries start their pre-season with a 2-1 win over GD Estoril Praia

Match Report
GD Estoril Praia 1 v 2 AFCB
15 July 2017
Marbella Football Stadium

It was a bright sunny day with AFCB and GD Estoril Praia walking out to the sound of Football's coming home. The crowd was thick enough to line much of the touchline and the odd AFCB flag visible. Estoril played in their yellow shorts and blue shorts while ACB played in their red and black home kit.
Gradel stars in Marbella match with some sublime touches and a goal. 
Estoril kicked-off by the Cherries soon got hold of possession. The pitch was a bit patch-less in some areas but flat and fairly true. Afobe was almost put straight through early on but the Estoril keeper came out to collect the ball just in time.

Estoril enjoyed some possession without hurting AFCB. Boruc made an early clearance which could have had more weight on it. Mahoney was playing on the right wing for the Cherries and he hit a good shot in the penalty area on six minutes after some good work from Mousset that led to the first save.

An Estoril corner came to nothing, but it was shaping up as a good contest. Steve Cook was playing n the right side of Nathan Aké as a centre back and Ryan Fraser was positioned at right back.

Boruc was getting more active in the game as he made a good save from Estoril's number 10 on 11 minutes. Pugh was next to try a shot but pulled his effort wide of the left upright.

Mahoney got caught offside after some good intricate work on the right with Fraser. Things were even after 20 minutes and there was not a lot to choose between the two sides. Estoril had their second corner which was headed clear and AFCB looked fairly comfortable even if Estoril's 22 was finding space on the left wing.

Daniels was doing some god covering work as Estoril continued their bursts forward. AFCB were looking long for Afobe's run but he was offside.

On 27 minutes play stopped for a water break. Fraser then put in a good cross from the right and Mousset got in front of his marker to head at goal but the keeper had plenty of time to make the catch.

Estoril's number 95 turned Daniels well but hit a rising shot well wide. AFCB were playing with more control as the half progressed.

Estroril's number five did well to get around the back but Boruc caught his cross well. A good turn from Mousset almost opened up Estoril's defence as AFCB pushed to get a goal. Afobe then just couldn't get enough direction on a near post effort from Daniels run on the left.

Afibe went for an ambitious bicycle kick which he failed to make any connection with, after a good knock down from Mousset. Daniels then pulled a sharp save out of the Estoril keeper that gave AFCB their first corner.

Afobe rose well but headed over from six yards. Fraser almost did himself some damage running off on half way straight into the metal barrier but he managed to slowdown enough. So at half time it was 0-0.

Second Half
Subs made by AFCB include Federici, Francis, Cargill, Mings, Worthington, Gosling, Arter, Ibe, Taylor, Gradel and King – a full team change. 

There was good intensity to the start of this half but Mings gave away a sloppy back pass to an Estoril forward.

Mings then made up with a great slotted pass for King who attempted to rounded the keeper but couldn't quite beat him. Jordan Ibe was next to get a shot away after a good run on the right and the keeper beat it away high up.

Estoril's 76 almost stole in after another poor decision from Mings but Arter shadowed him and the shot went wide.

Ibe then put a chip just over at the other end. A moment later he as keen through and made not mistake to put AFCB 1-0 up on 54 minutes.

Gosling loses the ball just in front of his own box and the ball comes off Francis for an Estoril corner. But it's been given as a goal kick. Max Gradel has been fouled and Estoril's 76 picks up the first yellow card.

Gradel puts King through with a slick move but the Bournemouth forward gets his angles all wrong and fires well wide. Arter makes a hash of a pass to Cargill and gives possession away.

Lovely foot work from Gradel to keep possession. Worthington goes down with an arm across the chest but the ref plays on - strange decision. Estoril make a subs - 70 comes on for 22 - striker change.

The ball bounces around in the Cherries' box but Gradel clears. Federici comes flying out of his box and handles. Federici is booked. Free-kick to Estoril 25-yards out, central on 64 minutes. An excellent strike by Estoril's number eight, Carlos Edouardo sweetly sails over the wall and into the top right corner 1-1.

Ibe takes a shot that is pushed out for a corner. Sam Surridge is on for Josh King. AFCB retake the lead with a Max Gradel goal on 71 minutes. Top right corner for Gradel having played a one-two with Surridge.

Federici makes a good low save to keep AFCB ahead. Bailey Cargill does some good tidying up at the back. Estoril are pushing for the equaliser.

Another great flick from Gradel out to Ibe. Gradel wins a free kick after a foul by 11 on the edge of the box. Gradel chips it high over the bar.

Arter fouls Estoril's 76 on the break. Ibe fouls next. Just a minute of added time to go. That's it a narrow win for the Cherries!


Mahoney and Gradel impressed me the most. While AFCB managed 13 shots on goal they still need to sharpen their shots on target and hopefully Defoe will add that missing ingredient when he plays. At the back though Boruc was solid and Cook and Aké were very strong.

It was also pleasing to see Ibe get on the score sheet and make several shots during the second half. None of the youngsters looked out of place either. Howe will have been pleased with this workout.

Boruc, Fraser, S Cook, Ake, Daniels, Mahoney, L Cook, Surman, Pugh, Mousset, Afobe

Subs: Federici, Francis, Mings, Cargill, Worthington, Gosling, Arter, Ibe, Taylor, Gradel, King, Surridge

Saturday, 15 July 2017

GD Estoril Praia should be a competitive early test for the Cherries

AFCB will play GD Estoril Praia today in Marbella. The Portuguese side has been signing a few new players in the summer and the Cherries will find it tough going by all accounts as their opponents recent results look very impressive.
AFCB will get their first proper run out today against GC Estoril Praia.
GD Estoril Praia were 10th last season in a league topped by Benfica. They had 10 wins and lost 16, so they are a mid-table side and that should be more than enough for AFCB's players to have to cope with in the Spanish heat. The game is kicking off at 7pm local time (6pm in the UK).

What we would all like to know is what team Eddie Howe will start with and will it be a a real hot-potch or will he pick a side that is very much what he expects will be his starting 11 against WBA, taking into account an injury-free selection. I suspect that Eddie will field a strong side but might like to try a couple of combinations out as well in the first half. So we could see Begovic in goal and perhaps the recognisable AFCB back four. 

Things could get interesting in midfield if Harry Arter and Andrew Surman are being protected and given recovery time. We could see Lewis Cook and Dan Gosling start the game, but Emerson Hyndman was also impressive in Scotland and should be given some minutes as well at some stage.
The wing position is where Eddie always throws the dice and I can see him working Jordan Ibe hard to try and get him up for the new season. Interest will also surround the prospects of Max Gradel. If he is selected to start, can we dismiss rumours about his possible exit?

Much attention will also be on the strikers as AFCB fans will surely be waiting to see if Eddie plays a new strike partnership of Jermain Defoe and Josh King. How will the two get on together? And would Eddie like to see how the big Afobe plays with Jermain? Jermain might be rested though, having been back to the UK for Bradley Lowery's funeral yesterday.

All our questions will soon be answered, but I suspect more questions will pop up after the game which will probably seem very much like a training game, if there are few spectators. Expect a whole load of second half substitutes as well.

My predicted AFCB starting line up:

Begovic (GK), A Smith (RD), Francis (CD), S Cook (CD), Daniels (LD), Ibe (RM),
L Cook (CM), Gosling (CM), Fraser (LM), King (FW), Defoe (FW) 

There is a live stream for those that register on AFCBTV  You can register online

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Friday, 14 July 2017

Kings Park - to remain AFCB's home

While the athletics stadium in Kings Park had often been mentioned in passing as a potential site for the new AFCB ground, I had believed that the council would not want to lose the athletics stadium. I wouldn't expect the new football stadium plans to include an athletics track, but would imagine a lot of locals will want to know where a new athletics track would be built if AFCB's plans are accepted.

Dean Court may only move a short distance. 
The potential location of the new stadium has been well hidden from public discussion until now and the club's statement gives fresh hope that things are moving to a successful conclusion. While Kings Park is a happy historical solution, it does beg the question of transport access and parking, so it will be very intriguing to see what proposals are made and how better access to and from the ground can be made.

The date of 2020 is still on as long as planning goes smoothly and construction can start soon, but the solution would allow games to continue at Dean Curt up to when the new stadium is built. It also enables AFCB to keep the training pitches which have been a substantial outlay, so that is another bonus. I'd expect some of the shops and businesses in Boscombe and Springbourne might also be happier they can make plans knowing where the ground is likely to be.

I'm sure that AFCB will do their best to paint the positives, but there will be lots of negotiations yet. The best news is that the club is making progress. What ever solution is made, it won't please everyone. But it is great to hear that the council want to support the club and recognise how important it is for the town and its economy.

AFCB's full press release on the new stadium announcement.

In other News Harry Arter also signs a four-year contract extension.

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