Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Will AFCB transfer pair be picked for Carabao Cup?

The transfer window is far from closed and several Bournemouth players are attracting attention. Josh King is a major focus for Aston Vila but he has had other clubs also looking at him as well, and Harry Arter was most recently linked with Nottingham Forest but Harry's wages seem out of reach for them. So where does that leave AFCB and JT? Do you lay players that are likely to move on or do you stay focussed on the players you know are going to have a full season with AFCB?

Josh King is a Bournemouth player but for how long?
Should he be played while he awaits a move to another club?

For the Carabao cup game against Man City I think it is okay to play King and/or Arter if JT thinks it will give the team a better chance of winning, and if it gives other players a rest so that they are fresher for the weekend league match. It is fair to say that the players would be cup-tied if they did play, but if this didn't put off suitable buyers then Bournemouth can use the situation to their advantage.

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Both players seem to have always wanted the best for AFCB and as two senior players, I think both Arter and King would offer their services if Jason Tindall asked them to play. If you are a footballer you want to play games and it would be a good run out for them both as long as it did not deprive other Bournemouth players who need the match fitness.

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This is where I expect JT is in his thinking. It will only be a situation where he can ask King or Arter to play if he feels some of the players like Ofoborgh, Lewis Cook, Philip Billing, Julian Anthony, and Sam Surridge don't need to play. I wouldn't be surprised if King and Arter were in the squad for the Carabao Cup, but if they are left out we can probably expect them to be sold very soon.

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The Disrupted Season (2019-20) completes the story of Eddie Howe's reign at AFC Bournemouth 
- it's available now for £11.49 as a paperback - visit Amazon to order

Previous post on Cherry Chimes - Bournemouth still lack game management

Monday, 21 September 2020

Bournemouth still lack game management

The performance against Middlesbrough was workmanlike from Bournemouth without being near the spectacular heights of their pre-season form against West Ham when Lewis Cook, Jack Simpson, Junior Stanislas and Diego Rico were involved from the start. Against Middlesbrough, there was a slowness to get going and even when they had the lead it was difficult for Bournemouth to make the most of the couple of clear cut chances they created. The real failing of the game though was to be unable to hold out and to manage the game to the finish with a clean sheet.


Scoring first is ow happening but holding on to leads is now proving a challenge. 

Four points from two games is still great form for a team in transition. It is easy to be picky and Jason Tndal is perhaps learning that this side doesn't find it easy to hold on to a one-nil lead yet. I think we have to look at who was on the pitch at the time of Middlesbrough's goal and the players that had been brought on to close out the game as a first point. Billing and Rico had both come on after 70 minutes so Danjum and Stacey could be rested. The goal came from a throw-in and players were not picked up quickly on the left side, which looks like it was Billing's job, but even then the cross was delivered with ease and Bournemouth were outnumbered at the far post when the ball swung in.

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Holding shape and watching player movements is something that Tindall just has to drill into his team. We saw it done so well with Roy Hodgson's Crystal Palace and at times Bournemouth needs to be as miserly as Palace are at the back. I am not sure if it is Bournemouth's way of coaching or the players that they have, but defensively they still switch off and it is usually at crucial moments of the game like the last 10 minutes.

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So Bournemouth now need to try and grow from this and learn the lesson. We know they can be an all guns blazing, attacking side under Tindall. They now need to develop a stingy side if they are going to be a force in the Championship. There are enough experienced players at the club to see out games. JT has to get his subs right though and see who is less likely to make mistakes in tight matches like the Middlesbrough game. Some times attack is the best form of defence and without King and Stanislas, JT wasn't positive enough to pick Lewis Cook take the game to Middlesbrough.

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The Disrupted Season (2019-20) completes the story of Eddie Howe's reign at AFC Bournemouth 
- it's available now for £11.49 as an ebook or a paperback - visit Amazon to order

Previous post on Cherry Chimes - Middlesbrough hold Cherries to a draw at the Riverside



Sunday, 20 September 2020

Middlesbrough hold Cherries to a draw at the Riverside

Match Report
Middlesbrough 1 v 1 AFCB
19 September 2020

Bournemouth came into this game having only won away once in 2020. The team needed a while to get into their game and it was Middlesborough who looked most likely to core early on. But just before half-time Danjuma's corner was converted by Solanke to give Bournemouth the lead. The second half didn't see Bournemouth build on their lead and a Marcus Browne header 9 minutes from time meant that Bournemouth had lost the clean sheet and missed out on a chance to keep their 100 per cent winning record.

Solanke opens his scoring for the season. 

JT showed he is not afraid to make changes and he dropped Mark Travers, Lewis Cook and Junior Stanislas from the start line up against Blackburn Rovers. This meant there were starts for Asmir Begovic, Dan Gosling and David Brooks. It looks like Stanislas might be injured as he didn't make the subs bench, but Jaidon Anthony and Diego Rico did make the bench.

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The Disrupted Season (2019-20) completes the story of Eddie Howe's reign at AFC Bournemouth
- it's available now for £11.49 as an ebook or a paperback - visit Amazon to order

Match Description
Bournemouth came under immediate pressure from the start. George Saville hit an early shot that went wide from distance before Chris Mepham conceded a corner in the first five minutes. Howson shoots and Jefferson Lerma conceded the corner with Middlesborough in charge.

Saville had another shot blocked on 11 minutes. Marvin Johnson then took aim and was blocked after a pass from Howson. Middlesborough are on top but haven't tested Begovic.

Bournemouth mount their first attack with Brooks and his cross almost finds Solanke, but Boro clear. Bournemouth launch a salvo of shots, Danjuma tries to curl one and it comes out to Solanke and he's blocked while Brooks fires over. Another chance and Brooks is offside. The Cherries are starting to come into this.

Tavernier is caught offside. Saville is booked for holding back Stacey. Bournemouth are probably just edging the possession now after a slow start for the Cherries.

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Lerma fouls and Steve Cook concedes the corner. Hall heads over. David Brooks has his shot from outside the box saved. Corner to Bournemouth. Solanke scores! 0-1 to Bournemouth. Danjuma's cross was converted by Solanke in the box on 38 minutes, the Middlesbrough defender perhaps put it in. Solanke will claim it though. His fourth Bournemouth goal.

Good chance for Boro, Fletcher puts his header wide though from McNair's cross. Marcus Batinelli saves well from David Brooks' shot that was headed for the top corner.

Bournemouth 50% possession, 10 shots, 2 shots on target, 4 corners, 6 fouls

Middlesbrough 50% possession, 5 shots, 3 shots on target, 3 corners, 8 fouls 

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Second half
Boro start well again and Tavernier is blocked. Tavernier is getting the better of Bournemouth's defence. His cross finds Hall and his header is saved by Begovic. Ashley Fletcher is offside.

Mepham gets a yellow card. Brooks sends a free kick into the box but Batinelli grabs it. Assombalonga is offside. Hall is offside now. 

Solanke is away but is fouled. Danjuma's free kick comes off the wall. Bournemouth have a corner and Stacey is carded. Assombalonga is through but Begovic and Kelly just do enough to keep him out. Again Assombalonga gets in a good position but heads over.

Browne has replaced Fletcher for Boro on 68 minutes. Begovic saves form Assombalonga. 

Mepham fouls and the free kick and Saville has it and is offside despite finishing. Billing replaces Danuma on 73 minutes and Rico replaces Stacey a minute later.

Rico plays a good ball through to Salnke who is onside but Batenelli saves when Solanke just had the keeper to beat.

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Frey replaces Spener for Boro.

Lerma conceded a corner. Marcus Browne has headed in to make it 1-1 on 81 minutes. Bournemouth just can't keep clean sheets these days. Surridge replaces David Brooks.  Billing takes a free kick which goes for a corner off the wall. Rico takes and Lerma's header is well saved.

Morsy relaces Taverner. Adam Smith wins a free kick. One last assault on the Middlesbrough goal. We are in added time.

Summary
That elusive clean sheet is beginning to haunt Tindall just like it did with Howe. The team found it harder to create chances in this match, but Solane took one chance and could have done better when through on goal in the second half. But Assombalonga also could have done better when he just had Begovic to beat, but Marcus Browne's equaliser was probably fair on the balance of play. JT knows Bournemouth won't walk over teams in this league and that they still have some tightening up to do at the back and in front of goal. With Danjuma and Brooks not firing and Stanislas and King not putting in an appearance, Bournemouth looks a bit short of attacking might to knock over teams in tight games. 

Middlesbrough
1 Bettinelli, 2 Dijksteel, 4 Hall, 17McNair, 29 Spence, 16 Howson, 22 Saville, 7 Tavernier, 3 Johnson,
11 Fletcher (Browne 68), 9 Assombalonga

Middlesbrough Subs: 5 Morsy, 6 Fry, 8 Wing, 12 Browne, 27 Bola, 33 Coulson, 42 Pears

AFCB Line up
AFCB Subs: Travers, Simpson, Rico, Billing, L Cook, Anthony, Surridge

Saturday, 19 September 2020

The Disrupted Season (2019-20) paperback released

Today you will see that a paperback version of my latest writings on AFC Bournemouth has been released. The paperback book differs in only one respect compared to the ebook version in that instead of having match stat details in the final chapter, the print version has a player index instead. You'll also find that there is also a price difference. Try as I might to get the price down, the print costs mean that the paperback has been released at £11.49.

The Disrupted Season (2019-20) paperback is now available to buy for £11.49
Click here to purchase

The book carries on from my first Book - Eddie Had a Dream which is still available to buy. Just like my first book, 15 per cent of the author's earnings go to Julia's House Children's Charity which I am pleased to support again. I had been hoping for some help myself with AFC Bournemouth managing to escape the drop last season, but it wasn't to be. Still, the 2019-20 season was one of the most unusual of seasons for all the Premier League teams and Bournemouth's story was one of the craziest having got off to a reasonably good start that saw them in third place after the first few games.

The book begins with a look at the pre-season in the summer and the transfers that did and didn't happen and the many departures. I am still asking myself whether it was the best of decisions to let Lys Mousset go to Sheffield United when he could have perhaps made the difference for Bournemouth in a few matches. We'll never know now. I am sure that Eddie Howe would like to have done a few things differently, but there were reasons for his decisions which I try to look at.

I found the book easy to break up month by month for chapters as I was just covering the one season and I add in some of my exploits as a blogger in visiting Talk Sport studios in London, experiencing a night with Harry Redknapp and even a surprise meeting with Sylvain Distin.

While I had expected to complete writing the book in May with the end of the scheduled season I had to carry on writing not July with the extended season. Even when there were no football matches it didn't slow discussion around the game and Project Restart provided a dramatic end to the season. Going down to the last game I always felt that AFCB might save themselves, but was realistic in that Championship football could be where the Cherries were going to be in 2020-21. The not knowing made writing quite stressful and yet exciting as we saw matches quickly running out in June and July. 

We know what happened now, but this book is a reminder that you can have on our shelf of Eddie Howe's last season as manager a AFC Bournemouth. There aren't any other publications out on AFC Bournemouth's 2019-20 season out to my knowledge so anyone who does purchase the book will be right up to date with the Cherries history.

This is the final book that I expect to be writing on the Cherries so I hope you all enjoy it. I certainly enjoyed writing it. You can buy the book on Amazon and it is printed and delivered to order - just click on this link to go to the book. You can also look inside the book and read a few pages for free.



Top competition in AFCB's midfield for Middlesbrough game

Jason Tindall has a few key areas in which to make decisions for this weekend's game but I am most interested to know what he will do in midfield. The team has played very well in pre-season and in the opening league and Carabao Cup games under Tindall, and now he really will start to show who he feels are the strongest candidates to lead AFCB's campaign to get back to the Premier League.

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Who plays with Lerma?

It is hard for any AFCB team not to pick Jefferson Lerma. He has the power and strength to get underneath opposition players and disrupt things, so I can't see JT not using him when he is fit. It is trying to work out who works best with Lerma which is a more difficult decision. Lewis Cook was preferred in the first match against Blackburn Rovers before being replaced by Dan Gosling in the second half. Eddie Howe always seemed to favour Philip Billing, but he only got five minutes against Blackburn. Billing and Lewis Cook then played most of the match against Crystal Palace, along with Harry Arter. 

With Lerma having been rested midweek, he should be okay to play. Tindall may put three players in central midfield and just play with Solakne as the main striker. That may make his decision for the middle a bit easier, perhaps with Lerma, Lewis Cook and Dan Gosling filling these positions. He could then include Danjuma and Brooks and the wide players and use Surridge to partner Solanke upfront. But I think this would be too offensive.

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If he just has two central midfielders he can play three at the back and have two wing-backs operating and set up as a 3-4-3. This option also allows AFCB to go defensive very easily with the wing-back slotting back into a back five. The good news is that JT has plenty of options and we haven't even mentioned Ofoborh who played against Palace who can play in midfield.

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In other news, Nottingham Forest has signalled interest in capturing Harry Arter.

Possible AFCB Line-up
AFCB Subs: Dennis, Simpson, Rico, Billing, Gosling, Stanislas, Surridge

Friday, 18 September 2020

Not an empty stadium for Boro match

Bournemouth's players might be at a slight disadvantage when they go up to play at the Riverside this weekend. The ground is part of the government's trial for fans to return to the stadium and it will have 1000 Middlesborough fans in the ground, according to Teeside Live. What they won't have to face is Neil Warnock who has tested positive with COVID-19 and so Kevin Blackwell Boro's number two steps in to manage the team against the Cherries.

The Cherries face one of their longest away trips this weekend

It is all very well allowing fans back into the ground on a test basis but it doesn't quite seem a level playing field if no away supporters or at least only media and staff from the opposition are able to attend the game. Somehow I imagine there will be lots of vocal calls at the referee to give Boro the decisions when they have 1000 more fans in the ground than Bournemouth. Referees have to be objective but that is not going to be so easy - we are all human.

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Boro lost their first game to Watford 1-0 but were said by many to be the better team. In fact, Warnock was staggered that the player of the match had gone to a Watford player. Bournemouth's away record is not great in 2020, so JT will be looking to get his first away win and only Bournemouth's second away win of 2020.

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This is also one of the longest away fixtures for Bournemouth in a week when they have already played Crystal Palace in midweek. That should mean quite a few changes from the Carabao Cup match and Bournemouth will be looking to improve on their defensive record which has not recorded a clean sheet since the Tottenham game in July.

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The odds may be slightly stacked against the Cherries but they are scoring goals freely and that could just be the difference if it is an open game up at the Riverside. Boro has not won a league match in their last five at home which bodes well perhaps for AFCB.

Middlesborough League Home record
DLLLL

AFCB League Away record
LLLLW



Thursday, 17 September 2020

Has Tindall inherited a great youthful squad?

The Carabao Cup win was another fabulous result for Bournemouth. It was even better as a performance and the remarkable thing is that two of the players were making their full debut while at the other end Harry Arter and Asmir Begovic are senior pros. It just might be that Hason Tindall has inherited the manager's job at just the right time with a good crop of young players coming through and no big egos to slow their development.

Tindall may well have inherited the best squad of young players in a while.
The youthful players also played very well against West Ham in the pre-season friendly. We saw Jordan Zemura and Nnamdi Ofoborh win their first full-team debuts against Crystal Palace and they fitted in very well. The young players are having to learn their trade with now crowd support which should be challenging for them, but they are coping better than AFCB did as a team in the last nine games of last season. The team spirit is often not considered that much compared to formations and how individuals are performing, but this team is looking very much together, and results like a win in a long penalty shootout are only going to strengthen the bonds.
Going into the match against Crystal Palace it looked difficult for the AFCB players on paper, especially thinking of how the team last played at home against Palace. But the mental side of the players that went out to represent the Cherries was spot on under Tindall. They didn't give an inch and dominated the game. In fact, they looked like the Premier League team with 17 shots compared to four from Crystal Palace. The challenge will be more difficult up at Man City, but the players are impressing and JT has them playing with confidence which is great to see.



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Whether AFCB can keep the rotation going and maintain the wins is the task now. The away performances had not been good in 2020 up until the win at Everton, so the match against Middlesborough is another chance or players to impress the new manager and see if they can keep their standards high. I must admit the team has performed to a much higher standard than I had expected before the start of the season and it is great to see so many of them doing well and fitting into the team when changes are made. 

At the moment there are lots of positives and let's hope that continues for AFCB.

Previous post on Cherry Chimes - Penalty dramas in AFCB Carabao Cup win

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