Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Begovic could look for new club this summer

The frustration that Asmir Begovic will have endured this year will be similar to how Artur Boruc was feeling at the start of the season. No goalkeeper wants to be out of the team as it's not a position that will get changed regularly and Begovic may not be as keen as others to bide his time this summer if an offer comes in for him.
Asmir Begovic isn't sitting comfortably on the bench.
Begovic still has the best years as a goalkeeper on his side, but if he can't shift Boruc from the number one spot he faces another long period on the bench as he did at Chelsea. That is probably something that Begovic can't find easy to accept and with Mark Travers gaining experience as an international keeper, it is possible that Howe could decide that the camp is better to let Begovic go, rather than have him sulking.

That may seem a strange decision to make as Begovic is the most recent keeper signing, but Howe can only play one keeper a any one time, and if Boruc is the number one then that is how things are. Asmir has kept five clean sheets and has made 22 appearances. Boruc is playing catch up on nine appearances and three clean sheets, but I'd put Boruc as favourite to improve his clean sheets further before the end of the season.


While Boruc may not have many years left at the top, he has proved this season that he is worthy of keeping the number one shirt above Begovic. It would be easy to say to Begovic to sit and wait it out, but the games missed don't come around again and a keeper's value doesn't exactly start rising when he isn't getting picked.

Personally, I'd like to see AFCB bring in a fresh keeper this coming season if Travers is not yet considered experienced enough to be a number two. But if Begovic does go it could be the making of Travers.

In other news, Callum Wilson played 10 minutes for England as a second hand sub against Montenegro.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Does it matter if Wilson doesn't play against Montenego?

Callum Wilson missed out on playing against Czech Republic on Friday and was an unused substitute. He has done all the training though with England and will no doubt be enjoying his time with the other England players. But he'll want to play.
Will Wilson have ti wait long before attempting to get his second England goal?
Gareth Southgate is spoilt for choice in the front line with the form of Kane, Sterling and Hudson-Odoi impressing in the last match. The formation of 4-3-3 perhaps didn't suit an appearance from Wilson, but away from home Southgate could change formation.

We have really only seen Wilson play as a number nine and how he would do on the right side of a front three would be of interest to see, but Kane has played a full game and might only be used for 60 minutes against Montenegro if England are well ahead. That could give Wilson the chance for his second cap. The team is very young and Southgate knows that the only way his young players are going to get experience is to play them.

Wilson has done nothing wrong and will have to bide his time. As long as he stays positive I'm sure his time will come again. He may not get to run on the grass in this international break which will be a pity for him, but he'll now he is still in the manager's thoughts and just has to keep banging in the goals for AFCB.

In other news
Nathan AkΓ© was an unused sub in the Netherland's 2-3 defeat to Germany.

I was privileged to be shown a fan's vision of what AFCB's new stadium could look like in Kings Park. You can also see for yourself the design that Marius Sepek has made here.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Brooks sees yellow during win over Slovakia

Bournemouth players did their bit to help Wales overcome a stubborn Slovakia side who tested Ryan Giggs' Welsh team all the way. In the end it was just a first half goal that decided the game and Brooks had a part in the goal even though he won't be that proud of his part in it.
David Brooks and Chris Mepham are starting games for Wales.
Brooks played up front along with Dan James and Gareth Bale. The moment that led to the Welsh goal was a tad disappointing for Brooks as he ran well up the right side before cutting in and looking to find a team-mate in the centre, but his pass went straight to a Solvakian defender. That should have been the move over, but Dan James pounced on the defender and drive a shot quickly past the keeper's right hand to give Wales the lead.

David Brooks lasted until the 60th minute when he went down knowing he would be subbed. But having sat on the ball and deciding to sit on the turf looking to the touchline, the referee booked Brooks for slowing the game and not walking straight off. There is perhaps still some things for David to learn at the top level as he looked a bit bewildered in getting carded.

Team-mate, Chris Mepham had a less controversial game and Wales rarely looked like they would concede, even if Slovakia had their moments when they controlled possession and put Wales under some late pressure. It will be another clean sheet for Mepham and he'll be pleased to let Eddie Howe know that he did his job well. 

King on spot against Spain

Josh King had a pretty quiet match against Spain, but he gave the Norwegians great hope of getting a point from the game when Johnsen was bundled over on the box on 65 minutes. King was right on spot with his penalty beating David de Gea low to the keeper's left.
King almost got Norway a result against Spain.
The celebrations didn't last long though because Morata was fouled in the box on 70 minutes and Ramos cheekily chipped the ball from the spot into the roof of the net to make it 2-1. Spain had taken the lead earlier in the first half by getting behind Norway on their right side and Rodrigo had opened the scoring.

Josh King has been working hard on his spot kicks. He has had many for AFCB this season and is clearly getting more practise with Norway. While Norway play with two upfront like AFCB, King was not getting much of the ball in the first half when playing with Elyounoussi. The best chance for Norway fell to Elyounoussi just after the half hour, but de Gea made a good save.

Josh would have been pleased to get a point against Spain in group F where Norway also have Romania and Sweden in their group. King almost saved a point in the last minute of added time when his cross for the head bandaged Johnsen was headed just wide. Although the game didn't pan out so well for Norway and King, Josh will have another game under his belt against what was high-quality opposition, and if he can calm himself well enough to score from the spot for Norway against de Gea, then he will certainly feel confident for AFCB next time he steps up for a spot kick.


In other news, Mark Travers was an unused sub in the Republic of Ireland's 0-1 away win over Gibraltar.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Dubai should quicken recovery of Francis and Cook

The heat of Dubai could not only provide AFCB's players with some sense of well-being just from the warm conditions, it is likely to help the injury recovery of Lewis Cook and Simon Francis in particular. These players have been around the team even when they don't play, but there is nothing like boosting their own determination to get back to being fit when they can be laughing and joking with the team in an environment designed to get the very best out of players.
Lewis Cook and Simon Francis will be trying to be ready for
AFCB a month  or two into next season.
Just watching the other players do their training will get Francis and Cook more anxious to speed their own recovery. They can feel much more a part of the team if they do their work and at the end of the day can talk to the other players about how training went, and relax simply to talk about how their day went.

No doubt the facilities out in Dubai are also five stars and the best doctors the country has to offer will be available to the players needing rehab. We have seen Tyrone Mings and Callum Wilson make the use of this in the past and it's clearly a location that AFCB have become rather attached to in recent seasons.

Getting away from the last few games is also probably not a bad thing. The season is a short one now with players knowing they just have seven matches to the break. The minds could well be wondering already about the summer break and AFCB still have some work to do, so hopefully the nice weather and new surroundings put smiles on faces. It would certainly be good to come back from the trip and hear that Junior Stanislas, Andrew Surman, Dan Gosling and Adam Smith are back in contention to play.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Central midfield role for Brooks could be exciting for AFCB

We saw a bit of a change in the line up for last Saturday's match against Newcastle. There was no Andrew Surman because of a calf injury, and the injury could well be bad enough to keep Surman out for the rest of the season.
David Brooks could become a more versatile player.

So with David Brooks named in the starting eleven, it was good to see him get another chance to play in central midfield rather than on the wings. I thought he did reasonably well, even if he is perhaps coming back from his Achilles problem and not quite back to his sharpest yet. What I expect Howe is thinking is that Brooks has great vision and can pick a pass. If he can get Brooks sitting more comfortable playing in midfield, behind the two front strikers it could add another dimension to Bournemouth's play.

Brooks is no slouch and can push on through tackles well and if he can find himself getting into positions in the middle of the pitch, where he can thread ball through to the attackers or shoot himself, he could have even more influence in matches than he does playing out on the wing. For David's personal development, it is no doubt good for him to experience playing in different positions anyway at this stage of his career.

Brooks still has a lot of potential. He will bulk up more I'm sure and this would help him if he does find that central midfield is more to his liking. For the moment, he could get the rest of the season next to Lerma, which again would be a good learning curve for him, and if he keeps developing at his quick rate, we could have an even better player on our hands next season.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Solanke shows encouraging signs

Eddie Howe only made one substitution against Newcastle. The bench was not full of players who could perhaps influence the game and he chose Domonic Solanke who put in a performance that certainly got noticed by the fans.
Solanke is starting look more like a Premier League striker.
The aim is always to come on and make an impact and Solanke was pleased he did that. He doesn't always look like he has the ball under control, but he has a good presence of mind and when he confidently got himself into the box. He kept his concentration well to hold off several Newcastle players around him before finding the well-placed Josh King to give Bournemouth their second goal.

I suppose Solanke's aim will be to break his own duck of scoring before the end of the season and this may help him feel a bit more like he is contributing to the team in an attacking sense. The task of getting in front of King or Wilson is not going to be easy and he is doing well to rival Mousset who also has just as much need to get minutes from the bench.

What I can see about Solanke is that he does a lot of running. Whether he can start to make more runs that are going to be picked out by his team members is what I'm looking out for now. If he can get an understanding with the midfielders then he may find he is contributing more. He certainly has a shot on him and I'm curious to see whether he can score some goals from outside the box and headers, as well as tap-ins. He has some time this season to show us what he can do and it would be great to get another striker who really feels at home in the Premier League and playing for Bournemouth, because the big clubs could well come in for King or Wilson this summer.