Saturday, 22 September 2018

Bournemouth must make the most of Burnley's lack of confidence

Sean Dyche has said this week that 'Burnley aren't a million miles away from getting a result', but they are far enough away that they haven't been picking up points. Bournemouth can take that one of two ways, and it's Eddie Howe that must convince his players that they are the strong team and the ones that will get the result, if they put in a good performance.
Ryan Fraser may be Burnley's biggest fear.
Bournemouth must first match Burnley's energy and intent and let their football flow. Bournemouth have been enjoying their football. Winning games has been great for morale but it's been particularly positive for the new signings that have come in. There is a freshness to Bournemouth's game and yet there are still some parts of their play that can be worked on, says Howe.

While Ryan Fraser is likely to become a more marked man, there is hopefully more space for some of Bournemouth's other strikers. Josh King is yet to score from open play and will have find memories of scoring at Turf Moor last season as will Callum Wilson who grabbed the winner last May. Burnley are in a far more precarious position at the start of this season, and if decisions early on go against Burnley, Bournemouth should keep their cool and look to make the most of any set-plays they get.


Any balls put into Burnley's box will put their defenders on edge and the more Bournemouth can make Burnley look at their own goal in the first 20 minutes, the more likely I feel the Cherries are to get a result. But Joe Hart is in great form, so we need to see some precision shooting from the Cherries again. Keeping the pressure on Sean Dyche's players requires Bournemouth to play their game and restrict Burnley from getting any cohesion or momentum, because if Burnley do get a goal up Bournemouth could find that Burnley's players suddenly feel that they are back to doing what they did last season.
Josh King will be after his first goal in open play.
Beating Burnley this season, just like last season at Turf Moor would be a great result. But this season to get a win up there is probably going to be even harder to achieve, because Burnley can't afford to lose anymore ground on the teams above them. Bournemouth have to dishearten Burnley to break them. and that's going to need a team ready to fight hard for every ball up at Turf Moor. I just hope Bournemouth are ready for a battle.

AFCB possible line up
AFCB Subs: Boruc, Mings, Francis, Surman, L Cook, Ibe, Mousset.

 AFCB TV match preview

Sean Dyche's pre-match press conference on Bournemouth match.

Friday, 21 September 2018

What's wrong with Burnley?

In the early part of the season, it was easy for Sean Dyche to say the Europa league had been difficult to get used to and the Thursday/Sunday routine. Before the international break the Claret's manager said the players looked 'fatigued'. But playing against Wolves last weekend, he couldn't really find a palatable excuse in a game where they hardly threatened to score.
Will Bournemouth walk off happy against Burnley?
Dyche has pointed to the amount of turnovers in their games and 'a fog' descending on his team. The team is not balanced and while they have a couple of players to come back from injuries, Burnley look there for the taking at the moment.

Joe Hart has looked their best player and he hasn't done too much wrong. But Burnley are leaking goals with 10 against, so far this season. The fixtures they have had in the Premier League would suggest that they have been really struggling, losing to two newly-promoted clubs – Fulham and Wolves away from home. They have gained a point away at Southampton, but Watford and Man United were too strong for them at home. The goal difference of -7 is only better than Huddersfield and only three other teams have a higher total than 10 goals conceded, which is what Burnley have. Their problems though are not just at one end. Burnley have scored just three goals in their five matches. Only Huddersfield have scored fewer goals and Cardiff are the only other team scoring as few as three goals.

Putting those kind of problems right quickly is a challenge. Sean Dyche will be looking for a reaction, and if they can't get points at home it is looking like a long season for Burnley. The pressure is on Burnley just for propping up the league.

They have players coming back from injury such as midfielder Steven Defour, but Dyche needs his strikers to start scoring and, so far, he has only given two games to Matej Vydra, who was signed in the summer from Derby. Chris Woods has had four starts, Sam Vokes has just had one start, as has Ashley Barnes, but they have featured in the five games. He needs one of the strikes to hit form. Two of Burnley's three goals have come from James Tarkowski with Jeff Hendrick scoring the other goal. So it's a blank for the forwards.

Bournemouth will be hoping that record doesn't improve.

Burnley Home form

AFCB Away form

Rival Lines with Up the Clarets

Rival Lines: 'We shouldn't be bottom of the league but we are!'

Rival Lines
Match Preview - Burnley v AFCB
Blogger Interview - Up the Clarets
Twitter: @utcdotcom

This week  I sent some questions to Tony Scholes who is the editor of Up the Clarets! While Burnley have not had the greatest of starts I wanted to see if Tony could give any insight into why it had been a slow start for Burnley and whether last season was perhaps a bit of a burden.

CC: Where you disappointed with the small number of summer signings Burnley made?
UTC: I think everyone was, and that certainly includes the manager who has commented on it on several occasions. We were playing in Istanbul on the final day of the deadline, which doesn't help. The chief exec stayed behind to try and complete potential deals but nothing happened.

CC: Why do you think Burnley have had a slow start to the season?

UTC: It's so hard to pinpoint the reasons. We were told constantly from outside that our involvement in the Europa League qualifiers would affect us. It does seem ridiculous that we had to play on six consecutive Thursdays with some of those games intermingled with pre-season friendlies.

I think we had all decided that was the reason and that things would be fine once we'd got over the travelling and had an international break. It's not quite worked out like that yet.

CC: Sean Dyche has spoke of fatigue, do you think the players are as fit as last season having had a short pre-season?

UTC: If they are fatigued then I don't think it is a lack of fitness as such but the games programme we've had. We've played on Thursday nights in Turkey and Greece and flown straight home. That must hit the sleep patterns and unfortunately, because of how the European ties were drawn, we followed those trips with away games at Southampton and Fulham.

CC: What did you make of the team's performance against Wolves in your last game?

UTC:  I was considering not even answering this question. It was as bad as anything I've seen for some considerable time to be honest. We were in disarray and it was only the inept Wolves forwards who helped us keep the score down.

CC: Are there any of the recent results where you felt the team were really unlucky not to have won?

UTC: We should have won the opening game at Southampton. We were better than they were, considerably so, but had to settle for a 0-0 draw. A week later, having conceded an early goal, we were level at half time against Watford and were, again, by far the better side. We then conceded two goals in the opening minutes of the second half and it has been pretty poor stuff ever since.

The only exception was our performance against Olympiacos. We were outstanding that night and really, with any luck, would have gone through and would have been playing in Europe again this week.
CC: Who has been Burnley's best player so far this season?

UTC: I'd say take your pick from Joe Hart, James Tarkowski and Jeff Hendrick. Hart has had a couple of outstanding games, Tarkowski is just a very good Premier League defender and Hendrick, who is often the target when things aren't going well, has been as good as anyone else forward of the defence.

CC: Who has been the most disappointing player?

UTC: It's not just one player. The two full backs have disappointed, so have the wide players, Aaron Lennon and Jα½Ήhann Berg GuΓ°mundsson, and Chris Wood has looked poor up front.

CC: Which players are injured at the moment and might come back to make an impact soon?
UTC: Steven Defour and Robbie Brady. We've missed them terribly. Defour has been out since January but played nearly an hour for the under-23s this week while Brady, who was brilliant at Bournemouth last season, suffered a serious injury on the following Saturday at Leicester and hasn't played since.

Get those two players back in the reckoning and there is absolutely no doubt we are strengthened.

CC: Do you think Burnley just need one good win to bring the belief back?

UTC: One win would certainly be a good start and I think it would be a great help to get things moving again. We shouldn't be bottom of the league but right now that's exactly where we are and we need to start getting results.

CC: How will Burnley line up against Bournemouth?

UTC: This will be interesting. Given the result and performance at Wolves I'd expect changes but it would be impossible to be honest right now to even think what the line up might be.

CC: What is your score prediction?

UTC:  We need a win, we'll get one sooner or later, so I'll go for us to win this one 2-0.

CC: I never find it easy asking fans of teams that are struggling in the league. We have all been there and it hurts. But I agree with Tony that Burnley shouldn't be there and they will pick up results sooner or later. I do believe the efforts of last season mentally might still be weighing on the team. Joe Hart has come in and been exceptional but he needs those in front of him to show similar need not to want to get beat. Bournemouth's players though are in a great place mentally, and in terms of form and while Burnley are at home, all the pressure is on Burnley's players in this fixture. To be honest it's as a good a time as any to play Burnley and that is said respectfully, as Turf Moor is one of the hardest places to go and win a game usually. What I can assure you is that it will be long odds against on a 0-0 draw. There will be goals at both ends.

Check out more of Tony's views at Up the Clarets! 

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Are Bournemouth finally becoming more ruthless?

Bournemouth rattled in four goals against Leicester City of which three came in the first half. It's the first time this season that Bournemouth have really been in the box seat from the start of the game and scoring freely, so have they found their ruthless streak in front of goal?
Fast-shooting AFCB will look to come out of the traps quickly again against Burnley.
The Leicester match may have seemed comfortable with the early scoreline. Bournemouth did find themselves out shot though by a Leicester side that had 14 shots compared to Bournemouth's 10 shots. Where Bournemouth excelled was in getting five shots on target and in the first half, it was three out of four which resulted in goals.

The player that most fantasy league managers may want to see score in a Bournemouth shirt is probably Callum Wilson. While he has been going through a bit of a confidence low in front of goal, he is making chances for others and the assist he made for Ryan Fraser set Bournemouth well on their way to victory. Both Wilson and King have not found it easy to get space in the box to shoot though, and Bournemouth need to get these two players into positions where they have a clear sight of goal.

Other parts of the team are functioning really well. Still, it may be that Fraser needs some support in the goal getting in future games. Whether we see that from the likes of David Brooks or Jefferson Lerma is something I'd like to see Bournemouth work on. If Bournemouth really need to up their shots though it may mean waiting for Junior Stanislas to return to the team.

Howe was clear that Bournemouth are not the finished article after beating Leicester, and while four goals at home is going to win most games, there is still room for better shooting from the red and black shirts.

AFCB can hang in there at the top of the table

Eddie Howe stressed that the win against Leicester was an important three points and I agree that it was more important than the win over Cardiff City and possibly even the away match at West Ham. Leicester are not a side that make it easy for teams and Bournemouth ran them ragged from the first minute of the game. While Leicester had their chances, Bournemouth defended in the main well and with some luck you could say. But Begovic's saves and the blocks from Steve Cook were just as helpful as Fraser's goals, and Bournemouth are building into a team that are starting to believe they can live with the top six in this league.
How long can Bournemouth keep up their average of two pints a game?
Beating Leicester was a big step. In the past these games have usually been draws but AFCB are trying to better themselves at every point and the targets they are setting themselves are simply to win the next game. With Burnley up next, Ryan Fraser was quick to admit that Turf Moor will be tough, but also stressed that Bournemouth won their last season and 'we are better now'. It's not arrogance, but confidence and it's not just coming from Fraser, but you can see it in all the players.

Why might it be different this season? I believe it is the impact that the new signings have made. David Brooks shouldn't be that good that he can take to the Premier League so well and yet he has managed it, and fits into the team perfectly. He will blossom more when he gets his first goal. Jefferson Lerma is a man mountain in the middle of the park and while he reminds me of a past Marvin Bartley, he is calmer under pressure and showed a great sense of maturity against Leicester with his decisions. Diegio Rico is also providing major competition for the left-back spot and he will learn from leaving his foot in for the late penalty against Leicester City.
If Bournemouth can hang in there with the likes of Leicester and Everton then they will be knocking on the door of the top six. The fixtures are lined up so as to give Bournemouth a chance of staying amongst the leaders, if they can get results against teams that have mediocre starts such as Burnley and Crystal Palace. The programme is already building for a strong season and Bournemouth could have a mouthwatering tie against Watford in a few weeks time to see which of them can give the top six a run for their money.  

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Lerma is a powerhouse

While it has been hard to see Harry Arter playing for another team, there is no doubt in my mind that Bournemouth have the better deal with the arrival of Jefferson Lerma. He played with a great deal of control and energy against Leicester City. While he picked up a yellow card, I though he as more restrained than he was against Chelsea and did his best not to get a cheap booking.
Lerma is finding his feet at AFCB.
Where Lerma is exciting me is his fast recycling of the ball. He instinctively passes quickly and he is strong on the ball. It is a presence that Bournemouth have been lacking in midfield and I thought he particularly warmed to the game at Dean Court against Leicester. Whether he starts getting into good shooting positions next is what I'm looking out for. Bournemouth haven't had many powerful central midfield goal scorers, but I see that Lerma is getting more involved in attacks, and he has the power to hit drives from 25 yards out.

Lerma's addition to the team has been a quiet transformation. I don't think Eddie Howe wants him to change the way the team plays, but he does want Lerma to be strong in the tackle and to set moves going. Lerma does get close to the opposition, and against Leicester it forced them to go to Ghezzal and Chilwell in the wide areas, while they looked for the early ball to Vardy and Morrison rather than keeping the ball in central midfield for long. If Bournemouth can channel play more into the areas where they can make quick turnovers then it helps their game, and I see Lerma as a key element in Bournemouth's game plan to get hold of possession.

The balance of the midfield area looks fairly settled with Lerma and Dan Gosling. Once they can get a few more games together, we should see even more from Lerma as he'll pick up what Gosling is likely to do in more and more situations. He will start to anticipate more. For now though, Lerma has fitted in well and I'm looking forward to see what more there is to his game.

Has Begovic grown an inch?

Asmir Begovic has not found it simple to keep clean sheets, but he is making difficult saves look more routine in a Bournemouth shirt. His double save against Jamie Vardy and James Maddison at the weekend was outstanding and his agility, if not his height, seems to have grown over the summer.
Begovic can stand tall after recent performances.
With the amount of saves Begovic is making though he should be walking around an inch or two taller. His catching has gone up a level or two as well, as he didn't look like dropping anything against Leicester and was most assured on crosses, which gives confidence to the team.

The back line needs that confidence in kicking as well and playing out from the back. This is probably the area of the game where Begovic, as well as many other keepers are finding that the game has moved on very quickly in recent years. Playing from the back is difficult when keepers don't think quickly and Begovic's throw outs are becoming really important for setting up play from Bournemouth's own half.
The stats show that Begovic kicks more than we might expect with 43 goal kicks so far, just over eight per game. But the stats don't say how many of these are taken shot to his defenders on the edge of the box. His throw outs amount to 25, five per game. 

Having a good goal keeper is going to save teams at least 10 points in an average season. With Begovic conceding seven goals in five games, he is below the rate which saw Bournemouth let in 61 goals last season. If he can keep up his current level the Cherries will end up on 53 goals against, so he has had a good start to the season.

In other news, Stanislas and Pugh score in an 8-1 win in the Hampshire Senior Cup playing for the U21 against Eastleigh. Best wishes to former Cherry Eunan O'Kane who has suffered a double leg break playing on loan for Luton.