Saturday, 24 February 2018

Bournemouth have to find the energy to beat Newcastle

Newcastle will come to Dean Court knowing that a win will push them above Bournemouth in the table and it would be a big step to them making their Premier League status more secure. It is a huge game and the energy that Newcastle had to hold on to victory against Man Utd was immense and it was quite disturbing to see how Bournemouth fell away in their last match. So, the Cherries had better have found some energy in their legs for this game as it is one of the key games in their season.
Bournemouth will need to be full of running to get past Newcastle Utd.
For once I hope that the players are sent out with no thoughts about league positions and points. they don't need that extra pressure in such a big game. They need to be focussed on winning their personal battles and getting to the ball first. When the Cherries have the intensity and speed in their play to attack teams they invariably play well. Now is not the time for lacklustre performances and I'm hoping for a really loud atmosphere at home for this one as the players need to be brave and strong to beat Newcastle who will be more than a little confident having taken all three points against Man Utd.


I do expect an end-to-end game with plenty of goal-mouth action and we could need a big performance from Asmir Begovic to get something from the match. While Bournemouth might not need to win this game, they certainly won't want to lose it and Begovic will be well praised if he can keep a clean sheet. He can be helped by having defenders who do react quickly and get their passing game going well, but the first 20 minutes as always will be important just to see if Bournemouth can come out with more energy and aggression than they did up at Huddersfield. Newcastle know they are in a battle and perhaps AFCB forgot that they were still in a battle last match. They can't afford to make that same mistake in this game.

Bournemouth are close to getting the points they need and that is what makes it all the more disappointing when they don't perform. So, Eddie Howe has to get them mentally and physically right for this one as Newcastle will be just as hungry for the win. Win this game though and Bournemouth will have restored their momentum and can look forward to the remaining games. That's the outcome we all want to see. UTCIAD!

Newcastle Utd Away Form


AFCB Home Form

Possible AFCB line up
AFCB Subs: Boruc, Simpson, L Cook, Gosling, Ibe, Mousset, Wilson
AskFans' Match Preview AFCB v Newcastle Utd

Friday, 23 February 2018

What changes should Howe make for Newcastle?

This past week will have been a big one for AFCB's players. AFCB can't afford to drop any points at home with the recent results. So the team selection is going to be fierce now and Eddie Howe has to make sure he picks the players with the right mentality as well as the those in top physical condition.

That may mean making some changes, but if Howe can't put his finger on what was exactly wrong at Huddersfield he has to rely on what he knows gets results at home. In some ways he probably has to get the defeat against Huddersfield out of the players' minds and there were so many things that were not typical of a Bournemouth side that he doesn't want them to fall into the same mistakes.

All positions are pretty much up for grabs as AFCB look to find form.
The temptation to give Josh King a start is perhaps is something that Eddie will opt to do at home. I thought King might have even started at Huddersfield having played a strong part in the win against Stoke City, but I suppose Eddie is still trying to protect him from too many minutes. The central midfield area is the big talking point though. Does Eddie Howe stick with Dan Gosling and Lewis Cook or does he go back to thinking about Arter and/or Surman? I didn't think Gosling had a good enough game at Huddersfield to give him any priority in this next game, but I thought Lewis Cook was a bit more successful at trying to get AFCB moving in the right direction. My gut feeling is that Eddie will change at least one central midfielder and that Arter may just be given the opportunity to come back in.


Mistakes were made at the back but I don't see Eddie having enough defenders to change much at the back. Adam Smith could be set for a start but will Eddie Howe have the courage to drop Simon Francis? Bournemouth need to win a game without Francis to get rid of that bonkers stat that they can't win without him. This next match could be the moment to try and test the theory that AFCB are more than capable of winning in the Premier League without Simon Francis.

AskFans' Match Preview AFCB v Newcastle Utd

Cherry Chimes' T-Shirt competition
To win a T-Shirt this weekend, guess the name of the first goal scorer against Newcastle Utd and the time of the first AFCB goal. We will pick a winner from the correct guesses that get the name of the scorer right and the secondly the nearest time to when the goal was scored. Eg you could guess - Wilson 17 or Stanislas 5

OR simply send in your score predictions for the match

Tweet your answers to @CherryChimes

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Should King start with Wilson up front?

Eddie Howe will have a few decisions to make in his team selection and having had a week in warmer weather with the team he will have had a good look at his forward options. Callum Wilson has bravely led the line for a run of games in December and January and Josh King is fit again and has been getting back to his best, while Lys Mousset is trying to get more minutes as well.

Would Josh King have more success in a 4-4-1-1 system?
Wilson's last goal came against Chelsea and since then he has been finding it hard to get into games from what I can see. The last minute chance he had against Stoke City still sticks on the mind, but up at Huddersfield when he wanted to impress Gareth Southgate there was little he could do to make any impression. I don't think Callum has lost any of his form particularly but he just needs to get a goal to give him a bit of confidence.

Josh King is going to want to be starting games but the system that Howe has been playing with Wilson up front and Stanislas and Fraser on the wings has not been open to a second striker. King could play wide but he is not as affective for me when he is forced out wide and his strength is his finishing, so AFCB need to get him in front of goal whenever they can. King did get a goal more recently in the last home match against Stoke and then he was on the left, but playing him there does make it hard to fit Fraser in his favoured position and Fraser has been the one supplying the majority of assists of late.

Meanwhile, Lys Mousset still finds himself third choice and it is going to be hard for him to find away into the starting line up unless he can make a habit of scoring when he comes on in games. News this week suggests that Jermain Defoe is also on his way back so if he has trained well, Mousset may have company on the bench to push him down to the fourth option, which is hard on him having been the hero last home game. It is all about who is going to stick the chances away though now, and the choice Howe makes could make the difference between AFCB cementing their place in the top 10 or having real scrap just to stay in the league.

If King were to start with Wilson up front we would see a change in formation back to a 4-4-1-1 line up and it would be great to know whether AFCB have been working on this system again over in Portugal.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Fraser is already on a par with Ritchie

Like many AFCB fans I was a bit sad when Matt Ritchie left the club for Newcastle Utd. That was more a homage of what he had done for Bournemouth since his arrival in League One days and his hard work rate. Ritchie was always AFCB's flare player and he held that mantle with great distinction during his time at the club and I'll always think fondly of him, but given a choice today to have Matt Ritchie or Ryan Fraser in AFCB's squad and I'm more than delighted that Eddie Howe still has the Wee-man under his tutelage.
Ryan Fraser has grown in stature this season.
The visit of Newcastle Utd will bring Matt Ritchie back to Dean Court in a playing respect for the first time since his departure, even though he played against AFCB earlier in the season at St James' Park. I that game Ritchie was arguably Newcastle's best player and he rattled AFCB's defence more than once, even if he did not score. Now he will be keener than ever to get a goal or more and help the Toon Army close the gap on the Cherries and other teams above them, and we know that Ritchie has the ability to win games like he did against Man Utd recently.

Still, AFCB have their own match-winners and the performances of Ryan Fraser this season have been amongst the best he has played for the club. I seriously think he is already challenging the legacy of Matt Ricthie in an AFCB shirt and he has shown that he is also becoming a fine player in different positions. Ryan is one of the most exciting players at AFCB and he just continues getting better. Even during the defeat against Huddersfield he provided the cross that enabled Junior Stanislas to score. His assist and goal record have been on an upward trajectory with two assist and four goals this season in the Premier league. Matt Ritchie has five assists and one goal.

It's all about producing for Ryan Fraser and he is not afraid to take the responsibility to shoot, while he is also happy to play in defence if called upon. If he can develop into a complete player he will be well on his way to becoming AFCB's Scottish legend and that story could be enhanced by a goal or two against Newcastle this coming weekend, which could be a timely reminder to Alex McLeish that Scotland can't afford to do without Ryan Fraser. 

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Bournemouth's real problem is not enough great defenders

Eddie Howe may not ever want to change his playing style, but the time is fast approaching for him to really see what is available in the market for top class defenders this summer. If the Cherries thought that by signing Nathan Aké all there defensive problems would disappear, they are finding out that one top class defender can't save them every game.
There is no doubt that Nathan Aké is heading towards
being a world class defender, but Bournemouth need a few more like him.
The Huddersfield result was a big disappointment. It wasn't so much a painful experience because AFCB lost their unbeaten record, but more about the sloppy goals conceded. Simon Francis was exposed as a defender who is now struggling at this level and Steve Cook simply makes one misplaced pass too many at times, which must annoy Eddie Howe as much as the fans.

But who does Eddie turn to when it's not going well at the back? Can he throw Jack Simpson on and ignore the Premier League experience that the others have built up? Does he go to a back four with Adam Smith on the right? What he could do with is having a fully fit Tyrone Mings or a Brad Smith who played like he had been a first choice for Liverpool. Instead Howe's hands are tied. He has to work with what he has and at the moment the defence is still the weakest part of his team and it's been that way for three seasons in the Premier League.
In previous years, Eddie has had a defender with a solid amount of experience to share with the team. He has had Ian Harte, Sylvain Distin and Marc Wilson who have done the miles and been in teams that have experienced tough times. But this season there are no experienced men to come on at the back unless Howe wants to change his keeper. Daniels and Francis are the oldest defenders at the club and along with Steve Cook should have built up the necessary experience to deal with most games in the Premier League, but they are still being found out a bit too often and Eddie's priority this summer must be to find another great defender or even two. 

Monday, 19 February 2018

Francis won't want to slow down at 33

Last week Simon Francis celebrated his 33rd birthday and Eddie Howe was pleased to highlight the key role that the defender has had in shaping wins for the team since joining the club in AFCB's league One days. Then it was season after season that Francis was rightly made the fans' choice for player of the season, but it hasn't been as easy for him in the team this season.
Simon Francis has been struggling to find form but Eddie Howe is
sure Francis continues to be a valuable member of the squad and a great captain.
Many will be saying that Francis is not the player he was and it's true that he can't make those amazing right wing runs from right back and has had to be adaptable to play more as a central defender. But he will know he has made mistakes and will want to play better not only to play the captain's role, but just to prove he has the same desire he has always had to lead the side to wins. It was a stunning stat I heard that AFCB have not won a Premier League game without Francis in the team, and it kind of knocks those who point the finger at Francis for some of the defeats. I can't explain the stat as the team should be capable of winning games without their captain, but it does make you think that what will happen when the time comes when Francis is not able to force his way into the team?

It was a transition for the team when Tommy Elphick left the club and when Simon Francis hangs up his boots the change may be more difficult for the squad to get used to. The senior members of the squad are the pillars of a team and with Simon Francis and Andrew Surman entering the later years of there playing careers there will have to be some new blood brought in and Eddie Howe has to decide when that is going to be. It could be as early as this summer, but I don't feel that Francis is ready to stop playing yet and will want a fourth season in the Premier League. Still, he may find it harder to play quite so many games in the future.

The disciplinary record that Francis has had is not so great and he is now just one yellow card away from picking up 10 this season. Whether this is a case of Francis losing a bit of his speed and timing his tackles not as well rather than anything else will be a cause for concern. We know Eddie Howe will be as loyal as he can to his players and will always give Francis a fair crack at keeping his place in the team, but Francis has now got to do all he can to keep his performance levels high as people are going to point towards his age when things don't go well. It's unfair and it's human nature, but just like when payers are viewed as being too young to play, it can be more of a battle to get in the team each week. 

Francis has been a player that has been top class for AFCB and he deserves the plaudits for what he has achieved, but he will know himself when he has to slow down and will know what his body can do. I hope that his 34th year gives him even more to smile about.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Was Huddersfield game just just a blip?

Eddie Howe will be hoping that the Huddersfield defeat was a one-off but the magnitude of the defeat means that his side has to come from a long way back now mentally to get into a more positive mood for the next game. While away from has been impressive, it is questionable whether AFCB were either over confident or simply short of energy in this match against Huddersfield.
AFCB need to get back on form at home.

From what I saw, I thought the will was there but not the energy. It was clear that when Bournemouth played Chelsea a few weeks ago they were a much stronger side having enjoyed a good rest and Eddie Howe must now find the same kind of preparation for the Cherries next game against Newcastle. Having a long period between game gives the players not only time to rest but time to reflect. They will know why they didn't perform at Huddersfield and that they have now put more pressure on themselves for the next game. It may be that the defeat to Huddersfield will give AFCB more of a kick that they need to get them hungry for more points, but the feeling at the moment is that the performance against Huddersfield was well  below the levels that it should have been.

We know that the reaction now is very important. If Bournemouth don't turn it on at home they will be almost within range of the bottom three again and it will be a much more nervy place to be around Dean Court if the blip turns into a slide. At the moment, one game is nothing to get too worried about, but Eddie Howe has to address the weak performance at Huddersfield and find a new invigorated AFCB side for their next few games.

AFCB will hope the Portuguese sun will improve the mood and find a bit of comfort in this rest period. They don't want to see all their hard work in getting into the top half of the table suddenly be taken away from them again.

Ask Fans' match report Huddersfield v AFCB