Sunday, 21 April 2019

Fulham expose more inconsistencies for Howe's men

Match Description
AFC Bournemouth 0 v 1 Fulham
20 April 2019
Attendance: 10,511
AFCB welcome Fulham to Dean Court.
Looking on paper this was Bournemouth's best chance of picking up three points form their remaining games, but football doesn't work that way. A Mitrovich penalty settled the match just after half-time. It was a game that will soon be forgotten by Bournemouth fans,  even if it was Eddie Howe's 500th managerial game. Poor shooting and a failure to grab hold of the game saw Bournemouth flounder in the heat and ultimately come up short.

Adam Smith was injured in the warm up and was replaced by Junior Stanislas at left back. But otherwise the team was the same as that which played so well at Brighton.

It's a hot, sunny, day in Bournemouth.
There are more images on Match Day Gallery.

There was no hanging about for Bournemouth at the start of this game. Fraser played a good ball up the line for Callum Wilson in the first minute only to see the striker hook his first shot over.

A corner was won by Bournemouth soon after and Aké had his header cleared off the line and Fraser then drilled a shot wide of the left post.

Mepham was caught with a high foot from Mitrovic before Brooks found himself left high and dry without the ball from a good tackle form Tim Ream. Gosling returned the high foot on Mitrovich as Fulham began to get more possession.

Aké was in the thick of it making clearances, before Bournemouth went on the attack. Brooks had a shot blocked by Joe Bryan before Fraser crossed for King, who shot over from just six yards out.
Bournemouth relied on Aké to head clear before Mitrovich put a shot wide. Fraser almost got the goal Bournemouth wanted with a direct run and shot that had Sergio Rico at full stretch in Fulham's goal.

When Wilson was fouled on the edge of the box Stanislas took the kick and pumped it over the bar. He hurt his knee and was subbed with Bournemouth bringing Jack Simpson on after 23 minutes.

Mitrovich pulled out wide before finding Sessegnon who fired a shot across the face of goal. Lerma was playing so deep that he was splitting the centre-backs, and was often Bournemouth's back player. He was playing some great balls though from the back and picked out Fraser some 50 metres down the pitch.

A mistake saw Steve Cook have to battle back against Mitrovich and put in a brilliant tackle just as the forward reached the box on 34 minutes. Boruc had to make a save from Denis Oddi's header from the corner.

Both Zambo Anguissa and Michael Sheri saw shots go over as Fulham got stronger as the half went on.

Mepham fouled Babel just before half-time but it ended 0-0 after 45 minutes.

A goalless first half.

Second half
Fulham attacked quickly with Micheal Seri crossing for Babel to head over. Fraser won a free kick that almost led to Bournemouth Scoring. Wilson just couldn't get the ball to drop and the chance went begging.

Simpson caught Mitcovich in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Mitrovich calmly stroked the ball in to Boruc's right. It was 0-1 to Fulham on 53 minutes.

King put in a good cross but Oddi chested it down for Sergio Rico. Fulham's fans were singing 'One-nil to the championship!'

Michel Seri was finding more and more space and Babel couldn't take advantage of it. Eddie Howe decided to sub Josh King for Solanke on 61 minutes.

Joe Ryan got behind Bournemouth on the wing and Sessegnon had a chance to make it 0-2 but shot right at Boruc. Shortly after, Brouc had to save again from Sessegnon.

Bournemouth were getting sloppy and Steve Cook made a mistake in the middle, giving the ball to Sambo Anguissa, which he got back to recover.

A free kick for Wilson led to Gosling getting on the ball and Wilson shot but had the ball saved by Sergio Rico's legs, while Solanke couldn't get a shot off before Fulham cleared.

Fraser then shot well with Rico making the save as Wilson went in with his feet. A better chance fell to Fraser on 74 minutes, Gosling played the ball through to Fraser on the left who had his head up and shot over.

Mitrovic was carded for a bad challenge on Aké. Fulham kept coming forward with Babel before Mitrovich shot wide.

Mepham was subbed for Mousset on 77 minutes. Steve Cook was then carded for a bad foul  on Babel on 80 minutes.

Brooks got forward and crossed only to see the ball bounce of the bar with Gosling hoping for a better pull back at the far post. Lerma then put a deft chip over for Brooks who volleyed wide.

Fulham subbed Babel for Ayite with four minutes left. Solanke was making runs but couldn't get a shot away. Zambo Anguissa was subbed on 90 minutes for Nordtveit to come on.

With six minutes of added time Bournemouth had some time to get an equaliser but Fulham were time wasting. Mousset put the ball down for a goal kick and Oddi kicked the ball away. Rather than book Oddi the referee mistakenly assumed it was Rico who had time wasted and booked the Fulham keeper.

It was Fulham who might have scored again though. Sessegnon passed to Ayite who found Mitrovich, but it was  a weak shot that Boruc could easily save.

Then with time running out Bournemouth won a free kick. Mousset got his head on the end of it but headed weakly at goal and Rico made the save.

A 0-1 home defeat for the Cherries to the second bottom team.
Bournemouth kept plugging away but never looked like scoring. It was quite an outstanding reverse in terms of finishing quality to what we had seen only seven days ago at Brighton. Bournemouth weren't shot shy, but they just didn't ht the target with any power or belief that they would score. Fulham were perhaps fortunate to win a penalty, but they had a good amount of possession and organised themselves well against Bournemouth in the second half. A draw might have been a better reflection on the game, but it was a surprise three points for Fulham and their first away win of the season.

AFCB line up
AFCB Subs: Begovic, Simpson, Hyndman, Ofoborh, Surridge, Solanke, Mousset.

AFCB Ratings
Boruc 7, Stanislas 5 (Simpson 5) S Cook 7, Mepham 5, Aké 6, Brooks 6, Lerma 8, Gosling 6,
Fraser 7, King 6, Wilson 6
Eddie Howe and his staff looked isolated as the players
found it hard to come over half way to say sorry to the fans.
Cherry Chimes' MoM: Jefferson Lerma

25 Rico, 4 Odoi, 20 Le Marchand, 13 Ream, 23 Bryan, 5 Chambers,
29 Zambo Anguissa (Nordtveit 89), 3 R Sessegnon, 24 Seri (Christie 79), 12 Babel (Ayité 86), 9 Mitrovic

Fulham Subs
7 Kebano, 11 Ayité, 14 Schürrle, 16 Nordtveit, 22 Christie, 31 Fabri, 56 Elliott

Referee watch - David Coote 3/10: The wrongful yellow card for Sergio Rico says it all. 

Saturday, 20 April 2019

AFCB need to see home form return

Eddie Howe is celebrating his 500th game as a manager, but he won't want it to be a defeat. Bournemouth have only won one match of their last five at home. The visit of Fulham perhaps gives Eddie Howe a chance to get the team working at their optimum before they face the bigger challenge of Spurs at Dean Court in a couple of week's time.
Eddie reaches the landmark of 500 games this weekend.

For now, the players have every reason to be confident and expectant of a good game against Fulham. While the attacking play was amazing in the second half against Brighton, the game was also characterised by a clean sheet for the Cherries. The return of Boruc to the team might not have meant that he needed to make more than one save, but his presence is important. Boruc will go level with Asmir Begovic on clean sheets of five if he can prevent Fulham from beating him. But Boruc will only have played 11 Premier League games compared to Begovic's 24. It is more than likely that Howe has miscalculated who his best goalkeeper is this season.

The return of Steve Cook was also a big point last game. He may have had to form a new partnership with Chris Mepham with Nathan Aké moving out wide to the left, but it didn't bother Cook. It didn't look like he had needed any time to fit right back in. His desire to win is one of the factors AFCB have missed and he'll want a clean sheet as much as anyone.

While the forwards will take the glory for any goals they get, it is the defence that has been struggling with the quality of the Premier League this season. Eddie Howe needs to take a long look at what he is doing with the defence and the best players to have in those positions. 

This weekend, Bournemouth's quality up front will probably be too much for Fulham, but it is the lack of goals against that we should be most wanting in the remaining games. We know Bournemouth can play with tremendous counter-attacking quality, but can they stop teams from scoring against them better? The job starts against Fulham and a hopeful return of home form.

Possible AFCB team
AFCB Subs: Begovic, Clyne, Simpson, Ibe,  Stanislas, Mousset, Solanke

Friday, 19 April 2019

Can we expect Wilson to power AFCB to a win over Fulham?

Callum Wilson managed to snatch one goal in the last match against Brighton on a day when he probably thought he could have come away with a few more goals. That is what always so appealing about Wilson - he's a great striker for AFCB, he is always looking to do better.
Can Callum score a hat-trick on Saturday?
The partnership with King might not be as fluent as Howe would like, but with Ryan Fraser there is a great understanding with Wilson. The two of them have been making the difference for Bournemouth and they are two of the players that Howe will be very keen to keep hold of this summer.

Before the Brighton game, Wilson had been getting into good positions but missing good chances. He was in a bit of a slump and Howe probably needs Wilson to be happy to be banging in more goals rather than any other player at AFCB. When Wilson is believing that he can't miss, he is a frightening prospect. I have no doubt that most of Scott Parker's team talk will be directed at how to try and stop Callum Wilson.


This season, Wilson has added different kinds of goals to his game. He is a much better at heading and thrives off low crosses into the box as well. He has also managed the art of special goals as well as he did against West Ham at the start of the season. Stopping Wilson is something that other teams have to deal with, and if you imagine being in Scott Parker's shoes it is not easy to come up with any simple answers.


Are Fulham there for the taking for AFCB?

A quick assessment of Fulham might not give Eddie Howe too many concerns. While they are already relegated, Fulham have managed to get their first win under Scott Parker at home to Everton and in that match they managed their third clean sheet of the season.
AFCB managed a 0-3 win against Fulham earlier in
the season - two goals from Wilson and one from David Brooks
If Fulham's home form has added a glimmer of light to their fans the away form has not given their fans any pleasure having not won a match in 2019 on the road. Fulham did get a point away at Brighton last September and a draw with Newcastle in December, but it has usually been a journey full of defeats. On goal form, Fulham are ahead of Huddersfield, West Ham, Cardiff and Newcastle in their last six away games, but if they are scoring a goal in away matches they are usually conceding three or four as well.

If we put that against AFCB's home form in the last six matches, AFCB come out as the 10th best team in the league, scoring 10 and conceding seven goals. It looks like being a tall task for Fulham to get something from the game with Bournemouth.

While Bournemouth need to be on the look out for players that could do better in a stronger team, it will be of interest to see how well Ryan Sessegnon does in this match, if selected. He has managed two goals and six assists in a struggling Fulham side, but could be snapped up by another Premier League team this summer. Tom Cairney has also been a key player for the London team despite only managing one assist and one goal. Ryan Babel got most of the praise for Fulham's win against Everton and Bournemouth will be aware of his talent, while Mitrovich can always find a goal and has done magnificently well to reach 10 goals this season for Fulham.

While AFCB will be favourites to win the match, we can perhaps see a possibility of Fulham scoring so I don't see this as a walkover, despite Bournemouth's morale boosting 0-5 win last time out at Brighton.

Fulham Away Form

AFCB Home Form

Score predictions
Send in your score predictions for AFCB v Fulham to @CherryChimes. We will pick a winner from the correct entries to win a Cherry Chimes' T-shirt.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Fraser - too good to let go?

The for sale signal on Ryan Fraser's head just gets bigger and bigger. He continues to play out of his skin and his partnership with Callum Wilson has scored the most Premier League goals. Take him out of the side and Bournemouth would be floundering to create probably half as many chances as they do.
Can Fraser add to his tally of seven league goals this Saturday.
Eddie Howe will do everything he can to persuade Ryan Fraser that his future can still be at AFCB. But Fraser has done relegation scares and mid-table safety for several years. Can AFCB offer the Wee-man greater things? Cup quarter-finals and top 10 placings may not be the summit for Fraser or AFCB, but can the winger wait any longer for bigger games?

If Fraser is offered a position at Arsenal or another top six club it will be difficult for AFCB to match the payout Fraser would get. He has been amazing for Bournemouth this season and the only surprise about Ryan is that somehow he has never been player of the year yet. He has stiff competition from the likes of David Brooks and Callum Wilson this season, but he has been one of the players that can make AFCB tick.


Fraser's value has therefore soared in my eyes and if he did go Bournemouth would be well placed to receive a good sum. But the hole he would leave would be huge. Can Bournemouth play as well without Fraser making chances for himself and Wilson? I think it would be a step back for Eddie Howe's team if Fraser decides it is time to go. Fraser has played 33 of the 34 games for AFCB this season - he is ever present, so to lose him would mean a massive change for the team.

Can AFCB achieve a record points total?

With four games to go, AFCB fans can look at the table and be pleased that the club has secured a record fifth season in the Premier League. It does indeed seem a long  time ago that we were singing "We are only here for one season!"
AFCB go points gathering.
The aim now though is to beat the second Premier League season's points total of 46 points. It may be that Bournemouth can do this, but still won't make it into the top 10.  A few weeks ago I predicted a final points total of 48, but that might be a bit higher than the team can manage. It really depends on how much the win over Brighton has meant to the players and how they want to finish the season.

There may not be much of a reward for doing a double over Fulham apart from the three points, but with Fulham having just beaten Everton, I'm sure Eddie Howe will want Bournemouth to take Fulham very seriously and really take the game to the relegated London outfit. The other home game against Spurs will be something that the players can really get up for having not beaten them before, and with Spurs having to come at Bournemouth to try and keep their top four ambitions going.


Playing away at Southampton and Crystal Palace are also likely to be tight games. If Bournemouth are on their game they are capable of winning both of these games, although Southampton have been much stronger of late. I predicted that the team couple pick up more points away from home in the last eight game and having lost to Burnley and drawn with Newcastle, the Brighton win has put that possibility more firmly into view. But If Howe manages one home win and one away win, the record of 47 points will have been reached. It may not have been the total he would have settled for after the first 10 games but a season with hardly any relegation worries has been probably AFCB's most comfortable Premier League season yet.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Is it time for Ibe to move on?

When Jordan Ibe was signed from Liverpool, he was Bournemouth's record signing and it was stated at the time in several papers that Liverpool would have a clause in the contract enabling them to have first option on the players next move. They might be unlikely to exercise that and AFCB could open up offers for Jordan this summer. Eddie Howe wants to build a young squad at Bournemouth, but is Jordan Ibe an asset that could be moved on to free up some cash?
Is it time for a long chat with Jordan Ibe?
I'd say it would be a reasonable option for Bournemouth to let Ibe move on if they can get near enough their transfer money back for him. Look at what AFCB managed to pick up last season for £12m in David Brooks. There is probably something in Howe's belief that Ibe will flourish if he can just get him to find another gear to his game, but each season that goes by and Ibe is not playing more than half the games, it won't be of great benefit for Bournemouth of Jordan.

Having seen how well David Brooks has played, it might have been hoped that it would spur Ibe on to up his game. Still we have hardly seen Jordan this season (17 Premier League  appearances) and while he did well in some early League Cup games, he has to want more than that as an AFCB player.

Bournemouth might have to make some difficult decisions this summer. There are some players who have reached their latter playing years who probably will depart, but not for big money. Ibe still has a reasonable price-tag and it could just be time to cash in to help the club freshen up and keep some of the regular starters more honest.

Bournemouth need players that are going to make a difference and this summer is as good a time as any to recoup some transfer money and see if the club can come out stronger club.

Premier Talk - Brighton keep sliding into more danger