Thursday, 18 October 2018

Lerma and Cook are as good as any midfield pairing

I was especially impressed with Jefferson Lerma's game the other weekend, which was to break up Watford's passing and play the ball simply to the white shirts to start off AFCB moves. He tackles with force and is persistent which was annoying to Watford's players. He is also calm and plays the percentages, not trying to overplay. He has added great strength to the middle of the park and Bournemouth just look a much more solid team with him. Jefferson has done brilliantly since he has come in, and it is particularly good that he has played well when with Gosling, Surman or Lewis Cook. Lewis in his post-match Watford interview almost went as far as saying it is basically a privilege to play with Jefferson, such is the respect. 
Lerma has started better than anyone could have hoped in Bournemouth's midfield.
While there is competition within the team for every spot, I believe Howe always wanted Lewis Cook and Jefferson Lerma to be the main duo in midfield. Only, he also wanted to ensure that Lewis Cook did not suffer burnout, after playing over the summer and having had his most successful Premier League season. Lewis just has to compliment Lerma and see if he can be as positive in his forward passing as we have seen last season. Lewis will not get a great deal of rest playing for the England U21s, so it is only Eddie Howe who can protect him from playing too many games and by holding him back at the start of the season it may actually be of benefit to Lewis.

I'm sure that the strength of the central midfield players is one of the reasons why Bournemouth are having a better season. In the past, I've felt that the team has been short of leadership in the middle at times. While Lerma and Cook might not be senior players they are being leaders simply in the way they are playing on the field and not letting opposition teams over power them.
Lewis looks set now to have another big season at AFCB.
The next step for these two players is to see if they can get forward at times to add to the attacks and even slot a few goals in for themselves. Lewis Cook was a regular goal scorer when he played for Leeds United and I think he has it in his game.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Are injuries the only worry for AFCB

Bournemouth are eight games into the season and we are already seeing that one or two players have pulled up with slight niggles. This has meant a bit of reorganisation with Adam Smith moving to left back, but the Cherries have still performed well. Does Eddie Howe need a season with no injuries to really challenge at the top end of the table though?
The squad has been reduced a bit down to some 26 players, although whether Kyle Taylor and Jack Simpson are going to get time in the Premier League is perhaps doubtful. So Eddie has about two players for each outfield position, and that is okay, as long as we don't get too many double injuries for the same place in the team, as happened with Diego Rico and Charlie Daniels.
Josh King may not play the whole game against Southampton
if his ankle shows any further reaction.
The positions where I think injuries would be most acute though are up front. Wilson and King are a powerful combination and they are instrumental to the way AFCB play. Losing either of them for a lengthy time would again make it difficult for AFCB. The Bournemouth Echo also reported yesterday that Josh King has picked up an ankle on Norway international duty. However, King was picked to start against Bulgaria last night and played the full 90 minutes in their 1-0 win. Let's hope he's fit for Saturday.

I know any lengthy period out for Wilson or King could see the making of Lys Mousset. Jermain Defoe would also certainly like to play more games. But if Bournemouth are going to be competitive with the very best then they will need the first 11 to remain relatively intact.

The area where I believe Bournemouth are best equipped is in midfield. As well as the multitude of wingers we have seen that central midfield is also much stronger than in previous seasons with all the main contenders for spaces having played minutes already this season.

The recruitment has been good though this summer and signings like Brooks may take some pressure off of needing Junior Stanislas for too may games, which is helpful when he often gets injured. Lerma is more likely to miss out through suspension than anything else, while if Diego Rico can give Charlie Daniels a few games rest then it can only be a big help, as Charlie has been probably overplayed too often in the past. It's the excellent recruitment that has helped AFCB get to the top six, and even while there will be injuries, I'm hoping that there won't be so many as in previous Premier League seasons so that AFCB can achieve the highest of ambitions.

In other news, David Brooks played 87 minutes in Wales 1-0 win over Republic of Ireland whose team included Harry Arter.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Win a copy of The Ted MacDougall Story - MacDouGoal!

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Being an AFC Bournemouth supporter used to mean little history didn't it? Well, no. The Cherries have always had their stars and big named strikers and they didn't come any bigger that Ted MacDougall in the 1970s. Not so many of Bournemouth's players went on to play for teams like Man United and Bournemouth fans still talk about Ted's FA Cup exploits against Margate, as if they were as fresh in the memory as happening yesterday. 

Of course, not all of us are old enough or were lucky enough to see Ted MacDougall set many of the modern records for the Cherries, but AFC Bournemouth's historian and club secretary, Neil Vacher can take you back to Ted's glory days at Dean Court and help relive those epic goals that made MacDougall one of the most feared strikers in the lower divisions.

Ted is over for the game on Saturday between Bournemouth and Southampton and this coincides with Neil Vacher's Ted MacDougoal book being re-released in a paperback edition by Pitch Publishing.

With recollections from the man himself, including exploits with the likes of Alan Ball, George Best, Mick Channon, Bobby Moore and Peter Osgood, MacDouGoal! traces Ted MacDougall's rise from his roots in Inverness, through his playing and coaching career, to the present day. 

Neil Vacher goes on to recall the big-money move to Manchester United, then a fiery spell at West Ham and a controversial end to his Scotland career. Super Mac even spent a season with Detroit Express, and he explains his decision to relocate across the Atlantic, where he formed his own club. Never short of an opinion, MacDougall also has plenty to say about the modern game.

When reading the MacDouGoal you'll discover all this:

· What happened the time Ted was asked to take over in goal
· How he broke a 42-year-old goalscoring record at Bournemouth
· His personal misery when caught in the cross-fire at Old Trafford
· What caused a dressing room punch-up at West Ham
· How much of Ted's success was down to the guiding influence of John Bond
· The remark made to a local reporter which effectively ended his international career
· How Ted proved all his doubters wrong by becoming the First Division's leading goalscorer
· The inside story of his 'telepathic' striking partnership with Phil Boyer at four different clubs
· The day when Ted called 'time' on his First Division career
· The part he played in trying to secure the future of AFC Bournemouth
· How Ted's latest role is helping to revolutionise the administration of grassroots football.

Free to enter Competition
So what do you have to do to win the free copy of this book from Pitch Publishing? Simply, email: what you think Ted's first professional football club was in England?

(A) West Ham
(B) Liverpool
(C) Bournemouth

We have three books to give away. Three correct answers from the hat will win the prize - Answers must be in by 12pm on Saturday 20 October 2018. Good Luck!

Thanks to Pitch Publishing for sponsoring this competition on Cherry Chimes. Pitch publishing would appreciate it if winners and other fans that have read the book can post a review on the Amazon page for the publication.

Howe's drive to win games is a good illness

There was a very good piece in the Bournemouth Echo last weekend that talked about Eddie Howe's desire to win games. AFCB's manager has one of the most driven personalities that I've ever known, and it's hard for some of us to see how he keeps so motivated after all his amazing achievements. Butt he finds it within himself to look for the next improvement all the time.

Eddie Howe is never going to accept doing well when a team can do better.
Eddie highlighted that he didn't win much as a child, coming second of third in the 100m on school sport's day - well, we've all been there, or even further behind. But having negative experiences only seems to spur Eddie Howe on. That could even be a problem this season if AFCB don't have many bad experiences, as Howe might not get his fix of disappointment to really drive his players on more. But such a need for Howe could be seen as like having an illness. It's maybe not that healthy to beat yourself up over not winning a football game.

I was asked recently what flaws Eddie Howe had and, to be honest, I couldn't think of any other than he never seems to switch off from his job, or at least finds it very hard to do. He is very lucky of course in one respect in that he is doing what he loves to do in improving players and trying to achieve through them what he was so cruelly denied as a player. Without the disadvantages of injuries and being small (maybe Ryan Fraser apart), his players have the attributes to be leading sportsman, and to get them there they need someone who is perhaps a little extraordinary in what he can deliver in terms of motivation and drive.

Eddie Howe was a good professional player, but he has been a remarkable manager. I don't think there are very many managers that compare in finding set-backs so motivating. When Eddie is given a cruel hand though, he doesn't let it win, but gets up and fights even harder against the odds. If we all just take a bit of inspiration from that then we'll all be better people tomorrow.

Cherry Chimes judged AFCB's start to the season for the Observer and Guardian last Sunday - you can see all the Premier League write ups here.

In other news, Chelsea have first say on any Aké move reports the Daily Telegraph and they are not thought to be looking to bring the player back to Stamford Bridge.

Monday, 15 October 2018

King and Wilson partnership grows

I've been waiting to see the Josh King and Callum Wilson partnership flourish. It has been the last thing to click in the Bournemouth team, but I always felt that when they started to score Bournemouth would look a far more serious prospect for winning away games.
How quickly can King and Wilson get their goal tallies into double figures? 
I credit Eddie Howe for being unswayed by opinions to change the front two at the start of the season and to play them into form. Callum Wilson is still probably missing more chances than he is taking, but you could see the delight in Callum's face when he got his goal against Watford. He has been contributing as well in the build up play and had a great assist for Josh King's goal in open play.

The movement of Wilson is certainly becoming more noticeable in the way he pulls out wide to leave space in the middle. Both he and King have the pace to beat full-backs and can run-in on goal, as well as produce crosses and King's penalty came from the sheer pace and aggression King had to out-strip Kabasele.

Both King and Wilson have now caught Ryan Fraser in the goal charts on four goals. While a number of King's goals have been from the penalty spot, it is the quick forwards that are making the opportunities. Eddie Howe has said how much speed is necessary in the Premier League and both King and Wilson look very quick at the moment.

What I don't know is how well Defoe and Mousset will do when they are called in as back-up. It will be great if Wilson and King can go the whole season without any injuries, but if the Cherries are in a good position in January and pushing for Europe, then Howe may feel he needs to buy in an additional striker. We are a little away from needing to worry about that and Junior Stanislas, Jordan Ibe and David Brooks can no doubt play in the number 10 position if required at some stage. At the moment though, it's all about the confidence that King and Wilson can build in front of goal and seeing their partnership grow.

In other news, Nathan Aké has distanced himself from Man Utd and Spurs saying that transfer speculation is just Internet rumours.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Ted MacDougall - how did he score so many goals?

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Cherry Chimes has teamed up with Pitch Publishing this week to celebrate, AFCB Club Secretary, Neil Vacher's re-release of his book 'MacDougoal! The Ted MacDougall story' in paperback. Look out later this week for the competition to win a copy of the book. The book charts Ted's football career, from the years to his coaching in the States and his reflections on the modern game. To get you in the mood, here is an extract from the book.

“Every day we trained under John Bond it was about finishing and movement. His philosophy to the other players was, ‘We’ve got the best striker in the country so you better get him in!’ My job was to create space, the defenders job was to deny space, but our end product was me. I had such a desire for knowledge because I knew I scored goals but I wanted to know why. John began to teach me about movement, angles and stuff, and creating space for yourself in a small area. Movement creates space - today top players will make one run, but if the ball doesn’t come to them they won’t do it again. I learned how to make a run towards the ball. I was good in the air, I could hang there but I couldn’t do it from a standing jump, I had to move in and attack the ball. That way I would drag my marker away, then go back and use the space I had created and the power I could generate on the ball.

“To be a good striker I think you have to be born with a talent and desire for scoring goals. It’s purely instinctive. You must be single-minded and have the kind of nasty streak that makes you want to be the best, to go into areas others fear to tread. Naturally you must have the basics required to play football but, for me, the right attitude and approach is half the battle. Average strikers could improve if they were given advice by qualified people.

“Whilst at Bournemouth it was once said to me that the goals are the same size, no matter which division you are playing in. In fact I found the higher you went, the easier it was. The chances come at any level, whether you’re a Premier League player today or a Fourth Division player when I was around. Yes, you got fewer chances at the top level, but there’s a bit more time because people respect your ability. There wasn’t as much cut and thrust and I didn’t get hacked down so much in the First Division. But when the ball is loose in the goalmouth I stood an equal chance of scoring – and that’s how I got a lot of my goals.

“I used to look in the mirror, look at my hair and think, ‘What am I good at? What am I not good at? So what am I going to do? Am I going to work at what I’m not good at or am I going to eliminate it?’ I decided to eliminate it and let Phil Boyer do it - running, showing, linking, pushing down the wings. My game was primarily running away from the ball until the cross came in. Now I thought if that’s all I do, I better do it well!

Big thanks to Pitch Publishing and Neil Vacher for allowing Cherry Chimes to publish an extract of the Ted MacDougall story. If you haven't read up about AFCB's record-breaking striker, enter the competition later this week! You can also buy a copy of the book online at the club's store.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Is Adam Smith AFCB's best full-back?

It took me by surprise when Eddie Howe said that Adam Smith has often played in training in the left-back position. He has certainly played very well there in the last couple of Premier League games, even if it is not his natural position. The manager now has a big decision to make when Daniels and Rico look to get back into the team. If Adam Smith moves back to right-back, then he'll push Simon Francis back out of the team. That may be what Eddie does, but I don't think any of us would expect Adam Smith to be moved to the bench.
Adam Smith has to be AFCB most versatile player.
That's my thinking anyway. Adam Smith has elevated himself not only to be the best right-back but a player that the manager is always trying to ensure that he is involved. Adam doesn't get the credit he deserves. He is a quiet player on the pitch and simply does his job. He does it so well that he can go unnoticed. He nicks the ball, here and there, off the opposition, starts attacks and can even go on solo runs and hit a cracking shot himself.

No player is undroppable but Adam Smith comes pretty close to it. When he did have to miss a game, after the Everton red card he was given, it did appear to me immediately that AFCB would have been better with him playing. Bournemouth won that next game against Milton Keynes, and didn't miss him so much. Yet, look at the other fixtures in the league and Adam is ever present. It's because he is a consistent performer in my opinion. He might not be 10 out of 10 every week, but it's rare that he'll drop below a seven.

He doesn't make mistakes often and that has helped settle the defence down. He doesn't take too many risks, and he's done really well to be more dependable than several other players. Some may say Charlie Daniels is the best full-back at the club and others will say it will be Diego Rico or Simon Francis, but I believe Adam Smith has had three amazing years in the Premier League and he has set the bar even higher this season. 

All change!
TV scheduling moves four of Bournemouth's games - Fixture changes for AFCB