Tuesday, 6 August 2013

One up front at home - do we disapprove?

The first grumblings might have been heard on Tuesday night when Eddie Howe decided to play Wes Thomas up front on his own against Pompey. While Fraser received plenty of the ball in an attacking sense and the Cherries kept hold of the ball well it was clear that the Portsmouth side were not gong to make it easy for Bournemouth to play through them. The wide men were getting plenty of crosses in and there were lots of corners, but Bournemouth's set up was perhaps not adventurous enough at home when playing a team now in the second division.

I felt that the team selection really highlighted our striker shortage again. The game was crying out for Stockley to come on after half time and I hoped that Eddie would change things around. With Brett Pitman, Lews Grabban, Josh McQuoid and Mohamed Coulibaly sitting this one out, the options for Eddie might have been few, but if the Cherries want to win home games we surely need to play with a couple of strikers.

For all AFCB's dominance in possession in the Pompey game it is important that we work the opposing keeper and Phil Smith did make quite a few saves and was said to be Pompey's best player by BBC Solent. So does that mean that we were not so bad with just playing one up front? I think the injuries will have made Eddie come to the decision to play one up front, but I hope it does not become a regular feature of home matches even with some big teams visiting Dean Court. We have not scored many goals yet but it's another win.

It was interesting to hear Eddie Howe's take on it after the game. 

"It was going to be difficult to break Pompey down as they were resolute and put everyone behind the ball. We knew we needed a little bit of patience. We knew we would get chances and we had to take them. I would have like more goals, but especially in the second half I thought we were very good at times," said Eddie.

A frustrating first half?
"It was because we did not create many chances, but we had possession of the ball, we had control of the game and it was a matter of time before we opened them up, especially as they get tiered. So that's where I think we needed our patience. We especially needed to concentrate to make sure we did not give anything away with a lapse of concentration, because we were so dominant with the ball it is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. 

"So I thought we were professional we've seen the job through, but we'd have liked more goals."

When Ryan switched wings with Donal he really came alive and he worked in tandem with Simon Francis really well, he added.  "With a lot of crosses in the box we looked really dangerous from that side. But I was really pleased with some of the interplay around the box in the second half and we opened them up a few times and perhaps could have taken more chances and made a bigger dent in the score line.

"We know we need goals from all areas of the pitch. Our midfielders need to chip in. It was great to see see Eunan not only score tonight, but perform really well as did a number of players in the midfield. No, I am really well pleased with the clean sheet which is a must for us. As we develop our team this season we are going to need to be tight at the back, so I was really pleased that Ryan did not have a lot to do."

I felt we needed to rotate and use the squad. Look at the players I brought in there was no weakness there. We are a very strong squad and you could have picked 20 players to play. So that wasn't really in my thoughts that I was weakening the team, or that they wouldn't be strong enough. I think with any game if you don't approach it in the right manner mentally there is a danger you won't perform and I think that was the only risk to us tonight I felt," said Eddie.

Regarding Ryan Fraser and if he needs protecting Eddie said: "Without a doubt he is one to protect. We are going to have to be sensible with him. We felt that when we first saw him. Really, he came into us last season and we were dipping him in and out from the bench. He is very young and we need to protect him from injury if we can, although there is only so much you can do with that. He does get clattered. He is a target for full backs because of his electric pace and his direct running style. So as the season progresses we are going to have to make sure we use him right. You don't want to harm his future career."

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