Monday, 12 August 2013

Wide out on the left

I though Pugh's form dipped a bit in the Charlton game, but then picked up against Watford although he was not on the ball as much as I am sure he would have liked. While he is a charismatic player and has a lot of support he has to keep delivering those crosses if he is to stay first pick on the left side. The second half of the Pompey game was interesting in that Cherlie Daniels came on in midfield, playing in front of Ian Harte. That could be something that Eddie looks at in the future if he likes that combination.

Josh McQuoid is probably the usual challenger for Pugh's place but Fraser, Surman and Coulibaly look equally able to play there as well. The player who does get the left wing job will have to be supplying dangerous balls in. It has been a habit for Fraser to supply some good crosses with no one getting on the end of them. Daniels is probably our most dangerous player when he is out wide, although if you look at the stats in the last few seasons it is Pugh that has consistently been the player who makes the most crosses during the season.

Quality is what we are after. All the players are showing good link up play and first touch football now and the intricate triangles around the edge of the area are becoming a Bournemouth speciality. I do wonder if we are becoming a bit like Arsenal and are guilt of trying to walk the ball into the net on occasion. It was certainly evident at the end of last season when McQuoid fired the ball over the bar at Tranmere after a slick move that looked certain to end in a goal.

While we now have Elliott Ward as a good header of the ball and Steve Cook, who particularly seems to be excellent from corners, we don't really have a Grant Holt and Eddie does not seem to want a striker with great heading abilities. Either that or he can't get hold of one. So where does that leave our wing men? Their pattern of play has to be more on the floor and trying to work their way around the back or through the gaps in defence with low crosses and passes back from the byline or into the area from out wide. Playing our way through defences is more difficult in my opinion, but certainly more pleasing on the eye. Because AFCB's passing system of play opens teams up, it does seem to give us excellent opportunities to score from simple chances. Matt Ritchie was one of the players who seemed to benefit from such play last season as he was good at timing his late arrival into the box really well. I hope he comes back soon.

It just may be that this season we have to get used to seeing lots of rotation and different combinations of players. The Daniels – Pugh left hand side may not be written in stone any more. But that doesn't have to be a bad thing.

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