Monday, 9 September 2013

Francis is leading the way

Simon Francis has already had some difficult wingers to cope with this season. He is one player who I feel has benefitted from the games against Watford in particular. Up against Ikechi Anya he had his work cut out just to try and get forward and being up against quick and gifted players has given him something more to think about, and on several occasions I watched him give his all in getting back into position to help out fellow team mates.

Since the problems that Tommy Elphick has had in getting his fitness back and getting into the team it has fallen on Simon Francis to captain AFCB on the field. It seems odd that just like last year when Miles was the captain and he dropped out of the team through injury it has happened again to the Cherries. While last season Steve Cook took on the role for much of the time, Eddie Howe has decided that Simon Francis is the best player for the job of active captain on the pitch at the moment. I still think Tommy will return, but he has his work cut out with Cook and Ward playing so well and keeping a clean sheet last game.

It is also noticeable that Francis has had a number of Bournemouth wingers playing in front of this season. Ryan Fraser has done so well in keeping wide and firing in crosses at the first opportunity that it has made it easier for Francis to support and to concentrate more on the defensive side of his game. When Coulibaly plays on the right I still expect some more to come in terms of number of crosses and consistency, but he is also a very young and lively player that will do the unusual and sometimes it will come off for him.

Francis keeps his eye on the ball.
Of course the one player we are hoping can come back soon to play with Francis is Matt Ritchie. I liked the way both of them overlapped and covered for each other last season and when they both play I think it is when AFCB is at its strongest on the right side. Francis will come up against more top class wingers in the Championship and probably knows he can get better still. I am sure that is what Eddie wants, commitment, improvement and a desire to do even better. It is no surprise really that Eddie is trusting him to lead the team out at the moment.

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