Thursday, 26 December 2013

Finding a settled team may help Cherries

Despite the hectic Christmas period when there are so many games and the change in personnel could be frequent, because of injuries and tiredness I believe it would be a big bonus if the Cherries could start fielding the same side a bit more often. The Birmingham game saw Eddie Howe picked an unchanged team for only the second time this season. It has been a difficult start to life in the Championship when it comes to picking a settled side for AFCB and that is probably not a great help when it comes to building confidence. Now that some players are again returning to fitness we just may find out what is Eddie Howe's best team.

Ritchie is a must pick for  Eddie every game when fit.
On the wings it looks like Pugh (but sometimes Fraser) and Ritchie, while up front it is certainly Grabban and midfield Arter is picked when fit. At the back it is Daniels, Cook and Francis and probably Ward ahead of Elphick. And even with Camp in goal it leaves a space for another player up front and one more in midfield. Whether Eunan O'Kane, Shaun MacDonald or Andrew Surman is favoured is always very much in the balance and while Rantie has had a good spell as a main striker, he has not come up with the goods yet.

That all leaves AFCB with a couple of spaces where there is potential for strengthening. While Coulibaly, McQuoid or Fogden could win one of those places it is in Eddie's mind that someone new faces are needed.

I would like to see a period when the team was not swapping and changing from week to week. The difficulty in bring more players in is getting them to quickly  play in the way AFCB are used to and we have seen with Spurs that it can be tricky.

While it is good to have competition, the best sides rarely make more than one or two changes over a few games, and the fact that AFCB can't do that signals to me that perhaps we are a club that is still finding its way. Whether the team is a bit lightweight at this level is something that I believe Eddie may well feel, even if the team is good enough to survive in the Championship.

The one thing I can say is last year I could pretty much name the team and the subs every week, but this season it's extremely hard to know which players will start the game for AFCB. It may just be that the Championship is so demanding that an unchanged side is not something that Bournemouth can do at this stage. You either have to have a big squad that is doing so well that you can keep the same side or a small squad and a club that hasn't the finances to change the team as often. AFCB are perhaps somewhere in between.


  1. Interesting how you do not mention Pitman, I still think he will come good

  2. Hi Norman, Yes Pitman has kind of fallen off the radar at the moment. I mentioned the other day that League One could be his level but both Rantie and Pitman seem to be bench warmers at the moment for AFCB.