Tuesday, 17 December 2013

What's missing in AFCB's play?

There was a lot of talk on BBC Radio Solent after the Birmingham game about what AFCB need? Do we need that big striker like Fletch they kept asking? What is missing? Well, Eddie Howe has selected players to play they way he wants and that does not include a big powerful front man for the moment. I am not sure if pressure will be put on him to buy in January, but even if he did get a big striker in to hold the ball up and win headers there is no guarantee that it will enable AFCB to pick up more points.

It is always good to have different options but there are other things that could be tried that may not require a big new striker. Teams in this league are packed with high scoring strikers and some of them are powerful big men, but there are others like Charlie Austin, Danny Ings and Ross McCormack who are not.

AFCB players going through their paces pre-Birmingham City.
I actually don't think much is missing in AFCB's play. What they need to do is cut out the mistakes. If they can do that then the team will be doing more than enough to pick up draws and quite a few wins, because their style of football has been a match and a problem for teams they have played this season. It's the defence that Eddie Howe may be more worried about rather than the striking power at the club and it is easy to see why when you consider the goals against. Yes, the total has slowed after the early defeats at Watford and Huddersfield, but the teams is regularly showing that is unable to keep a clean sheet. That is certainly a problem that is not helping as it means our forwards and midfielders are having to score at least twice to win any game.

So what is the solution? Harder work on the training ground? Learning not to overplay in the wrong areas and not mis-directing so many passes? I think communication is some of the problem. I'd like to hear people barking out a little more when they want the ball and carrying that confidence to urge others to move and look for the ball. For the most part our players do this and I don't want us to play long balls up to a big forward, because some of the football has been Barcelonaish in its flamboyance. 

A Birmingham fan commented on the blog that I had missed the point in my match report that they had won the game despite being the worst team to visit Dean Court this season. While I agree it is the aim to win, those Birmingham players came off that pitch not believing their luck when celebrating with their fans. They knew they had been battered and yet come out with a 0:2 victory. Most weeks they would have been beaten comprehensively, but they had a get out of jail free card with their keeper. Still I have more confidence that AFCB have an excellent chance of finishing higher than Birmingham this season and to do that our team does not need major surgery just a bit of belief and some sensible defending.

There's plenty more discussion this week on All Departments of where it didn't go as well as it might against Birmingham City. If you have not yet caught up with Michael Dunne's Kangaroo Court, visit his site at All Departments or listen on Cherry Chimes by scrolling down to the All Departments' logo and click on the sound bar to listen. 

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