Sunday, 16 March 2014

Did the Cherries look tired against Boro?

It was put to Eddie Howe after the Boro draw that perhaps some of the players looked a bit tired after their exertions on the day and in previous days. I didn't think they played that badly at the end having seen the team grow during the match and if anything looked the fitter and only team that were likely to go on to win the game in the second half. The fact that there were not so many shots on goal as in recent home matches was much more to do with how well Middlesbrough set up and played.
Shattered? I bet they players can't wait to be named in the team for Tuesday night.
AFCB had to play well at times just to hold the aggression and power in Boro's play. The wing play of Carayol was very good while Grant Leadbitter was a dominant force in midfield who read the game so well. He, Omeruo and Gibson knew where they had to be when there was danger and they blocked out the Cherries with a great deal of skill. 

Coulibaly was given an hour which is fair enough for his first start having been out for virtually the whole season and Fraser and Pugh got more minutes under their belt with Ritchie also being replaced to freshen up the last half hour. I still thought Grabban was full of running while Arter and O'Kane went the distance again.  

You can make excuses about Middlesbrough having an extra days rest and AFCB having had a hard week of travel, but I don't see that as the main reason for a slight fall off in sharpness in front of goal or final passes in the last third.

As Eddie Howe said: "There's no negativity in my mind. It's another clean sheet, that's an excellent achievement and not only the clean sheet, I don't think that they have had a chance really bar Tomlins' one that he's hit over. I don't think they've had another good opportunity."

"We never really cut them open," said Eddie. "We probably turned down a few shooting opportunities when we should have pulled the trigger. There were a lot of set-pieces but nothing dropped for us."

Eddie did admit though that time caught up with the team at the end of the game. "We looked dead on our feet in the last 10 minutes, but that's only to be expected. We'll actually both teams were pretty tired. It's that stage of the season," he said.

You can watch the Football League Awards 2014 tonight by visiting their YouTube channel or by visiting their Facebook page or AFC Bournemouth's YouTube channel. Steve Fltecher will be the first recipient of the Sir Tom Finney Award while Eddie Howe is shortlisted for the Outstanding Managerial Achievement Award and AFC Bournemouth could win the Best Digital Content Award.

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