Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Five things for the Cherries to work on for next season

AFCB have not let anyone down this season just gone. They could so easily have finished in the top six with a little more luck and the gap to those teams is not such a big one. But while the foundations are in place for a successful team there are some areas where the Cherries have been found out.

No 1: I'd like to see that goal against column be dramatically reduced and that means better concentration from our defenders and more determination to get those clean sheets from day one. We have seen that those at the top of the league simply don't let many soft goals in. Against Leicester we needed Marc Pugh to make a spectacular volleyed finish, while Ritchie had to hit a great free kick against Brighton and Tokelo Rantie had to blast a shot in from distance to get a draw at Burnley. But how hard did some of those teams work to score against the Cherries?
Tokelo had to work hard for his goals this last season.
spectacular was no problem but the ordinary proved difficult.
No 2: A goal scoring central midfielder is something that every club wants. Harry Arter, Andrew Surman, Shaun MacDonald and Eunan O'Kane struggled to get the freedom to score many goals and it is an area where again the top teams have just got that bit more fire power. There is room for a top quality player to come in to the team in this role but it is finding the right player and at the right price. Newcastle's Dan Gosling seems to be the target and I know he was one of Plymouth's young stars a few years ago, and while his Newcastle period has not been as good as he might have been, he showed that he can be a powerful midfield player when he was at Everton.

No 3: Working even harder will not be easy but Eddie Howe will ask for more and it will be down to the players and the supporters to try and carry the team forward. Just being in the Championship is not enough now and that message has to be a driving force in everyone. Again we have seen it with the Leicester players this season. They were knocked back last season but were not going let it happen again, and their desire to be the best eventually took them there. It's not all about money.
Elliott Ward will hope for an injury-free season,
but he's not the only one who had that problem in 2013/14.
No 4: Keeping players fit is another of the factors that will determine where AFCB finish next season. We have seen Elliott Ward and Lewis Grabban need a fair amount of treatment while Tommy Elphick and Charlie Daniels have also sat out many games. A good pre-season is going to be a bonus for players like Matt Ritchie and Mohamed Coulibaly, while Tokleo Rantie also needs to bed in more. If Eddie can get the most out of his players then he might not need to be as busy in the transfer market as some other clubs, and it is important that AFCB improve the players they have on their books as well as keeping them fit and stringer than other squads.

No 5: Getting a bit of luck. There were times in the last few months when AFCB did not always get the rub of the green. I can think of the Derby County and Charlton away matches and the Leicester City home game, but it happens to all the teams and some times the Cherries had some luck themselves, like the Barnsley away game. It's not something that you can plan for but the lucky teams tend to be the good teams more often than not. 

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