Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Away points at Sheffield and Boro show AFCB credentials

There was a time when AFCB fans would have looked upon going to the last two away games in trepidation of what the final score might be. Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough are established Championship sides with very large followings and with plenty of quality in their squads. But AFCB's players have moved on in terms of playing ability since last season and the coaching that Eddie Howe and his team are now giving our players is building on the success of last season. AFCB no longer go to away grounds and think we'll be lucky to get away from here with a point. It's not quite attack, attack, attack, but it is take the game by the throat when you have the chance to.
Eddie's sides have really grown on their away performances. 
I think Eddie Howe has always wanted his teams to play like that. Last season they tried to do that at Watford and Huddersfield but got ahead of themselves. That is not the case now. Against Middlesbrough this season the team knew they were in for a hard match and in the first 25 minutes they had to defend well and earn that right to play their football. It was not gung-ho or flat out attack but controlled attacking play with an eye on the opposition who they knew could hurt them.

I like the confidence that the Cherries are now playing with. Tommy Elphick mentioned last week that he wants the team to play with more of a swagger having been league leaders and while the opposition may not be intimidated by such comments, when AFCB do keep the ball and put their foot down when going forward they do take supporters' breath away.

The Birmingham scoreline was a one off, but the points against Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday are no less important and, in many ways, I think the Boro point confirms the view that AFCB will be fighting for promotion come the last weeks of this season. The league is still tight and other teams will challenge this, but listening to the comments of Matt Ritchie after the Boro game you can hear that the lads just want to get on with the next round of matches. They are hungry for success and this could well be a season to remember.

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