Saturday, 13 December 2014

AFCB will continue to try and be lethal in the final third

To succeed in the championship you have to be able to unlock defences. AFCB found it hard to cut through stubborn defences last season but are starting to show that they have the tools to dismantle back fours now. Bournemouth are creating a huge number of chances in games from open play at the moment and that always gives them a lifeline in games that are tight.
AFCB's strike force is averaging almost 2 goals a game.
The game against Wolves was another titanic battle, typical of the Championship with no quarter given. But AFCB's skill is in not getting drawn into a scrap for 90 minutes. They open play up by spreading the ball wide and find the pockets of space to pull opposition players out of position and the openings eventually tend to appear for AFCB's good strikers of the ball. This was not a match where AFCB were going to slip Wilson through the middle easily, and while he could hold the ball up, the real danger for Wolves probably came from the crossing of Francis in the main, and the positioning of players like Arter and Ritchie who could feed off any balls laid back to them in inviting areas to shoot.

The team has also learnt to be patient in the last third and it is making the right choices that has enabled AFCB to put teams like this away. "The ball was flying around their box and you didn't think one was going to drop for us," said Eddie Howe. "It was that kind of afternoon. We had numerous chances and did not put them away. What pleased me most is that we didn't just hang crosses in the box and we didn't just lump long balls, but we passed and played."

Today, the team faces Cardiff City and they need to find that fast start and quick play around the box again to put a good team away. Cardiff will be up there among the most difficult teams to visit Dean Court this season. However, AFCB can give them a torrid time if they can rediscover that cutting-edge that they unleashed on Wolves last week. Difficult challenges is what the Championship is all about.

I am hoping that the players are fully concentrated on this game. The Liverpool match is next week and there have already been lots of interviews of AFCB players looking ahead to the capital One Cup. Yes, it is important and the team can be proud that it has reached the late stage of a cup competition, but three points today is also massive and Cardiff City are one of the biggest clubs in the Championship. Let's make it a week to remember and take one game at a time.


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