Thursday, 18 December 2014

Cherries found step up too much this time

It was a great night at the Goldsands stadium last night and the crowd was expectant that there could be an upset on the cards with Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers under great pressure from their dismal run of late. Everything was set up for a rip-roaring cup tie and AFCB needed to bring their A game to the party if they were to trouble the mighty reds. As it was, the Cherries could not get to grips with a Liverpool side that controlled the midfield in the first half and showed much more finishing power than the Cherries who came up short slightly in front of goal on the night.
The Cherries now know what to aim for in terms of
skill to compete well in cup quarter finals.
At first I thought that things could have been much different had Callum Wilson stuck away his early chance. whether nerves or the excitement of the knowledge that he was about to score got to him we will not know unless we hear from Callum. Personally, I think he just thought it was a simple finish and he did not execute it as well as he had hoped. AFCB can't have been disappointed though that Callum had forged that chance so early on. Later on too, Yann Kermorgant had a superb opportunity when AFCB had just gone 0-2 down and yet he blazed over the bar from short range when it looked a nailed on goal. Bournemouth can't say that the chances did not fall to the players that would normally put such shots away, but neither striker quite had the accuracy that was required on the night.

That Bournemouth did score though was a positive that they are able to pose a threat to good premier league sides and even if the result went against the Cherries there were plenty of positives that Eddie Howe could take from the game. The Cherries have more idea now, if they had not before, how much faster and slicker the passing is at the next level up and how you simply have to win the midfield battle. AFCB could not cope with the strength of Liverpool's midfield and their creativity. Backing off them did not make it easier at times, but such was the quality of Liverpool that it was not a first half where the Cherries really looked like themselves and could not press the game like we know they can do so well in the Championship.

I hope it shows the players that their is another level that they can aim for and that while the Championship is a good and competitive league the next step up is huge and they now have a taste of what would be required. It is a timely reminder that the Cherries can still find many ways to improve and that they are headed in the right direction as we saw from their better performance in the second half, when they had five in midfield and started to take much more possession in the game. It's a hard learning curve for the players and for Eddie, but AFCB will learn more from a game like this than playing 10 or more games in the Championship. Big nights don't come around often, but on this showing the cherries can look to bring more big nights to the Goldsands stadium.

Finally, it is great news that Tokelo Rantie has provisionally made South Africa's African Cup of Nations squad

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