Thursday, 1 January 2015

More clean sheets are a target for Cherries

Looking at the Championship table we can see that despite the high number of 14 wins in AFCB's record and 54 goal for there is a less pleasing stat of 25 goals against. That is an average of just over one goal conceded a game and it might be considered quite a high total for a team that is leading the way in the Championship.

If you check on the teams that have a better defensive record you will find chasing Ipswich, Middlesbrough and Derby doing slightly better. All credit to Sheffield Wednesday in also being hard to score against having only let in 21 goals so far, but are finding it hard to score and have let in four goals more than Middlesbrough who have the best defence so far in the Championship. The style that AFCB play is perhaps not always conducive to keeping clean sheets, but it is noticeable that there have not been so many free kicks leading to goals against Bournemouth in the last few games and I think that Eddie Howe has certainly made a point of that.

Artur can make the Cherries even stronger in defence in 2015.
Now that Artur Boruc has signed for the rest of the season I believe there is a good chance that AFCB can really work to get many more clean sheets. AFCB sides have not been known for impressive defensive play and it is something that might be tightened up in the second half of the season. Cardiff, Leeds and Blackburn are the only teams to score more than two goals against the Cherries in the league. 

Going forward the team is creating plenty of chances and, unlike last season, there has been less need to use Eunan O'Kane in front of the back four. The accuracy of AFCB's passing has been a real feature of the first 24 games in the league and while that is kept high and the pass rate is good, possession has been retained. It really only gives the opposition the chance to score from set-pieces and while the bigger sides have used this tactic on occasions we have seen that it does not always come off against the Cherries who are beginning to get wise to such tactics and have been able to handle the physical teams in recent games.

There have been few rumours about any defenders being linked with AFCB, which may give the assumption that Eddie Howe is happy with his back four. Still there are players who could might be able to do a better job. At what price though? It is not just the cost of bringing in better quality but what effect would that have on the team at this stage? The players at the club have got the team this far, so can they improve further and be good enough to keep clean sheets on a more regular basis? The Championship is not just about scoring goals and AFCB have shown in the last couple of games that they can stop teams having any shots on target.

With Rotheham having only scored 21 goals in the league this season it would be encouraging to see if AFCB can get a clean sheet in the FA Cup tomorrow, especially with a change of keeper and some others coming into the team. 

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