Friday, 31 July 2015

Cherries lose out to Bluebirds in five goal thriller

Match Description
AFCB 2 V 3 Cardiff City
31 July 2015 Pre-season Friendly
Attendance est 4000
Cardiff City tweeted graphic.
AFCB sink to their first pre-season defeat in front of their home crowd. The Cherries expected a stern test against Championship outfit Cardiff City and they found themselves 2-1 down before half time. The best part of the first 45 minutes was Rantie's finish that had given the Cherries the lead on 27 minutes, but Cardiff proved dogged and soon took charge with Joe Ralls and Alex Revell putting them ahead. Things did not get much better when Revell added a third and only a goal from Marc Pugh made the score a little more respectable.

Eddie Howe picked a fairly strong squad with perhaps the surprise being that Distin and Cargill formed the centre back pairing. Harry Cornick was also brought in on the right, fuelling suspicion that Atsu may need more time to recover from his back complaint. Gosling also missed out with O'kane partnering Surman in midfield and Rantie and Kermorgant forming the front two.

Cherries: Federici, Francis, Cargill, Distin, Daniels, Surman, Pugh, Rantie,  Kermorgant, O'Kane, Cornick,

AFCB Subs: Allsop, Costa, Butcher, Matthews, Whitfield, Walsh, Quigley

Cardiff City: Moore, Peltier, Morrison, Connolly, Malone, Ralls, Whittingham, Dikgacoi, Pilkington, Mason, Revell.

Cardiff Subs: Wilson, Fabio, Noone, Doyle, O'Keefe, Kennedy, Harris, Ajayi, Ameobi.

Match Description as it happened
AFCB started by playing it along the back line with Cargill and Distin getting touches. Cardiff soon won possession though and had a shot with Peter Whittingham,but it was no problem for Federici. The Cherries were playing well though and keeping possession tightly for the most part. Rantie was looking to play on the last man, while Federici had to make a good catch from a Cardiff cross.

Cardiff started coming into the game a bit more with 10 minutes gone. Baily Cargill made a bad header and let Joe Mason in 1v1 but the Cardiff striker hit his shot over the bar! Distin then makes smart tackle to stop another Cardiff attack.

Yann Kermorgant tried to play Cornick in down the right but the winger made no run. Kermorgant was next to have a shot but it was weak at the Cardiff keeper.

Shooting was not looking hot on the night, Daniels the next to hit one over the bar while Rantie was then ruled offside. But Francis won a throw and Cargill played a ball into Rantie passes to Yann and his chip finds Ranite again who opens the scoring - 1-0 to AFCB!

The Cherries are in full flow now and O'Kane tries a curling shot that the keeper just manages to get to in the top corner. An early change sees Joe Quigley come on for Kermorgant. Joe Ralls has a chance for Cardiff from distance and makes it 1-1.

The pressure is really on AFCB all of a sudden. Cardiff win a corner and it's headed off the line by Quigley. Pugh heads another clear but it's 1-2 to the visitors!Alex Revell puts the Bluebirds ahead right on half time.
Cardiff's media team had enough pleasure in the first half to make this rather natty graphic.
Second Half
Sub Quigley is replaced by Matt Butcher. AFCB were looking sharp again and a cross almost gave Rantie the perfect opportunity to score but he was blocked at the last second.

It's been AFCB mainly in the second half but no equaliser yet. When Cardiff do get the ball, Surman is there t clear up. O'Kane and Daniels manage to force a corner. Some 30 minutes to go. The attacks are coming a little more consistently from the Cherries now. Cardiff may break it up though with a few subs.

Francis is busy putting in another cross and Rantie wins another corner. Daniels manages to shoot wide though. Francis wins another free kick as AFCB come again.

On the break though it's Cardiff and you guessed it -1-3 now! Revell gets his second of the night. You'd expect Eddie Howe to make a few changes now. The defence is not functioning well enough tonight. This was a scrappy third goal whereas the other two were well worked by the Bluebirds, according to Cherries' Blog. No one in particular to blame.

AFCB are fighting back though. Cornick puts the ball in the box and Pugh with a sharp turn and shot makes it 2-3 on the night. Federici is forced to make a save. Ameobi has a go now, but fires over.

Of the Bournemouth players, Rantie is probably the pick of them for tonight's performance, says Cherries' blog. However, the sponsors pick Sylvain Distin on a night when AFCB ship three goals!

That was the end of the action. A home defeat will give Eddie plenty to ponder.

Official Tweets from AFCB and Cardiff City

01: Rantie and Kermorgant kick-off for #afcb at Vitality Stadium

C - 4 - Peter Whittingham's effort from 25-yards easily held by Federici. (0-0)

04: Federici makes a comfortable early save from Whittingham's strike from distance

13: A let off for #afcb as Mason goes one-on-one, only to fire well over. Still 0-0

13 - Great chance for the Bluebirds. Poor attempted clearance, Mason unable to capitalise though, firing over one-on-one. (0-0)

16: Distin uses his experience to halt Mason with a perfectly timed last ditch tackle

STREAM: Apologies to Player subscribers for the lack of stream. The #afcb media team are working to rectify the issue.

C -22 - Chance for the hosts. Yann Kermorgant's side foot from inside the area well saved by Moore. (0-0)

22: Good work from Rantie creates an opening for Kermorgant, who aims his effort straight at Moore.

C - 24 - Charlie Daniels volleys over from an acute angle. Still #AFCB 0-0 #CardiffCity

24: The ball breaks for Daniels in the box, but he can't keep his shot down. It's 0-0 at Vitality Stadium.

28: Rantie wins the ball back, plays a one-two, rounds the goalkeeper and slots home. 1-0 to #afcb.

30: O'Kane picks up the loose ball 25 yards out before driving in a strike, which is caught by Moore.

35: Kermorgant is replaced by under-21s forward Quigley in an early change for #afcb .

39: Ralls equalises for the visitors with a clinical finish. #afcb 1-1 #cardiffcity .

C 39 - GOAL!!! - @Joe_Ralls with a fantastic effort from 25-yards! #AFCB 1-1 #CardiffCity

C 39 - Great interception from @Connolly035. Plays it to Whittingham, who decides against the shot, sets for @Joe_Ralls who fires home!

C 43 - Sean Morrison's header cleared off the line by substitute Joe Quigley. (1-1)

C 44 - GOAL!!! Alex Revell gives the Bluebirds the lead! Well taken finish from the forward at close range. #AFCB 1-2 #CardiffCity

44: Revell gets the final touch to put #cardiffcity ahead just before half-time. #afcb trail 2-1. 

C HALF-TIME: @afcbournemouth 1-2 #CardiffCity

46: #cardiffcity get the second half started. They lead 2-1 at #afcb.

46: Quigley has gone off for his under-21s team-mate Butcher. 4-5-1 now for #afcb .

49 - Harry Cornick's low shot easily held by Moore. (1-2)

49: Cornick comes in off the right and has a shot from the edge of the area. It's too close to Moore.

50: It's takes a brave block to deny Rantie the equaliser. #afcb are 2-1 down

60: Cornick rushes in at the back post, but he can't quite apply the finishing touch to a low cross.

61 - Rantie looked to break clear - but the assistant referee's flag is raised. (1-2)

64: Goal for #cardiffcity.

64: Federici gets a hand to it but Revell gets his second of the night. #afcb 1-3 #cardiffcity .

65 - GOAL!!! Alex Revell breaks through on goal and scores his second, the ball bouncing in off Federici. #AFCB 1-3 #CardiffCity

70: Goal for #afcb

C 70: Great touch, turn and finish from@MarcPugh7 to pull one back. #afcb 2-3#cardiffcity
3 minutes ago

70 - First #CardiffCity change: @craignoone replaces @Pilkington_11. (2-3)

C 77 - Second double #CardiffCity change: Fabio and O'Keefe replace Peltier and Dikgacoi. (2-3)

C 79: Substitute Butchers ventures forward and goes close for #afcb with a powerful strike.

85: #afcb #s @sylvaind15tin is the sponsor's choice as man of the match

90: There will be three minutes of additional time at the end of the second half.

C FULL TIME: The #Bluebirds complete an unbeaten pre-season campaign with victory at @afcbournemouth.

Kenwyne will have some hellos to make at AFCB

The pre-season friendly with Cardiff City takes on a bit more meaning when you cast your mind back to the end of last season. The arrival of Kenwyne Jones on loan for the run-in did the Cherries a world of good and his goal against Ipswich gave the Cherries a valuable point against a promotion rival. Kenwyne will be warmly welcomed and yet it must be strange for him taking on former teammates on this occasion.
Kenwyne will want to show us all again what he is all about.
All around Kenwyne there has been change over the summer at Cardiff. Strike partner Adam Le Fondre is still at the club but he is all lined up to move back up north either on loan or in a permanent transfer. Spanish striker Javi Guerra also seems set on a move back to Spain having failed to impress in the Welsh capital.

Russell Slade has not been busy in the transfer market this summer. Sammy Ameobi is a notable loan signing though. It looks like funds are being restricted as the Bluebirds come to terms with their Championship status for a second year. Slade still has some big names at the club like keeper David Marshall, Peter Whittingham, Anthony Pilkington and Frederico Macheda as well as Kenwyne. We might even see Scott Malone as well.

Pre-season has seen Cardiff draw 2-2 with Shrewsbury and beat israeli side Ironi Kiryat Shmona 2-0. This will be cardiff's stiffest test though and the Cherries have had some goal fests against the Welsh team although the disallowed Wilson goal at Cardiff last march was one of the few games when not much went AFCB's way.
Kenwyne will get a great reception for the AFCB fans.
Over on Premier Talk I have a ponder about Managers Picking fights.

I've noticed that AFCBDirect is undergoing some changes - keep an eye out for the new design that will be coming soon.

Look out tomorrow for the Cherry Chimes' August Newsletter which brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them over the last month, plus a special Newsletter article entitled Can it get better than this?

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Thursday, 30 July 2015

Wilson's rumoured new contract to ward off interest?

Callum Wilson has signed a new four year contract that will make him a well played player at AFCB. The decision to ensure that one of the club's chief assets remains on the south coast comes just eight days before the start of the new season which is perhaps a signal that the Cherries were worried that big clubs might be considering a move for the England U21 international.

Callum is happy to be playing at AFCB in the Premier League.
While there had been links with Aston Villa back in January which resurfaced when Christian Benteke was sold to Liverpool, there has been no mention of any bid for the former Coventry City striker over the summer. As I write this AFC Bournemouth have not yet confirmed the new contract but both Coventry Mad and The Guardian have reported that Wilson has a new deal, no doubt with improved terms. The club will be expected to confirm a new deal later today if the reports are true.

There has been a lot of gossip about Spurs looking at WBA's Saido Berahino but Tony Pulis is not interest in selling the star striker. Meanwhile, Charlie Austin has still not moved from QPR and the shortage of top quality strikers that are used to playing in England has possibly seen AFCB decide to move to protect Wilson and Eddie Howe's squad from being disrupted just a week before the most important season for the club. 

AFCB fans are still waiting to see if the Cherries themselves can add a further striker to the squad before 8 August.

UPDATE: AFCB have now confirmed at 11.13am that Wilson has been given a new four-year deal.

Is Gosling ready to lift his performances?

There are doubts over Harry Arter's speed of recovery. Yet, last season's fan player of the year has seen his place filled during pre-season with the likes of Shaun MacDonald, Eunan O'Kane and most effectively I believe by Dan Gosling. Dan must have expected to have a busier first season on the south coast than his 18 league appearances, but now he has a real break with Harry's absence to become a main feature of the team.

Dan will be keen to make the most of Arter's slow pre-season.
This summer Dan has already scored against Exeter City and his knack of scoring goals is something that will be seen as a bonus. He doesn't just do it against lower league opposition either having helped the Cherries last season to at least score against Liverpool in the FA Cup tie. Also inspirational in the capital One Cup games last season, Dan seems to love the big occasion and there will be no bigger match than the first day of the new season.

It is that maturity and experience of playing in big games for Everton and Newcastle that puts Dan in a very favourable position when looking for a player to link up with Andrew Surman. While Harry has been in amazing form over the past year to keep Dan out of the team amongst others, there has to be a moment when Dan can get a run in the team and this looks like it is that time. He is more than a deputy though and would probably walk into many first teams.  

It is right that there should be deep concern about losing a player of Harry Arter's quality for a few games as last season it led to a slight dip in form when he did miss a period of games. However, Dan is already showing that he can slot in as a natural fit and I'm expecting big things of him in the new season now that he is back in the Premier League.  
Dan at Charlton's ground.
Hopefully later today you'll be able to read another post from me on the Shoot website about one of AFCB's back four. Shoot had some technical problems yesterday.

There is also a new poll on Cherry Chimes' sidebar that asks where will the Cherries finish next season?

Finally, the Bournemouth Echo reports that AFCB have appointed the brothers Igor and Oleg Tikhturov as directors at the club. Igor, 23, and 27-year-old Oleg are said to be business associates of owner Maxim Demin. 

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Cherries' backline needs a stern test now

The win against Yeovil Town will have given the starting 11 a pretty good workout. Christian Atsu's injury  aside, the team was made to play to their strengths well into the second half and the attacking prominence of the Cherries was no doubt a delight to watch for those present if you were a red and black supporter. Yet, the back four and keeper didn't really get stretched as much as they might have been and with severe tests to come against Premier League sides I'm hoping that Cardiff City and Hoffenheim offer a sterner examination to the Cherries' backline.

Will Steve Cook get to partner Tommy Elphick on 8th August?
Artur Boruc was back in goal for the Cherries match against Yeovil Town. While he has been absent since the match against Philadelphia Union so he was probably hoping that he would be able to make his way gently back into the action. A few shot-stopping moments would have been good for him, but he'll have to do some more sharpening up on the training field.

At right back Adam Smith was again looking keen to get forward although perhaps not as much as we have seen him do in some other games. He's on good form though and that is great for the team. Cook and Distin might have also had a bit of an easy night, but playing together is still good practise for them so that they get to know each others style a bit better when in a match situation. Meanwhile, Tyrone Mings is shaping up well and starting to get more involved in games and I expect Eddie is really pleased with his big signing.

So what are AFCB's defensive players really in need of? Just a bit more of a threat against them. I am sure that Kenwyne Jones will want to give them something to think about and hopefully Hoffenheim will be on top form. I don't expect the next couple of games to be quite so one-sided.

 I get the feeling that Cook and Elphick will be AFCB's starting centre back pairing come 8th August, but they may not play together in either of the remaining pre-season fixtures. 

Finally, fingers crossed for Christian Atsu. Let's hope for a quick recovery and not to much of an injury. The Bournemouth Echo has been reporting that it is a back injury. If AFCB felt they wanted strengthening with a few more players they certainly will want to hasten that up now. Max Gradel is again being linked with AFCB.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Seagulls, injured Atsu and Stanislas goals - Yeovil beaten 0-3

Match Description
Yeovil Town 0 v 3 AFCB
28 July 2015
Attendance 2442 (687 Cherries)

The late night sunshine at Huish Park saw a string AFCB line up start the game against Yeovil and they were rewarded early on with a goal from the penalty spot taken by Junior Stanislas after Marc Pugh had been tripped in the box. Earlier in the first half Wes Fogden had deflected Josh King's shot on to the post as AFC Bournemouth applied lots of pressure, but Eddie Howe was more concerned with Christian Atsu who hobbled down the tunnel on half an hour after possibly pulling his hamstring. With the score at 0-1 at half time and Rantie on for the injured Atsu it was hoped that the Cherries could extend their lead. Stanisals duly obliged with a tight finish just a couple of minutes into the second half. Players started to slow the pace as they tired, but Josh King made the game safe at 0-3.
Yeovil tweeted the seagull's moment of stardom.
Eddie Howe kept to his promise by mixing up a team to face Yeovil from a selection of U21 Development squad players and some members of the first team. The only surprise for me was that Josh King started rather than Tokelo Rantie. A fee was agreed between Blackburn Rovers and AFCB for Josh King today so he is now an AFCB player for certain next season. Junior Stanislas was playing behind King and Pugh on the left with Atsu on the right wing in a 4-4-1-1 formation. Both terrace at either end were closed and so the fans were in the stands on either side of the pitch - one Bournemouth fan tweeted that the sun was right in the AFCB fan's eyes!

Match Description
The Cherries won much early possession. Marc Pugh had the first shot but dragged it wide. Junior Stanislas then went close. Shaun MacDonlad was in control on midfield, but even he had to stop play when a bird on the pitch stopped the match!

Pugh then won a free kick and the Cherries hit the post! king's shot was deflected onto the post by Wes Fogden. Stanislas then jinks into the box and Pugh is up ended. Penalty! Junior Stanislas to take and it's 0-1 to the Cherries! There was some confusion over the penalty taker but it was definitely Junior Stanislas' goal.

Cook has a bit of a slip but recovers well. Yeovil were really struggling to get into the game. There was a worry that Atsu was going to have to come off. Indeed, he's off down the tunnel. It's a short appearance for Christian Atsu then - hamstring! Tokleo Rantie comes on early- only half an hour gone. New signing today -  Iffy Allen - is on for Yeovil replacing Jordan Gibbons!

Stanislas moves over to the right wing and King plays off Rantie who is up front. Rantie is already looking dangerous and almost gets played through by Pugh. As we near the end of the half  Artur Boruc finally has to make a save as Dolan hits a great volley from 20 yards out.

The second half hardly got started before that man Junior stanislas made his mark again having been put in by O'Kane and scored from an acute angle to make it 0-2. Adam Smith's positive run leads to another Stanislas shot but this one is saved. A promising free kick  opportunity soon  followed for AFCB from 25 yards out dead centre, but it's deflected and goes out for a throw. A rare Yeovil attack gives Artur Boruc a chance to reacquaint himself with the round object.

Rantie looks menacing again after Smith finds him but he overruns the ball. Next Rantie has a go at a volley but the flag goes up. Meanwhile, Yeovil make a double sub. It's still all AFCB though as King wins a corner.

It was King again making his presence felt when he made the game safe at 0-3 just after the hour with Mings providing the assist. Moments later King was replaced by Quigley. The subs are coming thick and fast now with Yeovil bringing on Matty Laird for Dolan and AFCB replaced Mings with new signing Costa at left back. Beck was also replaced by Yeovil for Bird.

Boruc has enough time to wave to the fans - not a lot to do for him tonight or for AFCB's back four. Joe Quigley heads the ball in after a Costa shot is deflected, but it's ruled out for offside! Stanislas is applauded off with 10 minutes to go and is replaced by Mason Walsh. Rantie then goes on a great run and wins a corner after not being able to get his shot away. Meanwhile Yeovil bring on Sowumi.

The game is running out of time but MacDonald wins another free kick. Macca is replaced. A late effort sees Yeovil head over! Josh Wakefield is on. That's it - Cherries win 0-3.

Cherries XI: Boruc, Smith, Cook (cpt), Distin, Mings, Stanislas, MacDonald, O'Kane, Pugh, Atsu, King

AFCB Substitutes: Holmes, O'Flaherty, Costa, Butcher, Wakefield, Carmichael, Walsh, Quigley, Rantie. 

Yeovil Town: Krysiak, Smith, Dolan, Lacey, Arthurworrey, Sokolik, Allen, Fogden, Dickson, Jeffers, Beck.

Yeovil subs: Weale, Bird, Burrows, Gibbons, Laird, Collins, Sowumni.

AFCB and Yeovil official match tweets
01: The game is underway at Huish Park.

05: First chance for #afcb , who have dominated the ball in the early stages. Pugh drags his shot wide:

Y 5: - Early pressure the visitors sees them force a corner but Town clear away.

05: Stanislas then has a curling effort blocked. #afcb experiencing a lot of joy on the left so far: 

08: Close again for #afcb as King tries to head on a ball into the box. The Cherries are firmly on top:

Y We have a pitch invader. A baby seagull has held up play. Now stewards and ground staff are chasing it.

Y We shall call the seagull Stephen. Stephen Seagull… get it

10: The groundsman has caught the bird! Play resumes at Huish Park

16: Off the post! King's shot is deflected on to the post by ex #afcb man Fogden: 

16: Junior Stanislas jinks his way into the Town area only to be denied by Krysiak.

17: Penalty to #afcb ! 

17: Penalty to Bournemouth after Sokolik upends Pugh. Stanislas sends Krysiak the wrong way to make 0-1

18: Goal to #afcb

18: Pugh is tripped inside the area and Stanislas steps up to hammer home the spot kick. 1-0 to #afcb :

Y 30: Sub for #YTFC as Iffy Allen is replaced by Jordon Gibbons.
30: @ghanafaofficial's Atsu has just put the ball out of play after pulling up with an injury.

31: He goes straight down the tunnel & #bafanastriker Rantie is warming up

33: @afcbournemouth playing with ten men at the moment as Christian Atsu has gone down the tunnel, but hasn’t been replaced yet.

35: #bafana striker Rantie finally enters the pitch, much to the #afcb fans' delight. He replaces Atsu:

41: Superb volley from Dolan from 20 yards is well saved by Boruc low to his right.

45: There will be a minimum of one minute of additional time played here:

HALF TIME: #ytfc 0-1

Y Half time here at Huish Park. Bournemouth lead 1-0 thanks to a Junior Stanislas penalty after 17 minutes

Second Half
46: The second half is underway between #ytfc and#afcb :

47: GOAL to #afcb !

47: O'Kane plays in Stanislas and he finishes coolly from a tight angle. 2-0 to #afcb 

Y 47: Stanislas slots home under Krysiak to make it 2-0 to Bournemouth
51: Stanislas' free kick deflects away from goal.#afcb are still on top here

55: Rantie tries his luck with an acrobatic volley but it goes over, and the flag was up:

Y 55: Double sub for #YTFC. Dickson and Jeffers replaced by Jamie Burrows and trials Roddy Collins.

59: Arthurworrey pokes King's low cross into the side netting. #afcb still lead 2-0

Y 60: Tonight's attendance is 2,422 with 687 from#afcb .

61: GOAL to #afcb !

61: Mings plays the ball into King's path & he shrugs off the defender, & slots the ball beyond Krysiak

62: Bournemouth make it 3-0 as Josh King races clear to slot home past Krysiak.

65: Substitution for #afcb as King is replaced by Quigley
Y 69: Another sub for #YTFC. Marc Laird comes on to replace Matty Dolan.

69: Another substitution for #afcb as Mings is replaced by Costa:

80: The impressive Stanislas is replaced by Walsh for #afcb

80: Quigley has the ball in the back of the net as he meets Costa's cross, but the offside flag is up:

83: Sowumni comes on to replace Sokolik.

90: There will be two minutes of additional time played here. #afcb lead 3-0

90+1: Another substitution for #afcb as MacDonald is replaced by Wakefield

Full time! It finishes 3-0.

Yeovil fans may have reason to feel rejuvenated this season

Down in the West country Yeovil have always been a team that put in 100 per cent effort and have in the passed earned themselves a reputation of being giant killers. Their mascot is perhaps the biggest giant I think about when it comes to Yeovil Town now, but when they take on the Cherries they can hope to set their season up to be a much better one that the last couple that have seen them slip back down the leagues. While they've had a glamorous FA Cup tie against Man Utd last season, I can't help but think it was brilliant when AFCB were playing Yeovil in the Championship and I wish them success in trying to make their way back to that level and perhaps beyond.
Back in the land of green giants.
Why they have dropped back so far is something for Yeovil fans to consider and perhaps their management. Yeovil always seemed to hit above their weight but their performances never picked up after they made such a good attempt in the Championship. Dropping out of League One last season must have been hard for their supporters. AFCB have shown though that from a low position you can build a strong side and the Cherries won't expect an easy game against them.
Wes Fogden played some
great games for AFCB.
Over the summer I see that Yeovil have brought in former Cherry Wes Fogden, 27, on a two-year deal, who was released by Portsmouth. In all, the Glovers were up to some 15 new signings at the start of this week so they are likely to have a very new look team to take on the Cherries. Among their new recruits is former Carlisle striker Mark Beck and Ryan Bird, who signed from Cambridge Utd who you might have seen in the FA Cup tie against Man Utd. Shaun Jeffers has also signed for the Glovers from Newport County.

Paul Sturrock is now the manager at Yeovil after Gary Johnson left the club last April. The most recent friendly that Yeovil had saw them take on Torquay Utd in Devon and come away with a 1-2 away win. The Glovers also beat Truro City 1-0 in July.

What will have got Yeovil fans buzzing is a capital One Cup first leg tie against QPR. AFC Bournemouth's visit will be a good trial ahead of that fixture.

Make sure you have a look at the season preview piece I did with the Guardion Online newspaper - just click on this link to view it.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Gradel inbound to AFCB and one or two others?

Eddie Howe was confident enough to suggest that more signings would be on their way to AFC Bournemouth before the start of the season as long as they could get the right players for the right prices. On a day when Stoke City can sign a Barcelona midfield player, it may be comforting news for Cherry fans to know that while the south coast side may not be the biggest spenders in the division at least they will attract players that will be given every opportunity to perform at their best and learn from a manager that will develop them into a team player that is going to form a competitive side.

But who are the targets? Max Gradel is my favourite pick as a colleague of mine had a talk with a journalist at L'Equipe today who said Max would more than likely be headed to the Vitality stadium. What niggles me is the pace of Harry Arter's potential return. The central midfield area is one place where Eddie Howe has not done any business yet and I'd expect that to be the area that he concentrates on in the next two weeks if he does want more players to come in. There are plenty of names out there like QPR's Junior Hoillett, Abdisalam Ibrahim of Olympiacos and Aldene Guedioura at Crystal Palace.

There is also a shortage of strikers at the Cherries in my opinion. While Wilson, Kermorgant, King and Rantie fall into that category a fifth out and out striker would be a massive bonus if AFCB can get one in. Whether Crystal Palace hold the key with Dwight Gayle and Glenn Murray is not really clear, but there has been so much talk about Palace players that something is surely going to happen there in the next few days while Liverpool are still keen to move Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini. I know, you're still holding out for Charlie Austin - aren't you?

Still, we'll watch the transfer window eagerly in the next few days and it may mean that one or two of AFC Bournemouth players are also allowed to move on if Howe can find the right replacements, just not at any price though Eddie.

Junior has to find form regularly

There have been a few players that will have been disappointed by what they personally achieved last season at AFCB while the club itself had great success. Junior Stanislas has been honest enough to admit that at times he was "tearing his hair out". Being fit any yet not being selected is not what any player wants with such a finite career and Junior has found himself back in the Premier League again and has set himself the challenge of getting regular games rather than moving as he did when Burnley were promoted two seasons ago.

Eunan O'Kane with Junior Stanislas. Both players will
look to have a big game on Tuesday night. 
Although Junior Stanislas only made six starts last season he is disparate to show that he has the qualities to rival those of some of his teammates in the first squad and he has made a good pre-season start by scoring at Exeter City. He will know that he has fallen down the pecking order having seen Christian Atsu sign for the season and Josh King can also play on the wing, but with Ryan Fraser temporarily on loan this season he has a great opportunity to make his decision to move to AFC Bournemouth a good one. At the moment it has not worked out for him and he'll have to give his all to win over the crowd, but they will be fair to him if he does start to produce good performances.

The Cherries have always liked a trier and fans can see that Stanislas has been struggling. Many will have expected him to ask to go out on loan, but it takes bravery to stay and to try and make the team when you know you have not been the manager's favourite. Another season where he is not even making the bench will not be a good outcome so Junior has to give it everything and that just could start to change things around for him. 

Good luck for all those after tickets today for the Liverpool away match. Let's hope that the online site does not have too many major problems.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

How did you rate AFCB's new signings?

Cherry Chimes had a poll running for the last few days on how fans viewed the new summer signings and who was most likely to have the best season. Out of the 71 votes cast a whopping 25 votes or 35 per cent of opinion backed record signing Tyrone Mings to be the most successful new signing next season. No surprise there perhaps as we all wish our record signing well.

Still that puts a lot of belief behind the young left back who will surely have a battle to win his place in the team as Charlie Daniels isn't just going to let Tyrone take his place. We have seen that Simon Francis has held off competition from Adam Smith for more than a season. Tyrone will have to be on top form to establish himself in the regular line up so perhaps that is why so many of you think he will succeed.

What I found more surprising is that Christian Atsu was predicted to be the next most successful signing. Christian again has to try and find a way into the team by trying to overtake Marc Pugh and Matt Ritchie. We have seen in video clips with Ghana that he surely has some talent, but he has not really performed at the same level for Everton. With 13 votes or 18 per cent of the vote though he came second in the poll.

The players that I thought might do a little better came in equal third. Sylvain Distin is likely to be the first man to turn to for Eddie Howe if either Steve Cook or Tommy Elphick have a stumbling block or an injury and yet he polled just nine votes or 12 per cent of the vote. I can see why fans don't think he'll be a regular starter, but I was shocked to see that Josh King did no better than Sylvain Distin. Josh King will probably be battling with Yann Kermorgant and Tokelo Rantie to try and get a starting spot and yet he also had only 12 per cent of the votes leaving me to wonder if fans feel that Yann Kermorgant is still the best player to play up front with Callum Wilson.

Some eight per cent of votes are still holding out for a big signing yet to come in and to blow away all the other summer signings. There is still time and yet Tyrone Mings stands alone as the major financial outlay this summer and it maybe that Eddie Howe decides to hold back to see how the team does with the possibility of buying more players in January. 

Artur Boruc received a solid six votes or eight per cent of the poll and while he could be very busy and could easily earn player of the season, fans seem to hope that he won't have so much to do in the Premier League. If AFCB are not in a relegation scrap he is less likely to be the man everyone thinks about when AFC Bournemouth are mentioned - let's hope that is the case. Adam Federici is down on one per cent in the voting. Unless Artur is injured early on it will probably be the cup games that give Adam his opportunities to play. Meanwhile, Filippo Costa and Jordan Green (who signed after the poll was created) will be Development Squad players and are unlikely to feature in the first team. 

The Nantes draw will have raised good questions

AFCB fans are used to seeing pretty much the same players turnout almost every game. So when this pre-season has developed it has been a bit of a shock to see lots of new pairings being put together in some of the games where fans might have expected the first team to take to the field. That was the case with the game against FC Nantes only yesterday.

No let up in pace. Eddie has to get everyone fit and
ensure his first team are getting enough minutes.
Eddie is of course trying to give players extra minutes and that means it is wise for him to split the players up and try a few different things, while allowing main players to get 70-80 minutes under their belt. Against FC Nantes is will have been of value for Baily Cargill to continue his footballing education alongside Tommy Elphick and while there was only a few minutes for Filippo Costa, Josh Wakefield and Josh Carmichael and Matt Butcher, they along with a few other U21 players got to make the trip and to learn what Eddie Howe had to say about what the team was trying to achieve on the pitch.

Of greater importance might have been the decision to play Josh King on the left wing. He was the first player for the Cherries to be substituted but still had 70 minutes to impress. With a trio of Wilson, Kermorgant and King pushing forward as well as Ritchie on the right, Eddie Howe might have been a shade disappointed that the team did not create more chances during this match. He can now assess some of the players that did not feature in this game in the Yeovil match and see if they can do better.

The most pleasing aspect of the game has to be the clean sheet. While Adam Federici may not be seen as the number one keeper he is starting to put a challenge together. Three of the back four in this match were also AFCB's main defenders in the Championship, so there was continuity there. It is the first match where AFCB have managed not to concede a goal in pre-season so that has to be something that the players can now try and build on.

The questions after the game will certainly be aimed at central midfield. Was Surman tired? Did Gosling do enough? Is Arter a player AFCB simply can't be without for long? AFCB found themselves under pressure from misplaced passes and quick breaks having lost possession. Can Eunan O'Kane or Shaun MacDonald do a better job? We may well see them try in the next pre-season match. At least Eddie Howe has something to focus his attention on and finding solutions is what his job is all about.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Ritchie's missed penalty sees Cherries draw with FC Nantes 0-0

Match Description
FC Nantes 0 v 0 AFCB

Estimated Attendance 5000 (including 101 Cherries)
AFCB players at FC Nantes.

If pre-season friendlies had been a breeze up to this point for the Cherries, then they had a real game on here taking on FC Nantes. The first half saw the French Ligue one side stretch the Cherries in all directions and apart from the first five minutes it was Nantes who dominated play, snatching possession and breaking fast. Yet, if any team had a great chance to win the game it was AFCB in the last three minutes when a handball gifted Matt Ritchie with a penalty kick. Sadly, he was not accurate enough and his slip saw the ball rise over the bar and with it went AFCB's hopes of winning this friendly. If AFCb had a player to congratulate though it was Adam Federici who had worked valiantly to keep the score at 0-0.

Eddie Howe decided to mix up the first team squad with lots of U21 Development players coming into the team to take on FC Nantes. Josh King lined up playing wide on the left and Wilson and Kermorgant started up front. The test was really to see how long some of the first team players would be given in match conditions and how many subs would be made at half time or shortly after. With Daniels, Elphick, Francis, Ritchie and Surman playing there were plenty of first choice players getting a workout.

The players that were rested included: Artur Boruc, Ryan Allsop, Tyrone Mings, Steve Cook, Sylvain Distin, Elliott Ward, Adam Smith, Christian Atsu, Shaun MacDonald, Eunan O'Kane and Marc Pugh.

AFCB team
Federici, Francis, Elphick, Cargill, Daniels, Ritchie, Gosling, Surman, King, Kermorgant, Wilson

AFCB Subs: Holmes, Costa, Butcher, Wakefield, Carmichael, Matthews, Whitfield.

Match Summary
The task facing AFCB was soon very apparent in this match. FC Nantes were a dominant force in the first half hour, attacking with pace on the break and stretching the Cherries defence. Nantes had the ball in the net after 17 minutes but AFCB were lucky to have it flagged offside. Bammoj, Oliviera Tavares and Walongwa were causing lots of problems for the Cherries. One way traffic is a phrase that comes to mind.

AFCB attacks were quickly breaking down while Nantes were delivering great crosses into the Cherries' box. AFCB were struggling to get anything productive going in the final third of the pitch. Defence was the order of the day with Kermorgant coming back to provide cover. Nantes were piling on the pressure with several corners, but Federici had not had to make an amazing save up until this point.

Nantes came close when Oliviera Tavares volleyed over, but the Cherries were holding out. When Wilson did get the ball in and around the box he tried to trick his way through but was not having much luck. meanwhile, Josh King was getting caught offside just helping Nantes' possession stats to grow further.

The key moment of the first half came when Audel was through one-on-one with Federici but the Australian keeper made a great save and the chance was gone for the Nantes player. AFCB's main contest seemed to be whether Francis or Kermorgant would concede the most corners.

Second half
Ritchie went in the book early on for a poor challenge on Thomasson.Moimbe then beat Francis on the wing like he wasn't even there. Tommy Elphick made a foul some 30 yards out which gave Nantes a great chance to shoot as it was dead centre, but Oliviera Tavares hit it straight over the top.

Moimbe was next to be pulled up for a foul on Francis and he was yellow carded. Ritchie took the free kick to the right of the box and had a shot but it was blocked. Nantes were first to make subs on the hour with two new players coming on.

Not a lot was going well for the Cherries as Wilson gets caught offside. With 65 minutes gone the game is starting to slow down a bit. AFCB's first sub was Filippo Costa replacing King on the left wing. Nantes are also bring on more subs.
Baily Cargill is fitting in well with Elphick - the pair seem well suited to play together. They are getting a workout tonight. In the final 10 minutes AFCB are starting to retain possession a bit better. Kermorgant lays a great ball off to Francis, but he screws it wide. Vizcarrondo catches wilson and is straight in the book.

Costa and Daniels are now linking up well and Costa wins a free kick. Wakefield and Carmichael get to play out the last five minutes for AFCB. Off come Gosling and Surman. A handball gives AFCB a penalty with just three minutes of normal time to go. Ritchie wants to take it, but he slips and puts it over! Strange that Yann kermorgant did not take the kick, but there you go the chance has gone.

Matt Butcher comes on to the field and replaces Elphick and there is the final whistle 0-0.

Final thoughts
It will be of interest to know if Artur Boruc is fit to play in the next game. He had been diagnosed with a shoulder injury but it had not been considered that bad even though he had missed the Exeter City match. He might be a doubt for the game against Hoffenheim in a weeks time. The surprises for the team selection in this match were the inclusion of so many Development Squad players - Jordan Holmes, Filippo Costa, Matt Butcher, Josh Carmichael, Ben Whitfield and Sam Mathews. Eddie Howe clearly wanted to rest some players. When I asked on the Live Blog, how had Dan Gosling had done after the first 45 minutes? The reply came back that: "The midfield haven't had a great time to be honest. Not able to hold possession or do anything incisive in that first half."

During the second half the Cherries managed better and while the substitutions slowed things down there was a great chance for Ritchie to win the game from the spot. It was probably apt that he slipped and missed as AFCB were not the boss of this game, and a draw was a good result for the Cherries considering how they had to hold out for most of the match. As an exercise the players got plenty of minutes and Adam Federici did nothing to hurt his case for a start having been man of the match.

FC Nantes v AFCB - match tweets from AFC Bournemouth 

01: Wilson and Kermorgant get the game underway.

03: Early chance for Nantes as Federici tips a powerful header over the bar.

04: Daniels holds off pressure to weave his way into the area and earn #afcb their first corner.

05: Wilson meets the corner, but the referee says the ball had already gone out of play. #afcb

06: Second corner in as many minutes for #afcb, with King this time the architect of the attack. 

06: Wilson brings the ball down on the edge of the area, but Nantes clear.

06: Second corner in as many minutes for #afcb , with King this time the architect of the attack.

07: Cargill sends in a cross which but it is too comfortable for the 'keeper who catches easily.

07: Cargill sends in a cross which but it is too comfortable for the 'keeper who catches easily. 

14: The ball flashes across Federici's goal and Daniels is forced to divert the ball behind for a corner.

14: Federici is in action again; this time he parries a long-range effort before gathering the rebound.

15: Another teasing ball is whipped into the box, but fortunately for no one can connect.

17: Let off for #afcb as Bammou is flagged offside, after he slotted the ball beyond Federici.

19: Audel chases down a ball over the top, but Cargill keeps watch and it goes through to Federici.

21: Another chance for Nantes as Toure hits a powerful volley into the side netting.

26: Thomasson's deflected effort goes wide for a Nantes corner. The hosts are on top here.

27: Kermorgant puts the ball behind for a second consecutive Nantes corner.

27: Federici times his move to perfection to punch the ball out for a Nantes throw.

33: Another let-off for #afcb as a Nantes free kick is headed behind for a corner.

34: Toure plays in Audel & Federici is again called into action, as he is forced to save from close range.

36: Daniels plays in Wilson, but his trickery doesn't enable him to set up a shooting opportunity.

37: Nantes break and Oliviera Tavares hits a first time cross narrowly over the bar. Still 0-0

38: Wilson slips the ball through to King but a well-timed challenge means he is quickly dispossessed. 

43: Another great save from Federici! He gets down low to save from Audel, who was through one-on-one.

Half time: @FCNantes 0-0 @afcBournemouth

#afcb make their way back out on to the pitch. It doesn't look like they are making any half time changes.

48: Ritchie is booked for a clumsy challenge on Thomasson

57: Elphick is penalised for a foul 30 yards out, but Oliviera Tavares' set piece sails over the bar

59: Francis is fouled by Moimbe and #afcb have a free kick just outside the area. Ritchie to take..

60: His low free kick is cleared. A reminder it is still 0-0 between @FCNantes and #afcb :

66: Iloki flashes a shot across goal from a tight angle - a good chance for the hosts

71: First substitution for #afcb as King is replaced by Costa

81: Best chance of the game for #afcb as Kermorgant lays a free kick off to Francis and he hits it wide.

86: Double substitution for #afcb as Wakefield and Carmichael replace Gosling and Surman.

87: Penalty to #afcb !

87: Kermorgant resumes play after the substitution with a free kick, which is handled in the area!

87: Ritchie loses his footing as he goes to take the spot kick and hits it over the bar. Still 0-0. 

89: Butcher replaces Elphick for #afcb . Still 0-0:

Full time: @FCNantes 0-0 #afcb.