Sunday, 26 July 2015

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.

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