Saturday, 15 August 2015

Can AFCB beat Liverpool at their own passing game?

There was an interesting stat that SkySports picked up on after last week's games that looked at the total number of passes made by the teams in the Premier Leagues. I know Eddie always likes to see his team move the ball about the park so it was not a major surprise to see AFCB above half way in that table but to see them in third with 464 passes was evidence that the Cherries did try and pass Villa off the pitch. Even more astonishing was that Liverpool only ranked ninth with 378 passes against Stoke City.
Can AFCB stick to their high pass rate at Anfield?
While stats are not always a good indicator of how a team is playing, it is intriguing to think that AFCB could find that they may have a chance to retain the ball more than we have seen them do in the past against the Anfield giants. Of course Liverpool are at home though and will have a big crowd willing them on. The question is how can AFCB stem the flow? It is arguable that this could be a game for Eunan O'Kane to be employed in front of the back four to mop up the runs of Coutinho and Lallana when they break through, and to give distribution to the central midfielders quickly so they can get the ball out wide and forward. It would be putting a lot of faith in O'Kane who has not had a lot of game time in the last year, but then the whole team have only just come out of pre-season and he is seen by many to be the best player that the seasiders have for that role when it is needed.
We look forward to Liverpool fans also
 coming back to Dean Court later this season. 
So a match for Eunan? I think it could be, and further up the field Eddie may decide that it is time to give a debut to Lee Tomlin in central midfield, but with license to push forward and support Wilson  who may have a difficult night if he is asked to play a lone striker role. The main thing is that the Cherries need to be solid and with an extra body in midfield they would still have the speed on the break to give Liverpool problems if they can execute the breaks well. Undoubtedly the team will need a minimum of 11 heroes and those on the bench could have the deciding say if Gradel and King are used to good effect late on in the game. UTCIAD!

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