Monday, 28 September 2015

AFCB's defence is facing tough examinations

Like everyone I was very sad to hear that Mike Cunningham passed away yesterday. I am pleased that there are so many photographs though that everyone has been sharing that were taken by Mick over the years and I do hope fans get to think about the great work he did for the Echo and the club over the years. The club I am sure will make a big effort next match to tribute to Mick in the best way they feel is appropriate. Our thoughts are with his family.

Back to Saturday's game

On the playing field, most of the thoughts this week have been connected with the team losing its star striker. It is the obvious big news and yet the injury disguises some facts that AFCB fans might not be so happy to think about. However well AFCB played last Saturday they again let in two goals from open play. They were not the kind of typical goals that the Cherries have been conceding. It is not often that you see our players getting sucked into the ball to stop a player on the byline and to be outstretched on the wing and have to face an incoming cross while running towards your own goal is not a defensive position that AFCB ever try to find themselves in. Still it happened.
Hopefully not running in totally different directions
- Sylvain Distin and Steve Cook.

For the first goal Simon Francis clearly lost out to Arnautovic's skill and found himself slipping and sliding but ultimately not able to block him which opened up the whole goal for Walters who had the simplest of tasks to put Stoke ahead. Arnautovic was the main villain all afternoon for the Cherries as he had several raids that were very effective and he carried the ball well. had he been shackled a bit earlier in the match it might not have been such a good day for the Potteries club. I don't think Artur Boruc had much choice but to cover his near post and with Steve Cook already sucked in to the byline there was only Surman and Daniels trying to make things difficult for Walters, but they couldn't beat him to the cross.

Stoke's second goal was equally disappointing from an AFCB defensive point of view. A quick free kick and an alert Glen Johnson ultimately did for the Cherries resistance. The space that Johnson found himself in was huge as Daniels was out of position and when the low cross was perfectly slung in the bounce caught out the stretching Distin who missed the ball and it was superbly finished by Diouf's stooping header in between the defenders. Whether Boruc might have anticipated where the ball would be crossed to is hard to say but it can't be easy when you see three players hurtling towards you and the ball still out in front of the six yard box as the players come rushing in.

The quality of both goals from a Stoke point of view would be considered quite high. There was not much AFCB could do once Arnautovic had weaved his way around the back and  Johnson's cross was pinpoint for the second. Two quality moments and two goals conceded. keeping a clean sheet is far from easy in the Premier league and yet AFCB looked comfortable for most of the game. I just hope it is not a pattern that keeps repeating itself.

All Departments has released its podcast to review the Stoke game. Just visit All Departments' website to listen in. It will be posted on Cherry Chimes later today.

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