Friday, 30 October 2015

Positivity returns to the Cherries' play

Eddie Howe could not hide his pleasure in seeing how well the Cherries took the game to Liverpool in the Capital One Cup in a night that was never going to be easy for a revamped team. While Liverpool had made a lot of changes they still had quality in those positions and AFCB were playing on the back of two disappointing performances. The challenge was for players to try and press a case for a starting spot in forthcoming games as well as try and get AFCB through to the next round.
AFCB warming up at Anfield.
The way that the side went forward and created chances was much more considered in this match. Having Simon Francis move into a centre back place may have been unusual to see but he coped for the main, and with Tommy Elphick out for a while it does give Howe the option of moving Simon in there when either Cook or Distin need a rest. In some ways I was expecting to see Baily Cargill get the nod for the role, but if Eddie is thinking about playing Francis at centre back in a Premier League game, then I can see why Cargill missed out this time. 

I had also thought that Harry Arter would play and I was equally impressed with what he brought to the team on the night. He worked extremely hard and looked better than some of the others when he was taken off after 70 minutes. He and MacDonald provided a good barrier to Liverpool through the middle, and I felt their performances were what gave the team the basis to push attacks for most of the evening. At times the team found it difficult to get out of their half, but there were no rash decisions and the players were calm in trying to make progress up the pitch when Liverpool pressed high.

The forward positions were perhaps less spectacular for the Cherries on the night. Junior Stanislas showed that he can get in scoring positions but is not taking the chances, while Kermorgant found it difficult to have much influence on the game. I would have preferred to see more of Tokelo Rantie and there was one instance when TK was almost slipped through by Ritchie in the last 10 minutes that would have been testing for Bogdan if only one of the Liverpool defenders had not read the pass. 

So all in all, a positive evening despite the result. The picture on players and positions is changing fast at the moment and there is a bit of choice for Eddie now going into the derby with Southampton. 

Later today I'll post an update on how my two boys and I got on in Liverpool when we went up for the match earlier this week. 

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