Tuesday, 9 February 2016

AFCB will grow by playing teams like Arsenal

The difficult of getting points against a top six side was admirably demonstrated last Sunday when Arsenal controlled their lead with some very accomplished play. AFCB are still a team in development and I thought they ran hard without really troubling the Gunners as much as they might until the second half, when there were a few moments when they came very close to getting a goal.

Psychologically it would have been a boost to get a late goal. Sadly, the shooting accuracy was pretty poor on the day from AFCB and it is probably the biggest area where they can do better in future games. Eddie Howe does have the knowledge though that the team created good chances against this title-chasing team and there were a few positives from the game like the crossing of Junior Stanislas when he came on in the second half and the power of Charlie Daniels runs that deliver quality crosses almost every time.

Charlie Daniels is picking up plaudits every week now.
I thought the gap between the sides was smaller than it might have been when Arsenal bagged their two goals early on. Eddie Howe must have tightened up on strategy for that second half, as Arsenal did not look nearly as dangerous as they had early on and never looked like running up a big score. AFCB are still one or two players away from being a team that can sit comfortably in mid-table, but I hope the players can see that they started to give Arsenal problems and they need to know that they are making headway on the teams above them in the league.

There are fans that say the Premier League has dropped in quality, but I didn't see that at the weekend. Arsenal's second goal in particular was high quality when you look at how early Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain took his chance and buried the shot, while running at speed. It is the kind of finishing that AFCB need to work on themselves though if they are to start giving the top sides more difficult games.

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