Thursday, 18 February 2016

Sharp shooting Cherries required

In the last few weeks the goals have rather dried up for the Cherries. While Marc Pugh inspired at Selhurst Park and bundled the ball into the net at Pompey, fans have not been overly spoilt at home with Matt Ritchie's cracker against Stoke City looking rather lost on an otherwise empty shelf of home goals for AFCB.
Come on lads, we need you to hot the back of the net!
A few weeks ago it was all exciting and buoyant at Dean Court with a three-nil home win against Norwich. A big relegation rival defeated and a good gap opening up in the table, things could not have been better. So where has that sharp shooting gone? Against Arsenal we might have expected chances to be more limited, but not against Stoke City when the rewards for a win would have taken the Cherries to 31 points. Sadly, the points are not won until they are won and the performance did not deserve three points.

Eddie Howe was disappointed about the amount of saves that Jack Butland had to make. There were just two AFCB shots on target with one goal scored by Matt Ritchie. It is not that the Cherries did not create chances, but at no time did Jack Butland look like he was was going to have an uncomfortable afternoon. He was well guarded by Wollscheid and Muneisa and later by Teixieira, and Stoke City got players behind the ball to use Shaqiri's range of passing as well as the forceful runs of Jonathan Walters to prise open AFCB's defence. 

We can marvel at Stoke City's finishing, but there was little to shout about from Benik Afobe, Junior Stanislas or Marc Pugh. Against a side that had let in three goals in their last two matches it was a shock to Eddie Howe that AFCB did not have more efforts on goal. It's five goals in four home games in 2016 for AFCB and while the Norwich game saw lots of goals, the truth is that AFCB are not finding it easy to score at Dean Court, averaging just 1.25 goals a game.

Now it is the turn of the FA Cup and speculation over which forward or forwards could start the game. Glenn Murray has been left out of the last match squad, but has featured in the third and fourth round cup ties for AFCB - will he be picked on Saturday? Josh King is back and scored against Pompey so should he lead the attack? Lewis Grabban started in the last round against Portsmouth, but can he be trusted to put chances away that come his way?

Meanwhile, Benik Afobe has not played any FA Cup games this season so he could play for the Cherries against what could be a very strong Everton team. 

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