Sunday, 20 March 2016

Can Cook and Francis stop Harry Kane?

AFCB's centre backs have had some difficult games and the match against Tottenham is going to be another stiff examination of their Premier League class. While mentions of possible England call ups won't distract Simon Francis, both he and Steve Cook have to prove themselves against the very best in matches like this away from home if they are truly going to get themselves recognised as among some of the best players in the country in their positions.
Exiting stage left - Harry Kane is one player AFCB must shackle.
Clean sheets against Spurs have not been easy with the form of Harry Kane who has already scored 19 league goals. But if you take him out of the equation the Tottenham strike force looks almost human. Erik Lamella, Nacer Chadli and Mousa Dembele just have three league goals, Christian Eriksen has five, while Deli Alli is on seven goals. So stopping Harry Kane is the number one task for Bournemouth's back line, but there are several midfield runners who will also be very attack minded in this game.

Harry Kane basically shoots from just about anywhere and to usually works for him as Arsenal recently found out. But to keep him quiet would be a major feather in Cook and Francis' book. I don't believe there are many players that are better in the air than him and as his first thought is to always shoot the blocks are going to have to be flying in. 

Francis and Cook have seen 13 goals go in against them since the new year in the league, but with four clean sheets it is not beyond them to steal another clean sheet. With AFCB's biggest defeat of 2016 coming in home games to West Ham and Stoke City, it is the away form that has really been most effective. Only in the Leicester away game when Francis was sent off have the Cherries had a team have more than 14 shots against them in a game since the 1st Jan. Keeping that number of attempts down is going to need not just Francis and Cook to play well but others too. 

Individual errors cost AFCB last time against Spurs, but perhaps this will be seen as a big step in how far the team has improved since the game against Spurs at Dean Court when Artur Boruc was in goal and Sylvain Distin and Steve Cook were the centre halves.

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