Monday, 7 March 2016

Pace up front caused chaos in Newcastle's back line

Eddie Howe set his team up against Newcastle with the intent to hound and press while also using pace to get at the opposition's back line. It worked extremely well as both Gradel and King had outstanding games and forced errors from the Geordies who were horribly exposed at times.

I am not sure at times how Max Gradel holds on to the ball. He is not the biggest of players but he showed his tenacious fighting for the ball just before AFCB opened the scoring at St James' Park. He beats players with the ball extremely close to his feet and adds that excitement factor to the Cherries' play whenever he then gets his head up. This time he found Josh King and Josh's natural idea was to fire the ball in across the six yard box. That it was an own goal did not matter, it was intended to cause chaos and it did. 
Josh King and Max Gradel were back on duty at Newcastle.
To see Rob Elliot beaten early on was just the encouragement that the players needed to keep playing the quick passing football to keep on top. Sometimes it can become a mental block when you see the same keeper make save after save and unlike at Dean Court that hoodoo had been broken before half time.

However, it was the second goal of the game that I think Eddie Howe will be most pleased with. We are finally seeing Josh King make incisive runs and time them to perfection. Matt Ritchie saw what King wanted and Josh King's pace and quick thinking got him on to the pass on the turn without Taylor getting nearly close enough, while the finish gave Elliot no chance at all. That finish has been missing not only from Josh King's game but one or two others and yet I feel that once this team gets used to scoring goals at this top level they will surely start finding the net more often. Josh knew he had little time and had to strike quickly and it was just another small touch before he lashed the ball in. Considering that Josh had also come off midweek with a calf strain and performed as he did against Newcastle, it was a remarkable day for AFCB's young striker.

Benik Afobe might not have scored but he also did his bit in stretching the defence and it is very exciting to see a number of forwards now that Eddie has who can leave defenders behind. Benik adds more directness to AFCB's play and he is going to get better with his diagonal runs down the sides of the central defenders.

All Departments
The All Departments' podcast is out today with George James and Michael Dunne. Listen in on the All Departments' website or scroll down the side panel of Cherry Chimes to the All Departments' sound bar to listen in.

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