Friday, 25 March 2016

The worst possible kind of start for the Cherries

AFCB have had some quick goals scored against them this season. The Arsenal home game sticks in the memory when the lead was doubled in the period of 72 seconds, but it was rather heart wrenching to see the lads go 1-0 down after just 44 seconds at White Hart Lane last weekend.
Simon Francis and Steve Coook  at White Hart Lane.
The players seemed just as amazed as the fans, but they did not stop trying to play the way the team has all season and that is much to their credit and Eddie Howe's teaching methods. You can drill only so much into a team though and some times they have to stand up to what they face as best they can. I thought all the players were certainly trying their hardest to get some control in the game but Spurs were quicker, stronger and more accurate while their movement was keeping them a step ahead all the time. We have all probably been in games ourselves where you feel you are chasing shadows and that is really how it felt from the start in this game.

AFCB always prepare meticulously for matches. Any team can suffer an early goal. It was the fact that the team found it hard to respond to the first goal, because Spurs were so good that will be more difficult to swallow. The usual rhythm and attacking nature to AFCB's play was simply not allowed to flourish, and when there is no outlet the ball comes back pretty quickly as we saw. Had the team kept a clean sheet and defended well for half an hour it could have become another kind of match where fans thought the big teams are finding it harder to break our back four down. But it wasn't just the back four that was under pressure and the midfield players will have to consider why they could not keep possession for longer periods. I saw Harry Arter trying to understand the instructions he was being given by Eddie to withstand the onslaught, but nothing seemed that clear to understand on the day and the speed of the first goal really destroyed any game plan until the side could come in at half time.

Simon Francis was keen to point out that the players did not want it to be a case of being another chastening experience like the home match when they saw five goals fly past them. It was good that the score did not run up too high. Although at three goals up, Spurs already had what they wanted by then - all the points. AFCB's players do have pride and passion in their performances though and I did see an improved second half performance. Eunan O'Kane and Lewis Grabban were two of the main reasons for that and for players with points to prove this is a good time to get noticed. Let's see if Eunan gets a chance for the Republic of Ireland now that he has the call up.

Loan and International news 
Brandon Goodship has extended his loan at Yeovil Town until the end of the season. While Wales drew with Northern Ireland 1-1, Shaun MacDonald was an unused sub, Ecuador and Paraguay also drew 2-2 but Juan Iturbe was an unused sub and on Wednesday Artur Boruc was an unused sub as Poland beat Serbia 1-0.  Scotland's 1-0 win over Croatia did not involve Matt Ritchie, but he is expected to star on Tuesday against Denmark.

Republic of Ireland play Switzerland today at 19.45 and we hope that Eunan O'Kane is picked to play at Hampden Park.


  1. I saw some very interesting analysis on a Spurs weblog in the aftermath of the game - and I can't find it now - which suggested that Tottenham had identified and exploited a weakness in Max Gradel's play. He does not like tracking back and that can leave Charlie Daniels very exposed if two players pile into the gap.
    Both first-half goals came about that way and it was not something Eddie fixed at half-time.
    Pochettino looks to be doing a really good job there.

    1. Found it! (that is what browsing histories are for).
      It made for very interesting reading.