Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Better decisions and a stronger midfield are desirable

Against the very best sides there is a strong sense that the Cherries do have a problem dealing with these teams in midfield. Eddie Howe's teams have come through the divisions playing mainly in a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 formation and against the top teams this does not give them enough bodies in the centre of the park. We've seen it against Spurs recently and again against Man City.
Matt Ritchie had to help out in the middle against City as the team was not competing.
When playing lesser teams it is possible to have as much control of the ball with playing Howe's regular formations, but it just does not hold up against the highest quality. Perhaps this is why most of the top European bound clubs will play either diamond formations or 4-2-3-1 and we may see the Cherries working out how they can play in a few different ways over the summer to find something that suits playing against these top teams better. While Eddie Howe has usually resorted to playing five across the midfield when they are not getting enough of the ball it is trying to still carry a threat going forward that has been difficult.

Against Man City at home the Cherries managed two shots on target and 11 shots in all during the game. While we can understand that it is more difficult to get shots on target against the Man City's of this world than some other teams, without that threat the opposition do tend to feel confident in midfield. The high pressing game that City played was also better than many other teams have tried to employ against the Cherries. We have seen it work for Watford as well against AFCB when they have caught passes at the back but Eddie Howe is right not to make his players fear playing out from the back as it is just something they have to get better at and will do as long as they continue to play that way and get quicker and more precise at the execution of it. The game is about making decisions as much as anything else and sometimes players will make the wrong decisions in the wrong areas - I can live with that.

AFCB do need to make it more of a battlefield though in the middle against the top teams. The power and energy that the Man Cities have is not easy to contend with but the more times AFCB players come up against them the more settled they will become in knowing what they are about.

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