Monday, 4 April 2016

Why were AFCB not at their best?

Listening to Eddie Howe after the defeat against Man City we heard him say quite clearly that the team were not at their best. It is hard to hear that after many of the squad have had a training camp away in Dubai, but taking on a team like Man City or Spurs you need your full squad to be fit and everyone on form to really give such teams a difficult game.
Eddie had to admit it was hard to watch at times on Saturday.
The Cherries have been coming up short against the best teams and I guess we expected that several games like that would come along at some stage. It is remarkable that the Cherries have picked up points against Chelsea and Man Utd earlier in the season and because they have done well in those games it has raised expectations of them being able to turnover some of the top teams especially on our home patch, but it is not that simple. These teams are now looking to win titles and Champions League places and they are going to accept any mistake that they can turn into a goal. The stakes are high for those players and teams and while we would like to think AFCB are a match for them at any time there are periods in the season when the balance of a side is going to be weaker.

For the Cherries, there is a need to find some extra strong players in central midfield. Eunan O'Kane had even been carrying a groin strain for a few weeks. Eddie Howe was forced to switch positions of several players and it was quite unusual to see Matt Ritchie shunted into central midfield to add more solidity to the middle of the pitch against Man City. It was a case of adding more numbers in the middle of the park, but not the ideal situation for the players.

AFCB might be seen as having no stars, but they have key players that provide vital roles for other to be able to do their job and without an Arter or a Wilson or Afobe for example, the Cherries are not quite the same team. I do think this affects confidence when the players run out. They want to see the players they know will be motivators on the pitch and who they can draw energy from themselves when they see them doing well. When that does not happen there can be a tendency to drop back into their shell and for the expansive play that Eddie Howe sets as a template it quickly erodes when players don't feel that they can pass with accuracy and comfort, knowing that the team can build from the back and make its way up the field.

We must give credit to the opposition as well as they make it harder for AFCB to play well, but the disappointment for the Cherries is that they see the quality on the other side of the pitch as a great chance to show that they can do well against such players and to come up short is part of the lesson at this stage. That's not so hard to take if the players feel that they gave their best and had as good a go as they could have done.

1 comment:

  1. King too carrying an injury, so why not give Murray and Iturbe a go, also does not explain why McDonald was left out if O'Kane was injured.
    Sometimes the play from the back needs a variation, knock it out to row Z or drop it over their back-line. City were "weak" at the back, but if the ball is not up their nothing that Grabban or Gradel can do.
    Smith looked uncomfortable throughout, was he hiding an injury?