Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Arter awaits scan but could be out of the Euros

Harry Arter was injured in training with the Republic of Ireland squad yesterday in Cork. While many media stations are confirming that Harry has left the squad to be assessed, it is not 100 per cent clear whether he is out of Martin O'Neil's squad which will be announced before 11pm tonight.
Let's wait and see on Arter shall we.
The Republic of Ireland are currently playing Belarus and Arter's omission is a big blow having done so well in the recent friendly with Holland. Eunan O'Kane also awaits patiently on the bench in that game and it is possible that AFCB will only have Artur Boruc going out to the Euros as an AFCB representative playing for Poland.

Arter is said to have a thigh injury and it comes after he missed several games at the end of the season with an Achilles problem. The fact that it is not the same injury may be slightly encouraging but the Republic of Ireland won't be able to afford any passengers. How highly Arter is valued by Martin O'Neil is shown though in that the manager wants to speak with Arter's consultants this evening. Even if Arter does not go to the Euros it looks like he will be central to plans after the competition, especially if Martin O'Neil is still the manager.

Fraser, too good to go out on loan?

AFCB fans have not seen too much of Ryan Fraser in the last 12 months, apart from when he appeared in the stands having become injured playing for Ipswich Town. Now he is hoping to play a part in AFCB's second season in the Premier League, but will he get that chance?
Ryan Fraser would be great to see back at Dean Court.
I'd like t think so but the competition for him is stronger than ever now. Lewis Grabban's signing and the form of Junior Stanislas, Max Gradel and Marc Pugh don't leave much space for Ryan, while Ritchie has played on the right in most of the games this last season. If Juan Iturbe is on the way as seems likely then there is a vacancy, but Howe is probably more likely to bring another loan player in if it improves the squad. So is Ryan Fraser about to be disappointed again?

It is interesting that AFCB turned down any thought of Fraser being poached full time by Ipswich Town and hastily drew the young Scotsman up another new contract. There is promise in Fraser's feet and having won the young player of the month award in the Championship in his first month at the Tractor Boys you see he has a lot to his game and is more than good enough to fight for a space in any team at the top of the Championship.

Arguably he has done his time now though at that level. What can he do at the top level? We simply don't know. As an impact player he offers pace and movement that is admirably suited to AFCB's style so it is perhaps his time to do battle again with Marc Pugh and Max Gradel for the left winger's shirt. He can certainly learn much from training with the likes of Gradel and being of similar stature it may well be quite important for his game that he does get some time with Max. 

Sending Ryan out on loan again may well add more game time though to his legs and this will also make him a better player. But Ryan signed for AFCB and surely he wants nothing more than to put on the red and black shirt again.

Monday, 30 May 2016

It's a shame that Ritchie misses out on Euros

I doubt Eddie Howe will be too concerned that Matt Ritchie has missed out with Scotland in reaching the Euros this summer. The hard working winger though will know that he doesn't get many opportunities to play in large international competitions during a career and he'll have to watch on as a couple of fellow team mates do sample the atmosphere and big stages in France.
Matt will miss out on the Euros but that could be good news for AFCB.
It has been a mad end to the season for Ritchie having just become a father and with his player of the year for Scotland celebrations rather hampered by the Old Trafford fiasco. He will have lots to do at home with his growing family, but Ritchie is a player that lives on fitness as we have recently heard in his interview with the Scotsman and his fondness for Paulo Di Canio's teachings.

Working hard can take you a long way and Matt has shown that he has the skill to be a top Premier League player. I'm hoping he wants to keep doing that at AFCB and by missing out on the Euros he probably won't have quite the platform he would have had this summer if Scotland had made it to France. He would have been a great player to watch at the competition for us AFCB fans and no doubt several scouts who are probably already tracking him. But there is certainly much more belief to what he is doing now whenever he puts on a football shirt, whether it be for AFCB or his national team. He is getting more consistent, and if he can keep adding goals and assists he will help his teams achieve even more.

Having played in 42 AFCB matches this season he may not have run as many miles as he did last season in the Championship and the extra rest of not having competitive matches this summer could be a real bonus for the Cherries next season. A fresh Matt Ritchie who has raised his level is something that Eddie Howe will be looking forward to come August.

Matt was involved for 90 minutes in Scotland's 0-1 defeat to Italy in Malta last night so he is still churning out the miles on the pitch.

The Cherry Chimes' Newsletter is out today.

Cherry Chimes' June Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month, plus there is a special Newsletter article entitled: Can Grabban be a force in the Premier League?

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Sunday, 29 May 2016

AFCB were busy defending last season

I was impressed to read on the Premier League site that our very own Steve Cook was the top dog when it came to making headed clearances this last season with 188. Of course, you could argue that if the team defended better in front of him and stopped more crosses then there would not be so many ball for him to have to head away. 

Statistics can be very miss leading but they at least give you an instant reflection of what is happening a lot during games. We know that Daniels and Francis try and get forward as much as they can so there is less surprise that they are equal first and second in the assists with five and four respectively. Francis also came out equal third with successful tackles on 77.
Steve Cook has been busy on defensive duties.
I imagine that Artur Boruc was fairly high up in the amount of saves made as well, but the priority for the side next season is to reduce the workload on the defence and keeper. From the transfer talk that has been rumoured so far it looks like that means stronger midfield players on the to buy list. Rather than change too much at the back, Eddie Howe seems to want to stay on a course of attacking teams and giving them more problems to contend with first before putting too much efforts into stopping other teams play.

It is admirable that Eddie is determined to keep pushing his side forward and I wonder if there is a limit to how many attacking players he can really bring into the side. Most top sides have a strong balance between attack and defence, but AFC are work in progress so I'll hold fire to see what players come in during the summer. 

The Cherry Chimes' Newsletter will be out tomorrow.

Cherry Chimes' June Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month, plus there is a special Newsletter article entitled: Can Grabban be a force in the Premier League?

To sign up for the newsletter just complete the form below - like all good things it's free:

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Saturday, 28 May 2016

A poor end of the season but what's next for AFCB?

Even our beloved Eddie Howe is under pressure when his team suffers a run of defeats like it has at the end of this season. While Eddie himself finds defeat hard to deal with and to get over, he is aware that his side has not performed in the last eight games or so to his satisfaction and it has left a bit of a bad memory in what has been a great first season at the top level.
3 While there is a pre-season and new season just around the corner, it is now that Eddie and his coaches must find out why they had this poor run and how to stop it next time. We know that they faced the top teams one after another in April, but if the side had not had victories against Man Utd and Chelsea earlier in the season then they would have been relegated without those six points. In other words relegation was not far away and there is no guarantee that AFCB will be able to beat such top sides next season. 
What will we see at Dean Court next seasons - more home wins hopefully.
Although there will be funds for new players, I get the feeling that there will not be a rebuilding of the side from front to back. Instead it will be minor modifications and trying to get more out of the payers that have gained a bit more experience now. The side is fairly young and with new contracts for Adam Smith and Steve Cook, it is clear that Eddie Howe is not looking to dispense with many from the current squad who are on long contracts. I am not sure that he has much room for manoeuvre anyway as the salaries of the players are the most expensive outgoings and if the club was some £40m in the debt in the Championship we can expect that its first season in the Premier League was even bigger with the signings of Glenn Murray, Juan Iturbe, Benik Afobe, Artur Boruc, Max Gradel, Tyrone Mings, Josh King, Adam Federici, Sylvain Distin, Lewis Grabban and Rhoys Wiggins.

In other words, even with the lucrative Premier League deal of £120m or so, AFCB need to keep its house in order and if it has a debt that needs reducing it has to play the transfer market cleverer than it has in recent seasons. To recoup, it needs to sell players at good prices and that is not something we have seen of late. 

Check out our Euro 2016 tab to read - Arter and Rashford are fine on the big stage

Friday, 27 May 2016

Adam Federici should not be happy playing No2 to Boruc

Today we will see England take on Australia in a friendly at the Stadium of Light. While most England fans will be watching the form of their heroes against a tidy Australian team who play for a country that of course do not like to lose anything when it comes to sport, especially to the Poms. Adam Federici will also line up for the Aussies in this game against players that he has faced in a few games in the Premier League but for him it is a real opportunity to show AFCB fans how good he is.

Adam Federici should be aiming to be no1 in 2016-17.
Adam Federici should not have been pleased at playing so few AFCB games this last season - 12 in all. He has been the number two to an Artur Bouc who has been injured for much of the season and yet he has not been able to dislodge the Polish keeper from being the main starter between the sticks. While the cup matches have kept Federici in some kind of form it is not ideal for any national keeper to be having to wait for chances to get on the pitch as a number two. He can start to try and address that by performing well tonight. I find his shot stopping as good as most top-flight keepers but he does make mistakes and does not perhaps fill the goal as well as Boruc in terms of size.

It is also a bit comfortable for Federici to be a replacement at AFCB if Boruc has a problem. While Adam still gets picked for his country he has no big worries about trying to grab the top shop at earn Court while below him I wonder how hard he is pushed by Ryan Allsop? 

There are only a few keepers that get to play for their country and in the Premier League and Federici has to start seeing himself as a keeper that must start games. He'll have his work cut out tonight against the young Marcus Rashford and Dele Alli, but he could not ask for a better stage to pull off some sensational saves to get the attention of his manager and those who wonder if he really is a keeper that is challenging Artur Boruc for that AFCB shirt.

Also in the action
Harry Arter and Eunan O'Kane could also be in action against the Netherlands for the Republic of Ireland in their friendly.

Adam Federici is only on the bench!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

What’s the real end game for Eddie Howe?

With only three English managers left in the Premier League it is no wonder that Bournemouth’s manager has been talked about in the national media as a coach that could go much further in the game. Danny Murphy and Jamie Redknapp been quick to try and ask whether Howe should be given a bigger job than AFC Bournemouth, but let’s look seriously at what he has on the south coast.

The Cherries are an up and coming team. He has built the squad and knows exactly what it is capable of and where he needs to develop it, which he can certainly do now with the lucrative funds that are coming into the club.
Even Eddie has to step up his performance next season.
Ambition is something Eddie Howe was questioned about before he finally took the Burnley job but by changing club you are entering a whole new set of variables that are difficult to evaluate from the outside. Eddie Howe has time on his side of course and might one day decide that he should face new experiences. He has repeated time and time again thought that he won’t move while Maxim Demin is in charge at the club and the duo seem set on taking the seasiders as far up the league as they can.

It was intriguing that Peak6 CEO, Matt Hulsizer, was outspoken enough earlier this year to ask why can’t the Cherries set their goal at winning the Premier League. It may not seem such a wild dream having seen what the Foxes have done, although Howe himself was quick to deny that they weren't a Leicester City in the making. If that is not the immediate goal then what is it?

Staying in the Premier League and developing the side and the club as a whole are the immediate aims, but with the ‘anything is possible’ tag attached to the club, have the fans really thought what can be achieved? What can a team of players who have come up through the leagues do together under a manager that only fears not winning? I think there is a freedom about what Eddie Howe can do now as his players know what he wants having been with him for a while. That should give him a freshness to experiment and test himself. He deserves to be given some time to see what he can do in familiar surroundings – he’s comfortable but knows that like all managers he is only as good as his last game.

Is there an end game then for Eddie? I suggest that he will know when that is but at the moment he is just getting familiar with the Premier League and its intricacies. Having completed a season in it he is now armed with far more knowledge about what is required to be a continued success. He has turned the team around when it has been on a bad run and has managed to overcome a season of injuries to key players, but the test that he will most want to achieve is longevity in the job. Luckily for AFCB fans he seems rather keen at doing that at Dean Court.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Is Baily Cargill ready for the big time?

With the departure of experienced defender like Sylvain Distin this week there is already mentions of AFCB looking out for new defenders. I ask though is it time that Baily Cargill made his presence felt in the first team and show fans that the AFCB youth system can produce Premier League stars?
Baily Cargill before the FA Cup game against Pompey.
Baily is certainly the closest home-grown player that the club has to making a start in the Premier League and with the likes of Josh Wakefield and Josh Carmichael among those who have already been released by the club this summer, it is easy to question whether there are enough players coming through the system at Dean Court. AFCB have been accused of buying their way out of the Championship and like so many Premier League clubs they seem prone to prefer looking into the global market place rather than find room to promote youth. 

Baily could be an exception. He is already an England U20 international and he has a calmness on the ball that has been coached into him from an early age. He can keep playing the odd FA Cup match and be on the periphery of the first team, but sometimes players learn quickest when they are thrown in at the top level. This season we have seen West Ham give an early debut to 17-year-old Reece Oxford against Arsenal in the first game of the season having already played in the Europa League. Then there is WBA's Jonathan Leko who started against AFCB in May - he's another 17-year-old and what can we say about Marcus Rashford. While Rashford is at a huge club he still has managed to breakthrough. 

So is Eddie Howe giving youth a chance or is he holding it back? How much exposure should any manager give to inexperienced juniors when they are up against seasoned internationals in the Premier League. It's a hard call to make, but if the players shows the ability and aptitude to deal with the pressures then surely there comes a time when age should not come into it. Baily may get his opportunity now - I just hope he takes it when it comes.

Transfer News
Ryan Allsop has secured a new two-year deal at AFCB. The Cherries are also reported to be tracking Besiktas defender Alexander Milosevic. Man Utd's Michael Carrick is also a potential target for AFCB but would Eddie stump up £80,000 a week for such a player when Man Utd want to keep him? I think not.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Will AFCB be any better placed than Burnley or Boro next season?

It is hard to believe that only a year ago AFCB were sitting in the position that Burnley now have after winning the Championship. The prospect of Premier League football though for the Lancashire side is not such a earth shattering step as it was for AFCB though as they have been there before as recently as 2013-14. Middlesbrough are another team that are not exactly new to the exposure of the top league and you wonder whether AFCB are in any better position than the clubs about to come up.

While the thought of 38 games in a new season is perhaps a long way from the players' thoughts at the moment it will be very much in the mind of Eddie Howe. He will have to assess not only the transfers of players for his own team and the established clubs that his side played last year, but he'll also be keeping watch over the new boys of Burnley, Middlesbrough and one other - the Championship play-off winners - Hull City or Sheffield Wednesday. These sides all have larger grounds than AFCB and they have a history of taking on the best sides. While Sean Dyche has had a season in the Premier League it will be new for Aitor Karanka and if he thought the Championship was pressurised with his need to escape for a few games, he'll find it full on next season.
AFCB taking on Boro at the end of their successful 2014-15 Championship winning season.
I see both Burnley and Boro as better sides than Aston Villa and Newcastle and probably Norwich as well, so I don't expect any easy points against them. Burnley have players with the experience of playing at Old Trafford, Anfield, White Hart Lane etc, and they will be looking to get off to a better start than last time. Boro too will know that they have to pick up points early to get the confidence going and the fixture list will be keenly scrutinised by Eddie Howe when it comes out. 

None of the sides going down did particularly well early season and keeping out of the bottom three I believe is going to be harder. Burnley's problem will be to find another striker who can do well if Andre Gray gets injured or can't score many goals. Boro are perhaps defensively stronger but will they also get enough goals? AFCB have shown that you need to net at least 40 goals to survive - only just over one a game - if any of these sides can get up to 1-3-1.5 goals a game though they will have a comfortable season.

I do believe that AFCB can compete with Burnley and Middlesbrough more easily than some of the other teams, and having them in the league gives new reassurance that Championship sides can do well when they get promoted. If AFCB can survive again and two or more of the promoted sides also stay up, then the Premier League will have a look about it that is perhaps more dynamic than we will have seen in a long time, especially if Newcastle and Aston Villa don't get straight back up.

Players released by AFCB include: Sylvain Distin, Stephane Zubar, Josh Carmichael, Josh Wakefield, Mason Walsh and Jon Muleba.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Who is for the chop at AFCB?

There has been no announcement of which players are not going to be wearing an AFCB shirt next season but we can guess that one or two are more than likely packing their bags in anticipation of a sharp exit.

Top of the pile has to be Lee Tomlin who has done really well since he went out on loan in January to Bristol City. While there was the complimentary acknowledgement that Lee announced that he wants to prove himself at AFCB, he has probably seen a great opportunity melt away at AFCB. Lee has shown that when he concentrates on his football that he is a player that can do the business, at least at the Championship level and Fulham or Newcastle might well be in need of his services.

I don't think there will be too much delay on Glenn Murray also hanging around as he did not join the Cherries to miss out on match day squads or to sit on the bench. The signing of Benik Afobe really sent out a signal that his days are numbered and I wonder if he will entertain a return to Brighton where he did so well before.

The interesting striker who AFCB may have trouble in shifting is Tokelo Rantie. There was talk last winter that Malmo might be interested in having him back, but a string of injuries and non-appearances will make it hard for the club to demand a fee for him even though he still has a year on his contract to run. Maybe Russell Slade at Cardiff City will take him as he is said to be an admirer but Slade himself is linked to the manager vacancy at Blackburn Rovers.
Lee Tomlin probably tops the list for most AFCB fans to be sent packing.
There has to be a question mark over Bailly Cargill as well, because he needs to bring into the first team and to play regular football. With Simon Francis moving across to centre-half there is one less space available and it may enable Championship sides to consider trying to make a bid for the talented AFCB Academy graduate. I hope Bailly continues to fight for his place, but another long season on loan is surely on the cards for him. And what of Rhoys Wiggins? He has singed a two-and-a-half year contract but is he going to play any football at Dean Court? As soon as Tyrone Mings is back in full health surely Rhoys Wiggins will be looking for a fast train out of Bournemouth.

While Ryan Allsop has been on the loan track it is getting harder to see an improvement in his performances and it could be a parting of the ways this summer. Personally, I'd like to see at least one new keeper. Sylvain Distin had retirement already on his mind before coming to the south coast and I can't see him wanting to bench warm for another season down here. Juan Iturbe we can add to the list with his limited number of appearances that should alert clubs of the calibre of Malaga waiting in the wings. 

My gut feeling is that Eunan O'Kane and Shaun MacDonald will manage to stay around but still find it more or less impossible to get int the side, especially if Howe strengthens this area as expected. As mentioned before though in previous posts, there could be a surprise release from the squad that has served the club so well if Eddie Howe can find higher quality players within his budget - so watch out Elphick, Federici, Wiggins etc...

Euro 2016England trundle along with no organisation against the Turks

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Is Benik Afobe just a box man?

Among the many scenarios that have been played out in recent weeks with forwards swapping positions, it has been quite a surprise to see Benik Afobe playing in the number 10 role rather than as an out and out striker. The big man is perhaps not as agile as some of the club's other forwards but his willingness to improve his touch and general play should be admired.
What can Benik add to his game?
We are all very quick at pigeonholing where a player should play and with Eddie Howe he usually wants more from his players than that. Benik is a great box player and he scored goals in and around the box with excellent technique. I don't see Eddie trying to turn him into something he isn't but I do see that he wants the former Wolves striker to get better at other aspects of his game. In the long run, it will be useful option to have if injuries come along to other key forwards next season.

Whether it takes too much away from Benik's game is something that Howe and Tindall will have to consider. I'd hope that Benik is learning all the time as, even if he does not find hat the position is right for him, he will at least have a better understanding of what other players have to deal with when they are playing as a number 10, and that may make it easier for him to make his own runs as a number nine.

It has been a bit of a shame hat Benik has not kept his form going quite as well as when he first arrived at the club. His goals were priceless for keeping the Cherries up and he will have to try and show that he is a striker that can hold down a regular place in the side during pre-season. If that means he has to be adaptable, then he should do everything he can to play well in whatever role he is given to do for the team.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

New ticket prices and discussions with Structadene

I was delighted to hear that AFCB would not be raising the price of season tickets at Dean Court next season and happier still that a new price concession has been brought in for U21s. It's not that I am 21, of course, but I have a young son who is approaching the cut-off for being a Junior Cherry and I was preparing for a steep rise in his ticket price even though he is going to be at college next year.

The club has been a bit slow to react to making it fairer for students but I'm pleased that there is something now as older teenagers debt levels are among the highest in the country if they go to University. However, those fans who are still waiting to get in queues for match day tickets will not have been so pleased to hear the decision to delay the expansion of Dean Court that was announced just after the last Premier League game of the season. I feel for anyone who wants to get inside AFCB's ground but has to try and buy tickets for individual games when they are announced.
The club still doesn't know what is happening with
the South stand and the ownership of Dean Court.
While discussions are said to be ongoing with the freeholder for the ground, I wonder how the fans feel about trying to buy back the ground now. If it is a necessary move to shape the stadium as AFCB want in the future then I can understand the need to gain full control rather than being a tenant, but if Structadene don't want to sell then there has to be a question over whether it is sensible for AFCB to keep putting money into something that they don't fully own. Of course, Structadene themselves may be against further ground development.

It's really all about what vision AFCB has about its future and whether it wants a revamped Dean Court of a new stadium elsewhere. Answering this question has really been held back for some time and while I understood that Dean Court has always been the preferred location, you wonder how big the stadium can be expanded in future and what hurdles the club faces in doing this. Structadene may hold out for a high price and may like the regular income they receive in rent while there must be a limit on how much redevelopment can be done at the ground.

There is a lot of money for the club to spend, if it wants to right now, but like last season it will be on the pitch where it really counts. A small expansion seems reasonable to get a few more fans in, but if Dean Court is not the long term solution then it will be best to find that out now before throwing money away at something AFCB can never be fully happy with.

Friday, 20 May 2016

How much of a fighter is Tommy Elphick?

We have seen Tommy Elphick manage to win his place back in the side when Adam Smith found himself injured with a few games of the 2015-16 season to go. He’ll have been pleased to have achieved that, but what happens next season when Adam Smith is fully fit and Simon Francis is battling for the position at centre-half?

Tommy is not so naive as not to understand that Eddie Howe picks his side on performance and not by reputation or name. While Tommy is the captain he has a job to do first and foremost and that is to win his shirt so that he gets a place in the side. There is talk of the centre-back position being strengthened is well over the summer and that would put more pressure not only on Tommy but also Simon Francis, Steve Cook and potentially Baily Cargill.
Tommy's position does not look safe for 2016-17.
That is great news as far as I am concerned as the strength of the side is not the back line. How much they can improve in the second season in the Premier League is not easy to answer, but the defeats to the very top sides will give Eddie Howe some thinking to do. Among the question she’ll have to grapple with is will Tommy Elphick play enough games to be the best player to captain the side.

In short, Tommy needs not only to have a good pre-season. He needs to start the next season with a run of games that reassert him and his role in the side. I know Tommy is a fighter and he will be prepared for the examination. It s that kind of belief in his own ability that has got him to where he is now. Like a few others he will feel that he didn’t get a fair crack at running out as often as he should have last season, and that is just a bonus for AFCB as far as I can see. He still has something to prove and the eager the side is in its need to do well the better chance they have at surviving a second season. But his contract is up next year. 

Meanwhile, talking of contracts - Steve Cook has signed a new three-year deal which indicates that Eddie is pleased with what Steve has done in this last campaign.  

All Departments has released its podcast on the 3-1 defeat at Man Utd. To listen in visit teh All Departments' website.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Man Utd didn't give the Cherries a foothold in the game

Eddie Howe will not have gone away from Old Trafford thinking that he has a side that are likely to challenge or the very top places in the division next year. He was realistic in conceding that AFCB had not really found it easy to get a foothold in the game and Man Utd had kept possession extremely well which had no doubt been a blueprint that Howe would have liked to see his side do to the FA Cup finalists. 
It was a hard defeat at Man Utd. Eddie Howe would have hoped
the gap would have been smaller between the two sides.
The Cherries should not be too hard on themselves though. They were only a goal down at half time and it was a see-saw battle for a while before United got their second and could get the full control of the game. Still Howe knows that his centre-halves struggled against these top-class players and up front we did not see AFCB manage to attack on the counter with enough skill to make the most of their small amount of possession by getting shots away and on target.

It has been a similar story of the last few weeks of the season. While there are times when the side looks comfortable it can quickly lose confidence just when the side has been having some of the best moments of a match. The need for AFCB to get better at what sides like Man Utd manage to do against teams that come to Old Trafford is a timely lesson for next season for the Cherries and their games when playing at home. 

There were some mitigating circumstances with having to travel back up to Manchester and having not trained with no pitches to practise on, Eddie Howe will not make excuses. He can look to see how AFCB can find ways to take the club further again and the club has already made a statement in that regard by turning down a second improved bid of £20m for Callum Wilson and Matt Ritchie from West Ham Utd. 

Back of the Net has released it's latest podcast - What a Finale! out now. Check out their site or listen by scrolling down the side panel on Cherry Chimes until you come to the Back of the Net soundbar.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Man Utd polish off the season and AFCB with 3-1 home win

Match Report
Man Utd  3 v 1 AFCB
17 May 2016
Attendance: 74,363
The players can now go finally on their summer breaks with a big thanks
having been received from the fans up at Old Trafford.
Wayne Rooney notched up his 100th goal at Old Trafford to set up Man Utd 's win against AFCB in the last Premier League game of the season. In a fairly even first half the Cherries showed that they have perhaps started to learn a little about playing some of the very best sides in the Premier League. Only Wayne Rooney's 43rd minute goal separated the sides at the break and Marc Pugh had been given a chance just before that in the box which was blocked after a strong run down the right wing from Simon Francis. But it was United who were the class act and Marcus Rashford's second half goal, followed by another from substitute Ashley Young confirmed United's dominance, even if Chris Smalling put into his own net three minutes into extra time.

Eddie Howe brought in Dan Gosling and left Harry Arter out of the squad for this rearranged fixture. Harry is still suffering with his Achilles which will be worrying for him and the Republic of Ireland ahead of the Euros. Junior Stanislas was back on the bench along with Jordan Holmes and 17-year-old Corey Jordan.

Jason Tindall gives the team news.

It was Man Utd that were the side that started on the front foot winning a corner as early as the eighth minute and had another after 12 minutes. Anthony Martial was fired just wide of the right of the goal. While Marc Pugh won a few free kicks it was Utd that were pressing for that first goal. Pressure built up with another Man United corner on 19 minutes.

Steve Cook did get forward but had his shot blocked, and Marc Pugh came closest for AFCB when he had a great chance to test De Gea but found he could only find a defender with his shot. Then Man Utd won a free kick and Rooney found the bottom corner from the centre of the box to put Utd 1-0 up.

The second half was a little more attack-minded from AFCB when Callum Wilson made an early break but just could not keep control of the ball. Dan Gosling also had a ball pulled back by Ritchie for him and put the shot over.

It was United fans that might have expected the referee to point to the spot when Steve Cook got little of the ball and a lot of Mata, as he went to ground, but nothing was given and Tommy Elphick could clear in cool fashion just after 50 minutes.

A corner a few minutes later saw Michael Carrick hit a thunderous drive that came off the underside of the crossbar from 25 yards, with a slight deflection off of Tommy Elphick. AFCB were struggling to get possession but Wilson was looking for any opportunity on the break. A free kick special saw Josh King put a ball far too strong down the side when a simple cross into the box might have provided a chance.

AFCB were getting numbers back in good numbers against the constant Utd pressure. Rashford made a sensational run beating a couple of AFCB players on the right before Lingard tested AFCB's blocking abilities. 

Federici was then forced into a great save a Valencia drive of 30 yards. From the corner that followed Chris Smalling headed wide.

Man Utd were back on it with Rooney finding Mata who turned AFCB's central defenders inside out and pulled a good save off of Federici again.

Max Gradel replaced Pugh and King was subbed for Afobe on 67 minutes. Daniels then had to make a last ditch tackle to stop Lingard getting through. Wilson timed his run too soon when Afobe won a good header, but AFCB's number 13 was offside as he slotted home.

AFCB were gradually worn down when Utd kept the ball around the box and eventually played it deep to Valencia who headed back to Rashford who made it 2-0 on 74 minutes. There were calls from AFCB fans for Juan Iturbe but it looks like it was only a farewell song for the on loan Paraguayan.

Ander Herrera then replaced Juan Mata as Van Gaal looked to rest players ahead of the FA cup final. Rashford was also replaced by Mamphis Depay, while Lewis Grabban came on for AFCB in place of Wilson for the last 11 minutes. Depay missed a header to widen the winning margin but he was offside in any case.

Man Utd made their last sub when as Ashley Young came on for Anthony Martial. An overhead kick that flew over the bar from Steve Cook would have been a fine reward for AFCB's hard work, but they just couldn't match United on the day. That was confirmed when Rooney dinked in Ashley Young with Tommy Elphick and Steve Cook moving up and leaving Federici exposed and at 3-0 it was now comfortable for United who could have had a fourth if Young had timed his run better in the 88th minute.

A 90+3 minute goal for Bournemouth did arrive though when Max Gradel's shot was diverted by Chris Smalling into United's net.

The singing contest was easily won by the AFCB fans but Eddie Howe's side still have much to work towards in terms of keeping the ball and carrying a threat to these top sides. Far better sides than AFCB have been beaten by a bigger margin though at Old Trafford and Eddie Howe can be relatively pleased with how the side was well in the game in the first half and might have caused Man Utd some anxiety if they had held out longer. AFCB's game was not strong enough on the day though to hold United back.

Federici, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie, Gosling, Surman,
Pugh (Gradel 66), Wilson (Grabban 79), King (Afobe 67)

Gradel, Stanislas, Afobe, Grabban, O'Kane, Jordan, Holmes

Man Utd
de Gea, A Valencia, Smalling, Blind, Borthwick-Jackson, Carrick, Lingard, Mata (Herrera 75), Rooney, Martial (Young 84), Rashford (Depay 79)

Man Utd Subs
Jones, Depay, Young, Romero, Herrera, Varela, Pereira

No ratings this time - can't fault the players for a great season.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Old Trafford round two

It won't be easy for the players or the fans to play the rescheduled match between Man Utd v AFCB but the game must be played to complete this season's fixtures. It is sad that the game could not have been played last Saturday, but when you are dealing with a potential bomb and 75,000 people there was only one logical outcome.

Getting up for the game is going to be hard for players and fans. While there is a lot riding on the game in terms of final positions it is unlikely that Man Utd will make the top four considering the goal difference that Man City have over them in fourth. It is in some ways a meaningless fixture even if there are Europa league places to be decided and final position placings with payments to be earned. At the end of the day it is football though that must triumph. While it may seem to have been a shambles considering the inconvenience and waste of money in terms of fan travel on Saturday there is a willingness to draw a line under things.

I feel for Jordan Holmes the most though. What a high he must have been on before the game. I hope Eddie keeps him in the squad for the match and that Jordan can cope with the match being rescheduled okay along with the rest of the team.
Time to go for it one last time.
How many AFCB fans take up the option of travelling back up to Old Trafford for this game is hard to know on a Tuesday night at 8pm as the late finish would mean a probable stay over in the city rather than a return to Bournemouth on the night and that would require a couple of days holiday for most working  fans at rather short notice. The free travel though is a nice gesture by AFCB. Watching on TV is a substitute, but it does not really replace the loss of seeing the game live at the venue.

AFCB's visit to Manchester on the last day of the season will always be memorable now. But the players will want the game that is played to be remembered rather than the abandoned match and if they can perform to their best and take something from the game it will surely be their greatest result of the season. UTCIAD!

Wilson and Ritchie are not for sale, say AFCB

It seems ridiculous that Premier League big weights West Ham, Liverpool and Spurs would come straight after Callum Wilson having just had one season having only made 13 appearances. But both Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pocchettino are said to be in a tug of war for the striker's services, while West Ham have moved first with a £25m bid for Ritchie and Wilson that has been rejected, according to SkySports. It could be a long summer of such bids for AFCB to reject.
West ham are the first to try and see if AFCB would sell Wilson and Ritchie as well.
While Spurs are looking to off load Ryan Mason a similar deal that may be more of a like for like swap with Liverpool's Danny Ings is more likely to get a bit of ear-time on the south coast, but keeping Callum Wilson is going to be the biggest challenge that the seasiders have had since joining the Premier League. While five goals have been scored by Wilson in the league three of those came in the away game at West Ham, so perhaps the Hammers are worried that their defenders don't know how to stop Callum. It would still be a gamble for a side like Spurs of Liverpool to go for Wilson, but a gamble is much easier to make when they have bank balances that are over flowing and they can snap up a potential 20-goal a season man for something around £15m.

A bidding war of course would see this price-tag rise substantially and AFCB are as we have seen in no mood to sell. It may be that several attempts will be made to get AFCB's attention, but unless there is a price when the club says we can't refuse that amount as it would buy three or four top players, Callum should be an AFCB player in 2016-17.

The enticement of a player deal as well though with someone like Danny Ings does worry me slightly more though as Ings, like Wilson, has hardly played much this last season but the Liverpool striker is similarly making his way at this level. Players ultimately hold the power though and if Wilson wants to see his England ambitions receive a further boost as well as a substantial rise in salary, he knows he can push for a move.

AFCB are likely to want Callum to see if he will sign a new contract of course. The main problem Eddie Howe would then have is to keep the dressing room happy if salaries start to escalate. Callum only signed a new contract in the summer last season to ward off potential predators, but he will have to ask himself has his talent improved at AFCB, will he get an England call up at AFCB and does he like it at AFCB enough to stay for a season or two more before joining a club that plays in Europe and in Spurs case the Champions League?

Matt Ritchie too has been subject to interest from Man Utd as well as this bid from West Ham and the Cherries may have to look at several contracts quickly if they are to keep hold of their best assets.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Last day disappointment for travelling Cherries' fans

AFCB fans vented their frustration when the final game of the season with Man Utd was abandoned at Old Trafford because of a suspicious package that was dealt with by the police. AFCB fans took to social media not because of the fact that the match did not take place but because they were kept in for a long amount of time.
The game that never was. AFCB official image.
Some fans praised the police for acting quickly while others said the security was not that thorough although sniffer dogs were brought in. Social media also reported it was chaos outside the ground, but some 3000 AFCB fans had to deal with not only seeing that they had a wasted journey, but that they could not get away and out of the ground quickly either.

Security is of course a major concern at public events and while the Premier League has been relatively unscathed, in recent times we have seen attacks in Paris at the Parc de Princes and the level of threat on the mainland in the UK had risen only last week.

AFCB fans will have some consolation in that next season they will be able to go to Old Traford and this time it will only cost them a maximum of £30 to see the game. But it was a massive disappointment yesterday and not the way anyone wants to see the season end. Safety must come first though, even if it turned out to be a fake device that was actually a training device the had been left behind by accident. Hopefully we can get back to talking about football on Tuesday night.

AFCB are offering free travel to the game, subject to availability, for supporters with valid a match ticket. Refunds can also be arranged now.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Man Utd match abandoned

Match Report
15 May 2016
Man Utd v AFCB

Most home supporters were evacuated from the Old Trafford as there was an incident (a suspect package) that caused people in two stands (Sir Alex Ferguson and the Strettford End) of the ground to be led out of the ground. The players had already been warming up and a 45 minute delay before kick off was announced. Jonathan Moss had been asked by a Man Utd official to delay the kick off. The Sir Bobby Charlton stand fans were allowed to stay in the ground. It was most unusual and would have the knock on effect of the Man City game finishing 45 minutes earlier than the Old Trafford game. The players were allowed to stay in the dressing rooms, but then Sky News said teh match was abandoned just after 3.10pm.

Five changes for AFCB would have seen Adam Federici, Callum Wilson, Marc Pugh, Josh King and Matt Ritchie came into the side. Jordan Holmes also lined up on the bench with Artur Boruc ill. Junior Stanislas also had a neck injury.

Cherries XI: Federici, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie, Arter, Surman, Pugh, Wilson, King

Substitutes: Holmes, O'Kane, Gosling, Iturbe, Gradel, Grabban, Afobe

Man Utd made three changes two of which were last minute, Borthwick-Jackson along with Michael Carrick and Joss Lingard came into their side.

Jason Tindall with the team news.

Man Utd are a better team than they were in December

The task facing AFCB's men at Old Trafford is immense. While Man Utd were beaten at Dean Court last December they have come on leaps and bounds since then mainly because of the form of Marcus Rashford and the control at the back that they have again with Chris Smalling.
Man Utd at Dean Court earlier this season.
There is not is much anti van Gaal protesting these days as the Red Devils are closing in on a top four place. It is unfortunate that Man Utd still have much to play for. United have also been strong at home having not lost there since Southampton came away with a 0-1 win back in January. Two defeats in their last 10 games underlines their charge up the league.

Man Utd also know how to win. Against Norwich in their last game they may not have dominated or out played Norwich but Wayne Rooney took hold of the match by capitalising on a mistake that Bassong made and Juan Mata did the rest. At Old Trafford they will create many more chance and it will be AFCB's task not to go down a goal early on.

In some way the pressure is off the Cherries but they won't want to be torn apart in their last game. It could be a game where Howe reverts to five in midfield and no one would blame him for that. The side has not kept a clean sheet since the 2-0 win over Southampton back in early March and so a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford would be considered a great result.

I am currently in the USA for a few days so I amy have difficulty in seeing much of the live feed but hopefully AFCB get a positive result.  

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