Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Encouraging signs for AFCB

You can say that Portsmouth are not world beaters being a League Two side, but a team can only play the teams in its own division, and aim to be the best, and they tested AFCB scoring three goals which led to Eddie Howe stating that there is more work for the Cherries to do. Yet, like Eddie I saw some elements of the game that really encouraged me for next season and considering that there was not much time to prepare for the Pompey match, I was really pleased to see that the players were working really well for each other and the new signings were quick to get a hold of what Eddie Howe demands of his teams.

Lewis Cook was a great example of what fans can expect to see in terms of work ethic and intelligent play. While Lewis was finding it difficult to get into the flow of the game in the first 15 minutes, he soon picked up the challenge and started to direct where he wanted the ball played and made himself available as much as possible, by changing angles and creating space. It was only natural for many of the AFCB players to start looking for him and giving him the ball, as he was that comfortable in wanting to set up play and I though he out shone Harry Arter on the day, which is no discredit to Harry who always works hard.
Lewis Cook sharpens up his shooting as Marc Pugh looks on.
I was even more enthused by the qualities of Lys Mousset. While I expected him to be taking more of a junior role in taking his lead from the players in and around him, he was having none of that, and was making himself the focal point of the attack in the second half. Lys is more powerful than you might believe, and I think his explosive bursts of energy will offer a valuable threat up front. He thinks quickly as well and you'd have thought he had been playing with the Cherries for several months, not just a few weeks.

Coming to the man who Liverpool fans are quite split over, in whether he should or should not have been sold, I thought Jordan Ibe was again an inspiring player to watch. Call him the Matt Ritchie upgrade if you want, but there are qualities about Jordan that are on a different level to many players in much bigger sides than AFCB. He'll go straight into the starting line up and will be a huge player for the Cherries. Just his touch and the sharpness of his movement were too much for Pompey's payers who could not get near him. When he scored his goal it was almost like the Pompey players were bemused - well what could we possibly have done to have stopped that? Ibe was just enjoying himself and if he keeps that up, we'll be calling his signing an absolute masterstroke.

So the 500 or so AFCB fans who were at Fratton Park saw some excellent entertainment. I am looking forward to the match at Reading, which I'll be at, but I'd recommend that fans try to get to at least one of these pre-season friendlies to get a look at the squad as there is plenty to admire. Things are getting exciting! UTCIAD!

Match Day Gallery now has photos on it from the Pompey away game.

Transfer News
Brad Smith is due to have his medical at Dean Court today. Hopefully, Tony Pulis at WBA will also allow Jonny Evans to speak to AFCB.

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