Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Picking an AFCB starting line up just got more difficult

The beauty of the signings that AFCB have been making this summer is that it makes the starting line up much more unpredictable for games next season. You can have your favourites but there are reasons to believe that Eddie could swap players in and out of the starting 11 from a 25-man squad without having any sleepless nights about the standards dropping because of a player not being available.

The attacking line up at AFCB's disposal is now frightening. While Callum Wilson and Josh King have started to build reputations as being the first line of attack, there is little worry for an AFCB if you see Benik Afobe or Junior Stanislas coming in the field. Now there is even more pace with Jordan Ibe and Lys Mousset in the club's ranks and I haven't even mention Max Gradel or the trickery of Marc Pugh yet. If Ryan Fraser, Lewis Grabban and Tokelo Rantie look unsure of how they might fit in, they are probably right to be wondering how far a 25-man squad will stretch.
Pick your starting 11 - it's not easy.
What could be beneficial is that there are a few players - Jordan Ibe, Lys Mousset, Lewis Cook, Emerson Hyndman and Baily Cargill that are U21 players and can be additional to the 25-man squad. Wriggle room suddenly looks a bit better doesn't it and I think it is a big reason why Bournemouth have been buying young and especially home-grown players when they can. Up to 17 of the 25-man squad had to be home-grown last season and AFCB is one of the few Premier League clubs that has no trouble in managing that.

So the squad might be larger than 25 in number, but those over the age of 21 will count as one of the 25. Still, even when Eddie has those 25 and the U21 players, it is going to be hard to decide who gets first crack at the games. He may want to be loyal to some regular starters but I expect in pre-season he'll mix and match a fair bit to see what combinations get him most excited.

So my team to play Minnesota United FC is based on a bit of experimentation with one team for the first half and almost another for the second - I've also gone for two 4-4-2 set ups as a basis for each half.

Team 1
Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels, 
Stanislas, Ake, Surman, Gradel, 
King, Wilson

Team 2
Butcher, Cargill, Cook, Mings, 
Grabban, Arter, Cook, Pugh, 
Mousset, Afobe 

Extra Subs - Allsop, Wiggins, Gosling, Fraser, MacDonald, O'Kane, Ibe

Eddie Howe will know if Mings, Arter and Smith are ready yet or not to play a part and he may well rest any of those depending on their fitness levels. I think he'd want to see the new signings although Ibe may be a bit too late out to be fair to him to feature. Even the extra subs might be given time in this game as the aim must be to give players minutes on the pitch more than anything. The game kicks off at 1.00am Thursday morning UK time/ 7pm Wednesday evening US time.

Some of the Development squad no doubt also travelled Like Matt Butcher and Baily Cargill, but I am not sure exactly who. Tokelo Rantie is not out in the USA though.

AFCB's U21s take on Fulham as well today.


  1. Apparently Mings, Smith and Allsop won't feature v Minnesota United FC. We look very lightweight in defence!

  2. Mings isnt even in full training yet so definitely won't be playing. I'd also rather see Ryan Fraser playing on the right instead of Grabbs. Fraser got rave reviews from those at Ipswich last season and could have a big season

  3. I also would like to see Fraser play. I was impressed with him before he went out on loan. He was always a danger on the wing. Glad to see him back. Now we know Eddie is staying with AFC, we can look forward to a top 10 finish Im sure with the team signings he has aquired over the summer.