Sunday, 14 August 2016

AFCB have to believe they can live with Man Utd

We know that Man Utd will be big favourites to beat AFCB on Sunday. Paul Pogba is certainly out of contention to play but the Red Devils have plenty of stars to get their campaign off to a good start. They have the quality and experience to trouble every team in the division and it is perhaps not so helpful to think about their strengths, but more about what AFCB can do to hurt them. Believing that AFCB is equal to Man Utd is not what the Cherries are about, but what they can be is confident that on their day it is possible to upset a giant and they've done it before.

While the away game at Old Trafford reminded everyone of what a big gap there is between these two clubs, it will be in the minds of many of Man Utd's players that they did not do well last time they visited Dean Court. It's human nature. Even Mourinho will be nervous that he didn't beat Eddie Howe at his first attempt and will want to do a job this time with his new team. Setting a marker down is what Man Utd may well believe they can do in this game and if they come with that attitude and find that the game starts to unfold very differently it could be a big problem for them.
Man Utd will bring a stronger squad to AFCB than they did last season.
Some times it is easier to let a team beat themselves. Frustrating and denying Man Utd room to play will probably be part of AFCB's tactics. Not staying in a game for longer is something that Howe was not pleased about when the teams last met at Old Trafford. This is another test to see not only if AFCB can do that but also if they can take the game to Man Utd on home soil. They may not get the lightning start that Junior Stanislas gave them last season at home to the Red Devils, but AFCB must believe that they have the weapons to win. Even Man Utd players playing their first Premier League games will be nervous and that could well be the new signings that didn't come cheap - Eric Bailly (centre-back from Villarreal £38m), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (winger from Borrusia Dortmund £26.3m) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (striker from Paris St-Germain (free).

I don't think Eddie would have chosen to have such a hard test first game, but you never know. In fact it may be the best time to play Man Utd before they get into any rhythm. 

Probable AFCB team:
Boruc, A Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels, Ibe, L Cook, Surman, Gradel, King, Wilson

Federici, AkΓ©, B Smith, Arter, Pugh, Mousset, Afobe

Premier Talk - The unpredictable Premier League kicks off

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