Friday, 30 September 2016

The best AFCB have played but can they do better?

It is only normal for the manager to want a bit more from his players even when they have had a good game. Eddie Howe is no different and perhaps he is right in that AFCB have much still to work on to become a reliable team that consistently picks up points. But it was like a new start with three points from the Everton game and to do better AFCB have to look at getting a string of results now.
Josh may be just the player who can break the
deadlock if things are level after an hour on Saturday. 
I've already mentioned this week that scoring goals is a problem the Cherries have. But at least they look slightly tighter in defence and a more competent side going forward now. Some of the defending against Everton was fortuitous and Everton had more than one or two headed chances to score and cutting out crosses is still something that the Cherries need to pick up on.

A 1-0 win against Everton is more appropriate of what a side aiming for mid-table should be capable of and while the Toffees are going through a difficult spell, there is more than a few positives that Eddie Howe will take from the last home game. It is transforming that confidence to the away games that he'll want to do now. AFCB have only collected one point away games and now that the side is starting to get settled, perhaps they will travel with more belief now. Complete performances are what Eddie Howe will need from his team if they are to succeed at Watford as the Hornets are coming off a low performance, and that makes it a more difficult game in my eyes than if they had won at Burnley.

At times Everton found AFCB unplayable and it is Howe's task to get his side doing that for longer period in the game than the odd five minutes. While there will be discussion on how to get more goals, I don't expect Josh King to force his way straight back into the starting line up. As a sub option though, Josh will be a great striker to have to come on with half an hour to go.
The Cherry Chimes' Newsletter is out tomorrow.

Cherry Chimes' October 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: AFCB's ticketing has become embarrassing. 

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

Email Format

Rival Lines: Watford may have lost their flow

Rival Lines
Match Preview: Watford v AFCB
Blogger Interview: From the Rookery End
Twitter: @Watfordpodcast

I managed to get hold of Jon from the tremendous Watford podcast and website - From the Rookery End. He can kindly give us an insight into what Watford fans are making to the start of their season and what may be awaiting AFCB when they turn up at Vicarage Road this weekend.
CC: What would be considered progress for Watford this season?

FTRE: You've asked me this after our away lose at Burnley, so it won't be as positive as a week early when we beat Manchester United. Progress is to be a place or two higher than last season. Do we have the potential to push for Europe, yes - but lots of teams could do that with a few great wins.

CC: Troy Deeney said Watford were bullied by Burnley in their last game but is that the whole story?

FTRE: We never found our flow, they were closing us down and a bit more physical, but I wouldn't say bullying. We put on our weakest performance yet, and several players had the worst performance in many weeks.

CC: Which was the more pleasing win - the comeback against West Ham Utd or the home battering of Man Utd?

FTRE: A tough one. Manchester United was the first time we beat them since 1986 and beating teams like that is why you want to be in the Premier League. And the West Ham game showed us a team that we didn't see last season, one with confidence and fight.

CC: Which players are injured and likely to be out of next Saturday's game?

FTRE: Not sure at this point - Janmatt on the right hand side is the only one we are aware of with a few weeks out.

CC: How do you expect to line up against AFC Bournemouth?

FTRE: It won't be much different from how we started against Burnley, however there have been calls for a change up front and dropping Ighalo. Will we see a starting pair of Deeney and Success upfront.

CC: Can you see more goals in the team this season or are Watford still very reliant on Deeney and Ighalo?

FTRE: This is already happening - Capoue has been scoring plenty of goals and the 3-5-2 with a more attacking focus is putting more players in better scoring positions.

CC: Where will Watford and AFC Bournemouth finish in the league?

FTRE:  Not too far away from where we ended last season!

CC:What is you score prediction for the game?

FTRE: 2-1 to the Glory Hornet Boys!

CC: Would you like to see former Watford manager Sean Dyche as the next England manager and do you see Eddie Howe as the front runner for the job?

FTRE: No and No. Both need to step up and manage a different blend of players before getting the England job. Neither has ever brought a lot of players together with a range of backgrounds or have had the pressure you get for the England manager. Each has evolved and built teams. However, they both know how to get Championship players to set up, maybe that is something the England squad needs?

CC: Well I believe From the Rookery End is in good company with AFCB fans who also don't believe that Eddie Howe should yet be in contention for the England manager's job. We have far more important matters to be considering like what kind of mood will Watford's players be in when they face AFCB. I'm expecting a close game and having seen the Hornets under perform at Burnley there should be no complacency from them in this game which will make it tougher for the Cherries. AFCB need to find a way of scoring more regularly now that they have kept the goals against down in their last match, but Watford have been scoring well at home. I'm going 1-1.

Take a look over at the From the Rookery End site to see why Watford fans were not so impressed with their last match.

Meanwhile, Eddie Howe killed of rumours about the England job yesterday by saying I'm committed to AFCB. 

The Cherry Chimes' Newsletter is out tomorrow.

Cherry Chimes' October 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: AFCB's ticketing has become embarrassing 

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

Email Format

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Junior Stanislas has to keep the shooting going now

AFCB needed a few players to step up in their performances to get them winning games. I might not have expected Junior Stanislas to have as bigger impact in the game against Everton as he did last season, but he seemed inspired to do even better with his excellent strike that was destined for the top corner as soon as he took aim.
Does Junior have the ambition to be a top goalscorer? 
There has been quite a few personnel trying their trade on the left wing. With Marc Pugh currently recovering from a knock as well as Josh King out of action, it has been the finishing and movement of Stanislas that Edie Howe has picked in front of Max Gradel. It seems that when the Cherries need to get a start it is Stanislas that is the man to turn to. He has a good ability to drift into the central positions and when you have a player that can hit a ball as cleanly as Junior in that area it is never disappointing to see Junior come inside.

The scoring ratio of the Cherries is not strong at the moment at just 0.67 goals per game. This is okay if your defending well, but there will be work required on getting players like Stanislas into positions where he can score more regularly. While Watford, AFCB's next opponents also have seven points it is notable that they are averaging two goals a game.

Interestingly AFCB's goalscorers have all been different this season and nobody has scored a second goal yet. While some would say that is good that there are a few goalscorers it is the forwards that we want to see rattling in the goals. Stanislas has taken his opportunity and he is starting to look more like a player that is content at AFCB.

It takes more than a nose bash to put Smith off his game

I only caught some of the shock of Adam Smith's facial injury last Saturday on the radio when it was described on TalkSport as claret spilling out everywhere from Adam Smith's face. Indeed the images look fairly alarming even to those who are not usually squeamish, but Adam managed to carry on and play out the game which is typical of AFCB's tough right back.
Adam Smith is hopefully patched up for the trip to Watford.
While many others get the star profile and the headlines, there is a quiet acknowledgement from many AFCB fans that Adam Smith has become a difficult to replace player in Eddie Howe's side. Having struggled to get in regularly the team for more than a year, he broke through last season and has found himself the essential right back of choice. If Smith was unable to start it would probably mean moving Simon Francis to the right back position as the Cherries are well off for centre-halves right now, if we count Mac Wilson and Nathan AkΓ© as candidates.

Adam is not likely to let a crumpled nose from Ashley Williams keep him away from the pitch though. He has had to play better than most to win his way into the side that rarely sees too many changes in personnel and he is not going to give up that place lightly. While he is always bragging about his good looks, he might have taken a bit of banter over his latest facial remodelling from fellow professionals, and he tends to get rather more than his fair share of knocks during games. 

Sometimes we forget that Adam has not had a lot of games in the AFCB side in the one position, and now that he has been given a good run out it is important for the side that he continues to feature as it will only help both hm and Jordan Ibe who plays in front of him. 

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Jack Wilshere is starting to knit the passes together

There has been less hysteria about Jack Wilshere and more notice of what he is actually doing on the pitch now at AFCB. That is how it should be and Jack is starting to work at his game again and see what he can add to this Bournemouth side.
Jack Wilshire is finding his game despite the intense media interest.
Playing in the whole behind Callum Wilson is clearly where Jack can be most effective. When Josh King returns to fitness there could be some adaption need to be made but I'd even be keen to see King and Jack playing just off Wilson when AFCB can drop a defensive midfielder in some home games. We have seen that Jack is not the best tackler in and around his own box but get him up field and thinking positively to unlock defences and there aren't many better at doing that job in the Premier League.

Yet, AFCB are also starting to press better in the last third as well. If they can win the ball high up the pitch and then find Wilshire they become a much more dangerous side to play against. Wilshire knows how to hurt sides and that killer instinct is not something you'd usually find in an Eddie Howe side. If the players around Wilshire though can start to think as quickly as him and be ready to get their shots off earlier, then AFCB will raise their scoring edge.

It is the running of Arter and Surman though that allow Wilshire to play in more of a free role and link the midfield to Callum Wilson. Wilshire is also starting to play for more minutes in games and as he builds that up, he will stop thinking about his past injuries and start to look forward as to what he can contribute. 

Back of the Net podcast is out today - Back of the Net

Howe has to be clear what he wants with England job vacant again

The departure of Sam Allardyce so soon after taking up the position of England manager has come as a real blow I'm sure to the FA. Allardyce admits he made "a serious error of judgement" and his resignation only 67 days into his reign is a sad day for English football in my mind. The chalice is not one that looks particularly welcoming to those who simply want the national team to win games. Now Eddie Howe is expected to be among the lead candidates to be approached, and yet I can't see much that has changed since the summer - apart from the probability that the FA have even fewer candidates to pick from.
The big job just won't go away.
For Eddie it is rather a crossroads. He only stated last week in a BBC interview with Gary Lineker that he would not turn down the opportunity of taking the post if it was ever offered and after what has happened there is a strong possibility that the FA could well come calling even if it would be easier for the men in suits to go straight back to Steve Bruce, who is now out of a job and with no compensation matters to be sorted. Whether Eddie would consider a part time role under Bruce would be something he might be asked to think about, but the distraction from having a sole focus on AFCB might be asking for trouble.

Whoever takes the job has to consider whether making the England side win with all the media attention around it is something that they really desire. I don't know if Eddie really wants that yet but Jeff Mostyn certainly doesn't want it for Eddie.

The performances of AFCB have not been so great in the last few weeks. The Man City thumping raised questions about the teams ability to defend and Howe's knowledge of the defensive side of the game. Much as I think Howe is one of the best young England managers, is he ready to take the top manager's job in England? E
ven if he asks himself the question, he should say no. But I don't think he has really asked himself that question yet, and while he may have felt along way away from it all last summer, when he was in America, his door has been slightly left ajar by his recent comments about the role. It looks like AFCB fans will have to hold their breath for a few days or at least start shouting about the merits of Steve Bruce, Sean Dyche an Alan Pardew until Eddie Howe either rules himself out or tells the FA that he wants the position.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

It was all about spirit from AFCB

Fans wanted a reaction from the players and so did the manager for the Everton game. Too often the Cherries probably feel sorry for themselves rather than just acknowledging that they have to move on and create the conditions for a better week before the next game. Last week, they used all that they could in what had happened in the past, like they drew against Everton and not giving up on the game to steer them to a much more positive outlook before a ball was even kicked.
Harry is giving his all in games.
Negative vibes never help a team and yet just knowing that the players have done well in training and are keen to replicate one of their best performances from the previous seasons are all pointers towards AFCB finally getting its house in order on the pitch.

What I did see is that Harry Arter is back to his best. He is an absolute terrier when he gets in the mood and he was certainly in the mood against Everton. He wanted ever ball and he seemed quicker than everyone on the pitch. His fitness levels are surely among the best at the club and how he flexes himself before kick off gives you a good indication of how he can stretch an extra few per cent out of his body when he needs it. That energy and winning regularity that helped AFCB climb the leagues can be just as effective in the Premier League and it was good to see Martin Keown on Match Of The Day make recognition of how Arter was fighting for every ball.

It is always inspiring to others when one player is like a dynamo, pushing passes and pressing the opposition to force them into mistakes. That builds a spirit and an energy throughout the team and how far that will take AFCB will be great to see.

Boruc is saving AFCB time after time

Artur must be having the time of his life at the moment. He already has a cupboard full of videos this season of his greatest saves and he looks a complete and more confident keeper. That should be a big help to the back four in knowing that Artur is still likely to save a chance if the opposition get past them. To do this a couple of times is great but Artur has been outstanding as he has pulled a couple of match-winning saves out in just about every game so far.
There's no hint of a look in for Federici at the moment.
If good goalkeepers can save you 10 points a season, then Artur Boruc is already well on his way to that. He has started this season like no other in my view and if you think he is about to fall of that high pedestal I don't reckon you've been watching Artur closely enough. The movement he made to get across his box to keep out Lukaku's early header in the Everton game was already magnificent, but he is also surprising people in how he is able to back pedal and keep out deep crosses that seem destined for the top corner. In short, I think his attention to the game is a lot stronger this season. He is always alert to having to make a save and that quick thinking has been making the difference for him.

Since the penalty save at Crystal Palace though, Artur has been at a level that is probably as good as any Premier League keeper. It is something that AFCB have not had the luxury of having before and it is excellent faith that Eddie Howe has shown in Artur to keep him as the club's number one. It would have been unsettling to the team to keep changing and bring in Federici for a few games so I'm pleased for the team and Artur that he is making it hard for teams to score.

Did anyone expect Artur to have such a good start to the season? I doubt it. Perhaps Artur himself, but his value to the team is very high stock at the moment. 

Monday, 26 September 2016

AFCB play better when their backs are against the wall

Just when you expect the Cherries to struggle, they come out fighting. The win against Everton was great not only because it was a clean sheet and a home win against a good side, but it showed that AFCB had character as the managers like to say. The side had been condemned and criticised for its lack of fighting resilience against Man City and Preston, but the match against Everton was like a switch had been flicked on. The boys wanted it and they went out and fought for each other.
Forget about individual stars - AFCB are starting to pull together as a team.
I am not sure why the side seems to need a kick to get playing at its very best, perhaps Eddie Howe is the one to ask about that. But when there are set-backs and AFCB are on the back of a rough few games they manage to look deep within and find an extra 10 per cent to get a win. A negative result would have set a very different kind of atmosphere and it was imperative that Eddie Howe found away to turn things around. He has halted the side now and has given fresh optimism. You could also see how much it mean to Eddie Howe when Junior Stansilas put the Cherries ahead. He was highly animated and thrilled for his player. We don't often see that from Eddie but when they have had difficult times you do see him getting more involved in proceedings and I think it is great to see for the fans and the players.

You are not going to get great moments in every Premier League game so when they came along you should enjoy the high points. Eddie Howe paid thanks to the crowd as well which was respectful of what they have been through and the best way to apologise for some of the recent events. Everyone can draw a line now and start thinking positively again. The total of seven points from six games is a good position to be in to attack the season and now the players have found their groove it is important for the players who are not in the side to push those who have the shirts at the moment.

No player should feel comfortable in this side and the side will again have to be at its best against a Watford side that have already torn Man Utd apart and destroyed West Ham Utd, coming from two behind. This next game will be AFCB's biggest battle next and the resolve has to be high to get a result against a Watford side who also play better when they have a point to prove.

AFCB have found last season's form and their own identity

There were some very clear points by Eddie Howe that were made after the win against Everton. He was under a lot of pressure from recent results and was keen to impress that this side is not the same as previous sides, but that it is finding its own identity and a way to play against the top sides. It may have only been three points but it was as if a great burden had been lifted from the team and that they can now press on.

AFCB just may have found themselves and a way of
playing that suits against the top sides.
I think it is easy for fans to want instant results and yet the side has been undergoing a transition right before us, over the summer, and the early part of this season. The characters that have left the dressing room were strong ones in Ritchie and Elphick, and there needed to be an inner desire from this coming into also bond with their new team-mates and do something together to give them a platform. It came in this game against Everton, because it was a game when the Cherries were really up against it to hold on for the win. They felt the pressure together, dug in and kept Everton out. That was a more impressive win than the win against WBA, and it gives the players something to pull on in future knowing that they can keep a good side coming back at them.

Now the Cherries have more focal points than they did last season. With the old guard of Arter and Surman keeping the stability, there are exciting elements to what AFCB can do in attack as Jack Wilshere ad Jordan Ibe tend to try the exceptional, and that has already started to rub off on Arter's game when we watch that through pass to Junior Stanislas in the Everton match. Harry is raising his game with the need to hold his place and it will be even more amazing if he can raise his standard further as he is already a main component of AFCB's success.

Now the side is starting to put its roots down. The players know they can win games and they have to see if they can win back-to-back wins by carrying their high standards through to the Watford game. It is going to be a gradual progression for this team but Junior Stanislas' goal has given them lift off and I'm excited at what will come next.

Premier Talk: Stoke City fans should not fret just yet

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Stanislas stuns Everton again 1-0 to AFCB

Match Description
AFCB 1 v 0 Everton
24 September 2016
Attendance: 11,291

Junior Stanislas scored the goal that gave AFCB their second home win of the season against an Everton side who were previously unbeaten in the league. The 23rd minute goal was superbly taken after Harry Arter had switched play from the left side to Stanislas, who was some 25 yards out from goal, when he took aim and fired his shot past Steklenburg and into the top left corner of the goal. It was a narrow victory for the Cherries but a massive result for their season after a difficult last week. The Cherries are on the up, so much so that they now occupy 13th spot in the division.

The team selection for the Cherries saw Josh King removed from the side and he is thought to have had a knock that kept him out. That allowed Jack Wilshire to play in the number 10 role and Junior Stanislas started on the left wing.
Everton came to Dean Court unbeaten in the league.
Everton put out a strong side with Lukaku and the in form Gueye and new signing Bolasie among their starting line up.

It was the Cherries though that felt the weight of the English Football League Cup defeat lifted from them as they went at the Toffees, and played positively with Callum Wilson guiding an early header wide from a Charlie Daniels cross.

Lukaku was always going to be a worry and, from an early free kick, he had an early header saved by Boruc at full stretch to his left. It outstanding from Artue Boruc.

With Wilson breaking free it was Jack Wilshire who almost benefited shooting his shot off Coleman, only to see it come off the bar!  Arter then cut inside and drove a left foot shot across the goal mouth and saw it glance off the far post.

But the Cherries kept their attacking game going and Stanislas lashed his shot into the top corner, once Arter had found him in some space just outside the box to put AFCB 1-0 up. While Gareth Barry had a shot from distance before the end of the first half, he could not trouble Boruc who palmed it over the bar quite comfortably.

Ross Barkley had a better headed opportunity from a Coleman cross in the second half, but Boruc did not even have to make a save. Boruc then provided some acrobatics in digging out a deep cross with Everton players lined up to attack it. Valencia had the best chance to score though just before the end, but he could not get his finish on target from a fast cross that came in from the right. AFCB held out to take all three points.

The Cherries may only have won by a single goal, it was a win that will boost the team and the fans which was much needed. Harry Arter was instrumental in creating the goal and keeping Everton at bay for 90 minutes with his hard running. He perhaps was unlucky not to have scored himself, but it was a great performance by the Irishman and not unexpected I might add - as I pointed out that he tends to rise to the occasion in such weeks that AFCB have just had. Junior Stanislas will want to play Everton every week at this rate. He has the midas touch against them and he may well have sparked the Cherries' season into life once again, while Artur Boruc is just having a fantastic spell in goal. Suddenly, things on the pitch feel a whole lot better.

Boruc, Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels, Surman, Arter, Stanislas, Wilshere (Gosling 76),
Ibe (Gradel 71), Wilson (Afobe 90)


Gosling, AkΓ©, Afobe, Gradel, Smith, Federici, Mousset

Stekelenburg, Coleman, Jagielka, Williams, Oviedo, Gueye (E Valencia 81),
Barry (Cleverley 55), Bolasie, Barkley, Mirallas (Deulofeu 60), R Lukaku

Everton Subs
Robles, Deulofeu, Lennon, Cleverley, E Valencia, Funes Mori, Holgate

Referee: Robert Madley

Saturday, 24 September 2016

AFCB can upset the odds and beat Everton

There is much to be upset about at the moment if you are an AFCB fan. If it is not the ticket distribution that annoys, it is the recent results and the lack of goals from the Cherries. Yet, a home win against Everton would perhaps give a very different perspective of the team and how quickly it can turnaround form.
Moving Josh King on the left would allow Jack Wilshere to
maximise his presence in behind Callum Wilson.
You are only ever as good as the last game and whether you take that to be the side that played against Preston or the side that was smashed by Man City, all AFCB fans are aware that there can only really be improvement ahead. To suffer a huge home defeat is simply not an option. AFCB's players owe the fans something now and that will be a big incentive for them to beat the odds and restore some pride in their performance. 

Having lost to Everton away last season and in the FA Cup at home only seven months ago, there may seem an inevitability about what fans can expect against the blue side of Everton. But the best results are always those that are not expected and it would be massive for the players if they could get the job done this weekend. After the week that they have had I expect them to raise their game. 

It starts with the manager though and what he asks of his players this weekend. He must get a better balance between defence and attack and impress upon his players that it is time to deliver. If the second season in this league is more difficult, then the home form is something that the side has to hold on to. WBA and Man Utd did not find it an easy place to come to and AFCB must aim to be more compact and to give nothing away this weekend. Even a 0-0 draw would be welcome at the moment. 

The team I suggest Howe picks accommodates Jack Wilshere as the Cherries have to aim to be more dominant at home. Pushing Josh King out wide is not my favourite place for me to see him play but there has to be more incentive in getting the team to work as a whole and for me that means starting Callum Wilson with Wilshere just behind him on a level with King and Jordan Ibe.

4-2-3-1 Boruc (GK), A Smith (RD), Francis (CD), S Cook (CD), Daniels (LD), Ibe (RM), Arter (CM), Surman (CM), King (LM), Wilshere (FW), C Wilson (FW)

AFCB Home Form

Everton Away Form

The Football Blog Awards are asking for votes up to 26th September 2016 - Cherry Chimes is asking followers of the blog to vote for it in the Best Football Club Blog category