Saturday, 17 September 2016

Two or three central midfielders against City?

Eddie Howe will have been pondering all week on how to nullify Man City while giving the Cherries every chance of picking up an unexpected three points at the Etihad. A major point he is sure to look at is the central midfield places and what he needs to do there to give the best balance to the side.

For me, I think Eddie will choose to stick with what earned him the points against WBA. That would be Harry Arer and Andrew Surman starting in the centre of the park. Why would he need to change it? Well, some would say the obvious power of City in midfield would make it sensible to go more defensive and bring in a third central midfielder to stop them from over running the Cherries in the centre. He could do that easily by starting Lewis Cook or Dan Gosling along side the previously mentioned players or set up even more defensive by picking Nathan Ake to sit just behind them and in front of the back four. In either case, Josh King would probably have to be sacrificed if Eddie went that way. I have already posted an article on how I don't expect Jack Wilshire to start, as I can see him being gently introduced to the side in the next few games, while Emerson Hyndman is more likely to be saved for his introduction in the English League Cup.
Jack may just be a luxury that is kept back for the second half on Saturday.
The decision is really a matter of how much belief Eddie Has in Surman and Arter to not just sit back but to find passes to get AFCB's attackers running at the City defence. Their understanding is so good now, having been together for many seasons that they can sense where each other is and pretty much work out when they need to turn up their engine speed and get the Cherries on the front foot. Keeping in the game for as long as possible should be the route that Eddie favours and that may mean being a little more cautious than usual, but the pace he has in the side now will come more and more into play in the second half if the possession can be wrestled away from Pep's side. That is the hard bit. 

We know the side has to take any half chance it gets to score, but I'd also like to see AFCB ending a game with more power and precision in the second half. I can't see them taking the game to City from the start and holding on for 50 or 60 minutes after a great first 30 minutes. AFCB have to save something for the second half if they can stay in the a match that long. UTCIAD! Safe trip to those travelling to the game. 

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