Monday, 28 November 2016

Steve Cook - what were you thinking?

Steve Cook has been a stalwart of Eddie Howe's sides over the last few seasons and he has always been a player that is honest and hard working. Against the best though he, like many others in the squad were going to be tested, and at this higher level he is still perhaps finding one or two weaknesses in his game that he did not know he had.
Steve Cook has not had many bad days but this was one of them.
The mistake he made at Arsenal was tough on him, as it came early on, and once he had made the wrong decision there was no way back for him to change it. He knew that he had dropped a clanger, but his team-mates accepted it and carried on. It was great to see them get back level within the next 12 minutes or so following the opener, as it released Steve Cook a bit from the tension of his earlier indiscretion.

Only Steve will know why he decided to go back to Federici when he could have played a ball up the line without any danger. He decided to try and retain possession and yet gifted it to Arsenal's most prolific striker. It is the second time this season when he has probably felt that an opponent's goal was down to one of his misdirected passes, but these things can happen and Steve will find his own way with dealing with it.

I wonder whether moving him from the left centre-back position to bring in Nathan Aké has done Steve any favours. He was playing well next to Francis and now has found himself questioning his performances, and he has been excellent at times, so I hope he does not dwell on the mistakes too long. 

If Aké is the best defender then he should play, but I suggest that moving Cook across is not yet a position where Steve Cook is comfortable. With Adam Smith now back available, Franno can move back to the right centre-back position and maybe it is Steve Cook that needs to have some time away from the heat in the next couple of games. That may sound like punishing Steve for a mistake, but I would see it more as marvelling at the form of Aké who has made himself hard to ignore. 

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