Sunday, 18 December 2016

Benik and Callum could strike form together against Saints

Eddie Howe has been quite reserved in playing two up front in games this season. There is usually a deeper position behind the lead striker occupied by Jack Wilshere, but if Eddie really wants to put Southampton under pressure then he could well opt for playing both Wilson and Afobe as a striking partnership from the start. 

Could we see this double act up front today?
Eddie tried this up at Burnley which was a very brave move for an away game. It did not pay off that day, but for a home game it could be worth considering, especially as Jack Wilshere and Harry Arter have looked solid in midfield and have not been finding themselves overrun in games. It would mean that AFCB would have more of a threat in the box when they get crosses in and, while we saw Afobe play the loan striker against Leicester, he has needed a few chances to grab a goal. Both Benik and Callum are not in blistering goal form, but together they would not look an inviting prospect for the Southampton defenders to see on that team sheet.

With Eddie Howe now rotating his side more often and still seeing rewards in the performances, he was probably looking to play Callum Wilson in this game having rested him until the second half against Leicester. The only worry is how bad his concussion was when he had to go off in the last match and if he really is ready to play 60 minutes or more. Afobe started, but came off after 68 minutes in that game to let Wilson on, so Benik has not been overworked and can only benefit from a continued run in the team now in my mind. 
Where Eddie may have a closer call to make is whether to stay with Adam Smith on the right wing or to play Josh King. Both have their merits, but Smith probably offers the better balance knowing that he'll also be a good defensive option as well when Francis bombs forward. 

Possible AFCB team 4-4-2

Boruc (GK), Francis (RB), S Cook (CD), Aké (CD), Daniels (LB), A Smith (RW), Arter (CM), Wilshere (CM), Pugh (LW), Afobe (FW), Wilson (FW)

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