Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Centre-halves are not the problem for AFCB

The Cherries have had a reasonably good record in the first half of the season and although the goals have been going in against the side, it doesn't appear to be the centre-halves that are the root of the problem. Against Southampton, Eddie even said confidently that Nathan Aké and Steve Cook were probably the teams best two players and I'd go along with that.
Steve Cook has become the centre back that Eddie Howe relies on the most.
The back four is the part of the side that is most required to be consistent in their performances for sides to climb the table. Strikers and midfield players can have an off day and it doesn't always hurt the team, but when your back four are all at sea it can be like seeing the flood-gates burst open. The mistakes get magnified and it can destroy a player's confidence. Yet, the Cherries are not searching for a change at their core even though Nathan Aké has to miss the net game. The stability of getting the home wins that have come about are much to do with blocks and clearances that are being made by Cook and Aké.

Where some of the complications come in is AFCB's use of the flying wing backs that are often out of position and the good teams can exploit that as Southampton did. Charlie Daniels and Adam Smith were beaten more often than would have pleased Eddie. Yet, their protection comes from the wingers in front of them who were not exactly finding it easy to offer that in the game against the Saints.

Teams have worked out that AFCB's strength is to get down the wings with great pace, but when that is turned around on them it does leave the centre-backs a little exposed and Nathan Redmond, for example, had ample opportunity to slip a goal in early on against the Cherries from a central position, because the wing backs had been well-beaten. At half time in the Southampton game, most of the fans around me thought Adam Smith would be the first change and yet he survived the 90 minutes, so I wonder if Eddie will look back at this game and question whether Pugh and Smith did enough tucking in when AFCB were without the ball?

No comments:

Post a Comment