Thursday, 22 December 2016

Francis needs to be a captain now

Simon Francis will need to be a strong captain now.
The result and performance against Southampton was far below AFCB's usual standard. It was a shame as it has been a fantastic year and no body wants the year to end on a flat note. This is when I hope Simon Francis grows as a captain and gets across to the team that they year needs to end on a big performance, and the Chelsea and Swansea games still give the Cherries the opportunity to win two games in a row which is not a bad challenge to set.

Francis has had a hard act to follow. Tommy Elphick was a real gent and a leader that everyone in the team could turn to and I hope the same is true of Simon Francis. He will know how the players are feeling in that dressing room and how they may be just saying that they were running on empty during the Southampton match. Words can encourage them to look back on that performance as not a true reflection of what they have been capable of this season. 
I would not be surprised if one or two are carrying knocks. Adam Smith was finding it a little testing during the warm up against the Saints and was holding his right thigh a bit. He did seem a bit below par, but we can read things into situations that might not have had any effect on a player's performance. Even when the subs came on, there was not a lot happening to spark the team into life, and while one off game is not going to have a massive impact it is something that Eddie would be concerned about if it became the norm. 

The home form has generally been great and I thought the atmosphere on Sunday was brilliant. So I expect the players will be a bit surprised themselves that things did not go well. But this is when a captain can get things going again by reminding players of what they have done so well in previous games, and to write-off that last performance. There is a treat coming up to play at Stamford Bridge where AFCB can try to end an 11 game unbeaten run, and then they can look to extend the gap between them and the bottom side by getting an away win at Swansea. That would still make it a very productive December in my book.

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