Monday, 19 December 2016

Howe says AFCB were too passive against Saints

Eddie Howe did not like the defeat against Southampton. It was probably not so much that they lost the game to what was a better team on the day, but that AFCB never had the physical or technical levels to cope with the opposition on what was an important occasion for the fans. Some will rubbish the game and say it's not a derby, but it meant everything to many fans on both sides and it was disappointing from a Cherries point of view as the side did not play to its usual standards, and of all the games to lose in that fashion this one is harder to take.

Derby defeat exposes some weaknesses in AFCB's game.

The manager said AFCB were 'too passive', but more than that they did not seem to know how to take the game by the scruff of the neck once they had got one-nil up. Without the ball they just did not work hard enough in numbers. I'm sure the players were fired up by it being the derby, but in so many games of late they have been chasing the score line and it may even have come as a shock that they scored early. The rest of the first half fell away without Fraser Forster having to break much of a sweat.

It seems complicated that AFCB can't follow up one win with another at the moment. The competitiveness of the league does not allow any team to have a week when they are not quite at it and on this day. It is interesting that Eddie picked that up straight away, even before AFCB had scored. The Saints had won a few corners and were asking questions before AFCB scored, but by the second half it was clear that some players were not pressing and that gave Steven Davis plenty of opportunity to start running the game. It was his running power and the freshness of the Saint's side that ultimately did for AFCB.

When the Saints equalised early on, neither Adam Smith nor Simon Francis looked capable of getting close enough to Bertrand. In the end the game as a whole was a bit of a miss-match, Saints were that much stronger in the second half. It looks like this week must be a good recovery week for the players more than anything as the batteries were running on empty in this one.

Premier Talk:  Is the Premier League title race all over?

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