Thursday, 22 December 2016

More of the same in second half of the season for AFCB?

With just one game short of the half way mark in the season, it is not a bad time to reflect on the first 17 games and assess what needs to improve for AFCB to do better in the second half of the season. There have been games where AFCB could have gained more points but I don't expect that Eddie Howe and the owners are too disappointed where the Cherries sit between Everton and Stoke City in the top flight.

Can the Cherries more than double their points tally after Christmas?

With a current points total of 21 from 17 games the Cherries are a couple of points better off than last season with a game against Chelsea to come. While they will be the underdogs for that game they will head into the game knowing that it is possible to get a result at any ground. That has been the theory and yet for several teams the away wins have been sparse, and it's certainly something AFCB will aim to improve in the second half of the season. It's not that the Cherries have missed clear opportunities from the penalty spot, but they have battered the woodwork in some games without really testing keepers enough.

A big plus points has been defending free kicks and set plays. While AFCB have been stacking up the corners themselves and profiting from some well taken headers, they will find it to win the majority of headers in games with the overall small size of the team. There is not much they can do about that, but Nathan Aké is the player that has certainly given the side more power in the air.


It's been more of a mixed bag in midfield and while Arter has been the rock to build around, there has been a lot of change in midfield. It will be a main desire to get Andrew Surman back on the pitch and speaking to him at the Southampton game he did reveal that he was back training this week and that perhaps the Millwall FA Cup game would be something he could aim for. Having that extra option though of Surman, along with Gosling and Wilshere is helpful, especially if Aké is looking settled at centre-back rather than being considered for a midfield role. The big bonus will be to see Lewis Cook return to games.

Up front there could be more to come from the Cherries. Neither Callum Wilson or Josh King are likely to be pleased with their goal return at the moment. Callum's five goals indicate that he is on course to reach double figures but a few of his goals have come from the penalty spot and from open play the forwards have not been finding the goals that easy to come by.  

So while doubling up the points to 42 would be a pretty good total come next May, there are areas where the side may be able to extend that to nearer 50 points if they can just find a bit more consistency and it's the away performances where they will see an opportunity to help themselves to more points.

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