Sunday, 1 January 2017

Can Afobe be the main man at AFCB?

Benik Afobe looks set to miss the African Cup of Nations with DR Congo, according to the Echo and his impact at AFCB that is most intriguing. Benik is still progressing at Bournemouth and it has only been in three games when he has had the opportunity to start, as he did against Swansea City. It is tempting to consider whether Benik could find himself becoming more of a regular starter in the second half of the season.
Benik is intent to make his name at AFCB.

Benik has had his critics and it has taken him a long while to get back on the score sheet, but he has added a couple of goals recently at Burnley and Swansea. Indeed, it is the away games when Benik has probably shown his best form, and that is something that may well get him more starts. Scoring inside the box is really where we have seen Benik at his best, but he has found it harder to score from the edge of the box. The skied shot he hit after Jack Wilshere's good work and lay back that he hit well over the bar was probably more disappointing for him than any other moment in the Swansea match. He knows he could be getting more goals, but his precision is still very hit and miss. I wouldn't say Benik is the only one guilty of that, but he could be getting 10-15 goals a season without too many problems if he just scored every other chance he got in games. Whether we see Benik leading the line more often though is perhaps more dependent on what happens to other strikers this transfer window. I assume that Howe is happy with the strikers he has at the club and is happy enough to rotate them when he can. Benik has certainly signed up for more of a long term development plan and in his interviews he only speaks of how much he is enjoying his time on the south coast.

To be the main man at AFCB though will take Afobe more time. We are perhaps looking more at next season for him to achieve that. I am not sure how much the second half sub appearances have helped him, but by introducing him gently back into the fold, he has now really started to come up with the goods and it says as much for Eddie Howe's man management as Benik's desire to be a better striker. The good news is that there is no longer any certainty as to who will start up front and that has got to be more difficult for teams who are getting ready to play AFCB. 

Happy New Year!

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Cherry Chimes' January Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month, plus there is a special Newsletter article entitled: Should AFCB cash in on Callum Wilson in January?

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