Friday, 27 January 2017

Can Francis' return bring more leadership to the back line?

Simon Francis has been out for three games now and is eligible again for selection against Crystal Palace. He is surely keen to get back into the side, and won't have enjoyed sitting this out while the team has continued its low points return with one win in the last six games.
Simon Francis will be aiming to lead his troops to another victory on Tuesday night.
The back four has come in for a lot of criticism in that time and even in the last three games that he has missed there have been eight goals conceded. But will Francis be such a big influence when he returns? Well, he can be. Just having him on the pitch will breathe a bit of comfort into some that the team is as strong, as it can be at the back and that he is back for an important game which can put distance between AFCB and the bottom three.

Francis will be worked harder than most though in these coming days. He has to get back up to speed quickly for this game and will want to play positively on his return. Bournemouth need some positive energy at the moment and seeing a player return tends to add that. Whether the mistakes at the back can be reduced though is down to how the players react on the day. I thought Watford were good at putting the press on Bournemouth and the Hornet's worked hard at that as they have seen in previous games that it brings rewards against the Cherries, like when Ighalo grabbed an easy goal at Dean Court last season.

Looking back at the games, when Francis has been suspended though, you can say there has been slack defending at Hull and Millwall and those away performances to some extent have continued to have transmitted nervy play at the back at home games. But the Cherries have to draw a line under that at some point and look to find their way to a clean sheet - the last one was back on 31 December against Swansea City.

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