Monday, 6 February 2017

AFCB showed their true credentials second half at Goodison

While it was  both the bad and the good side of AFCB that we saw up at Goodison, I felt after the match that the side was actually in a better place mentally than it has been for a while. The players have been sleep walking for far too long, but a defeat of this magnitude may strangely be what was needed to fire them up again. 
AFCB have to carry on at the level that of their second half showing at Everton.
The damage seems bad in that no points were gathered and the form has been desperate, but there were periods of play that were actually mesmerising in that second half, which means the side does still have that swagger there that gave them a big lead against Arsenal and some good wins against other teams that are higher in the table now.

What I had not seen in January after the Arsenal game was a real sense that the team was strong like it had been before the New Year, when Nathan Aké had been in the side. That solidity is something that is still not visible, as AFCB are still conceding lots of goals, but what I did see at Everton was a feeling that the defeats have been hurting and that the side is not going to lay down and let other sides catch them in the table. There was a calmness and a disappointment about the result, but the injuries to players and the pressure from outside on the club that feels like everyone has to pull together now and form a very united front again. The fans have been asked to get behind the team and they need the fans to shout for them now, not simply criticise.
We have been here before, when things are all going against AFCB, but the side can be driven up the table if the fans help them by making them know that we are all behind them. They are owed that for the second half performance they put in up at Goodison. It was courageous to go out and try and just leave two at the back, while throwing everyone else forward. I can't remember a game when I saw Harry Arter take so many shots, and Jack Wilshere will be delighted that one of his lobs forward to King finally paid off with a goal.

These may seem like minor victories, and the game at Everton will simply be marked down as a big defeat, but the second half was 3-3 and AFCB were even winning the second half up until Ross Barkley's last minute goal, when the Cherries were still pushing everyone up in the search of more goals. AFCB chase games well as they have a team strength that digs in when they feel they are not getting what they deserve out of games, and that is what I think kicked in up at Goodison. It's been an unfair week with Callum Wilson picking up a major injury and other knocks to Adam Smith, Charlie Daniels and now Simon Francis. The defeat against Crystal Palace and Hull City were poor performances, but for half of the Everton match, the AFCB side that stands up and fights re-found itself and if that spirit can be maintained they'll be all right.

Do listen to the interview that Eddie Howe gave with Guillem Balauge and TalkSport if you have not already heard it - a cracking listen.


  1. It is frustrating that we constantly need something to fire us up - but I suppose that's better than not having any fire at all.

  2. Unfortunately games are won over 90 minutes and not 30 when the game is over and Everton were coasting