Thursday, 16 March 2017

Benik will get goals

It has not been that often that we have seen Benik Afobe and Josh King start games upfront for the Cherries. It worked well up at Manchester and even with Jack Wilshere available, Eddie Howe decided that a home game against West Ham needed the two main strikers up front to cause the Hammers problems.
Benik still has time to make an impact.
I saw an obvious ploy to see if AFCB could stretch the Hammer's defence with early hit balls from the back to Afobe to run on to. It is something that we don't usually see at Dean Court and I was a bit surprised at how often the tactic was tried. It almost got Afobe in, just as he had done against Man Utd when he had lost his footing  trying to go round David de Gea, but in this match he never quite managed to escape his markers clearly enough to get a one-on-one.

Afobe's best chance, of course, came with the second penalty. I was a bit shocked that Pugh got the decision and perhaps thought that while Josh had missed the first one, it would be Daniels to put the ball down on the spot, if King didn't feel like taking another one. It certainly needed some one to blast the ball past Randolph - up the middle if necessary, but Benik must have got it into his head that he could just slot it home. Sadly, he did not really commit early to what he was going to do, but did a hesitant run up with half a stop to see which way Randolph was going. He didn't hit the ball with enough conviction and there was only going to be one outcome.
Whether that will do Benik more harm than good we will only see in future games. If Jack Wilshere is fully fit now he may find that the subs bench is where he can sit and contemplate where his next goal is going to come from, but Benik didn't give up trying to score. I just think he might do better concentrating to create more goals for Josh King and Ryan Fraser at the moment rather than worrying about hitting the back of the net himself, just so that he gets some positivity back into his own game. As long as someone gets the goals it is moving the team forward, and yet we want to see Afobe still making those runs and being a threat as it creates space for others. Josh King will be first to say that playing with Afobe has helped him and Benik will find that the ball starts to fall for him at some point in front of goal. He just has to keep at it and feel that he is contributing.

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