Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Better protection is required for the Cherries back four

Another two goals went in at the Hawthorns to take AFCB's goals against to 51 from 26 games. My maths isn't great, but even I can see that this is an average of nearly two goals against every game. Something tells me that any side with this kind of record has something fundamentally wrong, and it just might be that Eddie Howe needs to look at much more than just the back four and keeper if he wants to improve this sorry record.
Where's the protection?
What I want to know is are the Cherries' back four getting enough protection in front of them? I reckon not and that has to fall on players like Arter and Surman. While Harry has had a busy last week, it might have been sensible to have not asked him to play the whole 90 minutes, while Andrew Surman's game certainly fell down more and more as the game went on. Heavy legs and tired heads do create opportunities for the opposition, and I lost count of the times in the second half especially when Surman saw his pass cut out and he had to turn on his heels to try and make up for the mistake. I understand that Howe wants to keep his central midfielders for as long he can in games, but when they are not at 100 per cent, there should be enough quality on the bench to cover.

Broom Hill Garden Buildings

We saw Dan Gosling replace Jack Wilshere, but Arter and Surman were forced to keep going at the Hawthorns. I'm not saying Wilshere had a great game either, but the engine room of central midfield is not just a creative machine, they need to protect the back four at times. I get the impression that there is too much reliance on Arter and Surman this season when they are also due some help and rest in some games. Too often it's the wide players that get the break and we see the wingers come off. While the balance of the squad can't be altered at this moment, it is clear to me that the Cherries need a player that can offer more protection to the defence - it might be something for next season, but whatever league the side is playing in, I'd like to see AFCB being harder to beat.

At the moment, it is not hard to beat the Cherries and that is most worrying. The side is not just being unlucky, it's not standing up for itself and saying we won't be beaten today. They need to find that reserve and true determination to stop opponents as soon as they can when the side has not got the ball. It may be a huge test to do that against a side like Man Utd, but if they can do it there then they will know that by achieving that they can stop any side in this league in the upcoming games. If the side can stop and frustrate United, they are in the game and who knows what can happen when United find they can't just roll over a more sturdy AFCB.

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  1. Maybe time for Lewis Cook to come in and see if he's any better in the middle

  2. Yes, Surman especially is nowhere near the standards he set last season. He came back from injury when we were three up against Arsenal and we have not stopped conceding since. Protection from midfield is a joke! So where in the world is our "extra signing"... Lewis Cook? Why is he not being given some minutes? Too often are we now hearing comments from players who have left the club... that Eddie Howe has his 'favourites' and no- one else gets a look in! Why was Ake's obvious quality not recognised on the training field much earlier in the season... it was only circumstances that forced Howe to play Him!