Monday, 13 March 2017

Francis was back to to keep Carroll quiet

It is always good to see a player coming back after missing some games and when it's the club captain it is even better, as you know that the normal order has been restored. It was not certain that Simon Francis would play against West Ham, but it was a risk that I believe Eddie Howe had to take with such a strong striker as Andy Carroll upfront for the Hammers.

Francis hardly missed a header all game.

It is also stronger for the team when Steve Cook plays in his more customary left side of the central defence. But the big challenge for Cook and Francis in this game was to win their headers and early on it was quite amusing to see Andy Carroll look with disbelief at the referee that he wasn't winning anything in the air, and wasn't getting any free kicks either. Frano just mastered him all game and by the end of it Carroll simply wasn't a threat anymore. 

It was clear that West Ham were not going to get too many headers in AFCB's box with the Cherries' defence working so hard to keep Carroll at bay. I even saw Carroll looking to stand next to Adam Smith as the first half progressed, but even there he soon found Francis shadowing his every move. The runs of Antonio were perhaps more of a challenge to the Cherries' defence and that kind of underlines what a good job that Steve Cook and Simon Francis did on the day, forcing West Ham to go wide to get any joy.

While Baily Cargill is certainly unlucky not to have played his part in the West Ham match, we know that his time will come again and when it does he will have learnt from seeing how well players like Franics and Cook have dealt with big forwards. For now though, the captain is back and I for one am glad that he is. The aim must now be to try and get the clean sheet against Swansea City to really put AFCB's season back on course.

News update
Harry Arter injured his calf against West Ham and is due to have a scan on it.

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