Friday, 7 April 2017

AFCB's defensive qualities were really tested at Anfield

There aren't many places where the Cherries go now and they are given anything other but the tag of underdogs. There are some very big teams in the Premier League and Liverpool are one of the best at stretching teams and finding their weaknesses. So what a job AFCB's back four did on the night to put a spanner in Liverpool's race for the top four.
AFCB are dealing with the questions being asked of them.
I watched most of the game wondering if Adam Smith would actually make it to the end of 90 minutes. We see him get battered every week, but he really did have to put his body on the line for the Cherries at Liverpool. Liverpool play very physically at times, as they press high up the pitch and look to get that advantage over an opponent so that the ball drops their way. Jamie Carragher wondered if Bournemouth had enough fight at the back to keep Liverpool out and while the Reds did score two goals, they were well worked.

It was not the free kicks or corners that the goals came from for Liverpool and that has to be a sign that the set piece homework is finally starting to pay off for AFCB. The side also kept its shape for the whole game and I think this was one of the most disciplined performances from AFCB that we have seen this season. There was an acceptance that Liverpool would have the majority of the possession, but that there would not be any panic over that and AFCB would wait to see if they could steal the ball at times and break fast.

I was impressed as well to see Steve Cook going up to take long throws late on while Simon Francis was in his element in his new role as corner taker. Adam Smith and Charlie Daniels also had moments when the got into good positions, and I'm hopeful we might see some goals from the defenders before he season runs out.

While Liverpool did get eight shots on target, it was not a night when Artur Boruc was unprotected or having to make save after save. Jack Wilshere and Harry Arter will be feeling their legs a bit, after such a work out, as they did a tremendous amount of closing down. What was most pleasing about the way AFCB went about the job - even the forwards coming back to keep Liverpool out and fill in any gaps. The team knows what they need to do to get points against the best sides in the league and it is a good job as there are two more getting ready to take AFCB on!

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