Saturday, 15 July 2017

GD Estoril Praia should be a competitive early test for the Cherries

AFCB will play GD Estoril Praia today in Marbella. The Portuguese side has been signing a few new players in the summer and the Cherries will find it tough going by all accounts as their opponents recent results look very impressive.
AFCB will get their first proper run out today against GC Estoril Praia.
GD Estoril Praia were 10th last season in a league topped by Benfica. They had 10 wins and lost 16, so they are a mid-table side and that should be more than enough for AFCB's players to have to cope with in the Spanish heat. The game is kicking off at 7pm local time (6pm in the UK).

What we would all like to know is what team Eddie Howe will start with and will it be a a real hot-potch or will he pick a side that is very much what he expects will be his starting 11 against WBA, taking into account an injury-free selection. I suspect that Eddie will field a strong side but might like to try a couple of combinations out as well in the first half. So we could see Begovic in goal and perhaps the recognisable AFCB back four. 

Things could get interesting in midfield if Harry Arter and Andrew Surman are being protected and given recovery time. We could see Lewis Cook and Dan Gosling start the game, but Emerson Hyndman was also impressive in Scotland and should be given some minutes as well at some stage.
The wing position is where Eddie always throws the dice and I can see him working Jordan Ibe hard to try and get him up for the new season. Interest will also surround the prospects of Max Gradel. If he is selected to start, can we dismiss rumours about his possible exit?

Much attention will also be on the strikers as AFCB fans will surely be waiting to see if Eddie plays a new strike partnership of Jermain Defoe and Josh King. How will the two get on together? And would Eddie like to see how the big Afobe plays with Jermain? Jermain might be rested though, having been back to the UK for Bradley Lowery's funeral yesterday.

All our questions will soon be answered, but I suspect more questions will pop up after the game which will probably seem very much like a training game, if there are few spectators. Expect a whole load of second half substitutes as well.

My predicted AFCB starting line up:

Begovic (GK), A Smith (RD), Francis (CD), S Cook (CD), Daniels (LD), Ibe (RM),
L Cook (CM), Gosling (CM), Fraser (LM), King (FW), Defoe (FW) 

There is a live stream for those that register on AFCBTV  You can register online

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