Monday, 9 October 2017

Is AFCB's defence finally settled?

Howe didn't have much to be overly happy with having got a point at home against Leicester but one good aspect was the fact that for the first game this season AFCB did not concede. It was even better than that as Leicester were kept to having just for shots off target and one shot on target. I don't store much credit in the possession stats for a team that likes to play on the break, like Leicester, but there will be few games where AFCB are as dominant as this and look so at ease at the back.
Bournemouth will look to get two back-to-back clean sheets.
We have to credit Simon Francis and Nathan AkΓ© for the back line looking so solid. Francis had one of his best games of this season when he anticipated well and got his foot in early to give Vardy a really difficult day. Nathan too was Mr reliable when he was up against a Leicester brake away, and for once runners from midfield did not get much joy in front of the centre backs, as Lewis cook was like a bee guarding a honey pot all afternoon.

While a point was not what AFCB wanted or needed, considering what has gone before, it was good that you couldn't see Leicester City scoring, even when they made changes with Iheanacho, Ibora and Mahrez. Having seen how the two teams played over 90 minutes the neutral would have been far more concerned with how Leicester City played, but it is hard to take much of a positive from that when Leicester are still ahead in the table.

Letting Asmir Begovic have  quiet afternoon is something AFCB need to master more often. he really had little to do. There was no wondering of how many long kicks he was making or how long he was holding on to the ball for. He was a spectator and you'd hardly notice he was out there.

But Eddie Howe will have an eager Steve Cook looking to get back involved and Tyrone Mings will only be three weeks away from being back in full training, if all goes to plan, so the defence is starting to come together and with Tottenham up next it needs to be.

In other news, Ryan Fraser pulled out of the Scotland squad with a hamstring pull. Both his World Cup dreams and Nathan AkΓ©'s for the Netherlands is over. Brad Smith will be hoping home advantage will help Australia get past Syria on Tuesday, while Asmir Begovic will hope that Bosnia Herzegovina can overtake Greece in their last group game against Estonia on Tuesday.

Harry Arter also plays in the starting line up tonight for Rep Ireland in their crucial World Cup match against Wales in Cardiff.

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