Thursday, 30 November 2017

Where's AFCB's creativity gone?

The goalless draw against Swansea and last night's performance against Burnley has left AFCB fans wondering what has happened to the creative side that was so good going forward last season? The personnel has not changed that much, but the incisive passing and seamless movement has been severely lacking, and it's no surprise that Eddie Howe can say that the best is still to come even after the recent run of undefeated games in November.
Bournemouth need better delivery. 
We had a flourish against Huddersfield when Bournemouth put four goals away, but it simply hasn't continued in that manner and questions have to be asked why? At half time against Burnley AFCB had not had a shot on target, and just six off target and two corners. The ball just wasn't in Burnley's box enough. When Lewis Cook got on the field though there was a pick up in the way Bournemouth carried the ball and looked for positive passes. It was too little too late and it is frustrating for fans why Eddie Howe continues to rely on Ibe and Arter when they have not really delivered consistently. Howe made the changes eventually, but there is good reason for giving Fraser and Lewis Cook starts and the manager has to see that the solid, but uncreative, balance of the side has to change now.

King's goal was the first shot that Bournemouth had on target against Burnley. Yes, Burnley are a good side who make it difficult for teams to get to their keeper, but the inactivity of Pope in the Burnley goal really underlined how blunt the Cherries were in front of goal. Excitement in the last 10 minutes is not really enough to win games and I'm starting get annoyed that Bournemouth are not starting games well enough and unless they start to attack with fluency in the early part of games they are likely to find they fall behind to hardworking teams, who can easily shut the door on the Cherries' weak and at times haphazard passing. It's not often that AFCB are shown up to be short on quality, but the last two games have been a big eye opener. 

Eddie Howe needs to reevaluate his best side because he hasn't found it yet.

Cherry Chimes match report of AFCB v Burnley on Ask Fans

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Burnley spoil Howe's party with a 1-2 away win

Match Report
AFCB 1 v 2 Burnley
29 November 2017
Attendance: 10,302
Under the lights AFCB take on Burnley.
Bournemouth struggled to cope with the heading power and strength of Burnley from the start as Sean Dyche's outfit imposed themselves on Bournemouth. The break through came after 27 minutes when Chris Wood had a simple tap in after Brady's pass had deflected to him off Steve Cook and the Burnley forward made no mistake. The lead was soon to be extended in the second half when Ibe lost the ball and Brady made no mistake on the counter to make it 0-2. The introduction of Lewis Cook made a more for a positive Bournemouth side and some hope emerged when Josh King stabbed home his goal on 79 minutes. But it was a bad birthday for Eddie Howe and a game that slipped away from the Cherries without the home side creating enough chances.

Eddie Howe only made one change from the last game with Adam Smith dropping to the bench and Simon Francis coming back at right back having served his one game suspension.

Burnley dropped Matthew Lowton, who is injured, for Phil Bardsley at the back and Ashley Barnes was moved to the sub's bench in favour of Chris Wood starting up front.


Match Description
Bournemouth had to defend a long ball straight down the middle in the first few minutes as Burnley started to get an early hold on the game and Bardsley won a corner off of Aké. A poor clearance from Surman led to a second Burnley corner before Francis headed the ball out for a third corner in under three minutes. Mee, completely unmarked, then headed tis one back across the box to Wood and he headed the ball against the cross bar!

Hendrick then put another deep cross in before Brady got passed Ibe and shot into the side netting. King lost control in front of the Burnley box and ball came quickly off Mee to Wilson who almost found himself through on goal but the ball just sped away from him.

Pugh put in a good ball to the back post that King could not quite get to. Steve Cook puts in a good defensive header. Arter gives the ball away and Gudmunsson gets a ball in to Brady and Begovic has to tip over the bar.

Surman is pushing forward. King finds himself squeezed out. Francis puts a cross in and in front of the near post Wilson heads into the North stand. Ibe into Wilson and he tried to loft a cross over and it's blocked.

Wilson turns well against Tarkowski, but can't find King. Arter is doing a lot of chasing. Chris Wood is tackled by Aké with 25 minutes gone. Wood down the left and it's square to Hendrick but Steve Cook clears.

Wilson is over half way. Ibe on the right but he's given the ball away. Defour wins a free kick anyway. Ibe on the left now. Bournemouth are starting to retain the ball better.

Mee then fouls Wilson. Burnley are very well organised. Pugh looks for Wilson and King is challenged by Mee, it's a corner for Bournemouth. Francis delivers it too big. Ibe and King's shot is blocked.

Jack Cork pick the ball up 25 yards out out Brady and Chris Wood turns it in. It's 0-1 to Burnley. Brady came inside Francis and it deflected off Steve Cook straight to Woods six yards out on 37 minutes.

Arter makes a foul, 24 yards out. Brady could have a direct shot here. It hits the wall. Daniels then has to head behind. Brady crosses but Surman clears. Josh King now gives a free kick away. Aké and Cook clear but Ibe loses the ball.

Pope comes out quickly to beat King to the ball. King finds Ibe and he wins a Bournemouth corner. Arter shoots but it's blocked.

Just one minute of added time. Surman to Ibe and he comes infield to Pugh. King tries to get the knockdown. Ibe 25 yards out and Pugh's cross is cleared. Half time 0-1.
Josh King gets on the score sheet in the second half.
Second half
Bournemouth get some possession and King finds Surman who has a half chance, but it's too fast for him to control. Bournemouth need a bit of spark to really take the game to Burnley.

Ibe runs at Brady and can't keep the cross in. Wilson beats Mee and Surman into King but Tawkoski wins the header.

AFCb are not winning to 50:50s. Surman steps on the ball and loses it to Wood and Hendrick pushes Aké. Lots of unforced errors from Bournemouth, 35 minutes to go.

Pugh battles with Gudmunsson. Lewis Cook comes on for Harry Arter on 58 minutes. Lewis Cook goes past Cork but is caught by Defour.

Francis on the right to Ibe where Wilson goes for it but Bardsley clears for a corner. Ibe delivers and it's another Bournemouth corner. Francis at the back post heads it past the other post! better from Bournemouth.

Defoe is getting ready on the bench. Francis is getting forward again. Surman to Ibe who is getting a lot of the ball. Pugh and Daniels wins a free kick. Pugh is being subbed for Defoe to come on and King moves over to the left and Ibe stays on the right wing.

Cook pinches the ball from Hendrick. Ibe now and he gives the ball to Hendrick. Robbie  Brady curls it into the corner on his right foot and the counter attack has worked for Burnley 0-2, 35 minutes to go. Top right corner, great finish from the edge of the box. Bournemouth are up against it - two down at home.

Lewis Cook finds Defoe and Josh King now, Lewis Cook to Defoe but Brady clears. Ibe is subbed to give Ryan Fraser a run out on 69 minutes. Bournemouth will hope for a bit of quality now. AFCB go to a three man back three and three up front with King in the number 10 position.

Lewis Cook over hits a pass to the far post. King beats Ward but Mee tackles him. Lewis Cook wins a free kick. Aké to Daniels and Burnley out the ball out for Defour to get some attention. Westwood comes on for Defour. Bournemouth have had seven shots but nothing on target yet.

Daniels makes a run but can't keep the ball in. King pulls Jack Cork down. Francis into Wilson chests it, Defoe, turns it back across the goal and Josh King slides in at the far post to make it 1-2. Game on again!

10 minutes to go as AFCB attack the South end. Wilson wins a throw. Surman and Cook find Daniels. Lewis Cook finds, Fraser who shoots but wide of the post.

Francis loses the ball to Ward, but Surman regains it. King infield, Wilson is beaten in the air. Lewis Cook has been running the game since he has come on. Francis towards the byline and Brady pushes the Bournemouth captain over.

Here comes the free kick. It goes out. Burnley make a sub Ashley Barnes comes on for Jeff Hendricks on 86 minutes. Surman and Fraser crosses too high for Defoe and Wilson fouls Pope. It's all going one way now. Bournemouth are looking for the equaliser.

Wilson to Francis and King has given it away. Lewis Cook and Surman. Aké crosses and Mee heads out for a throw. Chris Wood is subbed for Sam Vokes on 89 minutes.

Five minutes are added. Brady runs to the corner flag and Francis puts the challenge in. Francis fouls Barnes and Burnley win a free kick. Aké goes forward, but heady heads out. Steve Cook has gone up as a centre forward.

Burnley are excellent at breaking the game up here and getting free kicks. Vokes is offside and gets a yellow card for kicking the ball away. It's a goal kick for Burnley. That's it 1-2

Bournemouth lose their unbeaten record on Eddie Howe's birthday. The Cherries did not put many great deliveries into the box and Burnley's big centre halves had no problem in clearing their lines. Only when Bournemouth made their subs did they really get the head up of steam that they needed to put Burnley under pressure. But Burnley were experienced enough to make it a hard task for Bournemouth to play much football in the second half. But in reality Nick Pope could have been sat in one of Bournemouth's deck chairs for the evening and Eddie Howe has to find more quality in the last third and better service from wide areas. 

AFCB team against Burnley.
Boruc, A Smith, Gosling, L Cook, Fraser, Defoe, Afobe

AFCB Ratings
Begovic 6, Francis 7, S Cook 5, Aké 6, Daniels 6, Ibe 5, Arter 5, Surman 6, Pugh 5, King 7, C Wilson 6
Referee Rating: Roger East 1/10 - all 50:50s were Burnley's. Totally fooled at times by player antics.

Pope, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward, Gudmunsson, Cork, Hendrick (Barnes 86), Defour (Westwood 75), Brady, Wood (Vokes 90)

Burnley Subs
Barnes, Vokes, Westwood, Long, Taylor, Arfield, Lindegaard

Cherry Chimes' December Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month. It's out tomorrow with special story - Time to reflect - what do we want now as AFCB fans?

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Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Bournemouth have to step it up against Burnley

The way Burnley are going about their matches they will not be easily put off their task when they come to Dean Court. While they lost their last game to a late minute penalty against Arsenal, AFCB have to be watchful they don't find Burnley taking out all their anger on them.
Burnley are capable of crashing into the top six.
Burnley must be delighted with their start and I don't see it as a fluke. Sean Dyche drills his team and has bought well in the summer. They might not be all household names, but they are a team and that counts for a lot. Some might have felt that the departure of Andre Gray to Watford could see them struggle for goals, but it's been anything but that. Okay, they are not scoring three or four every games, but Burnley are a team that create a good few chances every game and we know that Sam Vokes will be desperate to win his place back n the side for this one against Bournemouth. Sean Dyche has also been impressed with Stephen Ward and will soon see the return of Jonathan Walters - even if not for this game.
Bournemouth have to find something extra for Dyche's men. Their stock is rising all the time and in Hendrick and Brady they have players that find gaps and create problems so it's not just the strikers that will worry Bournemouth. Furthermore, if Bournemouth do find they can expose the Burnley defence they still have Nick Pope to beat who has been in sensational form.

I think there is something that Eddie will say though to get Bournemouth fully focussed on this game. There are games in the season that you just don't want to lose and AFCB have two of them coming up. If there is a time to peak it is now. Burnley will be walking tall and expecting to put Bournemouth down, but AFCB have to raise their game and battle harder than ever if they are to  come out on top in this one.

A special good luck to Harry Arter tonight if he is selected for his 250th AFCB game. UTCIAD!

Burnley Away Form


AFCB Home Form

Are Burnley likely to get best of the rest title?

One look at the table tells you all you need to know about how Burnley are shaping up. They don't seem at all complacent or out of place in the top 10 and with another win they will be in that top six. It's quite an achievement for the club and it sets down a marker as the best of the rest since Leicester won the title. They may even stay in and around the top six as well, although I fancy Leicester and Southampton to start putting the pressure on them in the table.
Burnley are starting believe they can beat anyone.
Burnley have a special spirit and the knock backs just make them even stronger. They seem quite happy for the world to be against them and they don't care what anyone thinks of them. They are plucky, but more than that they have become a team that plays exceptionally well consistently. Trying to stop them is something that only three teams have done successfully so far and those teams are Arsenal, Man City and WBA. So Bournemouth should know how difficult this game is going to be.
I'd like to think that AFCB could get to where Burnley are at some point, even if it might not this season. Burnley will be knocking on those European places, and to be honest I hope they make it, because the Premier League needs teams to upset the big guns from time to time. The top six is looking exactly how most of us would expect and for the rest there is no easy way to compete with those budgets. But Burnley and Watford are hanging in there at the moment and it should give hope to others like Bournemouth that there is a way to get results in this league, even if you can't afford the likes of Pogba and Aguero for example.

In away, Burnley are there now to try and knock down. AFCB will be one of many teams trying to catch the likes of Burnley, but an eight point gap at this stage of the season is already a big one. But these battles are often the best kind of games of the season because  Burnley and Bournemouth are fighting for the same kind of thing - respect and the recognition that they are good Premier League sides. That can only be earned on the pitch and it's hard not to say that outside the top six, Burnley are the real ones setting the standard this season.

Happy Birthday Eddie! 40 is not so bad. 

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Pugh's lost none of his talent

Marc Pugh is one of the players that has achieved the greatest amount of things with AFCB and he has every right to be aghast at what he has achieved now that he has surpassed Eddie Howe in making 263 appearances for the Cherries. He is now 15th in the appearances hall of fame after 10 years with AFCB. It always surprised me that bigger clubs did not come in for Marc when AFCB were in league One and the Championship, but it has certainly been to AFCB's advantage that he stayed with the club.
Pugh is targeting 300 appearances now for AFCB.
He may not have been a record goalscorer or a winger that was as high profile as those commanding the highest of transfer fees, but he is a man who has committed himself to the Cherries' story. Coming through the divisions is not something that many players have on their CV. Pugh has done it without losing any of his charm or delight. He still stops to speak with Cherries' fans and he never asks for anything in return. He has become a pillar of the club and I don't know how I'll feel about it when one day he does hang up his boots.

However, there is a good few years left in Marc's game yet. He's managed to get back into the starting line up again and has been playing well. But Pugh is still learning even in the Premier League and that's what I like about him. He doesn't feel his work is ever done and if anything he is becoming a better player all the time.

You might imagine there is not much that Eddie can say to Pugh in his game plans that Marc has not heard before. But I suspect Howe finds it a fascinating challenge to do exactly that and come up with things that are of surprise to the regulars to keep them on their toes. Pugh has to be attentive to every new initiative because there are plenty of others looking to take his position. 

Begovic is making AFCB harder to beat

There successive clean sheets is something that Eddie Howe and his team should be proud of. It is not a trait that we associate with Bournemouth to get clean sheets and if it does become a stat that continues we can see that it is having a big impact on where the Cherries sit in the league.
Asmir is right on form.
The pundits usually look at the defence and the keeper in rewarding clean sheets and Eddie Howe is right to acknowledge it is a team effort. But you can't deny that Asmir Begovic is not having a big a part in these results as again on Saturday he made a really crucial save when Leroy Fer was taking aim and did just about everything but score because of Begovic.

Making a big target smaller is not seen as a thing of great importance in games, but Begovic is starting to make his goal look smaller. He is a keeper that I think feeds off confidence and is now just beginning to see that he can be good for the team by keeping the boys in games from getting his angles right, and not dallying when an opposition forward has got through with a shooting chance.

It's hard for Begovic to celebrate when he has just made a great save as the moment is usually very quickly gone, because a corner will frequently follow. But I hope that he is getting the recognition he deserves now from his team-mates. It must have been hard for him to win acceptance with Artur Borc having made such a strong contribution to the team in recent seasons and he will have felt like a usurper to some extent, but he has let his performances speak for him now.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Did Howe change his mind about subs at Swansea?

It was not quite the game that AFCB fans would have hoped for at the Liberty stadium. Bournemouth did well enough to get a point, but they could not get a real grip on the game and Swansea had the better second half. In recent games it has been the Cherries that have been stronger as the game has gone on and there may well be bit of concern if the chances are not higher in number against Burnley. But arguably Howe did not want to risk what he had at Swansea and a point was adequate reward as time began to run out.
Eddie over cautious in his late substitutions?
The problem with AFCB's attacking play was not that they did not failed to have a real go at Swansea with five shots on target but none of the shots were hit with the accuracy or power to give Fabianski a real challenge. Swansea were comfortable for large parts of the game and the concern is that when AFCB scored plenty of goals against Huddersfield, it was the goals from set plays that opened the match up and Bournemouth did not get close to scoring from a corner or free kick in this game, despite the Cherries winning 17 free kicks compared with Swansea' five. That put more pressure on creating from open play and while Josh King had a busy match, it was only when Gosling came into the game late on that there was real impetus at trying to get forward in numbers. 

We might wonder why Eddie Howe was quite late in making changes to the team in the second half. It was not that Bournemouth were dominating the game and a change was going to be a big risk, but we had to wait until the 79th minute before a change was made. Gosling was the player that drove forward though in the last few moments of the game and it's a wonder why he was not given more game time. Even, then it would have been more encouraging to see Ryan Fraser have a run at Swansea.

A point was at stake though and while AFCB gambled successfully at Newcastle it might have been tempting fate to push too many up in the last few minutes against Swansea. The need for three points was more evident against Newcastle, and now that AFCB are in a slightly safer position there could be an element in Howe's thinking that he does not have to risk as much at the moment. While AFCB set out for a win, with 10 minutes to go it was more a matter of making sure AFCB kept the point they had.

Cherry Chimes'Swansea match report on ASK Fans 

Adam Smith could have thrown the game at Swansea

The protests from the Swansea supporters for the challenge Adam Smith put in on tammy Abrahams as the 90 minutes was running out what a bit of a heart in mouth moment for AFCB fans. We have seen games lost on such challenges before and although Adam was not adjudged to have fouled Abrahams he was the wrong side and was taking a gamble by sticking his foot in
Adam had a few nervous seconds after the challenge he made on Tammy Abrahams.
Abrahams looked like he was clipped to me and did not just go down by losing his footing The action of Smith kind of swooped Abrahams' standing leg, but it was so quick and a difficult one to call precisely. While the challenge started on the line or just outside the box it looked like Smith was still in contact when the player went down inside the box as well. So while Bournemouth escaped the prospect of having to see Begovic face a penalty, there have been a few moments now like in the Stoke match when the Cherries have been fortunate not to throw the game late on.
Adam Smith is also having to watch his challenges a bit considering he is a game away from a ban and while Eddie Howe likes to keep the same players starting when the team is on a good run, he could take Adam Smith out of the fire for the next game just to get him thinking again about such situations when he really has to be as careful as he can be. Even Steve Cook, who had been having a good game, was finding Tammy Abrahams a difficult prospect to keep away from goal and Bournemouth did well to hold out for a clean sheet at Swansea.

Smith wasn't really questioned after the game in his interview with AFCBTV on the Abrahams incident but he did acknowledge that Swansea got on top and it was not a comfortable afternoon for the Cherries. Smith can be pleased that he got the decision on this one challenge but he has to be mindful of the game situation when it is right to take a gamble and commit, and when it is not and this one was a fine line. 

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Bournemouth feel the chill of a 0-0 draw at Swansea

Match Report
Swansea 0 v 0 AFCB
25 November 2017
Attendance 20,228
The mascots wave the flags for the players to arrive.
Cold November days in Wales can be very scenic and eventful, but this game was not one that will get you rushing for the highlights button. Bournemouth found the heavy pitch not as much to their liking as Dean Court I suspect, and the cold atmosphere didn't give rise to many goal mouth chances. In fact, a disallowed goal for Wilfried Bony was as close as we got to seeing a goal in the first half, and while Swansea rightly fumed that and at substitute Tammy Abrahams cut-down by Adam Smith by the penalty box, it was Leroy Fer who really had the best opportunity to win the game for Swansea, but he was kept out by a fine save from Asmir Begovic. Meanwhile, Bournemouth could have snatched a perhaps underserved winner if Dan Gosling or Benik Afobe could have stretched a bit further to get on the end of a late Charlie Daniels' cross.
Welcome to Swansea City.
There was only one change to the team due to Simon Francis' one match suspension and Adam Smith filled in at right back. Benike Afobe was among the subs having recovered from injury as well as Jack Simpson. Meanwhile, Swansea made five changes, out wentFernandez, Fer, Claucas, Dyer and Abraham and in came Bony, Ki-Sung-Yeung, van der Hoorn, Caroll and Mesa. 

There are more pictures on Match Day Gallery.
The big score board at the Liberty stadium.
The start of the match was encouraging with Marc Pugh going close after a strong run and cross from Josh King on the right wing. Swansea replied with Jordan Ayew trying to warm Begovic's finger tips but the shot came off of the corner of the bar and post, and Bournemouth didn't have to face a following corner.

It wasn't until the 12th minute that we saw a coherent attack from Bournemouth again, this time with Ibe at first losing possession but seeing the ball run kindly to Surman who struck his shot into the mid-rift of a grateful Fabianski.

Renato Sanchez and Tom Carroll were playing well for Swansea in midfield and Bournemouth were seeing King have to come back and try and win balls back just to try and start moves off for the Cherries. Renato Sanchez escaped in the 29th minute but his run saw a chip come shot went wide.

Josh King came a little closer for Bournemouth with a shot on the angle that flew over the bar. 

Bournemouth had another let off when Renato Sanchez fired into the side netting. Mesa later shot wide as well, before King had Bournemouth's best chance of the first half saved by Federici on 42 minutes when he hit a hard, low shot that had the keeper on his knees.

As the half ended it was Swansea who felt aggrieved despite Nathan Aké clearly being fouled by Ayew's arm in the back, just before Wilfried Bony smashed a shot onto the roof of the net. The referee had blown for the incident very quickly, before Bony's shot, but it still felt like a lucky break for the Cherries.
Swansea players surround the referee after he blows for
half time ask why Bony's goal was wiped out.
Second half
The half time talk worked more for Swansea who came out fighting hard. Ayew forced a save almost immediately from Begovic. But Bournemouth soon found a bit of momentum with Adam Smith shooting from distance just wide of Swansea's left post.

Renato Sanchez was still running everywhere like a wild hare, but it was Swansea who were gaining the upper hand. Bournemouth's possession was slow to find any tempo and moved from side to side rather than darting forward and Callum Wilson looked largely ineffective compared to last week. Wilson did draw a foul from van der Hoorn, while Mesa picked up the first yellow card for playing on when the free kick had been awarded.

Swansea made the first sub with an exhausted Renato Sanchez being replaced by Leroy Fer on 71 minutes.

Jordan Ibe proved that he can shoot at times with a low shot at the right post that Fabianski got down to, even if it was probably going just wide. 

Fouls were getting nasty and Artur took a heavy challenge from Leroy Fer with nothing being awarded. Then it all kicked off with Ki-Sung Yueng on the left touchline with Ibe, everyone became involved in a fracas, including the referee who was shoved by Ki-Sung Yueng. Ki-Sung Yueng, Ibe and Olsson were all yellow carded in the incident.
Bournemouth had more to be worried about when Fer went on a good run up the left and ran through Bournemouth's defence only to come up against Begovic who made a good star shape to thwart the Swansea player, with his legs, before a second shot came off the post! Tammy Abrahams then came on to replace Ayew on 84 minutes.

King picked up a yellow for a foul on Olsson before Gosling replaced Jordan Ibe with two minutes to go. Abrahams decisive run towards the box had Adam Smith trailing and the Bournemouth defender clipped his standing leg on the penalty box line. I expected the worst but the referee decided Abrahams had just lost his footing instead. Bournemouth were not only lucky not to have a penalty awarded but Adam Smith only needs one more yellow card to before being suspended.

Bony was not so fortunate for a foul on Arter that earned him a yellow card.

The five minutes of added time almost provided a winner for Bournemouth with Daniels putting in a great low cross that was just beyond the reach of Gosling and then Afobe. Lewis Cook then replaced Harry Arter before the final whistle.
Just after the final whistle the players reflect on the draw.
These are the sort of games that you wish you had stayed at home for. There was plenty of desire but not enough quality to make it a special game. Bournemouth were well organised and that is what I'd ta out of this game. They were not going to concede and in the Premier League it is a good habit to get into. Swansea rightly had their goal disallowed in my view but the Abrahams incident I felt should have been a penalty and Adam Smith got lucky over that. Bournemouth are better than this though and Swansea perhaps should be disappointed not to have all three points as they were the better side in the second half. Well done to Asmir Begovic who picks up Cherry Chimes man of the match for his late save in the game.
A chilly point won for the Cherries.
Swansea City
Fabianski, Naughton, van der Hoorn, Mawson, Olsson, Mesa, Ki Sung-yueng, Carroll,
Renato Sanches (Fer 71), 18 J Ayew (Abraham 84) Bony

Swansea Subs
Nordfeldt, Rangel, Clucas, Dyer, Routledge, Fer, Abraham, 

AFCB line up.
AFCB Ratings
Begovic 8, A Smith 6, S Cook 6, Aké 7, Daniels 6, Ibe 6, Arter 6, Surman 6, Pugh 6, King 7,
Wilson 6

Man of the match - Asmir Begovic

Referee Watch: Stuart Attwell - 2/10 Stuart had a poor game and while I felt he got the disallowed goal right, he missed some poor tackles that should have been carded. 

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Patience may be key to beating Swansea

The table may look promising at the moment, but it does not take much to undo the good work and Bournemouth will be aware that they cannot take their foot off the gas now. Swansea may be in the bottom three, but Bournemouth were also there only a few weeks ago and the tight nature of the table at this stage is a reminder that you have to be on your game to pick up points.
AFCB could get their first three clean sheets in a row in the
Premier League if they can keep Swansea from scoring today.
While Swansea have been in a slump, no team is relegated in November and the main factor for Swansea will be not to lose contact with the teams that sit just above them in the league and I'd include the Cherries in that equation. The mini league this season for Bournemouth could be in might contain not only the teams below them, but for the moment it is the teams like Swansea that pose most threat to Bournemouth's mid-table position. Closing the gap would give Paul Clement and his side a real lift that could put them on a good run in December, so the impact of a win at this time has not just a reward of three points but a psychological twist if you can put the knife in.

Eddie Howe is respectful of every side in the league and if AFCB started to take Swansea's home form at face value they would not prepare well enough for the game. I don't expect Eddie Howe or AFCB to be complacent though, and if the team can work hard now, the games to come against Man Utd and Man City for example, will be more enjoyable to go into. Eddie Howe does not want to be looking over his shoulder come 1 January and so he needs real focus for this game as Swansea and Paul Clement will have tried everything they can think of this week in training to find a solution to their problems of scoring. 

It may be that AFCB will be best to not be too open early on in this game but let the pressure for a home win build on Swansea's players. As long as the Swans don't get off to a flyer the anxiety of things not going their way will build as they see this game as a good chance to get out of the bottom three. Patience worked against Huddersfield and Bournemouth might again need to contain the opposition for a while just to take the energy out of these Swansea players who will be pumped to get their first win in November.

Cherry Chimes provides comments for SOS Fanzine's opposition view

Friday, 24 November 2017

Are Swansea in more trouble than last season?

Bournemouth visit Swansea City at a time when home wins are proving very difficult for Paul Clement's side. It was over a month ago that they beat Huddersfield 2-0 at the Liberty. But while the international break has interfered with what momentum Swansea fans might have hoped, Swansea have not been beaten heavily in recent weeks and they have a super prospect in Tammy Abrahams who could a player that becomes increasingly important to Swansea's season.

Swansea have had terrible form but are they about to improve?

Having been in the lower reaches of the league last season, one expects that Swansea should be less panicked than most teams to find themselves in a similar position. Paul Clement is a year wiser about what is needed to avoid a last minute relegation battle, but is he already feeling the pressure of facing another tough season. Many of the Swans players have been admired by opposition teams but to sell their star players and not expect to be in a relegation battle was perhaps hoping for too much. But Swansea have shown that they can defend well as they did at Wembley against Spurs. So why do they concede too regularly at home?

We may find out more with Bournemouth's visit to the Liberty. Their last home game against Brighton was a low point in that Swansea couldn't lift themselves when they went behind and I wonder if the togetherness is still not there for Paul Clement's side. "If we perform at that level, you can't expect to win a game," aid Clement in his post-match interview.

It may be too much to see Tammy Abrahams carry the team at this stage in his career, but Swansea need some characters and leaders. That is what I think they have lost with the sales of Williams, Sigurdsson and Llorente. They were big players that others looked up to and when something goes wrong now, I don't see an inspirational figure. The captain has also changed in the last few days with Leon Britton taking a player/assistant role and Angel Rangel taking on the captain's role, as reported by SkySports. Rangel will have to learn fast. 

The problem is for Swansea is that they won' be able to bring in more big characters until January and even then will their owners dig deep into their pockets? Probably not which may mean that yes, Swansea are in more trouble this season.

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Rival Lines: "Clement should have gone after the last game!"

Rival Lines
Match Preview: Swansea v AFCB
Blogger Interview: SOS Fanzine
Twitter: @StevenSOS1987 @SOSFanzine

I've spoke to Steve at SOS Fanzine a couple of times before and so I knew we'd get a really honest opinion of his team when I invited him to come on Rival Lines. He is no doubt hurting a bit by recent results as all Swansea fans have been, but I wanted to see if he really felt their was a glimmer of light that Paul Clement and the players are about to turn things around and if not what did Swansea need in January to pick up better results?

CC: What is the overriding opinion of Paul Clement with the Swansea fans - has he got what it takes to keep you up? 

SOS: No, I think it’s time for a change again unfortunately. He did really well to keep us up last term and in all fairness he was let down by our bad dealings in the transfer market over the summer. However, he has no idea on his best 11 of formation and we are a third of the way into the season. The football is so negative that people are bored out of their minds and recent performances have been abysmal. He should have gone after the game last week.

CC: I know he has been injured, but can Wilfried Bony still be the player he was a few years ago at Swansea?

SOS: I have my doubts. He was brilliant the first time around and there's no shame no ousting the likes of Sergio Aguero at Man City, but alarm bells were ringing for me when he was behind Berahino and Crouch at Stoke. We should have taken him on loan, not permanently.

CC: Why has the home form been so poor this season?

SOS: Negative tactics, wrong players and formations. Plus the fact that we’re just not very good anymore, it’s be hard for anyone to get this lot to improve to the point where we’re a reasonable side again.

CC: Fabianski has been on the end of a lot of opposition shots. What have you made of his performances?

SOS: He’s been one of the one shining lights. He was brilliant last season and has carried on where he left off. We’d have a much worse goal difference it if wasn’t for him.

CC: Do you feel it was a bad decision to sell Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente in the same transfer window last summer and is that what you are paying for?

SOS: Partly yes, selling Sigurdsson and not buying a direct replacement was insanity. We have no creativity in this team and no one who can’t take a decent set piece which is hurting us big time. Llorente has been a loss as well although he would have struggled with most Sigurdsson’s service. If we’d adequately replaced both then we maybe ok but we didn’t.

CC: How close are Swansea to turning around results? 

SOS: I don’t think we are at all, my main hope is we stay in touch until January and address the imbalances in the squad to try and dig ourselves out of trouble. Performances are getting worse, not better at the moment.


CC: How good is Tammy Abrahams? 

SOS: Excellent, how he has four goals in a team that creates nothing I don’t know. He’s one of the only players who looks especially bothered by our predicament as well. Our fans love him.

CC: Do you expect Swansea to be busy in the January transfer window?

SOS: No idea with our board these days, but we have to be. A number 10 is vital, a right back, and a winger I would say. Need to ship a few out too who aren’t good enough.

CC: If you could swap a Swansea player for a Bournemouth player which players would you move?

SOS: Josh King has given us a few problems in the past, has pace to burn, scores a few and would likely set up a few. He’s the player from you who would make the biggest impact at Swansea. [Ed- And what about players going the other way? - Any but Fabianski and Abrahams I'll guess!]

CC: How do you expect Swansea to set up for this game against Bournemouth?

SOS: Clement loves to change things. Last week it was 4-3-3 but I have a feeling it might be 5-3-2 this week with Abraham and Bony both starting.

CC: Thanks for the answers Steve! The mood in the Swansea camp might not be so encouraging at the moment but a win would very quickly put a different look to the table and to the positions of Bournemouth and Swansea. That is why this game is one that Eddie Howe has been keen to highlight as a very important game. Paul Clement looked like he was running out of ideas in his post-match press conference after the Burnley defeat and by the words of SOS Fanzine it might not be long before the fans want him out if he can't do better, especially at home. So I expect a tense atmosphere at the Liberty and a high-paced first 20 minutes as I think whoever gets ahead in this game will pick up the points. You can read more reports on Swansea City and their players on SOS Fanzine.

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Cherry Chimes' match preview on AskFans for AFCB v Swansea

Also look out for Cherry Chimes appearing on SOS Fanzine's Opposition's View