Monday, 30 April 2018

AFCB shot themselves in the foot

Eddie Howe was not looking for excuses when the final whistle blew at Southampton. A dismal performance was met with a 2-1 score line that has put a reality check on the way AFCB fans feel about their team. Just when the Cherries needed a bit of momentum coming to the end of the season, they have suddenly hit reverse gear.

End of the match at St Mary's and three more points escape the Cherries.
The comments after the match don't make the solutions seem easy to find. If Bournemouth are shooting themselves in the foot they can only look to themselves for the mistakes and find away to cut out the errors. After having a full season of games it's hard to believe that the team still hasn't worked out what they need to do to stop breaks when they have a corner themselves at the other end. You can say it was over confidence to push everyone up in the opening 20 minutes or complete madness not to have better cover. But when Southampton broke and Bournemouth left Charlie Daniels isolated, like a lame duck at the back, there was only going to be one outcome. Daniels legs have been questioned on more than one occasion this season and he is not the quickest anymore. Perhaps this will sink in now.

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The defenders as a whole need to sort out who is best to keep back and while they like to rotate the duty there are clearly some who are more comfortable than others at guarding breakaways. The annoying thing is that AFCB didn't seem to be in too much danger from what Southampton were creating, the best chances were made by AFCB being sloppy. Steve Cook's moment to forget was just another incident when a lack of concentration proved costly. Even then the other defenders backed off and didn't get a challenge in on Dusan Tadic, giving him a clear pathway to goal.

A few home truths will need to be said this week. The players are not at the races and they had better find a way to get back on track fast because if they think the season is over they may find that other results don't go their way. 

Cherry Chimes' Newsletter - out tomorrow
Cherry Chimes' May Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month. It's out today with special story - Only points against the top six have kept AFCB away from WBA and Stoke City

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Was Howe tactically naive at Southampton match?

The Match of the Day punditry from Alan Shearer took the lid off what had gone wrong for Eddie Howe at Southampton. It was the wing-backs that opened the door for Southampton all afternoon and there was no attempt to go to a back four when Southampton were getting so much joy from getting down the flanks.
Did Eddie set out with the wrong game plan for Southampton?
Eddie may have felt that the chances that AFCB were creating at the other end were worth keeping the system as it was, but as the game went on there was less and less intensity being put on Southampton players. AFCB were reacting rather than imposing themselves in the opposition and they were being stretched.

The three at the back has been a good formation up against the best teams, but I felt Eddie could have been more cautious against Southampton. Bournemouth didn't need to win the game they just needed a point and while it is not in Eddie's nature not to go full out for the win, if Southampton had been more frustrated by a strong Bournemouth defence with two lines of four, the game might have panned out differently. Southampton didn't get desperate because Bournemouth kept giving them good chances to test Begovic.

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The personnel that were on the park for Bournemouth are not stranger,s but there were times when I wondered where the organisation was and why the Cherries were not able to play with more grit in what was after all a derby. Tadic was easily the star player on the pitch and Bournemouth didn't deal with him all game. From the moment Lewis Cook was booked in the fourth minute, there was little AFCB seemed to be able to do to hold Tadic back.

Bournemouth needed to nullify Southampton's strengths and while Austin was perhaps seen as the main problem, it was Tadic that had the freedom to run at defenders. 

The Bristol Posts reports that AFCB are looking at a £12m move for Bristol City striker Bobby Reid. Celtic defender Kieran Tierney is a £20m player that AFCB are also said to be interested in, according to the Sun.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

St Marys defeat is so costly for Cherries

Match Report
Southampton 2 v 1 AFCB
28 April 2018
Attendance: 31,778
 for a AFCB and Southampton at St Marys.
Playing Southampton at St Marys is something that should get the Cherries excited and when the opposition are fighting for their lives, you'd expect AFCB not to gift anything. But the Cherries  managed to falter from a position of strength, throwing a first half goal away to Dusan Tadic from a Bournemouth corner and even when Josh King equalised before half time, Bournemouth fans were expecting a stronger second half from their team. Instead, Tadic was the recipient of a stumble by Steve Cook and this time there was no way back for Eddie Howe's men. AFCB sit just six points above Southampton and if they don't secure another point they'll probably have to rely on goal difference to keep them up. Safe - don't make me laugh. AFCB are almost in deep as trouble as Southampton.

Bournemouth made two changes to the starting line up. Out went Andrew Surman and Jordan Ibe and in came Dan Gosling and Lys Mousset. Tyrone Mings also made a welcome return to the bench.
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There are more pictures on Match Day Gallery.

There was nothing to shabby about Bournemouth's start to the game apart from the early booking of Lewis Cook for a foul on Tadic. It was frantic as you'd expect in a derby carrying so much importance for the relegation scene, but the Cherries had the better of the opening minutes winning two corners in the first 10 minutes. Bournemouth's delivery was perhaps not the best as McCarthy easily caught Francis' cross for the first and the second corner was harmlessly put wide for a goal kick.

In between these incidents Southampton had tried to find Nathan Redmond with a long ball over the top, but Bournemouth were defending well enough with their high line. More concern came when Charlie Austin almost jumped on a short pass to Begovic and then Southampton came closer still with Bertrand having a blocked shot, followed by Francis throwing himself in front of Romeu's shot on 14 minutes.

The nerves in Bournemouth's ranks shot up even more when Ryan Fraser gave a short ball back to Begovic. Ake then thought he'd risk a poor back pass too! Daniels was comprehensively beaten on the left allowing Cedric to cross, but Begovic caught the ball well.

All seemed well as Josh King won a corner at the other end, but a break from it with Redmond feeding Lemina left the Cherries horribly exposed with just one defender at the back - Charlie Daniels. There was no cover when Tadic was played in through the left side and Begovic's star-shaped attempt to make the save was no match for the precise finish. The Saints were 1-0 up on 25 minutes.

The Cherries tried to get over the shock quickly and a great run from Lewis Cook should have ended with a shot on goal, but he squared the ball and the chance was lost.

Charlie Austin was lurking at the other end and his snap shot from the right wing was kept out by Begovic at his near post.

Lamina was next to shoot high over the goal with a curling attempt. But Bournemouth didn't get the ball out of their half before Lamina had another shot from distance that Begovic saved well down low to his left.

Bournemouth's reply was a volley from Fraser that went well wide. A Southampton corner fell out to Lemina who shot that was held up by Austin, who then shouted for a penalty as he collided with Begovic in Bournemouth's box. Nothing was given, thankfully.

The Cherries got up field with Ryan Fraser and Josh King. Mousset had a shot blocked before Ake turned well around the six yard box and got a shot away which was saved by McCarthy's legs. The following corner though gave Bournemouth the chance they needed. A six yard heading contest saw the ball fall nicely to Josh King at the far post and he smashed it into the roof of the net to make it 1-1 right at the end of the first half.
1-1 at half time.
Second half
The second half started no less ferociously with a a yellow card for Bednarek on Mousset. Redmond claimed a penalty for the ball hitting Steve Cook, but it seemed to hit Cook's back.

Lewis Cook then made a good drive that was saved by McCarthy on 50 minutes. Southampton were also getting forward and Lemina had a shot blocked before Redmond has his attempt blocked.

It all went wrong for Steve Cook and Bournemouth when a goal kick from the Saints was not controlled by Bournemouth's centre-half and he was robbed by Tadic. Tadic still had much work to do but he found space in between the Bournemouth cover and finished comfortably passed Begovic with a toe-poke to put the Saints back in from 2-1 on 54 minutes.

Bournemouth had plenty of time to recover, but they'd have to do better than Mousset's attempt that was hit straight at the keeper.

The Saints then subbed Nathan Redmond on 58 minutes and brought on Shane Long. Fraser took a knock but carried on. King was the next to shoot but again right at McCarthy.

Bournemouth subbed Wilson for Defoe on 64 minutes and Ibe replaced Mousset. Gosling went down in the box from a challenge from Lemina but there was no penalty.

A good chance for Southampton saw Lemina find Austin but the shot was deflected. Gosling was losing the ball regularly now in midfield and he was subbed for Surman on 72 minutes. Austin was replaced by Højbjerg,

Bournemouth won a free kick wide on the right when Francis went down against Shane Long. A Bournemouth corner followed, but it was punched clear by McCarthy. The ball was being turned over all the time.

Southampton were doing well enough to see the game out. Ward-Prowse replaced Tadic on 86 minutes. The last few minutes saw an all out Bournemouth assault on the Saint's goal. Surman hit the first speculative shot wide.

Yoshida picked up a yellow card for a foul on Fraser as the pressure grew. King then shot horribly wide after a long build up.

Five minutes of added time started with a yellow card for Cedric. Begovic came up for the corner but McCarthy punched it away. Bournemouth had one last chance when Surman squared to Fraser outside the box and the Scotsman hit a well-flighted shot towards the top right corner but it was deflected and McCarthey made a spectacular save. Højbjerg was yellow carded as time ran out.

McCarthy was also carded for time wasting but Southampton had taken the three points on offer.
Who look exhausted and are on the floor? AFCB!
Summary
Bournemouth had a chance to finish the season with no worries but they didn't do the job at Southampton. Southampton wanted the points and Bournemouth didn't do nearly enough to frustrate them. Tadic stole the game from Bournemouth and his finishing was superb. Too often the Cherries mis-controlled the ball and made it easy for Southampton to pick up the pieces. No Bournemouth player really came out with any high praise, but at least King grabbed another goal. Bournemouth are sinking towards trouble fast and if they don't win against Swansea it will be an extremely nervy last game of the season up at Burnley. We know this defeat is costly, we just don't know how costly it might be yet.


AFCB line up
AFCB Subs: Boruc, B Smith, Mings, Surman, Pugh, Ibe, Defoe
AFCB
Begovic 5, Francis 4, S Cook 3, Ake 5, Fraser 6, Gosling 4, L Cook 6,  Daniels 4, King 7, Wilson 5, Mousset 5

Southampton

McCarthy, Bednarek, Yoshida, Hoedt, Cedric, Romeu, Lemina, Bertrand, Tadic (Ward-Prowse 87) Austin (Højbjerg 72), Redmond (Long 59)

Cherry Chimes' MoM: Josh King

Referee Watch: Anthony Taylor 3/10 - All the yellow cards came late on for Southampton and yet Lewis Cook was booked straight away. 

  • minutes

Saturday, 28 April 2018

A chance to humble a few Southampton fans

I expect most have you have been asking yourself how you feel about the possibility that AFCB's next game could mean relegation is virtually assured for that team down the road. if it were to happen it kind of puts me in two minds. Yes, I want to win a game that Saints don't like to call a derby, but while it may seem fun that Southampton could by in the Championship next season, that is two games of the season gone that I have been rather find of.
The Cherries might not have a warm welcome at St Marys.
Many will say who cares if the Saints are relegated. It may make AFCB fans feel slightly superior for a while and historically it would be a bit of an anomaly. A pleasant one for AFCB fans, but I expect the followers of the Saints would dismiss it very quickly and point to their record as a Premier League club which has been impressive over the years. AFCB's years have hopefully only just begun and it is going to take a lot more work to emulate the history that Southampton have had. We can also count ourselves behind Portsmouth and maybe even Brighton in that respect, so we don't have much to brag about yet in the top flight.

Wining a domestic trophy is what would give AFCB that bit more status to start being noticed in the history books. Being in the Premier League is fabulous, but you don't get any silverware just for participating in it. The Saints of course have their FA Cup success of 1976, and it will always be there. For the moment though, AFCB have a chance of doing is just humbling a few Saints fans who don't want the Cherries to do well by taking three points off them that are absolutely precious to the Saints. Bring it on.

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I have no clear idea of what the atmosphere will be like at the game, but I have a feeling that both sets of supporters will not be holding back. This will feel like a derby match. If these games didn't really matter before, they are going to take on more meaning with this match and any that may then subsequently follow in future years. Because this one matters, it really does.If AFCB ever want to build up some rivalry with Southampton, then this is the day it can really start. AFCB have to send the Saints down and retain Bournemouth's Premier League status. The south coast is ours. UTCIAD!

Southampton Home Form
DDLDL

AFCB Away Form
WLDDL
Possible AFCB line up against Southampton
Boruc (GK), B Smith (LB), Mings (CB), Gosling (CM),
 Pugh (LM), King (FW), Mousset (FW)

Friday, 27 April 2018

Rival Lines: "Getting this squad relegated is criminal," says George Weah's Cousin

Rival Lines
Match  Preview: Southampton v AFCB
Blogger interview: Georgeweah's cousin
Twitter: @crstig


I managed to have a few words with Chris at the fabulous Southampton website - George Weah's Cousin. I wondered if a Cherries fan was the last person he'd want to talk to with the Saints in big trouble, but massive credit to Chris who was more than willing to give an insight into how the Southampton fans are feeling ahead of Bournemouth's visit to St Mary's. The questions were going to be difficult for any Saints fan but sometimes you have to hit reality head on and I want to know what a Saints fan is most annoyed about from the goings on at St Mary's in 2017/18.

CC: At what point of this season did you feel Southampton might be in a bit of trouble - was there a particular game that stood out?

GC: Pretty early on it looked like Pellegrino wasn’t the right man. He cut a confused looking figure pretty much all of the time. The 4-1 defeat to Leicester at home was the one though, as unacceptable and pathetic a performance as I have seen from a Saints team for a long time, with the added insult of being carved apart by a team managed by ‘boring’ Claude Puel.

CC: Do you think the recent game against Leicester was there to be won or could you tell from early on that Southampton were not looking like a team that would win the match?

GC: Absolutely. By now Puel has instilled his turgid, creativity drained style on the poor foxes and we should have come away with 3 points, sadly our team is bereft of confidence and don’t look like they can win in any situation at the moment.

CC: What do you feel is the general view of Mark Hughes among fans? Would you give him the keys to the City if he keeps you up or were you disappointed with his appointment?


GC: Given the situation we were in, I think he was the only realistic choice. Would we have wanted him during the Summer? No, but horses for courses. Our previous two appointments were foreign experiments that failed, with so few games left someone with Premier League experience was essential. I feel sorry for Hughes, he hasn’t been given enough time to turn it around in my opinion.

CC: Who is most to blame for the Saints situation?

GC: When any club goes through such a poor period I think it is too simplistic to blame one factor, it is usually the perfect storm of many factors. Our board’s recruitment policy that used to work so well has gone to pot. Some of our players gave up far too quickly and require attitude readjustments, but the chairman and the director of football have to take the lion’s share of the blame for leaving it so late sacking Pellegrino. Getting this squad relegated is criminal to be honest, the lowest it should finish is 13th/14th, and had they sacked MP at Xmas, we would be out of danger by now.

CC: You could have a massive game against Swansea right at the end. Do you think Swansea City are the only club the Saints can now catch to stay up?

GC: They are the main target but if we don’t beat you (AFCB) on Saturday then I think that will be it. Win on Saturday the beat Swansea and we give ourselves a chance, but 2 wins on the bounce from a team that as won 1 in 21? Seems unlikely.


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CC: What did you make of the Saints' performance against Chelsea in the FA Cup?

GC: Gutless. I think we had a certain gameplan that was working up until half time, but when you’ve got the keystone cops at the back, you are only ever one instant away from turning Olivier Giroud into Lionel Messi!

CC: Should Charlie Austin be selected to play up front with Shane Long rather than using him as a sub?

GC: I’m not sure they work as a pair, but Long can’t be relied upon to score. It’s an odd one. Austin is clearly our best striker, but I’d like to see him supported by Gabbiadini in the hole.

CC: What do you think the mood will be like for the match at St Marys with Bournemouth? After all, Southampton have a good record against the Cherries - is it a game you can look forward to?

GC: The mood will be the same as it has been for some time, quiet resignation to the fact we are in a terrible situation. I don’t look forward to any games at the moment, though I learnt many years ago that you should never let the 90 minutes of football ruin your day out.

CC: Have you got any injury worries for this game?

GC: Yep. Boufal – Lack of backbone, Lemina – Unnecessary stepover disease, Bertrand - Face like a slapped arse syndrome, Hoedt – Calumdavenportitus.

CC: How do you expect Southampton to line up against Bournemouth?

GC: McCarthy, Cedric, Hoedt, Yoshida, Bertrand, Romeu, Hoijbjerg, Tadic, Ward-Prowse, Long, Austin


CC: If Southampton are going to have a hero who keeps you up who will it be?


GC: Charlie Austin

CC: What will the score be for the match with Bournemouth? 

GC: I’m going to be surprisingly optimistic and go for a 1-1 draw. We will probably miss a host of chances, and you will equalise late. 1 point ultimately won’t be enough.


CC: It seems that the fight might be going out of Saints fans but if they were to win against Bournemouth, I think their mood could yet change. I am so used to seeing Southampton come out on top that I would not be overly surprised if they did miraculously escape the drop even now. But the view of seeing Mark Hughes at St Marys would not inspire me with confidence if I were a Saints fan. I agree with Chris though that everything will be clearer I should think after this weekend if the Saints have a realistic shot at staying up of not. Check out more of Chris' thoughts on the Saints' season at George Weah's Cousin

T-Shirt competition
You can win a Cherry Chimes T-shirt by guessing the correct score between Southampton and Bournemouth. Tweet your guess to @CherryChimes If there is more than one person guessing the right score we will pick the winner from a hat.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Why aren't AFCB establishing leads in games?

AFC Bournemouth have conceded the first goal in the first half five times in their last 10 home league games this season, having under 8 shots on target in five of these, says StataBet. There's more, AFC Bournemouth have trailed by one goal 15 minutes before half-time 4 times in their last 10 games this season. And the damming one is, AFC Bournemouth have conceded the first goal in the first half five times in their last 10 home games this season and they have conceded the first goal in seven of their last 10 home games. No wonder they have had to rely on being comeback kings.
Bournemouth have been falling behind a bit too often. Here it was against Newcastle.
The poor starts continue with Man Utd the latest team to get a goal up before half an hours play against AFCB. There had been a lot of hope that AFCB would pull through in games when they were scoring in every game, even if it was late on. But now the goals have not materialsed against Liverpool and Man United, so what does Eddie need to change for the Southampton match?

I'd like to see Eddie Howe really take the game to Southampton and he may well be hoping for the return of Adam Smith to help him do that. Adam is not always noted for the impact he has on games, but he is an aggressive and forward pushing force in Bournemouth ranks. Smith may not have made as many assists of scored as many goals as might have been expected, but he is one of AFCB's players that only has eyes on winning. It's likely that the subs bench is as close as Adam gets to the team though this weekend as he has not played in weeks.

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At this stage Bournemouth need a bit of positivity. It is not great to keep coming in at half time behind the opposition and Howe needs to make that clear when they go out for the first half at St Marys'. If Bournemouth can be ahead by half-time, they will feel well in control and from that position they may just work harder to put in a winning performance.

I don't want to see AFCB's players trooping off at half-time in this next match having been overrun by a more energetic Southampton side who have to chuck everything at it now.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Will Lewis Cook start banging in some goals?

Lewis Cook is being held up high as one of Bournemouth's great success stories this season and quite rightly so. But does a central midfielder need to be a bit of a goalscorer as well as a creator? We are still waiting for Lewis' first goal and watching him play it does appear to me that he is more often looking for the killer pass rather than setting his own sights on hitting the target.

From what I remember from Lewis Cook's Leeds days he used to be confident enough in front of goal and I hope it has not been coached out of him. AFCB are not rich in scoring central midfielders and while Eddie looks for balance in the team, it may be that he has too many similar type players in central midfield and he has to develop at least one fo them into more attacking prospects.
Lewis Cook still needs to find his shooting boots.

I believe Lewis has that potential and could be more of a goal scorer. He has that injection of speed and can zip past his man quickly to find himself in space. I don't see why he can't try more give and goes and one-twos in and around the penalty box. If Eddie is to keep Lewis Cook at the club and develop him he has to find a shooting player within Lewis and bring it out.

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I'm sure Lewis wants to add as much to his game as he can, and if he just does a little more in training on this aspect of his game he will gain more confidence when he is in a game. It is a pity that Jack Wilshere is not still doing his work at the Cherries, because Jack is the kind of central midfielder that Lewis can identify with and learn from. Now to see Lewis Cook and Jack Wilshere in a Bournemouth team would be a step up - any chance of that happening this summer?

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Is Begovic getting enough cover from his defenders?

My mind isn't quite made up on Asmir Begovic. John Williams believes he has made a fantastic difference this season and has been one of the best buys Howe has made. He might be right in that a bit more confidence is given with Begovic between the sticks, but he has not found it much easier than Boruc did to keep the goals out. In fact, clean sheets are down.
Begovic is still having problems keeping clean sheets  
It leads me to ask, if Begovic is the better keeper is he not getting as good a protection as he should? While you might always hope that your keeper can get you out of trouble, he has to rely on his defenders to some extent to make important blocks and tackles. Begovic has done well in one-against-ones of late making a great save in the Crystal Palace match from Patrick can Aarnholt. But does this suggest that the cover is not always there when he needs it? I think so.

Asmir will be hard on himself when he sees playback of the first goal that Liverpool scored him up at Anfield, but he couldn't do much about the goals that Man Utd put away against him. As long as he still feels confident, Eddie Howe will pick him to do his job.

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It was at least good to see that Man Utd and Liverpool did not find away around the Bournemouth walls at free kicks. I would not be surprised if a bit of work was done on set-pieces following the Leicester away and Crystal Palace home matches. Bournemouth have enough problems as it is in general play without conceding free kicks in target range of Begovic's goal, and the Cherries did try and tackle Man Utd as high up the pitch which was an improvement on the way Mo Salah wove his way into the box. Hopefully, Begovic gets a bit of help in the remaining matches.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Can Eddie Howe reign longer than Wenger did?

I hate to think about the day when Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall are no longer managing AFCB. It was hard enough last time when they went to Burnley, and the next time I would be less likely to think they would ever need to return to the club where they have made their names. So when Arsene Wenger has lasted 22 years at Arsenal, before rather belatedly leaving, l wonder what would be a good length of time for Eddie to decide when it was time to move on?
Will we see Howe stick around to see a few
seasons with Steve Cook as a captain?
Eddie has always said that he wants the club to be established in the Premier League but I am not quite sure what that means to a club like AFCB. The club is about to enter its fourth season in the top flight and so-called established teams like Southampton, Stoke City and WBA may be leaving the top tier, so is three years enough to say AFCB are established? I was informed by TalkSport that AFCB are now established and who am I to argue, only if that is true would AFCB be closer to losing their management duo?

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I tend to prefer established to mean infrastructure as well as time in the top league and AFCB will need a couple of more years to get their stadium sorted and perhaps a few more top signings to cement their place as a regular fixture opposing the Arsenals of this division. Of course, AFCB could find themselves in a similar position to the relegated sides before a new stadium is erected and that could spell the end of Eddie's reign, although I would hope that his long record would give him the opportunity to turn it around if that happened.

We should perhaps console ourselves that Eddie and Jason have at least given us two spells in charge and just enjoy every season we get with them. They may not last a long as Wenger but they have been no less worshipped for what they have achieved and you know I'm going to say - long may that continue!

Sunday, 22 April 2018

United closed the door on the Cherries

Eddie Howe seemed rather dejected that Man United had managed to find it fairly simple to block the way to goal when the Cherries tried their utmost to get back into the game having gone one-nil down. He had great admiration for Chris Smalling and Phil Jones who managed to master Callum Wilson's physical presence.
Eddie Howe only had words of acknowledgement 
and respect for Man Utd's two central defencders.
Man Utd's defenders also managed to keep the Cherries out by only picking up one yellow card whereas AFCB's discipline went a little with three bookings. The frustration did get to a few of Bournemouth's players as they were getting into shooting positions but not a lot was coming off when they needed that final ball. The spaces were just quickly closed by United's defenders and if AFCB learn anything from the game it should be to defend a little more like United did.

BBC Radio Solent' John Williams had another phrase for Man United's play "boring", although he did admit it was effective. While half of the attraction for people watching Bournemouth is that they like to entertain, there is part of the game that is aimed at destroying and breaking up good play and it is a side of the game that AFCB are still more novice at than some.

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What was impressive about United is that David De Gea was hardly needed. In the end he had to make two saves. But AFCB were not so far behind United in that respect with United only getting four shots on target. 

AFCB have found goals hard to come by this season. They now have a total of 41 goals this season which does not compare that favorably with 55 last season.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Did freshening up the midfield really work for AFCB?

Bournemouth made a change to the starting line up and the midfield change was perhaps more surprising in that Andrew Surman was brought back into the team. He has the most experience of AFCB's central midfielders and he had a reasonable game, but Eddie had clearly felt that he had to split Gosling and Lewis Cook up to have a better attempt at beating Man United.
Andrew Surman made it back into the starting line up,
 but even with his control AFCB struggled to get a hold of the game against Man Utd. 
Surman said he had been frustrated to be kept out of the team but understood that AFCB had been on a good run with Gosling and Lewis Cook. So to come in and play with Lewis must have seemed like a real boost to Surman. He has made it back into the team before Harry Arter and  with just three games to go, I'm most intrigued who will get the starts in central midfield in those games.

It has been a changeable area of the pitch for the Cherries and while Lewis Cook seems to have everyone's vote as the player who should be starting, there is now an open spot next to him and it may be one part of the team that Howe needs to look at in the summer. Some have suggested Aké could play in midfield, but I feel he is too valuable at the back for the Cherries. Dan Gosling has not done much wrong, but has played perhaps more games than he would have expected and Eddie may not have been particularly keen on dropping him, but felt that he had to change something with points slipping away.
I'm not convinced of what AFCB's best centre midfield pairing is as we come to the end of the season, and it is possibly one of the reasons why AFCB have not been as confident this season. Arter and Surman were a solid basis and the team was used to playing with them, but when you dismantle a long-term partnership it was bound to take a while for things to settle down again, and while Howe had though Lewis Cook and Dan Gosling was the answer he could now be having second thoughts about that with recent results. 

I felt the Surman Cook combination did okay against Man United. It was better than the game up at Liverpool, but with Surman and Cook our midfield is not potent in goal power and from that aspect I don't think it really works.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Wilson is rightly disappointed over penalty decision

We all hope that the officials get things right in games and if anything favour your team, but there are games where as a fan you just feel you are not getting a fair deal and Callum Wilson's fury at not being awarded a penalty for Luke Shaw's antics in the box was rightly felt. Eddie Howe commented after the game that you need those big decisions to go for you in these games. A penalty and a red card would have been a big ticket towards a point for the Cherries or something even better.
Wilson was clearly held back by Luke Shaw's challenge.
The fast-pace of the game is making it difficult for officials to be on top of everything and while I am sure they want to be objective and give fair decisions, the big teams are likely to be seen as teams benefiting most from close calls, because they have stayed at the top year after year. If decisions don't go for your team they don't tend to stay at the top very long. So perhaps we should not be surprised that it takes a lot of luck to get penalties against some of the top teams.

Bournemouth wanted to score goals, but they wanted to achieve goals in other ways rather than relying on a decision for a spot kick. But this was an infringement that was something that you would have hoped the assistant referee would have picked up on from his angle. When keepers and defenders go down the whistle soon comes to their rescue, but for strikers there is less room for officials to be brave. You need brave officials, but you can't rely on getting them in games where they are most needed.


The incident in this match could have changed the whole outcome of the game, but we'll never know and in an instance the match had the route back for AFCB removed. Wilson will have hoped he'd have made just the merest of contact on the ball, as it was such a good delivery.

It won't do Bournemouth any good though to mull on this one decision too long. They have to focus on the next game and how they can still make a difference to their season. Wilson can feel rightly aggrieved but that's all he can get out of the situation.
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