Saturday, 12 May 2018

Emulating Burnley is AFCB's next step

Eddie Howe has commented in match previews before this game that Burnley have set a great standard for teams that are aspiring to compete with the top teams, and he will look closely at how Burnley have managed to do so well this season. Eddie believes it is consistency that has let AFCB down from matching teams like Burnley, and this would ring true when you consider AFCB have been able to beat Arsenal and Chelsea in 2018, but have been well beaten by Huddersfield and Southampton.
Sean Dyche has built a team that is hard to beat
and Howe needs to add that formula to AFCB.
Matching Burnley though, who have made Europa League football, is a big step. It is arguable that Burnley might even be ready for it yet, but they are there. AFCB would need to recruit well this summer to try and perform as well as Burnley have done this season. Getting the best out of the players at the club already though is something that Howe must try and do better. Josh King is one of those players that has not had a spectacular season as he did 12 months ago, and Callum Wilson has found it hard coming back from his long term injury. Jermain Defoe has not found the goal touch that we know he has, and yet it is in defence where AFCB would really need to find some quality, if they are going to reduce the goals against.

Eddie seems content with the size of AFCB's squad and he wants to keep most of the side together, so this summer he will be closely scrutinised for his additions. While Howe does not think AFCB have hit the levels that they are capable of, it was a close call with relegation. A similar season again may be less easy to pull away from the relegation zone with the players he has, if he can't get more out of them.

Eddie always brings new ideas and motivation to the team, but he has been with these players a long time now, and he'll have to keep finding the little extra ideas if he is to try and get AFCB to where Burnley have been this season. The gap in a one-off game like we have this Sunday might not be large, but over a course of the season Burnley have 13 more points or four more wins and a draw. This may not seem such a huge gap, but it means the difference between a Europa league season, and a watch your back relegation scrap.

Howe also wants to build a team around Nathan Aké, Jordan Ibe and Lewis Cook which suggests he knows it is time to make important changes to the team. But he also says he wants to build on what he has which doesn't sound like he is ready to part with too many players yet.

T-Shirt Competition
Your final chance to win a Cherry Chimes T-Shirt is this weekend. Just send in your score prediction on a tweet to @CherryChimes for this game. If we have more than one correct answer we will draw a winner from the hat.

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