Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Where are AFCB's clean sheets?

Over the summer we have been treated to some great Pre-season games. The score lines may not have all been fantastic, but the Cherries kept their unbeaten going well until they played Nottingham Forest, so everything is rosy isn't it? Well, even Eddie Howe can't ignore the fact that obtaining clean sheets has been a hurdle too far. If the Cherries are to do better next season they really need to try and get more miserly at the back.
Asmir Begovic must feel like he is in a pin ball machine,
because even if he saves one the rebound will go in. 
Bournemouth have used Artur Bouc and Asmir Begovic in equal measure this summer. I expect most of us presume Begovic will begin the season as the number one choice though and yet it is not surprising to me that he hasn't managed to keep a clean sheet. He has had a few moments when his kicking has still been suspect and while he makes the saves you expect him to make, I believe Begovic could really help the defence out more if he did start barking at them a little more and start being more assertive in coming for crosses and reacting when he pulls off a good save.

It has almost become accepted that AFCB will concede a goal at some point in a game and the defence needs to get out of the habit that this is okay. Teams can entertain and play attacking football without conceding. The players need to be better at doing the simple things at the back, like playing the percentages when they are being closed down to limit the risks of being caught out.
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Some of the goals that have gone in against AFCB during pre-season are undoubtedly linked to fitness and simply sloppy play. Whether the team can get that out of its system though by the time 11 August comes around is the main objective. The visiting teams of Real Betis and Olympic Marseilles will have much more accomplished finishers than AFCB have faced in recent games. I want to see a bit more solid defending against these teams than we have seen so far this summer. Room for improvement - absolutely.


Cherry Chimes' Newsletter - out tomorrow
Cherry Chimes' August Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month. It's out tomorrow with special story - Have AFCB brought in enough players?

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Monday, 30 July 2018

Does everything hang on AFCB getting a Lerma deal done?

AFCB have been turned down on a €25m deal for Levante's Jerfferson Lerma, according to FootballEspana. Since then, the player is said to have put a transfer request in. Both player and Levante are digging their heels in but the potential deal is a big one for AFCB not only to land the Colombian international, but also as it could see Harry Arter going to Fulham or Newcastle Utd.
Arter could be a late minute mover.
The likelihood of AFCB keeping hold of Arter is more than likely going to be dependent on whether they can force Levante to part with Lerma, and at the moment the Spanish deal is not going smoothly. Lerma is keen to join the Cherries if the transfer request is anything to go by and Bournemouth have made more than one bid for the player, so they have not gone away. My gut feeling is that a deal will be done, even if it is a last hour one.

But would that free Arter to leave? Bournemouth would be more than well served with the squad they have of midfield players and indications have been all summer that Arter could potentially move if the right offer came in. The latest interest from Fulham is perhaps more tempting to Arter than Newcastle as he would remain in the south and the London club did have Arter's brother-in-law, and former-English international, Scott Parker at Craven Cottage for four years before his retirement last summer.

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The timing of the transfers could become very important. If Bournemouth don't go back in until very late in the window to try and get Levante to shift their position, Arter could find himself tantalisingly close to leaving AFCB only to find that he doesn't get the go ahead at the final moment. That would have a big impact on how the season ahead would look for Arter. Is he going to be at a club where he doesn't want to be anymore or have we got it all wrong and he is just as ken as ever to wear black and white?

If Arter is very keen on a move then it is really crucial that AFCB do get the deal done for Lerma as Bournemouth would be left with a disappointed Arter and without the player they really wanted to land to get new impetuous into the team for the coming season. We can expect this story to run though right up to the close of the window.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

AFCB lose their unbeaten pre-season record at Forest 2-0

Match Report
Nottingham Forest 2 v 0 AFCB
28 July 2018
Attendance: 14,401
The Cherries find it tough going at Nottingham Forest.
The Cherries unbeaten pre-season record soon came under threat when Forest went into the led after a tap in from Tendayi Darikwaon 35 minutes Bournemouth had been in charge up to that point with David Brooks the creator and Wilson going close to scoring. A bad start to the second half made it 2-0 to Forest with Gil Dias' left-footed drive beating Boruc. Bournemouth's bright play came from David Brooks, but there is a lot to worry about in defence.

Bournemouth lined up as expected with Hyndman and Mahoney on the subs bench along with a host of U21 players. Lewis Grabban was surprisingly left on the bench for Forest.
Nottingham Forest's ground.
Match commentary from AFCB
2: Mousset looks up for it! He evades a dreadful tackle out wide right, before beating another player with a strong run. He won a free-kick in a dangerous area, which came to nothing. Good powerful, trick play early on from our new number nine.

5 We've had more of the ball early doors, as we - in our trademark style - look to efficiently play out from the back.

8 Forest have a small passage of play, it's neat and tidy and we get back into our defensive shape. It's ended though, by a brilliant slide tackle from Arter - a proper slide tackle - one which he's known for with the fans.

10 A sweeping move sees Brooks have an effort well blocked in the box, before Mousset smashes one and it's brilliantly defended again!

15 Save! Wilson is fouled by the onrushing 'keeper out wide at an angle. The resulting free-kick from Fraser is parried away by Pantillimon! Fraser steps up and deceives everyone by whipping it towards the near post - it fooled the 'keeper who had to spill it... It was bobbling around the danger zone before being cleared.

20 That is a sublime touch by Brooks!
He picks up a loose ball and glides past the defender with ease. He has Wilson running beyond him and threads a brilliant ball in behind for the striker. He tries to round Pantillimon and the 'keeper does well to show him wide... Wilson gets a touch and then shoots but Pantillimon does well to get the block!

21Another save!
It's Wilson and Brooks combining again... The midfielder finds Wilson in the area and he whips a shot with the inside of his foot that forces the huge 'keeper into a diving parry!
We do look threatening going forward!

35 GOAL for Forest. Tendayi Darikwa gets free to tap in at the back post. 

41 Since the goal they've had a good spell. We're looking to stay in our shape as they have more of the ball. Darikwa, the goalscorer, had a half decent chance as a blocked shot came to him 20-yards out - he powerfully headed it but it went harmlessly over.

44 Save! Probably a comfortable one, but it was a good strike from Adlene Guedioura. He hit a firm low effort from 25-yards, which whizzed along the surface but Boruc was able to get down low himself and smother the ball.

45 After forcing Pantillimon into a number of saves, we find ourselves a goal down at the break.
We started well but Forest ended the half well and got the goal through full-back Tendayi Darikwa.

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Second half
48 Goal to Forest. Not good. Gil Dias brought the ball down on the right-hand side before driving into the area. It looked like he was going to square it but instead opted to go for goal, wrapping - in all fairness - a magnificent effort into the corner. 2-0 down.

51 We work the ball really well up to the edge of the box where Brooks is waiting. He takes a brilliant touch and finds a pass that was extremely difficult, with the outside of his boot to get Wilson in behind. A great pass, but Danny Fox was there with a solid tackle to thwart the front man.

58 Brooks lively again. He's just made beating a player look easy, he glided along the turf and skinned the full-back, before cutting into the area onto his favoured left-foot. He strokes one which curls narrowly wide. Decent effort.

63 Boruc Save. We defend a corner really well, before the second phase of pay finds Ben Osborn in the area and hits an effort which Boruc is able to get down to cling on to. We're looking to break on Forest as we tick past the hour mark. There is a goal in this game for us, Brooks is getting plenty of the ball and is looking likely to make something happen.

68 They're bringing on four players, including Lewis Grabban who left us in the summer. For us, Emerson Hyndman is coming on, Wilson is making way. That means that it's Mousset up top as a nine, with Brooks in behind and Hyndman wide left as it stands.

76 Connor Mahoney comes on for us. He'll replace Brooks, who has had a decent game. Now it looks like Mahoney will play wide, with Hyndman in the 10 role behind Mousset.

78 Fraser gets down the right flank and puts in an inviting cross for Mahoney. He's got room at the back post but his touch just lets him down as he steams into the penalty area. He cant force a shot on goal in a good area, but positive!

Summary
Eddie will have a good idea of where his squad is now and it's a long way from winning games consistently. While the squad has been rotated neither this game nor the match against Bristol City will have fans feeling great about the preparation for a new season. The pus points have been that the team have scored a few goals in some games and David Brooks looks a great find. Bournemouth need to start stopping the goals going in and the side needs a bit more bite to it - perhaps there will be fresh moves to sign Jefferson Lerma in the coming days.

AFCB

Boruc, Francis, Aké, Simpson, Daniels, Brooks (Mahoney76 ), Arter, Gosling, Fraser, Mousset, Wilson (Hyndman 68)

AFCB Subs
42 Travers, 26 Hobson, 14 Worthington, 33 Ofoborh, 22 Hyndman, 23 Mahoney, 54 Dobre, 31 Surridge

Nottingham Forest
Pantilliomon, Darikwa, Osborn, Fox, Dawson, Colback, Dias, Guediora, Murphy, Carvalho, Gonclaves

Forest Subs
Smith, Figueiredo, Worrall, Robinson, Yates, Watson, Bridcutt, Lam, Lolley, Soudani, Grabban, Cash, Brereton

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Forest will hope ex-AFCB forward can surprise the Cherries

Lewis Grabban could make an early reconnection with AFCB when Bournemouth take on Forest at the City Ground today. While Bournemouth fans have not seen much of Grabban in recent years he will have very strong connections still with Eddie Howe and the players and staff and will be looking to find a goal scoring touch for the clash.
Lewis Grabban is likely to line up against his old team-mates.
Grabban has already been in fine form scoring for Nottingham Forest in a 2-2 draw with Oldham in pre-season, as Football League World reports. With a transfer reported to be around £6m Lewis Grabban, 30, has arrived at Forest with a lot of pressure on him to get Forest the goals that are needed to get them into the promotion picture.

Forest have also scouted abroad to bring in Portuguese U21 playmaker João Carvalho who joined from Benfica. Another foreign name is Hillal Soudani who is an Algerian international striker who signed in June from Dinamo Zargreb.

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Pre-season has gone well for Aitor Karanka with a 5-0 thrashing of Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar, before going out to Marbella to play top Spanish sides Real Betis which was a 1-0 defeat followed by a 3-0 win over Malaga.

Bournemouth will be seen as a big match for Forest's warm up and Eddie Howe is likely to play a strong team as the Cherries preparations for next season start to heat up. The performance against Bristol City was not that inspiring so he'll be wanting to see a lot more enthusiasm for a win in this game from his players.

Likely AFCB team.
Boruc, Francis, Simpson, Aké, Daniels, Brooks, Arter, Gosling, Fraser, Mousset, Wilson

Friday, 27 July 2018

Bournemouth have King to thank for holding Bristol City

Match Report
Bristol City 1 v 1 AFCB
27 July 2018
AFCB official picture: Josh King opening the scoring at Ashtn Gate.
Bournemouth looked a little ring rusty as they say at Ashton Gate. They needed an individual bit of brilliance from Josh King to fire them ahead, but City were running the show in the first half and pulled a goal back through new signing Andreas Weimann. The game was mainly played in Bournemouth's half and City's fitness looked much sharper than the Cherries at this stage of pre-season. Begovic was not overly pressed, but Howe will want to see more intent from his side in the coming games.

It was unusual to see Eddie Howe partner Defoe with Josh King and Mings with Steve Cook. But it was a pretty high-class side for the Cherries with a young bench. Brad Smith also had a rare start.

Bournemouth started well keeping position and getting an early cross in from the left. Defoe played a ball short to Ibe when he would have been on for a cross or a shot. Bristol City put a cross in but Taylor falls to the floor under pressure from Mings.

Brad Smith wins a free kick. Ibe finds King and a short pass to Defoe sees Jermain go close saved by O'Leary at the near post on six minutes. Bournemouth are moving very fluently. Bryan has a go from distance for City but it's well wide.

Eliasson puts a shot well over from 25 yards out. City get a good move going until Adam Smith comes in with a big tackle.City are starting to warm up with a long ball from pack finding Eliasson but the cross goes over everyone. Taylor is running free and Mings has to come across to stop Eliasson shooting

Bournemouth on the break, Pack goes to head but it falls to King. King goes to his right from 20 yards out and buries a low shot to the left of the keeper on 14 minutes to make it 0-1. King is making a claim for starting next season as the main striker up top with finishes like that.

There is a casual tempo to the game. King is away again, finds Defoe but he has mis-controlled it. The stadium looks pretty empty from the stands we can see. Paterson cuts inside and goes close with a shot just outside the right post - Begovic wasn't going to get there if it had been on target.

it's great to see Mings bringing the ball out from the back. Bournemouth are just starting to get more control again. Wiemann's cross is collected by Begovic. Adam Smith is putting in the challenges hard and Paterson felt that one. Surman tries to get Pugh more involved but the pas is cut out.

Mings stretches to head away a cross. Bristol city have been concentrating on the left side of the Cherries defence.

Eliasson puts another cross in but Weimann can't convert with his bicycle kick that goes wide. Adam Smith has to head away a cross by Hunt for a corner. baker goes for a header but there's no power in it as a goal kick goes to Bournemouth. Paterson finds Brownhill in front of goal but he blasts it over.

Bryan on the left's cross is cut out by Steve Cook. Adam Smith takes the ball well in the box from Ibe. He just can't get free of the defenders though.

Weimann is on a break but Mings carefully minds him away from goal. City have another corner. Free kick to Bournemouth. The Cherries were a bit sloppy playing from the back and gave the ball away. Tyrone Mings goes on a run but uses his arms on Hunt and is pulled up for it.

Hunt puts a ball in from the right and Pack knocks it down for Weimann who puts the ball in the net on 37 minutes. Begovic was out of position and had no protection leaving the roof of the net unguarded.

City have bossed the game and deserve to be at least level. They have another corner. Bournemouth are on the ball. A shot from distance is at the keeper.

Steve Cook has to cut out a cross from Eliasson and Brad Smith has to put another ball out for a corner for City. The clearance went close to Bournemouth's goal. 1-1 at half-time.



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Second half
Korey Smith has replaced Matt Taylor for City at half-time. Bournemouth win an early corner which Ibe takes. City clear. Pugh loses the ball and Mings goes through Eliasson in the middle of the pitch. Brad Smith and Pugh work a good cross on the left. King and Ibe now and Defoe looked to get a shot in but was blocked by Bryan, corner.

Ibe puts a cross in but Webster clears. Pisano replaces Bryan. Bournemouth are giving a few free kicks away. Surman this time. King goes on his own until he is eventually stopped in the City box.

Bournemouth are playing deep and a shot from Josh Brownhill is out for a corner. There's not much energy about the Cherries. Ibe gets a corner.

This has been a disjointed performance by AFCB. They just haven't done enough to be in charge of matters. It's the slowness of thought and passing that has let AFCB down. Another Bournemouth corner - can they make something from this one? No another corner on 63 minutes. City clear from their six yard box.

lewis Cook beats a couple of players. Eliasson on the break and he crosses to Weimann and the header is just wide of the right upright. Bournemouth were cut apart down their right wing.

Lewis Cook finds Defoe and his shot rises just over the bar. Weimanns coming off on 67 minutes replaced by Deidhiou, Paterson is replaced by Eisa and Hunt goes off for Pring. Eisa has a shot on his debut and forces a save to Begovic's right. Eisa has another chance to shoot and Begovic saves again. 

Begovic hashes a clearance. Brad Smith loses the ball. Defoe is subbed by Mahoney. AFCB have a corner and another. City now sub Pack for Walsh. Steve Cook finds Ibe and another corner.

Brad Smith has to make a last ditch tackle. AFCB have a corner and are subbing Brad Smith for Dobre on 83 minutes. An attempt goes inches wide from Steve Cook. Brad Smith keeps Eliasson out. Bournemouth have to clear again as Deidhiou puts the ball right on the six yard line.

King on the break to Dobre who fires over. We're into added time. Pugh up to King who gets a throw. Full-time 1-1.

Summary
Bournemouth got some more pre-season time in their legs with longer minutes on the pitch for many of the players. AFCb's start man was Josh King who made and scored a goal on his own. There was not much to be encouraged about but Tyrone Mings looked composed with Steve Cook at the back. Bournemouth need more from Defoe, Pugh and Ibe, while Adam Smith did look strong at right back.

AFCB
Begovic, A Smith, S Cook, Mings, B Smith ( Dobre 83), Ibe, L Cook, Surman, Pugh, King, Defoe (Mahoney 73)

AFCB Subs
Travers, Hobson, Ofoborh, Worthington, Mahoney, Surridge, Dobre

Bristol City
1 O'Leary, 3 Bryan (Pisano 53), 4 Webster, 6 Baker, 8 Brownhill, 10 Taylor (Smith 45), 14 Wiemann (Deidhiou 67), 19 Eliasson, 20 Paterson (Eisa 67), 21 Pack (Walsh 76), 32 Hunt (Pring)

Bristol City Subs
13 Wollacott, 2 Pisano, 7 Smith, 9 Deidhiou, 12 Walsh, 6 Pring, 18 Djuric, 22 Hegeler, 26 Eisa

What kind of test will Bristol City pose AFCB?

Bristol City may have some new signings on show against Bournemouth. City narrowly missed out in getting in the Championship play-off picture last season, but they are looking to improve on that.
AFCB will be a scalp if Bristol City get the better of them.
Among the new faces are Jack Hunt from Sheffield Wednesday, Hakeeb Adelakun from Scunthorpe United and Andreas Weimann of Derby County, Marley Watkins from Norwich City. This week Bristol City have continued their spending with the signing of Mo Eisa from Cheltenham Town. Eisa scored 25 goals from 50 games in League Two - I'd expect him to start against the Cherries, especially as Bobby Reid has been sold to Cardiff City.

Bristol City have also been on tour in Spain where they drew  2-2 with Real Balopédica and lost 1-0 to Rayo Vallecano.

Recent form aside Bristol City are a strong Championship side that are looking to play against teams like Bournemouth to reach the same level. Lee Johnson has done a great job already in not only keeping the team in the Championship since 2016, but making on of the promotion contenders last season as well as a strong English Football League Cup run that saw Bristol City beat Man Utd and eventually go out 3-5 to Man City on aggregate.

Bournemouth's side could include new signings Davis Brooks and Diego Rico and we could see Lys Mousset and Jordan Ibe wearing their new squad numbers.

You can watch the game on AFCBTV from 6.50pm.

In other news, Sky Sports reports that AFCB target Jefferson Lerma has put in a transfer request at Levante.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

How is your English Diego?

With Eddie Howe taking Diego Rico around the facilities at Dean Court with an interpreter to help Diego Rico understand a few of the areas where he will spend much of his time, I expect Diego will be sent on a fast-track English course to get him to learn some basic English quickly. It was good to see that Diego was not frustrated with people trying to tell him so much at once, but with no Spanish speakers by the look of it among the AFCB coaching staff, it should be quite a challenge for them as much as Diego in the next few weeks to get the left back playing well.
Official AFCB photo: Simon Francis meeting Diego Rico.
AFCB do seem to go out of their way to try and make new signings welcome and I am certain the fans will give Diego a good reception when they meet him. What I think helps a player settle in is that AFCB's players work hard during training but are prepared to have a laugh and a joke when they have free time. I do wonder if Eddie Howe will try and learn a bit of Spanish to make his job easier with Diego, it would not surprise me if he did. But going through set plays and defencive procedures will no doubt be a bit entertaining if it takes Diego a bit of time to pick up some of the more difficult tactical moves.

Sometimes we may take it for granted that a player should just join a club and be able to play like he did at his previous club. But just one day of watching Rico go through his medical and photographs with the media make it clear that he has a million and one things to get to grips with before he even gets to put a foot on the turf at Dean Court in front of the fans.
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Simon Francis may have been impressed that Diego could say 'nothing' when asked how much English the left-back knew, but I bet when Diego has a football at his feet he can impress a lot more. It will be on the pitch where he is ultimately judged, but he will need some time to get used to his new home and to me it really underlined how much easier it has been in the past few seasons to rely on British players when it could. The stakes are going up now and by taking on more foreign players, I have no doubt that the staff at the club will find it more easy every time they bring in their next foreign player. In this respect, Diego will be able to tell AFCB a lot of what they make it easy for a foreign player to understand and what needs more work.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

A second summer signing for the Cherries

Charlie Daniels has been the umber one choice for the left-back position at AFCB for almost as long as I can remember. Scott Malone occupied the position before Charlie, but there is now a possibility that Diego Rico from Leganes will displace Charlie Daniels for his spot in the team.

SkySports claims that Bournemouth have paid £10.7m for Rico and are to offer the player a four-year deal. At 25-years-old, Rico has many playing years hopefully ahead of him. He has played at Leganes since 2016 when he signed from Zaragosa.
Eddie Howe has a new left-back option.
The new signing does bring up questions about Brad Smith who has been Daniels' deputy a couple of seasons and yet has found it hard to get many Premier League games. With yet another left-back arriving, it is going to be even harder for Smith to find his way into Howe's thoughts.
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Daniels will still expect to fight off any new pretender. He has done it before and he works extremely hard to be the left-back and his runs are somewhat iconic now in the way he attacks on the left side. But if the Cherries are to improve their goals against record they need some players who are defenders first, in my opinion, and it will be interesting to see how attack-minded Rico is. Since joining Leganes Rico has only scored three goals so perhaps Eddie Howe is starting to look more at how his team defends now as he has great options in attack, but in recent seasons we have not seen much change in the defence.  

Daniels won't have to move over immediately as Rico picked up a ban that puts him out for the first three games next season, says the Bournemouth Echo.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Brooks shines against Levante

It is hard not to notice David Brooks when he's on the pitch. He stands out not only for his blond hair but also his control and the manner in which he carries himself. His youthful nature to take players on and believe he can get the better of them is great to see and while he takes some knocks, he is fully concentrated on making life difficult for defenders.
David Brooks already stands out as a player to watch.
Eddie Howe moved Brooks further upfield against Levante in what could be a support striker role that Howe wants to look at. It gives Brooks the chance to run at defenders and go to the right or left and opens up much more of the pitch for Brooks than just playing on one wing or the other. I though Brooks made some of the regular AFCB players look a tad sluggish and flat, because Brooks was not only getting forward but was quite prepared to come back and cover when he needed to give the team a hand at the back.

It is not easy to see exactly how good Brooks is yet, but he has set a high standard in his first two run outs for AFCB. He attracts defenders to try and dive in and that creates space when he gets past defenders. He looks along the line well and finds runs that get him in behind defences. An intelligent midfielder is what Howe has spotted for sure.

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I think Brooks is an all-round player that can be something really special. Eddie Howe has captured him at just the right time when he could mould him and work on the less impressive sides of his game. That may be heading and adding some more physicality to his game. Still, the control and running energy that he has are enough to make me think he could fit in to the team quicker than some of the other young recruits that Howe has picked up in the last few seasons.

Transfer news
AFCB are reported to have made their second summer signing - defender Diego Rico of Leganes is reports to be on his way to the Cherries for £10.7m, according to the Daily Mail.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Hyndman gives Howe something to think about

Eddie Howe has not been that generous in the time he has given Emerson Hyndman in a first team shirt. He is probably down at fifth or sixth choice to start in the middle of the park and yet the passing and movement he managed against Levante was a real credit to the player and will have registered with Howe not only because Emerson scored but more because he looked very at home on the pitch in this Bournemouth side.

I've been wondering what will happen with Hyndman next season. Will he be loaned out or is he ready to step up?  Perhaps Howe still doesn't know the answer yet, but if Hyndman can put in more performances when he instigates attacking moves and puts himself in great positions to score then he is going to be hard to ignore.

The competition for Hyndman is very difficult and he needs to prove he can play well consistently and to do it in the Premier League is a step that Howe has not really given Hyndman a go at for any number of games yet. But I felt that the last game of last season against Burnley was not just a thank you for Hyndman for not playing much and staying professional and training hard, but it was perhaps more of a platform to see if he could contest with a really tough Burnley midfield.
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Levante might not have been as physical as Sevilla, but Hyndman is a player that will create and find gaps when he is allowed to have some space around the box. His play is very instinctive and flows when he is confident and I'd like to see more of him this summer. If he is a player that can force his way to the subs and is a good replacement when players get injured, we could start to see a bit more of the player that Rangers fans' thought a lot of.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Lewis Cook gets off the mark

We have had to wait a long time to see Lewis Cook score a goal for Bournemouth. While he has opened his account in a friendly against Levante, it doesn't take anything away from the strike. Bournemouth have had trouble in finding central midfielders that can get on the score sheet every now and again, and while Gosling has probably been AFCB's best midfielder in this respect, perhaps Lewis Cook is beginning to work harder at getting some match-winning goals.
Lewis Cook hits a screamer against Levante.
Lewis did not have a dominant game against Levante. But he played his game with economic passing and movement and didn't shy away when the ball fell to him late on in the game. Eddie Howe said he wants Lewis to add goals to his game but he probably didn't expect the to start coming from such a long way out from goal. It was great technique to drill the ball from some 25 yards or more out and the keeper didn't really get near it. Lewis responded quite calmly, as if he does it every day in training, but the AFCB players were keen to celebrate with him on such a powerful goal that won the match.

Howe had paired Cook with Gosling in what he may still see as the strongest pairing in the middle of the pitch for the Cherries at the start of next season. The second half side against Levante appeared the stronger, and yet the Cherries found it hard to keep the ball for much of the half. Some of that could be improved if they can get Lewis Cook on the ball more often.
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In previous seasons it has been Surman who has kept the ball moving and controlled the pace, but with Surman now being played deeper, AFCB need a player that is going to grab games and take charge. Lewis Cook is being given the chance to do so and if he can start seeing himself as being the main man in the middle of the park, we could see even bigger performances coming from Lewis Cook in the next few months.

Saturday, 21 July 2018

A Lewis Cook strike beats Levante in a cracking 3-4 game

Match Report
Levante 3 v 4 AFCB
20 July 2019

Bournemouth and Levante played out an entertaining first half goal fest in La Manga. The Cherries had gone 0-2 up in the first 11 minutes through goals from Hyndman and Defoe and yet Levante struck back with three goals before half time, as Boruc was left exposed with some clever movement and some cool finishing from Boateng and Roger Marti. The second half was less open with the managers having had a word to close things up and it took Bournemouth until the last five minutes to find a way through. Lewis Cook provided it with a fabulous winning drive from some 25-30 yards out.



Bournemouth started against Levante with a similar team to that which took on Sevilla in the second half, although missing from that team were Mings, Surman, Pugh, Gosling and Ibe, while Steve Cook, Hyndman, Daniels and Jack Simpson had come into the starting line up. The whole team was then changed at half time with David Brooks playing up front with King and Surman again playing as a centre-back.


Match Description
Boruc makes an early third minute save from Levante's right winger. Bournemouth score a well worked goal on eight minutes with Fraser moving the ball out to the right to Mahoney, before a pull back laid the goal on for Hyndman. Fraser then popped a cross from the left that Defoe flicked past the keeper for 0-2 on 11 minutes. Boruc then saves well after Steve Cook had made a poor clearance.

Hyndman made a mistake in the middle of the park and was booked for pulling back a Levante midfielder. Boruc wanted to take goal kicks just to the edge of his box that caused some alarm. Levante's number 23 made a strong run into the box which was blocked, but the ball fell to Roger Marti who made it 1-2 scoring in the bottom right corner on 17 minutes. Boruc has to make another save high to his right from Remeseiro but he keeps it out.

Bournemouth are trying to get their passing going but a ball over the top to Boateng leaves him one on one with Boruc and he slips it under the Bournemouth keeper on 21 minutes to make it 2-2. Bournemouth start forcing the pace with a free kick and then a corner. The Cherries have the wind with them this half.

Fraser gets taken down by Levante's 17 who is booked. Levante have made an early sub on 27 minutes. Hyndman plays a lovely one-two to get him in the box and while he goes down Defoe's shot is blocked. Boateng is having to come off for Levante on 33 minutes.

16 cuts up the right before Levante's Roger Marti moves between Simpson and Cook and finishes well on the angle, across Boruc, to make it 3-2 to Levante on 34 minutes. Mahoney puts in a cross but it's just too high for AFCB's players. Mousset is struggling to get into the game. A corner to Bournemouth. Mahoney takes and Jack Simpson meets it at the far post with a header to make it 3-3 on 41 minutes.

Bournemouth are just a bit careless in giving the ball away in midfield and allowing Levante to break. So it's 3-3 at half time.


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Second half
AFCB have made 11 changes at half time. Levante were on the attack straight away. But Bournemouth soon had a corner after Brooks hit the post. A run straight through the middle by Levante's number nine forced a save from Boruc with AFCB's central defenders outpaced. Bournemouth are putting a strong high press on. Levante manage to escape though. Lewis Cook and Gosling are not having it all their own way in midfield.

A couple of corners are cleared by Levante. King is a bit of a loan figure up front even if Brooks is trying to get the ball to him. Adam Smith gets a corner on 65 minutes. Ibe pulls a ball back for Surman to strike but he's blocked. Both teams are getting back well to defend when they lose the ball.

King gets to fire a ball across the box but it is cleared by Levante. Begovic takes a clean catch from the right wing. Brooks still looks a difficult player to keep quiet playing just off King. I like the look of him in an advanced position.

Both teams look much more set up to stop goals this half. Brad Smith has taken a knock. Bournemouth defend the corner well. A good run up the right from Adam Smith sees King chest down to Pugh who fires a volley off that the keeper touches over on 79 minutes.

Levante take a corner short and Begovic has to punch over the bar this time. Aké makes a mistake coming out with the ball and Lewis Cook has to rush back to get a block in. Brooks has got loads of running in him and wins the ball back well. A shot from King is just kept out before Lewis Cook smashes in a long right footed drive bottom left on 85 minutes 3-4. Cook's first goal for Bournemouth was worth waiting for.

King gives a foul away on Levante's number five. That's it.

Summary
While it was pleasing to see some goals the protection for Boruc was minimal at times and Levante slipped balls in for their strikers without much pressure from the Bournemouth players in the first half. The goals that Bournemouth made showed a good understanding for the first with Hyndman, proving perhaps that he deserves more time in a Bournemouth shirt on his performance. Hyndman was putting plenty of crosses in but usually they were too strong. Fraser was as usual a handful for the Levante defence. But it was interesting to see how Aké and Mings would cope with the Levante attack in the second half. They were far more in control and the player that caught the eye was David Brooks with his blond bonce chasing and running at players. Lewis Cook had been having a quiet game until his strike just at the end which settled matters in Bournemouth's favour. There will be plenty to contemplate from this match for Eddie Howe, and he'll be pleased that the players closed things up after half time. But the way Levante scored their goals will be less savoured by Bournemouth's manager.

AFCB

Boruc (Begovic), Francis (A Smith), S Cook (Aké), Simpson (Surman), Daniels (B Smith), Mahoney, (Mahoney) Arter (Gosling), Hyndman (L Cook), Fraser (Ibe), Mousset (Pugh), Defoe (King)

Star players - Emerson Hyndman, David Brooks and Lewis Cook.

AFCB Subs
Begovic, A Smith, Mings, Surman, Aké, Daniels, L Cook, Brooks, Gosling, Ibe, King, Wilson. Ofoborh

Levante
Oier, Toño, Chema, Roger, Bardhi, Postigo, Rochina, Verza, Pedro López , Boateng, Jason

Friday, 20 July 2018

Levante conquerors of Barcelona take on AFCB

Levante UD have been spending this month training at Buñol, just to the west of Valencia in Spain. The Spanish side were only promoted to La Liga in 2016-17, but have had some impressive wins, including a 5-4 win over Barcelona last May and two draws against Real Madrid, which helped them finishing in 15th place.
Will AFCB get their first pre-season win against Levante?
Levante have been signing up players that participated for them last season like Coke Andujar at right-back, who has moved from Schalke in Germany. Centre-back, Rober Pier has joined Levante this summer on loan for his third year at the club. Ruben Rochina has also signed on a three-year deal having bean on loan at Levante last year from Rubin Kazan.

Their top striker is Emmanuel Boateng of Ghana. He scored a hat-trick when Levante beat Barzelona 5-4. Incredibly Levante were 5-1 up after 56 minutes, as reported by the BBC. Levante also have midfielder Jefferson Lerma on their books which the Sun has reported this week that the Cherries are willing to spend a club record breaking £32m to sign him, although other reports of £17m seem more sensible.

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Another attacker they signed at the start of 2018 on loan is winger Fahad Al-Muwallad who is dubbed'Saudi's Lionel Messi'. The club has also renewed the contract of defender Fran Manzanara this summer, until June 2019, having been with the club for the last three seasons.

Levante's manager is Paco Lopez,50, who took over the position in March 2018, having been the B team manger at the club. Before that he coached at Villarrael B and  C and Cartagena.

Founded in September 1909, Levate UD the club plays at the Ciutat de Valencia stadium which has a capacity of just over 26,000. Bournemouth will take on Levante at 7pm tonight UK time in La Manga, Spain and you can watch it live on AFCBTV.

In other news, AFCB linked to striker Mbaye Diange playing at Kasimpasa, according to Turkish Football.
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