Saturday, 8 September 2018

Does a front-three set-up suit AFCB?

Eddie Howe switched to using a font-three formation against Chelsea having started the season playing just two strikers behind each other. While this enabled Fraser to play a more attacking role, it was evident that Bournemouth couldn't dominate the ball against Chelsea and while they created some very good opportunities, AFCB never looked in control of the match.
Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser were joined with Josh King to make a front three against Chelsea.
Bournemouth did of course try to play with five midfielders behind the front three, but Adam Smith and Diego Rico were forced back and ended up playing as more of a back five with the three centre backs. It is a system that has worked against the best sides fairly well last season, but Chelsea were no doubt expecting such a move and pinned Rico and Smith well to the back line.

What I was surprised to see is that Fraser found it harder to get on the ball, like he had in previous matches. He had a great chance in between the two Chelsea goals to get a goal, but shot disappointingly wide. Whether the change of position really helped get the best out of Fraser I'm not so sure. He certainly wanted the ball as much as ever, but was perhaps just that harder for other players to find him.

While we saw Callum Wilson also have a few chances to strike at goal, we didn't see Josh King get into those scoring positions that frequently against Chelsea. He has not been able to find room around the box yet in many of the games so far. Eddie Howe has put a lot of confidence in Wilson and King to get the goals I feel, which is okay, until they don't come up with the goods. We are seeing a lot of chances missed and I wonder if that will play on Howe's mind. The general play of Wilson and King is usually excellent and that's where they score higher over Mousset and Defoe. But we know Defoe can hit the target when he is confident, and I believe it would be good to give Defoe or Mousset more than 10 minutes in a game soon, so they can start getting ready to play a bigger part in games when King and Wilson don't make the most of their chances.

In other news, Ryan Fraser played 90 minutes in Scotland 0-4 defeat to World Cup semi-finalists Belgium. Junior Stanislas has also signed an extended contract to 2021 and has been back in training.

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