Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Points against the top six will again be AFCB's big challenge

Bournemouth have looked in good shape at the start of this season. Their first big test though came away at Chelsea and it was a test they couldn't quite conquer.  For 70 minutes though they did stay in the game and even had chances to snatch something. Finding the resolves to extend that kind of performance to 90 plus minutes is where the Cherries have to get to, if they are to get points off the best teams in the league.
Chelsea were just too strong for AFCB, but the
Cherries don't play another top six team until November.
It is early days and Bournemouth were never going to go unbeaten for the season. The Everton game was perhaps the first match were fans would feel Bournemouth would have to play particularly well to get something from the game, and going to Stanford Bridge was always going to be another step up. Bournemouth also had the difficulty of Chelsea being extremely confident after their strong winning performances and a need for their new manager to get the team playing well at home.

It was quite a different scenario from the away match at the Bridge last season when Antonio Conte was having problems and Bournemouth romped to a 0-3 win. Getting the odd win or point off the top six teams though is often vital, if you want to stay in the league and when the top teams are not playing so well they do drop points, as we have already seen with Man City this season. So going into the big games it's important that AFCB believe they still have a chance of getting something from the game. I thought for times at the end of the first half against Chelsea that the defiance in the team was growing and that a result was possible. But in the second half the potential breakaways became less frequent and with the ball constantly in Bournemouth's half, there wasn't the opportunity to relieve the defence enough.

After the event it is easy to say how would have done better to make some subs on 60 minutes. I am not sure why Eddie Howe didn't, as the control of the game was in Chelsea's hands and Howe didn't do anything that obvious to try and change that. He may have been waiting to see how Sarri's subs would be fitting in, but in that 12 minutes before the first goal, Chelsea had brought on Giroud and Pedro and were fresher and more eager to get that first goal.

Hopefully, when AFCB play the next top opponent they are not so hesitant in changing the team just because they have held out for an hour. If it is a squad game, the players on the bench have to be able to contribute. Bournemouth have to do everything they can to get points off of the top teams - they can't pick and choose where they are going to get their points.

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