Friday, 14 December 2018

Wolves have been great against the top teams

Wolves have made a great start to life in the Premier League and now that they have hit the top 10, it is down to AFCB to try and stop them climbing further on Saturday. A defeat would see Wolves climb above the Cherries, and this game has a crunch match feel about it, because of that as both teams need momentum going into more fixtures in December.

Bournemouth last played Wolves in the Championship.
The home record of Wolves has strangely not been as good as their record away. They have won three games out of eight at Molineux, drawing two and losing three. Goals have been a bit hard to come by with Raul Jiménez leading the way with four goals and Matt Doherty has scored three, while Rúben Neves, Diogo Jota and Ivan Cavaleiro follow on two goals each. The Portuguese core of the squad has been very effective at keeping possession and frustrating some rivals, but what has impressed me is their defence.

Matt Doherty is a strong defender who has been doing well with headed clearances and goals at the other end, while French defender Wily Boly has been a great signing since joining on loan last season from Porto. Wolves have managed four clean sheets and with draws against Man City, Man United, Everton and Arsenal as well as a win over Chelsea, Wolves have certainly raised their game for the top half teams. In that respect Wolves record is quite a contrast to Bournemouth's record at having struggled against the top six, so perhaps Wolves should be slight favourites for this game.
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Wolves are also a team that are getting results right at the end of games, so AFCB will have to be aware of how Wolves can score late on. Nuno Espirito Santo has the players playing for him and this could be the game of the weekend with both teams likely to see this game as a very winnable match.

Wolves Home Form
WLLLW

AFCB Away Form
LWWLL



Cherry Chimes' T-Shirt competition

Send in your score predictions for Wolves v AFC Bournemouth to @CherryChimes on Twitter by Saturday at 12am. We will picker winner from the correct entries to win a T-shirt. Good luck 

Wolves Blog: Cherry Chimes answers questions about the Cherries for Wolves Blog.
Rival Lines: Find out what Wolves Blog thinks about tomorrow's game

Rival Lines: 'It's nice to be top dog in the West Midlands' says Wolves Blog

Rival Lines
Match Preview: Wolves v AFCB
Blogger Interview: Wolves Blog
Twitter: @wolvesblog


This week I spoke to Thomas at Wolves blog about the great start to Premier League life that Wolves have managed since their return. As well as having a forward-thinking manager they have several young players that have contributed to the good start and I don't see this as an easy game for the Cherries who only just sit above Wolves in the table.

CC: What do you think Nuno's best qualities are as a manger?


WB: I like the fact he has a clear idea about he wants his team to play and never deviates from this regardless of the opposition. I also think it's admirable in the age of soundbites that he says little and prefers to let his team do the talking.


CC:  It has to be the best time to be a Wolves fan right now, but were you surprised at how long it took to get back to the Premier League?

WB: Well, I didn't expect consecutive relegations that's for sure. But we've spent the vast majority of the last 30 years in the second tier trying to get out so it was nothing new. Our previous owners were never that ambitious, so the Championship felt like our level until Fosun took over.

CC: To me it looks like Wolves have much more of a vision of how they want to play and how the club can develop now - is that a comfort to the fans?

WB: Absolutely. It feels like everyone shares the same vision for how we should be playing and there's limitless ambition. The owners have spoken openly about wanting to compete with the Big 6 and haven't been shy about backing that up with considerable investment. It's exciting times.

CC: You have had some great results in the Premier League already, but why do you think Wolves results against the top six have been better than some of the results against the bottom six?

WB: I think we play better on the break and when we're winning possession high up the pitch from teams trying to play out from the back. The top teams tend to do that more than those struggling at the bottom. Motivation and the pressure of expectancy may also be a factor.


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CC: A lot of attention has been focussed on Morgan Gibbs-White. Do you think he could be fast-tracked and be involved for England in the next European Championships in 2020?

WB: He's only just had his first Premier League start for us so probably premature to be talking about England. But certainly if he plays consistently for the next year or so as well as he did against Chelsea the other day, why not? The talent is most definitely real. He's been talked about for years so it's great to see the potential coming to fruition.

CC: Are you enjoying not having a derby game this season?

WB: It's certainly nice to be top dogs in the West Midlands as we haven't enjoyed that status in my lifetime. Every game has that derby atmosphere in your first season back in the Prem, so I'm not too bothered if I'm honest.

CC: Do you think we are yet to see the best of Ruben Neves?

WB: I'd say so. He continually improved last season and peaked down the home stretch and it could be the same this time. He's had to adjust to the pace and quality of the Premier League but you can see he's got a lot of quality himself even though he doesn't have it all his own way at times. He'll play in the Champions League again at some point, I'm certain of that. He's got the ability and temperament to go right to the top.

CC: Nuno has not played too many players, but if money is available in January what type of player would you like to see come in to improve the team?

WB: I think we need more options and more physical power in midfield and attack, so an athletic midfielder and a proper number 9 would be handy, even if they're just options we can call upon from the bench.


CC: Have Wolves got many injuries ahead of this game?

WB: Wing-back Jonny Otto is still out but other than that, I think we're dealing from a full deck, which is nice as we head into a busy December.

CC: How do you expect Wolves to line up?

WB: 343 - Patricio in goal, back three of Bennett, Coady and Boly, Doherty and Vinagre at wingback, Neves and Moutinho in midfield with Gibbs-White, Jimenez and Jota in attack.

CC: Do you see Bournemouth at home as a must win game, a difficult game or possibly one of the more entertaining games?

WB: A very difficult game but hopefully win or lose a good spectacle. There will certainly be two teams intent on playing attractive football and trying to get the three points, so should be a great match up.

CC: Thanks to Thomas who has a great Wolves Blog. You'll see some answers to questions that I answered for Thomas on his blog this week. I think Wolves are enjoying life in the Premier League and are one of the teams that are capable of surprising teams, so it is going to be a tough ask for Bournemouth to get something from this game. I wouldn't be too disappointed with a score draw.


Cherry Chimes' T-Shirt competition
Send in your score predictions for Wolves v AFC Bournemouth to @CherryChimes on Twitter by Saturday at 12am. We will picker winner from the correct entries to win a T-shirt. Good luck 

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Are AFCB over their wobble?

In the last five games AFCB have won just one game and have lost four. I think we can call it a wobble in form or a period when the team has found it difficult to pick up points, but if this period was characterised by the best teams in the league, can we expect an improvement of results in the next few games?
AFCB have to start piking up points against mid-placed teams.
The fixtures against Wolves and Brighton might have been viewed as favourable matches to pick up points at the start of the season, but the form of both of these teams has picked up just as AFCB get ready to play them. You could call it bad luck, but AFCB have to start building their own luck, and if they need a target hitting 25-30 points before the end of the year would be a fabulous achievement.

Bournemouth have not drawn that many games this season but playing these teams that are of similar stature could start to increase the likelihood of a drawn game or two. But defeat to Wolves and Brighton would leave the Cherries facing another tough couple of games against Spurs and Man United, needing to get points just to get themselves back into the top 10 before the end of the calendar year.
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So, I don't think we can underestimate the importance of the next two games for the Cherries. Bournemouth can either be fighting for a European place or be looking at holding on to mid-table positions come the start of next year. Traditionally, AFCB tend to pick their game up at this important stage of the season, and they will certainly need to improve on their current form, which is only better than Watford and Southampton.

Let's hope the wobble is soon a thing of the past. It would be a shame if Bournemouth struggle to build on their good start.

Express and Star - match preview for Wolves v AFCB

Are AFCB good enough to be best of the rest?

Simon Francis made a reference to being disappointed that AFCB will have fallen out of the top six following the defeat against Liverpool. His target is certainly to try and get the Cherries back into that position come next May, and while AFCB have been in and around the top six for most of the early part of the season, is it asking too much for them to hold onto that kind of position?
AFCB have to make their effort now to stay in the race for Europe.
The teams above Bournemouth now include Everton and Man Utd. In previous seasons it would not have been realistic for the Cherries to be within a game of two of these teams after a quarter of the season, but the Cherries have done well enough that they are contenders, if outsiders, for a European place come next May.

With only one point between Bournemouth and their next opponents Wolves in 10th place it is seen as a crucial game to keep make some distance on Wolves. The same will be considered when Bournemouth play Brighton in mid-December. The gap will either open or close up and to stay in touch with Everton and Man Utd, AFCB need to get points in these kind of games.

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A finish in seventh place would be a new record for AFCB and while Man Utd and Everton have more spending power, it is clear that AFCB have been playing well enough in the first part of the season to hang in with these teams' performances. The only worry now is on the injury front. If AFCB continue to pick up injuries at their current rate they will need to use more squad players, and Bournemouth's squad is simply not as deep as these bigger teams.

So would finishing seventh be a good achievement. I'd say it would be an excellent achievement, while even a top 10 finish must be seen as progress, if AFCB manage that in a season when they have not flirted with the bottom three places at any stage of the season.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Why can't AFCB beat top six teams?

While there has been much praise of how Bournemouth are getting closer and more competitive in matches against the best teams in the Premier League, the results this season would suggest otherwise. Perhaps it shows where Bournemouth are still well behind the best teams - in defence.
Bournemouth haven't had much luck against the top six.
Adding up the score lines against Arsenal, Man Utd, Man City and Liverpool the score reads 3-11 in favour of the opposition and, although two of the games were only 2-1 defeats, the Cherries have not been so effective at the back against these top sides. Playing under pressure against good attackers is what AFCB need to get better at. Whether that means there has to be a period of getting used to playing these tames and finding their weaknesses more regularly or studying videos more intently, there is work for AFCB to do to improve.

Bournemouth don't have a top six team challenge again in the league until Boxing Day, which is some relief only if they can pick up points in the games in between then and now.  There is one Carabao Cup quarter-final against Chelsea though that could be a chance to not only break the duck, but try and see if AFCB can find a better way to approach these big games. In past seasons, AFCB have always had some success against the best teams and it would almost seem a backward step if the Cherries don't get any joy against the big teams this season.
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At the moment the gap appears to still exist between AFCB and the best teams. But this season the Cherries have perhaps not been at the very top of their game when they have played these clubs. Eddie Howe has to try and find ways to be better, even if there is no doubting the quality of the opposition in these games. If AFCB play the top six and play well but still lose, there can be little complaint, but when AFCB lose and are contributing to their defeats, then there is more work to do.

How good was the Surman and Lerma partnership?

The score line of 0-4 against Liverpool may suggest that not much really worked well for Bournemouth against Liverpool. In central midfield, Andrew Surman finally got an opportunity to play with Lerma , but he might not have liked doing it that much against one the best midfield's in the country.
A tough reintroduction for Surman.
Surman has his critics and it is easy to get on his case if you like to see plenty of forward passing. But his presence is going to be needed over December with Dan Gosling trying to rest his knee and Lewis Cook being out for the season. It is an area of the pitch where AFCB have always been well covered in previous years, but the fact that AFCB are already down to their bear bones was proven last Saturday when there was no central midfield substitute.

With Surman and Lerma working together, there was a good closing down of Liverpool midfielders for the first 30 minutes. However, Surman was asked to play 90 minutes which was perhaps a bit tough on him, having not been playing the first team for some while. Surman has a full week to recover now and if Dan Gosling is able to return to fitness, Eddie Howe will have another decision to make on whether he changes or keeps his central-midfield pairing.

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Swapping the players in the centre of the park often is not great for the stability of the team. But Howe has to find a pairing that can get Bournemouth moving up the pitch well and solid enough not to leave gaps in front of the defence. The jury would probably give a negative rating for Lerma and Surman against Liverpool, but can they improve if they play against Wolves or should Howe look to play Gosling if he is fit? For AFCB to play with intensity I believe it has to be Gosling and in a game that is really important not to lose, Howe may have to gamble that Gosling is fit enough to maybe last 60 or more minutes.

Since writing this post, it has been confirmed that Dan Gosling has undergone an operation and is expected to be out over the December period.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Why is Wilson such a big miss?

Bournemouth lined up against Liverpool without Callum Wilson. It may be something that AFCB could have to be accustomed to if the teams with financial clout come in with offers to buy him in future years. But for now Wilson is central to the team and without him it looked short of goal power against Liverpool.
Bournemouth certainly need Wilson's fire power.

It was disappointing that AFCB didn't create much more than a couple of clear cut chances against Liverpool. It is clear that Wilson offers a goal threat that AFCB's players are used to playing with and when he is not on the pitch to make his runs and bring others into the game, AFCB don't look such a potent team going forward. While AFCB have done without Wilson's services in the past, they have become more reliant on him for goals this season as the leading AFCB scorer on eight goals.


Josh King used his usual strength against the Liverpool defenders, but didn't get the run of the ball when it was in and around Liverpool's box. You could see some of the players like Fraser getting frustrated when other players like Brooks didn't take up positions to make crosses and were on different wavelengths. At the back, Francis and Steve Cook also kept looking to play balls up but couldn't find easy ball out to the strikers.

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Callum has made it his job to be one of the first players to give an option to team-mates when AFCB have the all, and he has a presence on the pitch. It will be good to get him back for the game against Wolves as AFCB need more of a direct threat on goal than they had against Liverpool.

Do AFCB need to look at the centre-back position?

Watching Bournemouth play this season has been entertaining as usual, but the time has come for Eddie Howe to find another central-defender who can play with authority and command the team from the back in partnership with Nathan Aké?
Despite the odd mistake of late, Steve Cook has been one of AFCB's top performers this season.
Bournemouth have started to see individual mistakes crop up again with Steve Cook, and while I think Cook has been amazing for the club since League One days, he is still making errors and they are costing the team in big matches now and again. But there is a lot more to Steve's game than this.

It shouldn't be a surprise that Eddie Howe has kept faith in Steve Cook. When you look at the Premier League clearances this season, it's Steve Cook that is heading the chart. Steve Cook is also sixth in the headed clearance chart. In other words, Cook has been among the best and busiest defenders this season in the league. But if we look at the record from touches from the back, none of AFCB's defenders are currently in the top 10 pass makers for defenders and when you do find AFCB's defender with the most touches it is Steve Cook at number 17.

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Rather than bring in another defender should Howe just give some opportunities to Tyrone Mings or Jack Simpson? If it was thought that the number of games were causing the odd mistake, then I can see the value in giving some of AFCB's other centre-back some games. But Howe is reluctant to disturb his centre-backs and Simon Francis has been pushed back out to the right-back position, seemingly unable to dislodge Steve Cook from the centre-back position. 

This really points towards AFCB needing to bring in a right back, especially with Adam Smith being injured and that would free up Francis to really challenge for Cook's position which should be under threat. If Steve Cook knows he will get away with mistakes and still stay in the starting position then AFCB can expect a few more errors during the season. 

Monday, 10 December 2018

First goal so important when playing Liverpool

Eddie Howe was adamant that Liverpool were unfairly gifted the first goal. Had the assistant referee put his flag up as he should, the game would have been very tight at half-time. Salah was offside but the assistant referee had not kept up with play. Going a goal down didn't change the flow of the game, but it did help dictate the pattern for the rest of the match.
Bournemouth knew they had to score first, bu it didn't work out that way.
Bournemouth were now chasing the game and in that position it was always going to be easier for Liverpool to draw free kicks, stretch the play and make Bournemouth have to strain to get back into the game. Bournemouth needed to get parity in the game to really give themselves some belief, and when decisions kept going against them, there was no help likely to be coming from the home support, who became more incensed by Lee Mason's attitude to protect Liverpool's players. It was a bad recipe for the home team and while Liverpool didn't seem to be tearing AFCB apart, they had the momentum behind them and in the second half, hopes all came crashing down AFCB.

It seems crazy that one moment can have such a bearing on a game, but players do make better decisions when they know they are in a close game, and that they can be the team to score first if they get the run of the ball at the right time. Bournemouth are not always good at going on to win when they do score first, but coming from behind is always more difficult.

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Eddie Howe was clear about Liverpool being rather fortunate for their first goal - "they were helped for their first goal by a bad call from the linesman and after that some generous defending from us... I don't think it is a particularly tough one to see. That one should have been spotted," said Howe.

Heaviest defeat for Bournemouth at home undeserved?

Whether Liverpool were incredibly good or AFCB were out of sorts is something that we can analyse to see what the main contribution was to the 0-4 scoreline at Dean Court. While Bournemouth have suffered home defeats in recent weeks to Arsenal and Man Utd, the comprehensive defeat to Liverpool was a real destruction of Bournemouth's home record.
The second half goals really dented AFCB's goal difference.
At half-time, it hadn't been a game where fans could have said Liverpool were going to be out of sight in the game. The Cherries had been very compact in defending and had been doing well to keep Salah, Shaqiri and Fermino relatively well restricted to a few chances. It appears that the goal that Salah did score in the first half should also have been ruled out and VAR would have done that next season.

Yet, the half-time break didn't do Bournemouth any favours. One mistake by Steve Cook and suddenly it was a very different game. Going 0-2 down after an individual mistake sucked the life out of Bournemouth. Liverpool had the gap they needed to start enjoying their football and an unfortunate third goal made the result rather conclusive. It didn't take Salah long to complete his hat-trick and the tormented shape of Asmir Begovic for the last goal cut a forlorn figure on the pitch.

Considering that the first goal should never have been and two goals were unfortunate errors involving Steve Cook, one could argue that it was only the fourth goal that really saw Liverpool carve out a cleverly created opportunity that opened Bournemouth up. But if we take that view, we have to balance it with the truth that AFCB only had two shots on goal. David Brooks might have done better in the first half when he had a chance to score, but Allison had a fairly peaceful afternoon and from that point of view the Cherries were far less effective going forward than than they had been against the recent visits of Arsenal and Man Utd.
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Added together, the result is more of a reflection of a downturn in Bournemouth's form for me than the outstanding goal form of Mo Salah or Liverpool's great play. So, Eddie Howe has less to draw on from this latest defeat than any of the other reverses against the top teams this season in my view.

In other news, FA Cup Third Round match moved to 12.30pm on Saturday 5 January 2019.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Liverpool Salah-vate crushing Cherries 0-4

Match Report
AFCB 0 v 4 Liverpool
8 December 2018
Attendance: 10,752
Mo Salah waits to get started.
Jurgen Klopp will no doubt be very pleased with how his team and the Mo Salah show. Bournemouth were dispatched with relative ease and helped along with some questionable refereeing from Lee Mason and his assistants. The over protection of Liverpool's players gave the Cherries little hope of being competitive in this match and with Callum Wilson rested with a hamstring strain, there was little to worry Alisson in Liverpool's goal. Mo Salah's triple finishing lesson was only interrupted once by a Steve Cook own goal, as Bournemouth crashed to their biggest home defeat of the season. The mad thing was that Liverpool could have played much better, but they didn't need to as the win came all too easily.
Simon Francis and James Milner in the middle.
There was an enforced change for AFCB with Lewis Cook out for the season and a bigger surprise that Callum Wilson would not be available. Andrew Surman and Junior Stanislas came into the starting line up for Eddie Howe's team while Marc Pugh made the sub's bench.


Cherry Chimes talks to Liverpool fans Lyon, Dean and Dinko.

There are more pictures on Match Day Gallery.

The match was fairly slow to get going with Liverpool passing from one side of the pitch to another while AFCB held station. There was a cheer when Aké tackled Mo Salah, while Francis was busy looking after Robertson as AFCB defended deep. 

Lee Mason wasted no time in awarding free kicks to Liverpool on a regular basis, while Fabinho was allowed to get away with as many poor challenges as he liked. Aké received the first yellow card for handball when Salah had looked well offside, after a ball played to the Liverpool striker over the top. Shaqiri could only hit the free kick against the wall.

A closer escape on 14 minutes when Wijnaldum played a ball over the top for Salah, but the Egyptian could only shoot at the side netting. 

Meanwhile, Jefferson Lerma was booked for a foul on Fabinho. Bournemouth were getting nothing from Lee Mason. Francis was at least playing well while Liverpool mounted up the corner count.

Josh King then sparked Bournemouth's attack into life with good close control and a shot that dribbled past the left post.

Fabinho was getting away with more poor tackles on Fraser, but Stanislas weaved the ball into Brooks who brought a save from Allison on 23 minutes, as Bournemouth started to look more comfortable.

Fermino then took aim from 18 yards and forced Begovic to spill the save right in front of an offside Mo Salah who smashed in the first goal, as the assistant referee did not flag.

Bournemouth were playing some good football out of defence, but there was the odd mistake from Lerma and Steve Cook. Brooks and Fraser were combining okay and Stanislas saw a shot deflected for a corner. Taken short to Stanislas the corner came in from Fraser with Aké on the far post unable to get a clean connection before Alisson gathered the ball.

Another Bournemouth corner saw Allison punch from right under his own bar. While Stanislas and King were causing problems, Liverpool were in control and Begovic had to catch cleanly from a Liverpool corner as we approached half-time.
Half-time and the boos are for Mr Mason.
Second half
Bournemouth could not have got off to a worse second half when Steve Cook lost the ball on half way and Mo Salah took full advantage to score and kill the game off at 0-2 on 48 minutes. 

Bournemouth were still looking to come forward with Fraser and King failing to get a shot off before Stanislas was blocked. Daniels also got a cross in the King put over. Lerma also tried to get shots off but was finding Liverpool good a blocking his attempts.

Mo Salah could have increased the lead when just in front of the six yard box but he scooped his shot over.

Simon Francis was making positive runs along with Fraser who had a cross come shot just drift past the Liverpool goal. 

Mané came on for Shakiri on 65 minutes and Lallana replaced Keita as Liverpool looked to step it up again. Bournemouth brought on Mousset for David Brooks at the same time.

A break by Liverpool meant more pain for Bournemouth supporters as Robertson crossed from the left and Steve Cook put past Begovic to make it 0-3 on 68 minutes. If Bournemouth thought things were going against them they could finally be pleased that Lee Mason had pulled out the yellow card out rather belatedly on Fabihno for fouling Lerma.

A quick throw caught Bournemouth flat-footed for Liverpool's fourth goal with Lallana threading a ball through for Sala who pulled Begovic out wide before cutting back and poking his shot past Aké on the line on 76 minutes.

Junior Stanislas was still motoring across the Liverpool defence before Daniels hit a fierce strike over the bar.  

Liverpool replaced Firmino with Hennderson on 81 minutes and Bournemouth subbed Daniels for Diego Rico to get a few minutes.

Liverpool kept pressing with a corner on 85 minutes, but Wijnaldum headed over. Lallana had to have some treatment for a head injury and came back in the five minutes of added time with no number on the back of his shirt. The final whistle was a well received- at least Bournemouth's goal difference was not going to be battered further.
Bournemouth suffer their biggest home defeat of the season.
Summary
Liverpool were always favourites for this game and while Bournemouth kept their shape well for the first part of this match, the opening goal made the even more defensive. The offensive game hardly got going and with King having to play pretty much on his own up front, it was difficult to get the ball to him. Wilson was a big miss and with mistakes from Steve Cook and only the runs of Fraser and Stanislas for Liverpool to marshal, it was Liverpool who dominated possession, helped by the referee's insistence that the away team should have the lions' share of free kicks. With Mo Salah's finishing, it was no  equal match up. Liverpool could hardly fail.
AFCB team
AFCB Subs: Boruc, Rico, Mings, Pugh, Ibe, Mousset, Defoe
AFCB Ratings
Begovic 5, Francis 7, S Cook 4, Aké 5, Daniels 5, Fraser 6, Surman 5, Lerma 6, Stanislas 5, Brooks 5, King 5


Cherry Chimes' MoM: Simon Francis

Ref Watch Lee Mason -4/10: Overly supportive of Liverpool players when being tackled and poor officiating throughout. Worst ref this season for Bournemouth. Let's hope we don't get him again anytime soon!

Liverpool
Alisson, Milner, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson, Shaqiri (Mané), Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Keita (Lallana)
Salah, Firmino (Henderson)

Liverpool Subs
Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Henderson, Lallana, Mané, Sturridge, Origi

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Bournemouth can reboot their season with win over Liverpool

Liverpool have always provided highly entertaining games with Bournemouth and there is no reason to think that this next encounter will be anything different with both teams displaying an appetite to win games. Liverpool may have had to score late on in recent games against Everton and Burnley, but they are keeping in the heels of Man City, having not lost in the league and only drawn two games.
Simon Francis and Jordan Henderson last season at Dean Court.
For Bournemouth to get something from this game they have to be at their very, very best. But recent away performances for Klopp's side have not been particularly smooth, despite six second half goals against Burnley and Watford. At home against Everton it was even more of a struggle with a 90+6 minute winner from Divock Origi.


Mo Salah has not been quite such dazzling form as he was last season but he has still scored seven goals, just one behind Callum Wilson while Mané is on six goals. It is the form of their midfield players like James Milner and summer signing Xherdan Shaqiri that have helped Liverpool stay on course for a title challenge. Liverpool are still averaging two goals a game, but there are plenty of options for Klopp. AFCB have not seen Naby Keita yet, and he could be up against Jefferson Lerma if Klopp doesn't play Henderson, Wijnaldum or Milner.

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At the back they have been the hardest defence to play against conceding just six goals in 15 games. But Jurgen Klopp will have to make a change on Joe Gomes, who was injured in their last match against Burnley and is out for six weeks. So Dejan Lovren could be asked to step in. Meanwhile, Trent-Alexander Arnold and Andrew Robinson have been excellent in the full-back positions and along with Virgil van Dyke in the defence it is hard to see a weakness, even Alisson in goal has looked more assured in recent weeks.

For AFCB I'm predicting an attacking formation with perhaps a swap for Tyrone Mings and Charlie Daniels and a four-man midfield after the injuries to Dan Gosling and Lewis Cook.

Liverpool Away Form
DWDWW

AFCB Home Form
WDLLW
Possible AFCB line-up
AFCB Subs: Boruc, Daniels, Rico, Simpson, Stanislas, Mousset, Defoe 
AFCB TV

Friday, 7 December 2018

Will AFCB be more compact against Liverpool?

AFCB showed they can dig in and defend under pressure against Huddersfield. But playing at home on the counter-attack was probably not the initial plan for Bournemouth. Whether AFCB simply lost their way or were physically shattered in the second half is something that will have to be checked, but Eddie Howe was certain that the distance between the units of midfield and defence, and midfield and attack were simply too stretched against Huddersfield.
AFCB have to close the gaps on the pitch against Liverpool.
Against Liverpool Howe will know that the team has to be more compact if it is to quell the threat of the reds attacking force. Playing three at the back and five in midfield is how Eddie ha gone against the top six sides, and I see every reason to pick that formation again with Tyrone Mings playing a major role in the centre of a back three. However, Gosling has been ruled out which depletes the central midfield options.

Being pulled around and moved out of position is something that Huddersfield did well against Bournemouth. They found gaps and exposed the back line. Packing the midfield with Surman as well as Lerma may make Bournemouth a bit more solid, but the players that will really be tested will be in the wing-back positions. It is a real pity that Adam Smith will not be available, as I think he gets up and down the best, best Charlie Daniels and Simon Francis are experienced at playing the role and should know what is required.

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Disciplined is what AFCB will need to be. They will have to stick to their jobs and watch runners rather than becoming statues as Liverpool's movement will be first class. But having had four clean sheets in this campaign, Bournemouth can play with that defensive quality. Doing it against Liverpool though will be a significant test.

Score prediction - win a T-shirt
Send in your score prediction for AFCB v Liverpool to @CherryChimes to win the chance to have a Cherry Chimes T-shirt. We will pick a winner from those who send in the correct score by 9am on Saturday morning.



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