Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Billing has to fit straight in

AFCB no doubt made the decision to put Dan Gosling under the knife for his hip operation when they could confirm that Philip Billing was definitely coming at the weekend. Gosling would have been vying for a starting place, but with Andrew Surman and Nnamdi Offoborh likely to be the supporting cast roles, while Lewis Cook is also recovering, Billing will need to hit it off with Jefferson Lerma straight away.
Philip Billing leaves the field in Huddersfield colours.
That puts pressure not only on Billing, but also Lerma who will need to work with Billing to get a relationship growing quickly on the field. No doubt Eddie Howe is a bit disappointed that he didn't get hold of Billing a bit earlier this summer. The interview with Billing certainly indicates that the player wanted to come earlier in the summer, but that things were not quite in place to achieve that.

Philip Billing will have to match the intensity of Lerma and push himself hard to make sure he can start in front of Surman or Offoborh, but I'm sure Howe is keen to get Billing on the pitch as soon as possible. The extra height dimension that he brings to the team and his energy with his big strides will be quiet a different dynamic, and opposition teams might be forced more to attack AFCB down the wings with Billing and Lerma marshalling the centre of the field with their presence. I'm sure Steve Fletcher can make the most of Billings' heading ability.

I've felt for a long time that Bournemouth have been lacking power in centre midfield. Lerma was a step up and now Howe might have found the players that can hep Bournemouth to start dominating games more form the middle. Gosling will be a big miss for three months, but the Cherries can manage the situation and it will give Billing the chance to make a really big impact from right at the start of his Bournemouth career.

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Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Where will Arter end up?

With the signing of Philip Billing looking to be over the line, attention has turned to Harry Arter and the possibility of him heading off to Fulham to join brother-in-law Scott Parker on loan. Harry has played in the full pre-season for AFCB, but with another central midfielder coming to Dean Court, it is clear that Arter sees his future elsewhere, and with Fulham being a London club, it works out well for him and his family who have been living in London over the last year.

The Daily Mail has judged that Arter is worth £8m and that AFCB would sell, but Fulham would have to sell other players to buy Arter, so a loan deal is most likely. While Bournemouth have sold a few players this summer there is less need to bring in cash for every player and with Arter not being part of the clubs plans for more than a year, having spent a year on loan at Cardiff, he looks to be running out his contract on loan.
Harry Arter is expected to find a new home for next season.
However, there is said to be interest from Stoke City which is an intriguing twist. AFCB had signalled an interest in Jack Butland but didn't come to an agreement on a transfer fee. Could a deal for After be done whereby that was taken off the valuation for Butland? Sheffield United and Cardiff City are also thought to be interested in AFCB's old number eight.

Playing with the number 88 shirt this season was one thing that brought a smile to fans faces this summer. Arter loves his number eight which he had at AFCB for many seasons before Jefferson Lerma took it last summer. The midfielder might get it back at a new club, but played with the number seven shirt at Cardiff last year.

It has at least been good to see Arter running in his usual industrial style again over some of the pre-season games. His performances are still very high and it has been like a long goodbye for fans. Time will perhaps be up though on his AFCB career this week.

In other news, Philip Billing joined AFCB yesterday and is the third signing this summer.

Cherry Chimes helps with a season preview on AFC Bournemouth with the Radio Times.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Billing deal almost completed

Jan Siewert, Huddersfield Town's boss has told The Examiner Live that the Philip Billing transfer deal to AFC Bournemouth is nearly done with a fee of around £15m plus add-ons agreed. Billing wished Billing all the best and it appears that the midfielder is getting ready to join AFCB next week.
A new central midfielder could soon be on show at Dean Court.
Siewert said that the move was moving forward. It has been rumoured for over a month that Billing was a target for the Cherries, and while AFCB have been in talks for much of the summer the deal is likely to be the club's third signing to get over the line this summer. The central midfield area has been the part of the pitch that most fans would see the line up usually being filled by Lerma and one other. 

Whether Howe thinks that Philip Billing is a step up from Lewis Cook, Dan Gosling and Andrew Surman we are just about to see - it could be a very bug challenge now for the central players already at the club who had been sharing the position next to Lerma. It also gives Howe some more cover if he has to do without Lerma for a game or two.

Howe of course wants competition for places and to improve the team and with Nathan Aké having to play in central midfield at times last season, it looked clear that the squad was perhaps a player short in this department with the long-term injury to Lewis Cook. I like the idea of having a tall central midfield player for the Cherries and Billing is said to be a very mobile player that has great running power. If his passing and tackling is also top quality, it could be a major signing.
So it appears that we can start to get excited about another player arrival at AFCB. The three signings this summer have been in defence and midfield. It is now down to these new players to try and ensure they get into the first team, but I see that not being so easy for all of them to do straight away.

In other news, AFCB has released its away kit for 2018/19.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

AFCB sharpen their finishing at Brentford 1-3

Match Report
Brentford 1 v 3 AFCB
27 July 2019
Picture from Michael Dunne - All Departments:
Jack Stacy and Dominic Solanke celebrate AFCB's second goal.
The Cherries had a good spread of first team players out against Brentford and Jordan Ibe, Dominic Solanke and Sam Surridge got the goals for Bournemouth at a rain-soaked Griffin Park. The Cherries had to defend at times and really made the most of Brentford making a few mistakes. Brentford did get one goal back by substitute Marcus Force in the last five minutes. 

AFCB came out on their third away kit. Steve Fletcher was again on the commentary team. A good start by AFCB saw Ibe set away by Solanke, and the pull back fro Brooks was blocked.

Brentford came close with a shot from Canos after a mistake by Brooks, but Travers saved to his left. Mepham was doing well under pressure at the back. Bournemouth were allowing Brentford to press them at the back.

Solanke had a chance to feed in Brooks, but shot from 25 yards and screwed it wide. On seven minutes. Ibe also had a weak shot from the outside of the box straight at the keeper. Solanke again had a shot blocked as Brentford kept giving the ball away.

Canos played in Clarke down the side, but he could only hit the side netting for Brentford. Ibe made a good surging run through the middle on 16 minutes and Brooks was only stopped by the Brentford keeper coming and forcing a corner.

Ibe was playing positively on the left wing with Solanke  on his own up front and Brooks striding up the right wing. 

Steve Fletcher revealed that the first half was being played with a Championship ball and the second half would be he Premier League ball.

Mepham gave a foul away some 25 yards on Canos out on 25 minutes. Marcondes hit the free kick over the bar. Brooks was brought down three minutes later and let Rico take the free kick which was whipped over the bar.

Aké was proving the  last man in defence for the Cherries. Ibe was in up on the left and cut back past Jansson and shot the Cherries into a 10-0 lead firing past Raya on 30 minutes.

Dasilva headed straight at Travers from a Brentford corner. Solanke was being closely marked by Jansson.

Aké again gets to a Brentford cross first. Brooks and Solanke have been interchanging positions for the last  five minutes. Lerma played in Brooks but the AFCB winger couldn't get past the last defender.

Canos had a shot that Travers kept out by getting down to his knees. A mistake by the Brentford keeper lets Lerma in but Raya makes a mends with a save. It's 0-1 at half-time.


Second half
Marcus Force came on for Brentford to replace Canos. Butcher was riding his luck with a backpass to Travers just six yards out from the goal line and Travers had to slide across to make the pass.

Rico was taken out on the wing, but wasn't given a free kick. Solanke has taken a clearance from Raya straight in the head and he looks flat out on 50 minutes. He has got to his knees, but that hurt.

Stacey puts a cross n front of Ibe and Rico tries to play it back in but only finds Raya. Force has a shot that goes wide of the left post. Jansson heads over from the corner.

Steve Fletcher has seen that the ball is not the Premier League one. He's not amused. Dasilva plays in Clarke but the defender is offside and Travers saves in any case.

Brentford are having a spell here. Bournemouth can't get the ball. Rico has to get a header out. Mepham sweeps a ball clear.

The rain is quite heavy now. Ibe out to Brooks and the cross from Stacy lands at Solanke's feet who makes it 0-2 on 70 minutes at the near post, beating the keeper to the ball and in front of the defender.

David Brooks took a knock in the build up for the goal and Surridge has replaced him. Rico is getting down the left but his crosses are always being gobbled up easily by the keeper. Finally there is a cross from the left that misses the Brentford keeper from Ibe and Surridge makes it 3-0 on 76 minutes.

Cordner replaces Butcher on 77 minutes. Lerma's enjoying the superiority that AFCB have built up. He's well in control. Surridge is caught by Raya nd Bournemouth have a free kick.

Brentford make a sub and Sherring and Anthony come on for Bournemouth on 85 minutes. Lerma and Kilkenny have gone off.  Janssen clobbers Surridge but it's play on. Force is through against Travers and he has put it in the corner of the net.

It finishes 1-3.
A wet day out but enjoyable for AFCB fans.
A good work out for Bournemouth who scored a few goals and almost kept a clean sheet. There will be a worry that David Brooks had to come off but Ibe and Solanke will be pleased with their goals and Mepham enjoyed his return to Griffin Park. Lerma again showed his class in the middle and Aké was great at sensing danger at the back.

42 Travers, 17 Stacey, 33 Mepham, 36 Butcher (Cordner77) , 5 Aké (C), 21 Rico,
8 Lerma (Anthony 75), 53 Kilkenny (Sherring 85), 10 Ibe, 20 Brooks (Surridge 71), 9 Solanke

Dennis,  25 Cordner, 38 Sherring, 29 Anthony, 44 Surridge

Referee: Gavin Ward

1 Raya, 2 Clarke, 3 Dalsgaard, 4, Jeanvier (19), 5 Jansson, 6 Pinnock, 7 Canos (Force 45), 8 Dasilva, 9 +19 Norgaard (Subbed 85),  10 Marcondes, 11 Zamburek


Brentford Subs

14 Force,

Saturday, 27 July 2019

AFCB take on the Bees of Brentford

Brentford didn't quite make the top 10 in the Championship last season. They accumulated 64 points and came in 11th. They have a Danish head coach called Thomas Frank and he's been at the club since October 2018, when Dean Smith went to Aston Villa. Frank won the Championship manager of the month in January 2019 and he'll want to see a good start to the Bees season to make a better attempt at winning promotion.
It's been a while since Bournemouth played Brentford.
The Bees have seen a lot of change over the summer with six players leaving and four new signings coming in. Frank has mainly kept his spending on Championship players and the one foreign transaction was midfielder Mathias Jensen from Celta Vigo in Spain. Other buys this summer include Spanish goal keeper David Raya from Blackburn Rovers, defender Ethan Pinnock from Barnsley and Swedish defender Pontos Jansson from Leeds United.

Brentford are currently working on their new Community stadium which will open next summer and will see the Bees leave Griffin Park after 116 years. The new stadium will have a capacity of 17,250 seats. So this is likely to be the last meeting between the two teams at Griffin Park unless there is a meeting in one of the cups this season.
The game this afternoon at Griffin Park should see some of those who did not take part in last night's match against WBA get a run out. So we should get another look at new signing Jack Stacey, but Eddie Howe will also want to see some goals and it is a chance for players like Jordan Ibe, David Brooks and Dominic Solanke perhaps to get their pre-season scoring going. 

Ramsdale ensures 0-0 scoreline for Cherries at WBA

Match report
WBA 0 v 0 AFCB
26 July 2019
Aaron Ramsdale plays well at WBA and impresses fans.
AFCB knew it would be tough playing away at WBA. They put many of their star players out in attack with Fraser, King and Wilson taking the fight to the Baggies, but it was the saves of Aaron Ramsdale and the work of the midfield that impressed against WBA.

Match description
First half
Matt Philipps had an early shot for the Baggies but drove it wide. Ramsdale was quick to hit a long ball up towards Wilson as AFCB looked to get on the ball.

Arter was doing well winning the ball high up but Fraser couldn't find the finish to make a goal. Meanwhile Philipps was keeping Simpson and Kelly alert with another shot drilled wide.

AFCB had a good opportunity with Adam Smith pounding bound the right wing but he couldn't find Josh King. Ramsdale almost got caught out with a back pass after nine minutes but he managed to escape the moment of panic.

WBA were dictating the game and keeping the ball well on the big pitch. Steve Fletcher was giving some good insight on pre-season on the commentary.

WBA had a corner after 13 minutes with Adam Smith having to put the ball out. There was a lot of space for WBA when they were in the ball. Bournemouth were happy enough to play on the break.

Arter was given some one-to-one advice by Eddie Howe during a stop in play for Ryan Fraser. Ofoborh was showing his quick feet and range of passing. It was a relaxing game but the touch and skill levels were looking better than earlier games on pre-season.

Josh King was causing problems and won a free kick on the edge of the box on 23 minutes. Simpson couldn't get the header down though. It was good to see King and Wilson trying to work their way through the WBA defence.

Phillips turned Kelly with ease and Livermore go though but couldn't get a shot away. A better chance fell to Livermore a moment later, but Adam Smith scrambled the ball away with Ramsey out of the picture.

Dobre was forcing the play down the left and King and Wilson were linking well to win a corner. The corners kept coming for AFCB, but they weren't getting shots on target. Kelly was strong at the back holding of Zohore.

Arter and King almost walked there way through WBA's defence but the ball was soon stripped away and WBA went on a breakaway. AFCB's organisation was good though in defence.

Dobre gave a way a free kick right on half-time, but the half ended 0-0.

Second half
The Cherries were unchanged for the second half with Howe looking to give as many players 90 minutes as he could, looking at the relatively unexperienced bench. 

Kieran Gibbs had come on for WBA along with Oliver-Burke. WBA were picking their game up with Edwards finding his way past the midfield. 

Dobre won a free kick on 50 minutes. Fraser fired one into the near post, but the keeper beat Wilson to it. AFCB didn't look at full-throttle yet. The warm evening was perhaps an extra challenge for the players' fitness.

Fraser almost stabbed a ball through for Wilson after a long ball from Arter. Both teams were bring a bit loose with their passing. It was being turned over too quickly. Ramsdale still had little to do, up to this point.

Robson-Kanu replaced Edwards on 61 minutes and WBA had a good chance from the following corner, but did not connect well. Ofoborh looked to find the top-corner but pushed his shot wide.

Steve Fletcher was great offering knowledge on VAR and the various things that could arise. Brunt and Field came on for WBA after 65 minutes. Harper went off.

Ofoborh had been the only AFCB player to do more than 45 minutes before this game. So getting to 65 minutes was good preparation for the players.

Robson-Kanu put in a powerful cross that Ramsdale smothered. Bartley and Phillips went off for O'Shea and and Leko to come on after 69 minutes.

Robson-Kanu made a slick pass to Burke but Ramsdale got down well. AFCB brought on Surridge on 75 minutes to replace Josh King. Ofobroh won the ball well and put Arter in the box, but Surridge couldn't finish.

Jordan blocked a shot from Leko well. Arter was remonstrating with the assistant referee and thumping the ground - it's only a friendly Harry.

The game was stretched now. Adam Smith made a good tackle just when WBA looked to shoot. The next minute Smith went through the back of Leko.

Surridge went down in the box but didn't get the penalty decision. Ramsdale then made a great save from close-range on 82 minutes from Gibbs.

Ryan Fraser was subbed for James Anthony. Wilson on the charge couldn't take the ball much past half-way before getting caught.

Ferguson took a ball down well on the right and Leko's snapped shot was well saved down low by Ramsdale on 85 minutes.

Kelly was forced to concede another corner with Ferguson getting in behind on the right.  A good flash header at the near post from Ferguson just looped past the goal.

Sam Sherring replaced Ofoborh with a minute to go.

A good exercise for the Cherries and a clean sheet. Eddie Howe will be pleased that the team didn't run out of steam, but he'll have Aaron Ramsdale to thank the most for the scoreline. The strikers have to do a bit more in front of goal but the shape of the team when defending was a bit stronger in this game with Harry Arter and Nnamdi Ofoborh offering good protection. 

Ramsdale 12, Smith 15, Corey Jordan 11, Simpson 25, Kelly 26, Dobre 54, Ofoborh 38 (Sherring), Arter 88, Fraser 24, King 7 (Surridge) , Wilson 13

Dennis,  Cordner, Sherring, Anthony, Surridge

Johnstone, Ferguson, Bartley, Ajayi, Townsend, Livermore, Harper, Krovinovic, Phillips, Edwards, Zohore

WBA Subs
Bond, O'Shea, Fitzwalter, Furlong, Gibbs, Field, Brunt, Leko, Tulloch, Burke, Robson-Kanu 

Friday, 26 July 2019

Albion take on AFCB with Slaven Bilic in the dugout

WBA will be AFCB's opposition on Saturday and they have a second season ahead of them in the Championship after finishing fourth, but losing to Aston Villa on penalties in the play-offs. They are likely to be among the favourites to win promotion this time, but there has been a bit of a clear out at the Baggies over the summer.
AFCB head to the Hawthorns.
Players that have left the club include Gareth Barry, Craig Dawson, Wes Hoolahan, James Morrison, Jay Rodriguez and Boaz Myhill. The big transfer move out of the club was arguably Solon Rondón, who didn't even play for WBA last season but was on loan at Newcastle Utd. However, WBA also lost 16-year-old Louie Barry to Barcelona who they were desperate to try and keep hold of having been at the club since he was six. Dwight Gayle scored 24 goals for the Baggies last season, after the transfer swap with Rondón going to Newcastle, but Gayle is not going to be playing at WBA next season.

WBA have bought in a couple of players and they include Filip Krovinovic, a midfielder from Benfica and striker Kenneth Zohore from Cardiff City. The big hope for the Baggies is that Slaven Bilic can take them back up to the Premier League after he was appointed their new manager in June 2019, taking over from Darren Moore who was sacked in March 2019.

Bilic has a tough job ahead of him to reduce the wage bill and still keep WBA competitive in the Championship. He'll have to do it with several new players and yet he is likely to have some Premier League players who do stay at the club like Chris Brunt, Jake Livermore, Matt Philips and Jonathan Leko. Whether Bilic is going to bring back Oliver Burke is not clear. The midfielder played on loan at Celtic last season, but WBA's director Luke Dowling said he doesn't want Burke playing under Neil Lennon.

In other news, Dominic Solanke has grabbed the vacant number nine shirt.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Do AFCB need Francis in the starting 11?

It's a question that has been on my mind since mid-way through last season. Simon Francis is one of the old guard that leads by example, and while he has been unable to play on the field he has no doubt learnt how to be a more effective captain from the sidelines. Now that there is a chance that Francis could be back in another month or two is this the leadership that AFCB need to make results more consistent?

Simon Francis has much work to do to get back into the side.
I am a believer that a captain should be in the starting 11. While it is no fault of Francis that he hasn't been able to do that for the last few months it is clear that Francis still holds the captain's armband and when he is fit it will be important to get him playing. I don't think AFCB are really complete without having Francis there on the pitch, and the sooner he can get back the more focussed I see the team being.

It's big players that other look up to and take their lead from. Francis is a big character and one that wants to win. He won't expect anyone to do anything less than him on the pitch and he is a figure of great concentration when he is playing. He may have an important role to play this season if there are problems at right-back of centre-half. He might prefer not to play right-back anymore, but Eddie Howe knows he'l do a job there if he needs him to.
The competition for Aké and Steve Cook is where Francis will ant to make an impact. He has to believe he can still challenge for a spot here, and that is going to be difficult if as expected Aké and Cook get a start of six or 10 games before Francis is fully back in the squad. Although Howe has other options like Mepham and Simpson, or Kelly, I'm confident that Francis will be one player that Eddie Howe is keen to get pushing for a place come November when we get into the meat of the season. It could be Francis' last season and so I hope that he gets to play as many games as he can.

If time has moved on though, we will soon see AFCB needing to find another voice to push the team on. But leaders don't always appear quickly and it may be that AFCB will need to find a strong personality to bring in the next 12 months if Howe doesn't see enough leadership qualities in his squad without Francis.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Still a chance for AFCB to land new keeper

The impressive form of Artur Boruc against Girona FC last weekend might make AFCB fans query why the club still needs to go out and get another goalkeeper in? Boruc may well start the campaign as the number one, but if Asmir Begovic is to go, there will be room for a keeper to come in and the Cherries have been nosing around Fulham and Marcus Bettinelli, according to the Daily Mail.
Will Begovic move on this summer?
The transfer fee for Betttinelli, 27, would be nowhere near the £30m suggested fee for Jack Butland, but even if AFCB are keen on Bettinelli there is also interest from Aston Villa. It would be a matter of concern that Bettinelli, who is 6ft 4ins, has been injured since February when he underwent a knee operation, but if he passed a medical his credentials as an England U21 in 2015 and seven games as a Premier League keeper at Fulham make him a possible number two candidate for a club like AFCB it would seem.

The goal keeping position has been rumbling on all summer for the Cherries. It looks to me that Begovic may be happy to stay but that Eddie Howe really wants to shift him out and get someone else in before the start of the season. The financial juggling is something that really intrigues me though. Why go chasing after Butland with a silly low bid when it was very unlikely Stoke would let him go at under half what they value him for? Butland might have wanted the move but it doesn't look like AFCb are prepared to meet Stoke's valuation. Now AFCB are being a bit more realistic in their target for a keeper you'd think if they don't want to go over £15m.
While Aaron Ramsdale has been linked with Huddersfield, Mark Travers has signed a new long-term deal at AFCB. I don't see why Travers can't be the number two behind Boruc if AFCB don't sign another keeper this summer. But all the chatter indicates that Eddie Howe is not happy with the goal keeping situation and that keepers will be moving in and out of the club this summer.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Unsettled Huddersfield midfielder could be Cherries next signing

The Cherries may have locked on to their target at Huddersfield, but fun and games look to be going on at the Yorkshire club. At least AFCB's target has been told to train with the academy players and Huddersfield Town have put a price-tag of £17m on their midfielder Philip Billing, according to a report in the Daily Mail.
Philip Billing, centre picture.
We looked at Philip Billing as a potential target at the start of July. The player has played against the Cherries in the Premier League and is a tall central midfielder who is only 23. Huddersfield Town Manager Jan Siewert put Billing with the academy players and did not award him a shirt number for the new season, after Billing apparently called him 'arrogant' and 'strange', says the Daily Mail.

Whether Billing had requested to speak with AFCB is not clear, but it is unlikely that Huddersfield will be impressed with the dispute between manager and player. If the Terriers want shot of Billing he could very soon be an AFCB player. Whether the price of £17m is supposed to frighten off AFCB is questionable, because the Cherries have not spent big this summer and have built up a sizeable pot if they wanted to use it from player sales.

The central midfield area has looked like it needs investment when Lerma is not available. Bournemouth might hope that Lewis Cook becomes the main challenger for the spot next to Lerma, but it won't help to bring in another young player in AFCB's engine room. If AFCB can up their intensity in the middle of the pitch it will take a bit of pressure off the defence and give the likes of Brooks, Wilson and Fraser more of the ball. This would be a signing that would look like AFCB are building for the future and that's got to be the case with Andrew Surman easing down his appearances you'd expect next season.

Monday, 22 July 2019

Let's hope VAR is not a real spoiler for the Premier League

Bournemouth had a real eye-opener as to how VAR can change the face of a game while playing their pre-season friendly against Girona FC at the weekend. Jack Simpson received two yellow cards for a fairly unspectacular foul on the Girona forward Marc Gual, but after a waiting period of a couple of minutes the fouled was reviewed and Simpson received a red card. It was a good test for AFCB who then had to play with 10 men for the last 15 minutes, but in a Premier League match it will be very hurtful to suffer such an incident and I fear they could become far more regular.
A hard lesson for Jack Simpson.
The problem is that referees are unlikely to be told to go to VAR if they are unsure, the decision will already have been taken out of their hands. Instead of referees being able to use their common sense, the full letter of the law is likely to be used which means VAR is going to be the defining voice on every goal, every foul and any incident when their is a suspicion of an advantage being gained unfairly.

It won't just be an annoyance of the clock being stopped while decisions are under review, it will be goals struck off, players sent off and penalties being awarded. Whether those in the stadium will fully understand what is going on could also be a frustration. The players may have been told to get used VAR being involved in the game but the fans are not going to get used to it straight away. One benefit may be that we see less diving but even that may take some time to filter through to the players when they start getting caught.

The Premier League hopes that VAR brings clarity to the game and the correct decisions, and while it might bring excitement and suspense the game in a new way it might also rob fans of the game as they know it and have loved it. Times are changing and change can be good, but I sense that it is an area that has not yet found its boundaries and that we may well be talking about VAR more than anything else if it is over used in this 2019/2020 season.

Meanwhile, Lys Mousset has completed his move to Sheffield United.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

10-man Bournemouth fall 2-1 to Girona FC

Match Report
20 July 2019
Girona FC  2 v 1 AFCB 
Girona FC picture: Aké had plenty of heading to do in a 0-0 first half in Barcelona.
Bournemouth offered stiff resistance to a Girona FC side that had the advantage of 11 men against 10 for much of the second half. Jack Simpson was the unlucky man to be sent off for a foul on Gual, when he was the last man. When Marc Gual put the Catalans ahead with 10 minutes to go, it looked all over, but Ryan Fraser popped up with an equaliser a minute later. The lifeline was short lived though, as Girona scored again with Juanpe's header form a corner five minutes from time.

It was good to hear 'Sweet Caroline' from Neil Diamond being belted out at the Estadi Olumpi Luis Companys stadium before kick off. with Bournemouth somehow being the home team. AFCB were in their lime green third kit. There was no Josh King, Asmir Begovic, Harry Arter, Aaron Ramsdale, Steve Cook or Jefferson Lerma, while Simon Francis, Lewis Cook and Charlie Daniels are still recovering from long-term injuries.

The Cherries withstood some early pressure as Girona attached up the left a few times with Boselli have two shots blocked.

Solanke started well with some good touches. Adam Smith put in an early cross that was cleared and Rico won AFCB's first corner.

Valery fouled Adam Smith to give AFCB a free kick on 13 minutes. Smith hit the cross and Akee headed it over the bar. at the far post. AFCB were very possession conscious. Solanke won the ball well to find Smith and he passed to Gosling, before Wilson moved the ball to the left with Dobre who had AFCB's first shot on target that the keeper saved.

Travers had a shock when Travers hit the ball against Aké and almost saw the ball go into AFCB's net on 17 minutes. Dobre then won a corner off Valery. Meanwhile, Offobroh was hitting some accurate long passes.

Wilson put a ball straight through for Solanke on 21 minutes, but the former Liverpool striker could only hit his shot at the keeper's legs.

Soni hit a speculate shot from distance that Travers took easily. Wilson was leading the press for AFCB.

Dobre's cross from the left had Solanke reaching for a header but he couldn't get it going forward. Gosling lost out to Boselli and Boselli got a hot away that had Travers forced into making a low save to his left.

Adam Smith made another raid down the right trying to link up with Wilson. Kilkenny was being a bit too strong in his press. The game was really going through the motions. Bournemouth were not exactly hitting Girona with tremendous pace. Ofoborh was happy enough to drill a shot from 30 yards out that lifted just over the bar on 37 minutes.

Wilson was being held unfairly every time the ball came up to him. Wilson snuck in on 39 minutes and almost broke the deadlock, but was held off and had to be happy enough with a corner off Alcalá. Gosling then smashed a shot well over.

Dobre had a header that came off the bar from an Adam Smith cross, but the referee had called a foul. So it ended 0-0 at half-time.

Second half
Offoborh was the only AFCB player to be retained from the first half. Fraser made a good early burst but Brooks couldn't reach his pass. Stacey then conceded a corner to Girona.

AFCB started more progressively this half with Brooks and Fraser pushing the team forward. Gual won another corner for Girona after Ofoborh blocked his shot on 50 minutes. Boruc caught the corner well.

Andzouan played Gual through, but the shot went wide for a corner. Soni who stayed on from the first half pulled out a good save from Boruc on 55 minutes when he was free in the box.

The commentator is talking about everything but the game which kind of tells you how unexciting the play is at times. Soni is starting to beat AFCB players and is causing some concern.

Brooks and Surridge aren't getting much chance to stretch their legs. Girona are taking control and Gaul hits a strong shot that Boruc saves in front of his chest on 61 minutes.

Girona had a four on two but a poor pass made it easy for AFCB to recover possession. A yellow card was given to Simpson after taking down Gual. Simpson was then given a second yellow and was sent off on 67 minutes, perhaps it was decent as he was arguing with the referee when the wall was being set up. If he was sent off for being the last man then it was a harsh call, although the referee did signal VAR was used, so Simpson is off.

Ibe comes forward with a forceful run and sins a corner off a deflected shot. At the other end Andzouana plays in, Gual but he hist the side netting,

Surman almost got Surridge in the clear, but his shot was blocked for a corner. Diamanka plays in Gual who hits a shot over again. Boruc is not too happy about a corner being awarded to Girona.

A pull back for Gual is sharply saved by Brouc at his near post. But now Girona have gone ahead. A mix up at the back and Gual has made it 1-0 to Girona on 80 minutes.

And just when you thought that meant a certain defeat for AFCB, Jordan Ibe races up the other end and plays in Ryan Fraser who makes it 1-1 on 81 minutes.

Girona are still pressing with crosses and a corner now. Paik takes the corner and Girona score with a header from Juanpe on 85 minutes.

Boruc has to make another save from Andzouana, which he does. Boruc makes another save from Gual after Andzouana made a pull back for Girona's number nine.

Bournemouth will be disappointed to lose the game but Girona FC attacked with more consistency and had it not been for Artur Boruc it could have been a bigger defeat. The Cherries struggled to create in the first half, but were stirred into action more in the second half after Jack Simpson was sent off. Eddie Howe will be most annoyed about AFCB's play leading up to the first Girona goal when the ball was lost on the right side. Ryan Fraser is again showing he has the finishing form to do well for another season, but Bournemouth still show little sign of being tighter at the back.

AFCB 4-4-2

Travers 42, Smith 15, Mepham 33, Aké 5, Rico 21,  Kilkenny 28, Ofoborh 38, Gosling (C) 4,
Dobre 54, Solanke 29, Wilson 13

AFCB second half 4-4-2
Boruc 1, Stacey 17, Simpson 25, Kelly 26 , Ibe 10, Surman 6, Butcher 36, Offoborh 38, Fraser 34, Brooks 20, Surridge 44,

AFCB unused Sub

Player Ratings first half
Travers 5, Smith 7, Mepham 6, Aké 6, Rico 5,  Kilkenny 5, Ofoborh 8, Gosling (C) 5
Dobre 5, Solanke 6, Wilson 7

Player Ratings second half
Boruc 7, Stacey 6, Simpson 6, Kelly 6 , Ibe 6, Surman 5, Butcher 5, Offoborh 8, Fraser 7, Brooks 6, Surridge 6

Juan Carlos 1, Alcalá 2, Pau Resta 3,  Valery 5, Granell 6, Maffeo 4, Soni 27,
Eric Montes 14, 
Lago 11, Boselli 23, Pachón 21

Girona Second half

Suárez, Maxi Villa, Juanpe 15, Muniesa 20, Iago, Diamanka, Paik 17, Andzouana 26,
Boselli 23 (Sub 24), Marc Gual 9, Soni 27 (Sub 28).