Wednesday, 11 September 2019

How does Eddie solve his defensive shambles?

Looking back at the Leicester City game had quite a few of us holding our head in our hands at the shambles that continued to play out at the back. If the first goal was an amazing finish from Vardy, it was just as much a positioning tragedy for Chris Mepham and Steve Cook. The second goal saw Vardy embarrass Steve Cook again before driving the ball across the six yard box for a simple tap in and the ping-pong failure to clear by Mepham for the third goal had everyone ready to call it a day.
Simpson and Aké would be my pick for AFCB's central defenders.
But Eddie Howe hasn't got that luxury. He has to find a way to make Bournemouth defend better against Everton. What hasn't helped is hearing that Chris Mepham has picked up an injury when playing for Wales. A straight replacement is Jack Simpson if Howe wants to continue his three at the back experiment, but let's face it - Bournemouth's players look ill at ease when they are not playing 4-4-1-1.

But for Howe to select Diego Rico and Jack Stacey to start is tantamount to Brexit getting through the Commons! I might be wrong and Eddie may decide to go that way, but if these players were not good enough in the opening four fixtures with two newly promoted sides, it does make me wonder how Everton's players will feel, if they see them starting - lots of hand rubbing I expect!

That makes me think that Howe has to find a way of getting three centre-back working and Jack Simpson is probably one of the best out and out defenders he has, so it perhaps makes sense to play him, at least until Lloyd Kelly and Adam Smith can play again. I am assuming Smith is not going to be ready for the Everton game, looking at the way he pulled up in the Leicester match. Meanwhile, Simon Francis doesn't seem to be anywhere near training with the squad yet. Defensive options are limited and with Aké away on international duty it doesn't give him long to get a new back three working well, but he seems reluctant to drop Steve Cook, which means the only way Simpson might play is if Howe does put three centre-back on the pitch. Mepham deserves to be dropped after his performance at Leicester, whether he regains fitness in time or not for the Everton match.

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