Saturday, 30 November 2019

Bournemouth need a big performance at Spurs

The problem for Bournemouth isn't just that Spurs have a new manager and have their first Premier League game for him at home, the Cherries will also be without Josh King for a second week and up front they are likely to be without Dominic Solanke as well.
Bournemouth need their A game in London.
I just hope that Eddie still plays 4-4-2 rather than playing with three at the back after the terrible performance last weekend. Bournemouth need to pay to their strengths and not worry about the opposition overly. If Bournemouth can get players to support Callum Wilson they may have a chance of an upset.
Who should Eddie bring into the side? I'd play Harry Wilson in behind Callum up front, in the number 10 position. Fraser has hopefully overcome his dead leg and can play on the left while Arnaut Danjuma has done enough for me to start on the right.

While Lerma can be restored in central midfield, I'd like to see Lewis Cook keep his position, Philip Billing is serving his match ban and Dan Gosling will perhaps be on the bench. The back four should then be familiar to everyone with Rico, Aké, Steve Cook and Adam Smith while Ramsdale is the first name on the sheet in goal.


The only bit that worries me is that Eddie Howe doesn't have many options to change games on the bench. Dan Gosling is a good option to have as he always gives everything, but if David Brooks is not available, we could be seeing Kevin Kilkenny or Alex Dobre on the bench as attacking options.

Bournemouth certainly need a big performance. With last week still fresh in the memory I think the players will be playing with gritted teeth not to concede early and this is perhaps the biggest away text AFCB have had so far this season. If they can get something at Spurs it would really restore some faith in the players.

Potential AFCB line-up
AFCB Subs: Boruc, Stacey, Mepham, Kelly, Gosling, Surman, Kilkenny,  

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Friday, 29 November 2019

Backs to the wall time for Cherries

Steve Cook said it all when he spoke to BBC Radio Solent after the match against Wolves, "It's backs against the wall time." Indeed, AFCB's players have to be counted now and while the results in the last two games have been narrow defeats, it's the performances that will really nark fans.
Can Bournemouth get back to inning games?
Bournemouth will lose games in the Premier League and the fans will know that, but what we don't want to see is games thrown away and it's hard not to think that the points were really handed on a plate to Newcastle and Wolves in the last two games. There was pride in getting three clean sheets a short while ago and now that kind of mentality has completely deserted the players. Switching to a back five was perhaps ill-advised by Eddie Howe as he tried to match up with Wolves' system. It seems clear to me that the players are just not settled with playing that formation and at home the fans want to see the side go at teams, not sit back and try and hit on the break.

Callum Wilson just isn't getting any support, and if King is not available, Bournemouth need another player to play up with Callum up top. It appears that Solanke pulled a muscle in the warm up and so he could only sit on the bench and could not be used in the second half, but not having another forward to pick is another failing of the club at the moment. They let Mousset go, who is doing well and have not yet replaced him.

Every player has to look at himself now and ask are they really a Premier League player that wants to get this club into the top 10? They are not playing with the heart and pride of players that are in the Sheffield United team for example, and I don't believe that Bournemouth's players are any less talented than that side. It's all about going out on the pitch with a determination not to get beaten and a pride in your performance. Of late there has not been enough application and they'll need to find some of that when going to some tough ground in the next few weeks.

Eddie Had a Dream eBook version -available now!

Happy Birthday Eddie Howe! 42 years young

Is it too soon to say Mourinho has turned it around at Spurs?

José Mourinho has had a good start at Spurs. A 2-3 win away at West Ham's London stadium and a 4-2 home win to Olympiakos would seem reasonable to most people looking at Spurs' results, but in both games Spurs have conceded goals and Mourinho won't always win games if his team continues to concede two goals a game.
Can Bournemouth replicate their 1-0 win against Spurs last season or are Spurs much too strong?
The form of Dele Alli has seen a sudden revival under Mourinho and if the so-called special one can get Erickson to stay at Spurs then he is probably already going to be adorned by the home crowd. The feel good factor will be starting to grow, but there will be those that don't like Mourinho no matter what he achieves for his new club. I suspect those tensions will be just beneath the surface, and if a team like Bournemouth can frustrate and get on top of Mourinho's team in the early part of the game, we could see a very different opinion form of Mourinho's first few games in charge.

Bournemouth will go to Spurs knowing that they beat them 1-0 at Dean Court the last time they played and yet were hammered 5-0 in the away game last season. This will be the first time the two teams have played at Spur's new stadium. The big  pitch at Wembley was not a happy hunting ground for Bournemouth, but they can feel they have a clean sheet to defend at this new stadium with no past history there
We know Spurs are a good side and have been out of sorts under Pochettino. It is probably a harder game now than it would have been if Spurs had not parted company with Pochettino. But it is what it is. Bournemouth only sit a point below Spurs in the table and Eddie Howe should be using that as an incentive not to lose ground on Spurs but to get into the top 10 by beating them.


Spurs form is not great with four wins and five draws. At home they have beaten Southampton, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace but have drawn with Sheffield United and Watford and lost to Newcastle United. So, if Bournemouth can get to half-time on equal terms, it could start to play on the Spurs' players' minds that they are struggling to beat sides at home. Bournemouth themselves have to make themselves harder to beat after last weekend and we could find that Mourinho has not yet corrected all of Spurs' failings.

Spurs' Home Form

AFCB Away Form

In other news, no Rival Lines this week as the Spurs' podcaster has not come back to me in time.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Steve Cook is the new leader at AFCB

After captaining the side for most of 2019, I think it is clear that Steve Cook is the new leader of AFCB now. Simon Francis may have come back to take on his captain duties, but you have to be a leader on and off the pitch and Francis no longer has those attributes.
Steve Cook will be the player to pick AFCB up for Spurs.
It was Steve Cook who tried to make amends for the bad start that AFCB had. He rose well to head in his first goal of the season with a little help from Traore. His goal meant something not just to him but all the fans. It signalled that we have won games in the past where we have been in seemingly hopeless positions and have gone on to get something. This time it didn't happen against Wolves, but the whole ground was uplifted by Cook's goal and his efforts to hit back.

He is a player that has been in most of those dramatic AFCB games of recent years. He doesn't want to lose that feeling that the impossible is always on when he plays in an AFCB shirt and that connection with the fans is so important for the club. When players believe and the fans believe, strange things can happen. We have seen it before.
We have to look to someone to see AFCB trying to do better and on last Saturday that man was Steve Cook. He was keen to lead the side even when it had been in a poor position and he almost made up for the mistakes that others had made. Some days it is Steve that makes the mistakes, but you now that he always tries. He was emotionally gutted by the result against Wolves. You could tell it hurt and that is what Eddie Howe needs in a player who can lead the side.

Steve Cook is a talisman that AFCB fans and players can get around and we need his passion now in the upcoming games to get back on track.

At least Lerma and Danjuma were great

At least Eddie Howe could smile a little at the performances of Arnaud Danjum and Jefferson Lerma on Saturday. The two payers had a pretty thankless task of trying to lift the side after a disastrous first half. Lerma is proving that he just can't be left out of the side and Danjuma's desire to want to play well was shown to be more effective than a switched off Harry Wilson.
Lerma is on the prowl.
What I liked about Danjuma is that he tried to take the game to Wolves. He may not have had the best control and the best passing game to unpick Wolves' defence, but he went at them head on and made the defenders have to try and stop him. We just didn't see that front footed determination from Harry Wilson in the first half and Bournemouth are a team that need battlers. It's what gets the crowd gong, and if Danjuma can play with that grit in his teeth to have a real go, then he'll become a favourite at Dean Court, because we love a trier.
It's not the same with Lerma. He just has a quality that is beyond the rest of the current team in my view. He drifts across the pitch with an effortless ease and can sense danger straight away, which is what Bournemouth lacked first half. The first half was all about reaction to Wolves' play. There was no bite in Bournemouth's tackling and they didn't do enough to anticipate what Wolves might do next. Lerma is a player that sniffs out possible interceptions. The only time when I thought AFCB might jump on a chance in the first half was when Ryan Fraser tried to get in off a back pass.

Jefferson may have been only at 80 per cent because of his travelling, but Lerma's 80 per cent is much higher than most players' 100 per cent. It underlined to me that Bournemouth are still a player short in the middle when Lerma is not available. They need one more world-class central midfielder to really push up this league. I suppose Dan Gosling and Lewis Cook can be sensational on their day, but it's going to take time for both of these players to get back to their best and I still don't see Philip Billing taking a game by the scruff of its neck yet. Lerma can do that and Bournemouth look a pale imitation of what they can be when Lerma is not on the starting line up. 


Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Are Bournemouth under achieving?

The Cherries have not got off to not too bad a start in the league. Having been in the top 10 for a lot of the first three months, it has been a case of looking up the table. Now that the club has slipped back to 11th the doubts have started to creep in.
AFCB have missed out in games where they have often been favourites to win.
Apart from Sheffield United though, can we really say we are surprised by any of the teams above AFCB? I can't see that Bournemouth should be much higher than where they are in the league. There have been some poor performances, or to be more truthful some games where Bournemouth have only turned up for one half. That's the crazy thing. Are the players over worked or not fully focussed? I am sure that Eddie Howe would love to know the answers.

What has slowed the pace down is the amount of injured players. Perhaps Danjuma, Mepham, Stacey and Solanke didn't expect to walk into the first team line up, but with the injuries picking up, it won't be long before some of them get more opportunities for a further  full 90 minutes. Bournemouth need perhaps a slightly better squad to cover the injuries as they are finding themselves short, for example, up front.


Things haven't gone quite to plan. But when do they? Bournemouth have to shake off any feelings that they are good enough to just coast through a season. It needs hard work to get points and the next run of games will be the ones that decide where AFCB are likely to end the season. Facing the big six may seem like a problem considering the current form of the team, but I expect that the players will be looking forward to these games against the likes of Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea. If they can also get the better of one or more of them, then it could reinvigorate this season and put a different light on what might be achievable.


A dreadful first half hour against Wolves

Just when you hope that Bournemouth have taken a lesson from their game before the international break, we were served up an indifferent first half against Wolves, and an experienced captain was left holding his head in his hands after making a couple of mistakes. Self-inflicted handicaps are something you can't do in the Premier league, and if you keep doing that you'll soon find yourself in the bottom end of the table.
AFCB didn't hit the ground running against Wolves.
The game very quickly went away from the Cherries because they didn't concentrate on two set-pieces, and they let their guard down at really important times. While Aaron Ramsdale may be disappointed with not getting closer to the first goal, he had no chance in stopping the second. Ramsdale actually had a good game, Steve Cook says he is the only player that performed in the first half and that's just not good enough by the rest of the team.
Putting the first half behind the team is now what Eddie Howe will be trying to focus on. While you can look at what went wrong, it's important to put it behind the players and work on some positives for Tottenham. With Simon Francis not being involved the players can look to work on a back four and put the back three idea out of mind. The shape of the team is what Howe has to get right first of all against Spurs and get back to being hard to beat.


It must have been very difficult going into that dressing room at half-time. The crowd were despondent at the performance and the players won't have felt any different. Some credit has to be handed out for managing to change that atmosphere around in a spirited second half, but Bournemouth shouldn't have put themselves in that position. 

Yes, Wolves played well but they were gifted opportunities to get ahead in the game and they could manage the Bournemouth fightback well enough to ensure they left with all three points. Bournemouth have to take the pain of defeat and make sure they don't play as badly in their next 90 minutes of football.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Set-piece chaos for Cherries

Bournemouth's strong defensive prowess took another hit at the weekend. While Wolves have not been the highest scorers by any means in the league, they didn't find anything too difficult about unlocking the Cherries' defence.
Two free kick incidents ruined AFCB Saturday.
Two set-pieces were the door that Wolves needed to win the game. It must be agonisingly annoying for Eddie Howe when the team can't defend properly at such moments. The team has the opportunity to get ready and be prepared for the free kicks when they come in, but Bournemouth just didn't have all the basis covered and they looked extremely vulnerable when Wolves had free kicks.

Ramsdale didn't really get off the ground quick enough for Moutinho's goal. Why that was I'm not sure. Perhaps he didn't think the shot would be direct and more likely to be a cross. But he was caught out by a marvellous shot and Moutinho probably put it in the only small space that he could to beat Ramsdale. It was hit very high and had a very sharp dip on it.

Less forgivable was the second goal. The ball between Harry Wilson and Lewis Cook was expertly played, but Bournemouth were caught on the back foot and once the cross from Traore was put right in front of Raul Jimenez, it was simple for the striker to score, having got ahead of Nathan Aké.
Wolves were alert to the opportunity of scoring whenever they had a dead ball situation, and you have to ask why Bournemouth always looked flat when they had given a free kick away. There is a mental alert button that needs to be pressed when Bournemouth are in these situations and they can't keep going to sleep.

Better with 10-men

Eddie Howe couldn't really explain why Bournemouth showed more spirit and fight when going down to 10-men against Wolves. Yes, he had told the players that they were playing for the fans and their families in the second half to make sure the score was not embarrassing, but something was yet again wrong about the mentality in the first 45 minutes and it's not the first time we have seen it this season.
AFCB did get themselves going with their ore-match huddle.
Going a goal down seemed to suck the life out of the Cherries. Moutinho scored a fantastic free kick and there is no arguing with the quality of the strike, with Ramsdale finding it to get up in a crowded box to stop the dipping shot. More disappointing was Simon Francis' lunge on Jota which led to the free kick in the first place. Did he need to make the challenge? Did he get close enough to feel confident he would block the ball and not be late? Francis was just not quick enough and the only thing you can say about the challenge was it was made outside the box.

With Francis soon removed, the Cherries needed to reorganise and get their heads sorted but they seemed to dwell on their inconsistency and poor showing of the first 40 minutes and couldn't do much to find a shot in the first half. But with two new players coming on and a talking to from Eddie Howe at half-time, things changed and for the good. Bournemouth now have to capture that spirit and desire for the next game.


There was a fight about AFCB in the second half. A willingness to do everything to get themselves into the game and real passion that came to the fore when Steve Cook scored. But the Cherries had given themselves too much to do and while the 10-men performed well, it can't happen like this every game to feel almost out of the game before starting to work hard. A lot of self analysis on the part of the players is needed this week ahead of a massive challenge next weekend. 
Chimes to Camera - AFCB 1 v 2 Wolves

Monday, 25 November 2019

Did AFCB get it all wrong with Lys Mousset?

It is hard as a Bournemouth fan to see how well Lys Mousset is doing at Sheffield United and how he struggled to get any time at Dean Court. The player had talent, we could see it. But he never looked fully fit at Bournemouth and perhaps wants to give that extra 10 per cent at Sheffield United where Chris Wilder has him under his wing. So, did Eddie get it wrong with Lys?
Mousset has been doing it at Sheffield United but why didn't he do better at AFCB?
I believe there is a pecking order at AFCB. While Eddie does bring young players on, they have to earn the right to get in the team and to play up front is perhaps the hardest position to break into this Bournemouth team. Callum Wilson and Josh King have had the prime spots since Bournemouth got to the Premier League and we have seen players like Glenn Murray, Benik Afobe and Jermain Defoe not manager to break through so should we have expected any better of Lys Mousset? Probably not and Dominic Solanke is going to find it just as hard.

What we can see is that when a player is happy in his environment, clubs get the best out of them. Lys Mousset was probably not that at home at Bournemouth and whether that might have been no fault of his or the club, he is absolutely thriving at Sheffield United and it makes me feel that he did the right thing in moving from the Cherries.
Sometimes players don't fit into the package that Eddie Howe wants to create. It could be said of several players that have come and gone in recent years, but when I looked at the subs bench against Wolves last weekend, I thought what I'd give to have a player like an eager Lys Mousset ready to play and prove himself in a red and black shirt. It's crazy how football is like a jigsaw and some times the parts don't work at your club, but they are a perfect fit for others.

Premier Talk - The new plucky kids on the block

Chimes to Camera - AFCB 1 v 2 Wolves

What now for Simon Francis?

Simon Francis has some serious thinking to do. He will be devastated about his last match. It should have been a great return for the captain and yet he was out of touch and unable to cope with the pace of Wolves attack. Jota had his number and Simon will be frustrated that he didn't do better.
Will Simon quickly get over the Wolves game?
While defenders are always going to make the odd mistake, it was a risk to bring back Simon Francis into the set-up that had been doing well as a back four. The balance just didn't work with Simon trying to fit in and seal up the right side. While Eddie believes he picked the right man for the job, Francis has been out for a long time and perhaps hasn't been tested enough before making this return against such a quick attack.

Francis will know that he didn't have to make the tackle he did in the first half on Jota, as Steve Cook and Nathan Aké were with their men and marking in the box, if the cross had come in. Francis was simply trying to make up too much ground and was never going to get there. Perhaps he felt a foul outside the box was okay and worth the risk, but Bournemouth were certainly punished from the free kick. It was the second yellow card though that was the big mistake.

The second yellow card was a momentary lapse. Francis must have forgotten that he was already on a yellow card. He had let his man get the wrong side of him and as soon as he reached out to pull him back, he knew he had made a big mistake. It was silly and self-inflicted, but simply an instinctive reaction. I didn't see the pull back in real time, but when I saw it back on TV you can see why he had to go. 


Now Francis has a match ban. Bournemouth will go back to a back four. But does Eddie Howe trust Francis not to make similar mistakes in his next game? Francis has battled back from a possible career ending injury, so I hope he does get the opportunity to put things right. I'd like to see him be absolutely right to play in his head and physically before he says he is ready to go again. He has given wonderful service to AFCB over many years and one bad game should not leave a lasting memory of his worth. He is coming to the end of his career, but it has been a fantastic career at AFCB and I for one won't forget what he has done for the club.
Eddie Had a Dream eBook version -available now!

The Guardian - Season report so far

Sunday, 24 November 2019

10-men Cherries go down fighting to Wolves

Match Report
AFCB 1 v 2 Wolves
23 November 2019
Attendance: 10,539
AFCB suffer second defeat in a row.
A disastrous first 30 minutes put this game beyond Bournemouth. Simon Francis made his return to the team only to see red for two yellow card offences in the first half and Wolves punished the Cherries with two set-pieces that gave AFCB a mountain to climb. Francis first foul led to the expertly hit free kick from João Moutinho on 21 minutes before Traore raced down the wing and crossed for Jimenez for a simple tap in for 0-2. When Eddie Howe changed formation in the second half and brought on Lerma and Danjuma, there was a sudden change to the game. Steve Cook flashed in his first goal of the season and the impossible comeback looked on for a short while. Wolves played some possession football though and time wasted to get over the line, leaving Howe to question why he had set up the team as he had at the start of the game.
Simon Francis is back, but not for long.
Josh King was left out with a hamstring strain and Simon Francis came in for him which was a big surprise with AFCB going with three centre backs for this game. It was a formation that just didn't give Bournemouth the possession they needed and Callum Wilson was left isolated for much of the first half.

Match Day Gallery - more images here
Referee Simon Hooper came down hard on the Cherries.
Wolves showed their intent with an early corner which Ake headed away and Neves shot wide. Saïss was booked for fouling Lewis Cook, but Harry Wilson couldn't take advantage when the ref played on.

Aké passed his first Traore pace test, before Doherty pushed Fraser down on the break.

Franno had to get back and head clear ahead of Jota coming in on Traore's cross. Traore was getting down in behind on the right and Neves had another shot wide on 11 minutes. Jimenez also had a shot blocked.


Lewis Cook tried to find Billing down the middle, but the keeper read it.

Doherty crosses and Steve Cook got himself in a tangle before clearing at the second attempt.

Billing was booked for blocking Traore on 16 minutes. Fraser almost intercepted in front of goal, but then Ramsdale has to be quick out to beat Castro Otto.

Franno is booked for taking down Jota just outside the box. The free kick is on a tight angle. Moutinho finds the top far corner 0-1 Wolves, on 22 minutes.

Francis drills on a low cross, but Callum Wilson can't control it. Lewis Cook goes on from the side on Traore and fouls.

A quickly taken free kick and Traore crosses for Jimenez 0-2 on 32 minutes - all too easy.

Fraser is body checked. Bournemouth free kick Wilson shot is blocked. Callum Wilson then heads wide.

Jiminez goes through the middle and Ramsdale gets his legs there, but Steve Cook has to clear off the line before Jota.

Doherty then has a shot saved and Francis has been sent off! Second yellow on 37 minutes. I think he pulled a shirt.

Ramsdale saves from Jota. A great touch over the bar.

A pot shot goes over from Castro Ott. Half-time 0-2.

Second half
Lerma is on for Billing and Danjuma has replaced Harry Wilson. Jota had a shot that went wide.

Diego Rico puts in a great ball for Wilson but he  in turn, can't find Danjuma.

Fraser goes for the near post but the keeper saves. Adam Smith drills a shot that is deflected to the keeper.

Jota is in and scores but is offside. Wolves' corner and Steve Cook clears. Neves shoots wide from a flow up corner.

Lerma runs out of pitch, bit of loose control. Traore fouls Rico but no card. Lewis Cooks' shot is deflected for a corner.
Steve Cook arrives and he's scored with a header 1-2 on 57 minutes. Bournemouth are some how back in this.

Wolves have a corner. Jimenez heads wide. Saïss has a long shot which is saved by Ramsdale low to his right.

Danjuma wins a corner. Fraser puts a cross in. Momentum is turning.

Wolves are passing us to death. Rico's low crook as is easily repelled. Lewis Cook loses the ball and Traore is away. Luckily he pulls his shot wide.

Traore wins another corner. Lewis Cook is subbed for Gosling on 76 minutes.

Danjuma does great down the wing and Smith and Wilson work to get a corner. On the break Jota runs the length of the pitch and Ramsdale saves well for a corner. Lerma over cooks his pass out to Rico.

Steve Cook shoots and its saved. Aké overhead kick saved corner. Fraser's cross and Aké heads over.

Jimenez on the break handball and hits a tame shot. Jota is off and Vinagre is on after 88 minutes.

Rico is booked for taking Traore down.

Three added minutes. Long shot from Jiminez is saved. Ramsdale is up for a corner but the keeper cons the ref.

Steve Cook wins the knock down. Wilson and Danjuma shanks it horribly wide.

A game to forget. Bournemouth came out with the wrong set up and probably weren't helped by Solanke injuring himself in the warm up. Simon Francis just wasn't up to speed and I don't know if he will be at this level again. He has just lost a bit of pace and it matters at this level. Diego Rico maybe switched off for the second goal, but the passing as a whole wasn't good enough in the first half. Lerma gives the side confidence and a stable base. He and Danjuma almost turned the game round. But it was Steve Cook that almost galvanised the team with his goal to make the comeback. But Bournemouth lacked that final bit of quality and luck in the box to get something out of the game.

The Guardian - Season report so far
AFCB Line up
AFCB Subs: Boruc, Stacey, Mepham, Gosling, Lerma, Danjuma, Solanke
AFCB Ratings
Ramsdale 7, A Smith 5, Francis 3, S Cook 8, Aké 7, Rico 5, L Cook 5 (Gosling 5),
Billing 4 (Lerma 7), Fraser 6, H Wilson 5 (Danjuma 7), C Wilson 5

AFCB MOM: Steve Cook

Referee Watch: Simon Hooper 2/10 - I don't think he'll be showing his face again at Dean Court in a hurry. He kind of liked giving Bournemouth players yellow cards.

11 Patricio, 32 Dendoncker, 16 Coady, 27 Saiss, 2 Doherty, 8 Neves, 28 Moutinho, 19 Castro Otto, 37 Traore, 9 Jimenez, 18 Jota

Wolves Subs
4 Vallejo, 7 Neto, 10 Cutrone, 21 Ruddy, 26 Perry, 29 Vinagre, 49 Kilman