Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Rival Lines: "We haven't really missed Wan Bissaka," says The Eagles Beak

Rival Lines
Match Preview: Crystal Palace v AFCB
Blogger Interview The Eagles Beak
Twitter: @TheEaglesBeak

CC: I had a quick few hours to try and get a word wit jay at the Eagles Beak ahead of the match tonight against Crystal Palace. They are on a reasonable run away from home and will want to bring that form to Selhurst Park. While they sit ahead of the Cherries, a win against Palace could put Bournemouth back ahead of the Eagles. So what have Bournemouth to be worried about?

CC: You have played a lot of the top teams in recent weeks so are you confident of a good run of results in December?

TEB: We were handed a rough deal by the fixture computer, that's for sure but we have got through with perhaps not the points some of our play has deserved. There was a concern that the confidence would be hit but seeing the win at Burnley at the weekend, it is clear that has not been the case which is good news going into a kinder run of games. No game is easy, but December hands us fixtures that we need to be looking to take points from and we have started in the best way possible.


CC: How do you fee about the team's home form?

TEB: Better than we have become used to when comparing with previous season's. We were unbeaten before hosting City which was pleasing, and it has been nice to see some results at home. It could be better but there has been a distinct improvement. I do find we struggle more at home as the onus is on Palace to take the game to the opposition and that often presents it's own problems. But, for the most part, we have done well this season.

CC: What is the injury situation like at the moment?

TEB: Pretty good, we only missed Joel Ward and Gary Cahill at the weekend - Ward could miss a couple of weeks while Cahill could be back on Tuesday. Connor Wickham is pushing for a place on the bench but Scott Dann left the pitch injured against Burnley, so we will have to see how he is. Good to see Mamadou Sakho back in his place at the weekend who has missed most of the season so far.

CC: Who would you say was the most improved player for Palace this season?

TEB: Good question - a lot of fans were disappointed by the fact we failed to replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka after his sale to United in the summer so we only had Joel Ward to step in. Ironically, he lost his place to AWB and the youngster never looked back, but Ward has done a great job this season and while he has a completely different style, it may sound odd but we have not really missed AWB which is testament to his performances.

CC: Whose form is dipping at the moment?

TEB: That has to be Patrick van Aanholt. He struggled last season, but while he has had one or two decent games he has not really got himself of the rut that he found himself in. He has a horrible habit of pushing a winger inside too many times rather than forcing them out wide and not getting close enough. Going forward, he really gives us something extra but defensively he really has regressed.

CC: What position needs to be strengthened in January?

TEB: Striker and we need to start planning for life without Wilfried Zaha but the latter will probably have to wait for the summer. We have actually done okay up front this season which is largely thanks to Jordan Ayew making the lone striker role his own since sigining on a permanent deal. However, we do need to give him some support. Christian Benteke has been a shadow of his former self and with not being able to rely upon Connor Wickham we could do with a third option.

CC: Would European football be great or would it come to soon if it happened in May?

TEB: Wolves have really taken it in their stride this year while Burnley struggled with the additional games. Whichever way it comes, yes, it would be fantastic to see Palace qualify for Europe. You cannot plan these things and you have to take them when they come along - a little like our promotion back to the Premier League, many fans said we were in no position to compete in the top division but we've done alright.
CC: What's your score prediction for Crystal Palace v AFC Bournemouth

TEB: After the result at Burnley at the weekend I'm hoping that we can follow that up with a good result to force ourselves back into the top ten. It will be a tough game as always against the Cherries but I fancy us to take advantage of your dip in form and take a 2-1 win.

CC: Thanks to Jay for some great inside information on Crystal Palace from the Eagles Beak. I might be able to put a smile on my face if Scott Dann is unable to play - he's caused AFCB loads of problems in the last few meetings. It seems that AFCB have been falling and Palace rising in recent weeks and they now meet when the top 10 place is up for grabs for either of them. The loser though would be perhaps slightly behind the pace for this season, while 19  for Bournemouth or 21 points for Palace would a good return from 15 games. Back-to back wins are difficult for any team apart form the top three, but Bournemouth need to pick up points now to avoid problems by the end of December.

In other news, AFC Bournemouth have a home draw for the third round FA Cup weekend in January when they'll be playing Luton Town of the Championship.

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