Friday, 31 January 2020

Cherries must put Villa under pressure

Aston Villa will be on cloud nine coming to Dean Court. Their dramatic late win in the Carabao Cup against Leicester City has given them a day at Wembley, but they will be desperate to retain their Premier League status just like Bournemouth.

Goalscoring has not been Villa's problem, unlike Bournemouth. They have scored 31 times in the league which is eight more than the Cherries. Their main striker Wesley might only have scored five of the goals but Villa have midfielders that chip in. Douglas Louis scored a stunning goal against Bournemouth in the match at Villa Park earlier this season and is on three goals, while Trézégeut who got the mid-week winner also has three goals, while winger Anwar El Ghazi has four goals. Conour Houihane and John McGinn have also chipped in with three goals each, even Tyrone Mings has grabbed a couple of goals for them.
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But Bournemouth will be wondering whether if they stop seven goal Jack Grealish, do they stop Aston Villa? I expect Eddie Howe will have to have some kind of game plan for Grealish. He might not admit it but he'll need a midfielder to get on him and pick him up rather than let him run at defenders untracked. Grealish is a player who can do the unexpected or unpredictable, that is why he is such a danger, beating two or three players to open the game up. Bournemouth have to keep him off the ball as much as they can.

Putting Villa under pressure and having to defend is the number one aim. Forcing them back is possible at Dean Court and Howe will have the previous meeting on rewind I should think to explain to the players this is a team they have beaten before and that they are under as much pressure as the Cherries. Getting a goal ahead will increase the pressure so a fast start will be expected, especially after the disappointing start against Arsenal.

Aston Villa Away Form
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AFCB Home Form
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In other news, Josh King linked to Man Utd, says BBC. Crystal Palace are expected to put a bid in for Jordan Ibe.

Callum Wilson's battle with Tyrone Mings could be crucial

Tyrone Mings will surely be relishing his return to Dean Court. He is now an England player and has been a central pillar in Aston Villa's season taking the chance he didn't really get at AFCB. What we never saw was how he did against Callum Wilson in training while he was at the Cherries, but on Saturday we will see the contest played out right in front of our eyes.

Callum needs to win his battle.
I always thought Tyrone would make a good captain, if he had stayed with AFCB. He reads the game as well as any centre half and always puts in 100 per cent effort in games. He is good in the air and doesn't seem to mind confrontation. In fact, he ups his game when players rattle him the wrong way.
I wonder how Callum Wilson will go about trying to get the better of Tyrone? I don't think Callum will get much peace, but he'll have to have good movement to get past the long legs of Tyrone and if he does he'll have to shoot as soon as he can before Tyrone gets back to him.

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I am pretty sure that the two players will walk off with a friendly handshake when they finish the game, but I'd expect they will both be trying harder than ever to out do each other. In many ways I think the game could rest on this battle. If Tyrone can keep Callum out, that might be Bournemouth's best line of attack and he could find that achieving that wins Villa the game. But Callum has his own fight, not only with Bournemouth trying to win games, but trying to ensure he still has a place in the England squad. He could well damage Tyrone's chances by having a good day and getting past Tyrone a few times. Perhaps he'll even dream of a hat-trick against Tyrone - it's certainly been a long time since we have seen Callum score three goals in a game.


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Previous post on Cherry Chimes - Have Bournemouth got goals in them?

Chimes Newsletter - out tomorrow!
Cherry Chimes' February Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month. It's out tomorrow, with special story - Has Eddie got things wrong?
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Thursday, 30 January 2020

Have Bournemouth got goals in them?

Rio Ferdinand spoke on BT Sport and announced that Bournemouth do have goals in them. The problem is we aren't seeing them often enough to record sufficient points. It is a surprise that a loan player in the shape of Harry Wilson is Bournemouth's top scorer, but it perhaps underlines that the attacking part of Bournemouth's game still has to find its top edge.
Some straight shooting is required.
Without Josh King, I just don't think Bournemouth look as imposing to opposition teams. Callum Wilson and Dominic Solanke can go missing in games and the supply from Ryan Fraser and Harry Wilson is intermittent at best. Howe's immediate concern has been to stay in games and try to get to half-time without being out of the game. Such a strategy might be okay for games against the top six, but when it comes to Aston Villa at home, Bournemouth need to find their way to being on the front foot.


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Increasing the shot count is going to give the Cherries more chance of netting some of the chances, and I just hope Eddie Howe has been fine tuning the attacking force of the Cherries this week with a better shape than they had against Arsenal. It shouldn't need Sam Sturridge to show other attackers what movement is required to tuck away a goal, but he read the game much better than those around him and it is going to be hard for Howe to keep on ignoring that.
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Alex Dobre has also been scoring regular for the U21s and while youth is not always quickly rewarded at AFCB, Howe might just have to look at playing young strikers while King is out. It has to be better than playing Ryan Fraser up front. But if Callum Wilson and Harry Wilson don't manage to score you are left looking around wondering where the goals will come from. A few direct runs from Dan Gosling make him a better choice than a Philip Billing, struggling with back issue, in my book and for however much we love the passion and roughness of Jefferson Lerma, it is about time he squared his aim a little better in front of goal.

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Only Watford have scored less than Bournemouth's 23 goals and to be averaging less than a goal a game, you have to say the attacking part of Bournemouth's game is far worse than it needs to be to make safety easy. Bournemouth just may have to rely on a few more goals from the likes of Steve Cook and Nathan Aké at corners to push the goal average up to more than one a game.

Previous post on Cherry Chimes - Bournemouth can't afford late turn ups in games

Bournemouth can't afford late turn ups in games

In the first few minutes against Arsenal, I was confident that Bournemouth were going to get stuck right in. There was some good chasing and the high press was working. But then Arsenal got hold of the ball and Bournemouth went missing for a good half an hour.
The Cherries need ti untie their legs for the start of their next game.
I am not sure why this sort of thing happens to professional footballers. The players set out with a game plan and you'd hope they would stick to it near enough. But the tempo that Arsenal played at gave the Cherries problems. They soon managed to get more time to spread play and really stretch AFCB on the wings. It was quite annoying to watch because once Arsenal had found that the pace of Saka was hurting Bournemouth they kept finding him with neither Adam Smith or Simon Francis really getting across to the winger and Harry Wilson too high up the pitch.

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Eddie Howe might well have noticed the problem but nothing was really sorted out until half-time. It was then that there seemed to be a better match up and Bournemouth started to play their football in short spells. You wonder how much the players need to read the situation when they can see the team is getting pulled about all over the place.

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There is no doubt that Howe was confused about the way the team had fallen back in the first half. The early goal was surely part of the problem, but at 0-2 down, when the game could have got out of hand, Bournemouth started to dig in. I think that is encouraging for the games coming up. The team doesn't feel that a scoreline like 0-2 is unrecoverable and had Simpson got his header on target, Bournemouth could have got at least a draw even without Lewis Cook's late chance.

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I do expect AFCB to come out of the traps better though against Aston Villa. The Cherries need to put them on the back foot.

Cherry Chimes Previous post - Simpson too good for the bench


Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Simpson too good to be on the bench

We may be about to lose the services of Jack Simpson, at least for a few months if the Championship sides of Middlesbrough, Stoke or Derby get their man. A loan deal for Simpson would make sense for Jack Simspon's development, but it would be a pity if he makes a clean break with Bournemouth.
Jack Simpson is more than ready to play more minutes, but probably not at AFCB
Fans always like to see local players come through the system and as soon as we have one at Bournemouth, they don't tend to stay around long. But Jack has served his apprenticeship at Bournemouth and should be getting regular games. Even with the amount of injuries that the cherries have been getting, Jack hasn't found it easy to get in the team.


I thought Jack as the man of the match against Arsenal in the FA Cup and if he had knocked in his header, we could have still been lining up for a replay. A relegation scrap might not be the environment that Jack Simpson would benefit from, but a promotion push could get his game in the right place. So I can see the benefits of going to a good Championship side, but none of the mentioned clubs are likely to get in the promotion scene. So perhaps, just playing games is something Jack would settle for.

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It would leave Bournemouth a little short at centre-back in terms of cover. Simon Francis is going to be the main back up if Aké and Steve Cook have problems, but then there wouldn't be much other cover with Chris Mepham out for the rest of the season. Eddie Howe might be keener on keeping Jack around but having him sit on the bench for the next few months isn't doing anyone any favours. Perhaps Eddie can put in a recall clause in a contract in case he loses a couple of centre-backs to injury.

Previous post on Cherry Chimes: No signings for AFCB could be a positive

No signings for AFCB could be a positive

Eddie Howe has made it pretty clear that it is unlikely that Bournemouth will be able to pick up a player this January. While I still think a loan deal could be done, time is running out. But is it a bad thing that no player come sin this January? I wonder if it could work out better this way for AFCB, with more harmony in the camp.
AFCB may just have to continue their push to stay up with what they have.
Looking at previous January signings, they haven't all clicked straight away. But Bournemouth would need an immediate player to fit in, if they paid the cash in this window. When you are in a relegation battle, it is important not to rock the boat too much. Bournemouth could be more united and run a tighter ship if the players are fully focused on the task and united. The players all know each other and they don't have to be afraid of speaking their mind. They'll know what upsets other characters and what makes them laugh.
We need the players to feel they are all in this together. If they come through it they will be better than ever. A shared struggle is something that the players can all draw on in the future and they'll know that the players they are next to are reliable. At the moment Bournemouth are in the thick of it. We don't know who the strong characters are, but Eddie Howe needs to keep those players onside and pulling the others with them.

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It is probably not a great time to bring a fresh player or two in, unless they can make a big impact and immediate. It could be money wasted and we have seen that players need time to get into this Bournemouth team. Even David Brooks had to bide his time and finding another such gem in January doesn't look like happening. But it isn't necessarily a bad thing from what I can see.
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Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Give Sam Surridge more than five minutes Eddie

Sam Surridge didn't get much time to impress against Arsenal. He probably had about eight minutes and yet even with that he got himself in a good position, with his movement, to take down a cross from Simon Francis and finish with ease to give Bournemouth there only goal of the night.
Sam Surridge has proved he can score against top teams.
Why hasn't Surrdige been given more of a go? I find it quite strange that Eddie had been playing Callum Wilson and Dominic Solanke so much, without giving Surridge much of a look in. It is even more surprising when Josh King has been injured and Bournemouth surely need any attacker they have getting minutes and experience as they could be needed in vital games come the end of the season.


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Surrdige is young and Eddie will want to bring him on gradually, but from what we have seen Sam is a confident striker that has a habit of getting goals. Bournemouth would do well to let Surridge get 20 minutes towards the end of games just to give him more experience and perhaps let him get a few more chances to score.

It could have been a game that Surridge could have started, but Solanke was given the job. Had Bournemouth been in a stronger league position, Surridge probably would have started in a two up top. Using Fraser though alongside Solanke was a combination that didn't quite work for the Cherries. I think Solanke and Surridge would have been better. Perhaps Eddie just needs to let Surrdige have a bit more than five minutes now and again.

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Arsenal punish AFCB in a first half FA Cup masterclass

Match Report
FA Cup Fourth Round
AFCB 1 v 2 Arsenal
Attendance: 10,308
Slow starters - AFCB find it hard to get into the game with Arsenal.
Bournemouth quickly found themselves behind after a fluent run by Willock who coasted inside and found Martenelli and Saka finished smartly into the roof of the net. A second was added by Nkeitah before half an hour, and Bournemouth were struggling just to get a sight of the ball. Bournemouth managed a late rally and the second half was a more even contest. Simon Francis put Sam Surridge in for his first Bournemouth goal on 90+4 minutes, but it was not enough to stop Arsenal progressing.

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Both clubs had the knowledge that they would play Portsmouth away in the next round if they got through the tie. Bournemouth lined up with Mark Travers in goal and Steve Cook and Jack Simpson coming into the back four. Lewis Cook, Dan Gosling and Andrew Surman came into midfield, while on the bench was U18 player Brooklyn Geneseni, who plays at right back.

Match Description The Cherries started with some good early pressing led by Fraser. Arsenal soon had the lion's share of possession.

Willock on the right came in and found Martenlli and Saka smashed a shot in to the roof of the net at Travers near post on five minutes. Arsenal made a good overlap and the finish was hit so hard that Travers had little chance of making a save.

Aké has to put the ball out for an Arsenal corner. Adam Smith come s away with the ball. Saka under hits a back pass but Soalnke can't get on to it in time. Solanke does well but over hits the pass to Fraser.

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Solanke and  Guendouzi gets hit in the face and goes down in the box.  Guendouzi fouls Gosling. Belllerin clears. Adam Smith crosses but Mustafi clears ahead of Solanke.

Steve Cook has to get a defensive header in and  Guendouzi fouls Fraser. Surman does ell to break up an Arsenal move.

Bournemouth are finding it hard to win the battles. Willock does well to go past Gosling and Aké but Travers makes a save at his near post on 19 minutes.

Martenelli blazes over from range. Arsenal are dominating possession. Most of the play is just inside the Bournemouth half.
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Saka makes a run down the left and a cross low along the floor reaches  its a tap in for Nketiah who runs off Simpson to make it 0-2 on 26 minutes. VAR check still results in a goal.

Pepe gets on a run and puts a shot into the side netting. Martenelli gets in down the left and Aké puts it out for a corner. Bellerin puts in a good cross. The ball just keeps coming back to an Arsenal layer.

Arsenal can take their time. Fraser puts a good cross in from the left but Harry Wilson's shot s saved by Leno. It was a strong volley, but Leno got down well at his near post.

Harry Wilson puts in a cross and Gosling heads over, perhaps off his shoulder. Simpson and Fraser combine up the left. The Cherries have started to pick up their play as half0-time approaches. Simpson pulls the ball back but Xhaka intercepts the ball to Lewis Cook.

It's the width that Arsenal have been playing with that has caused the problems for Bournemouth.
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Fraser picks up a loose ball and links with Solanke, but then shoots well wide.

Sokratis puts the ball out for a corner ahead of Gosling. Two minutes are added. Harry Wilson s carded fro a fouled on Nketiah.

AFCB Possession 37 per cent, three shots, one shot on target, one corner and three fouls
Arsenal possession 63 per cent, six shots, three on target, two corners and four fouls.

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Second Half
Arsenal win an early corner but Willock hits his shot over. The referee stops the game for Martinelli. Lewis Cook wins a free kick. Gosling and Guendouzi are getting in a tangle.

The cross comes in and Simpson goes down, but is out to Harry Wilson and he puts it back in but it's cleared. No penalty for a VAR check on Simpson going down.

Lewis Cook is chopped by  Guendouzi,. Solanke gets in between the keeper and Mustafi and a Fraser header goes over. Mustafi is stretchered off for Rob Holding on 62 minutes.

Fraser puts in a big tackle on Bellerin. Adam Smith wins a corner, which is cleared and Pepe against Smith is a close run thing, but Adam Smith wins it. Simpson drives a cross in and gets a corner. Simpson with the header and it's just wide!


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Bournemouth are much more at it this half. Pepe is subbed on 69 minutes for Ceballos. Willock wins a corner. Bournemouth can't get more than two of three passes  going. Callum Wilson and Simon Francis are looking to get on.

The ball is going out. Arsenal keep rotating possession. Finally the ball is put out. Bellerin has hurt his rib going for a ball with Simpson. harry Wilson is off for Callum Wilson and Jack Simpson is off for Simon Francis on 76 minutes.

Steve Cook's back pass goes past the near post with Travers stumbling. Arsenal corner. Solanke almost gets in, but Xhaka keeps him out. Gosling shapes for a shot but it's over the bar off a defender. Sokratis and Steve Cook go down.

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Aké has to get across to stop Saka on an Arsenal break. Saka now gets a corner. Sam Surridge is coming on for Solanke on 89 minutes.

Eight minutes of added time go up. Arsenal sub Willock for Maitland-Niles on 90+2 minutes. Guendouzi has a rising shot. Francis puts a ball in the box and Sam Surridge has put t in the net 1-2.  Nicely finished off his left and on to his right foot. He showed great strength. VAR check, it's a goal.

Four minutes of added time to go. Surridge is booked for a foul on Guendouzi. Fraser puts the ball in the keeper punches with Adam Smith in there, and Lewis Cook spoons his shot over.

Summary
A hard fought game. Bournemouth just couldn't get enough possession to do much harm. The match might have been a good work out in terms of defending and being without the ball. The Cherries will need to create more though against teams in the Premier League. There was a marked improvement second half, but the damage had been done. The cup is perhaps a distraction this season though for Bournemouth. Sam Surrdige will remember the game for ever and his first Bournemouth goal will be something he'll always treasure.

AFCB Ratings
Travers 6, A Smith 5, S Cook 6, Aké 6, Simpson 7, H Wilson 5, Surman 5, Gosling 6, L Cook 5, Fraser 6, Solanke 6


AFCB line up - Surridge was also carded.
AFCB Subs: 12 Ramsdale, 2 Francis, 60 Genesini,
29 Billing, 44 Surridge, 54 Dobre, 13 C Wilson . 
Cherry Chimes' MoM: Jack Simpson

Referee Watch: Martin Atkinson: 4/10 - some unusual stoppages of play

Arsenal
26 Martínez, 2 Bellerín, 20 Mustafi (Holding 62), 5 Sokratis, 77 Saka, 29 Guendouzi,
34 Xhaka, 
19 Pépé (Ceballos 69), 28 Willock (Maitland-Niles 90+2), 35 Martinelli, 30 Nketiah


Arsenal Subs
1 Leno, 8 Ceballos, 9 Lacazette, 10 Özil, 11 Torreira, 15 Maitland-Niles, 16 Holding

Monday, 27 January 2020

How important is the FA Cup this season for Bournemouth?

The FA Cup is something that Bournemouth can look at differently this season. They haven't done well in the competition for a long time and the prospect of facing Arsenal might have put fear into the players in past seasons, but not now. Bournemouth are searching to find consistent form and playing a top team might just be the test that Edie Howe's team need to really find their stride.
Will Eddie Howe rest a few big players for AFCB?
Bournemouth can look on this tie positively as it is not going to cost them any league points if they lose. The game is likely to be open and could just be about which team takes their chances. The league match at Dean Court was close with Bournemouth giving Arsenal as good as they got, and if Bournemouth could land a punch on Arteta's team to get through to the next round, what a big shot of confidence that would bring going into the match with Aston Villa next weekend.

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The first factor that will have a bearing on the match is what team Eddie will pick. He has not gone strong in the FA Cup for many years, and there are players that are struggling for fitness. Others perhaps need a rest and yet Eddie doesn't have a big squad to make it easy for him. I suppose it is about time that we saw Sam Surridge get 90 minutes, while Lloyd Kelly and Alex Dobre are not going to get a better chance to start. The chance could come too late for Jack Simpson, who is said to be being tracked by Stoke City and Middlesbrough for a loan move.

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But it's which players that will also have to play against Aston Villa that Howe will be most worried about playing. Perhaps Adam Smith will have to play and it is suggested Steve Cook will make a return, but Howe could rest the likes of Callum Wilson, Dominic Solanke, Harry Wilson, Phillip Billing, Ryan Fraser and Jefferson Lerma. How many of the latter players make a start is perhaps how we will get an indication of the importance of the cup to AFCB.

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The position I'll be keen to see is the goal keeper. It is another chance for Mark Travers to show how close he is to Ramsdale in terms of performance, and he needs games to catch up with the experience that Aaron is quickly gaining. So the game is important for several reasons. Bournemouth would like to progress, they don't want injuries and there are players that need the game. But the biggest positive would be to keep the momentum of winning at home going, Bournemouth haven't done that enough in the last 12 months and a win over Arsenal would be a big shift in the outlook of Bournemouth's season.

Possible AFCB line up
AFCB Subs: Boruc, Rico, Lerma, Billing, H Wilson, Fraser, C Wilson

Previous post on Cherry Chimes: Can Bournemouth find their way out of trouble?

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Can Bournemouth fight their way out of trouble?

It was a longer wait for Bournemouth to pick up a win in 2020 in the league than I had hoped for, but the win against Brighton & Hove Albion can be a starting point for something better. Losing to Watford and Norwich City was very damaging, but other teams have not picked up too many points, while Bournemouth were falling down the table. The situation is salvageable, but form is everything now.
Bournemouth have started to find form - can they keep it going?
Bournemouth got the win against Brighton despite a nervous first 30 minutes. The team was still not functioning that well, but was defending well enough to keep Brighton far enough from goal. What I did see that was better was the pressing from the front of the team. Bournemouth worked really hard just to win the ball high up the pitch. It made all the difference, because Brighton looked like the team that were taking risks at the back and not Bournemouth.

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How much energy and confidence can Bournemouth get from one win? It might not be as much as we'd like with Arsenal to play next in the FA Cup, but it is a free hit against Arsenal and the pressure will come on again when Bournemouth play Aston Villa at home. The Cherries have not done well against the teams around them and Howe will know they can't keep dropping points, especially at home.

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It's the old saying of making Dean Court a fortress. If the crowd can keep getting behind the team and giving the players that belief to put as much into games as they did against Brighton, they can fight their way up the league. The gaps are not enormous, but the sooner Bournemouth can string a few games together, the better their chances of getting the feeling that momentum is back with them.

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In other news, Jermain Defoe has signed a pre-contract to join Rangers from Bournemouth permanently this summer.

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Has Solanke woken up?

The player that Bournemouth fans should be getting behind even more now is Dominic Solanke. Yes, he has had an awful time at the club and has been slow to find his way at Bournemouth, but the player that Eddie Howe thought he'd bought is perhaps starting to emerge at long last.
Much better from Dominic Solanke.
With two assists, Solanke could finally feel that he had really contributed to the win and more importantly Eddie Howe felt that his forward was starting to make the right decisions when closing in on goal. Passing at the right time and with the right weight is vital in the Premier League, and Solanke is starting to recognise he has to be better.

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He shouldn't worry too much about the goals for himself as they will come, if he keeps being positive and other players want to repay him when they see him in the box in a good position. It was the team performance helped by the individual work rate that gave them the win over Brighton. Feeling more part of the team is what Solanke needs to take away with him.

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What happens when Josh King is fit again is something that Eddie Howe will have to wrestle with. For the moment Solanke will probably keep his place to start, but it will also be good for the team for Solanke to know he has King ready to take his place if he doesn't keep his performances high.

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Bournemouth might not have many goals this season, but they have players that want to improve and Solanke is one of those who may surprise us still this season.

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