Premier Talk

With AFC Bournemouth's debut season in the Premier League I felt it would be appropriate to keep Cherry Chimes' eyes on some of the goings on with matters that are making the headlines in top tier and to comment on a few aspects on other teams. Some of these matters might also have direct links with gossip around the Cherries as well. 

Congratulations Liverpool!
It didn't take long for Liverpool to wrap up the title and they can thank Chelsea for doing them a favour in beating Man City 2-1 to hand them the trophy with seven games still eft to play. That was probably the best way Liverpool could win it with no worries of crowds around the stadium they were playing in, although it is a shame for the players perhaps that they could not celebrate on the pitch the moment they became champions. Liverpool have been the best team by a mile all season so it is great that their fans can now celebrate knowing that they are officially Champions. 

Football is back - Aston Villa v Sheffield United
Two games were held on 17 June to get Project Restart underway, but what a mess it was for the Aston Villa v Sheffield United game. The ball clearly went into the goal when Oliver Noorwood floated a free kick over Sheffield United's defence and Aston Villa keeper, Orjan Nyland stepped backwards and appeared to step behind his goalline and the post with the ball in his arms. But Micheal Oliver didn't get a goal buzz from VAR and non of the seven cameras picked up the goal. It means Sheffield United only got one point and it is a vital point for Aston Villa who close the gap on AFCB by another point. If this sort of decisions are going to decide the Premier League then it is going to be lucky dip who survives. 

To be honest, Aston Villa played better football all game and it would have been harsh on them to lose the game. But we want the right result from games. It doesn't give me a thrill that football is back when this kind of thing happens and fans just have to lump it.

Liverpool 3 v 2 West Ham Utd - A let off for Bournemouth
If AFCB's players needed any warning that they can't keep seeing points dropped it was underlined several times by West Ham's strong display against the unbeaten Liverpool at Anfield. A win for the London club would have taken them above the Cherries and left Bournemouth just a place above the bottom three but Bournemouth were lucky that Liverpool didn't want to let go of their home record of wins and they came back like champions do having been 1-2 down after the hour. There is a clear message though that all the clubs below Bournemouth are not giving up and believe they can beat the best teams to find safety. Now Bournemouth have to prove that they can do the same and beat the best if they are to get themselves to safety. But they can't wait around much longer. Heads can go down when others leap above you and you don't want to be down the bottom come late March. A lot of pressure can be relieved with just one win and it would bring a couple of other clubs into the relegation picture. Meanwhile, Liverpool march on and we have to hope that West Ham don't get too much encouragement from their near headline moment at Anfield.
Wolves 3-2 Man City, best game for the neutral?
I thought the game between Wolves and Man City was an amazing watch for the neutral. A keeper sending off a penalty, a penalty saved, VAR intervention and a retaken penalty saved before Stirling scored and a comeback for a 3-2 Wolves win. The game had everything and it made me wonder if the top six could look very different this year. Liverpool look supreme as the Champions elect, but Leicester could cement the second spot and Man City could be the team worried that other teams like Wolves are closing the gap on them. When teams like Man City hold no fear for the rest of the league then anything can happen and  we could be on the verge of one of the best Premier League seasons and some more very surprising results.

The new plucky kids on the block
Sheffield Utd have been a great addition to the Premier League. they may not have beaten Man Utd but they gave them an almighty scare. In all honestly, they probably should have seen the game out. But the knowledge that were about to achieve something special perhaps caught up with them a bit and in the end they were no doubt overjoyed to get a point when Man United had come from behind to take the lead. I was split on whether to back Sheffield United or go for a draw before the game and now I am glad I decided not to do either. I would have been gutted to have seen them lose that two goal advantage. More of those kind of matches is what the Premier League needs, but I d feat that if the Blades keep this up they will take AFCB's tag as a lot of fan's second team in the Premier League to watch as they are the new plucky team.

By to Poch and JosΓ© is back!
The football media were all over the gossip that Mauricio Pochettino was likely to be on his way if Spurs' results didn't improve and they perhaps raised the intensity. But Pochettino wasn't winning games and something hasn't been right at Spurs since they reached the Champions League Final. It will surely not be long before Pochettino finds a new club. But in the meantime, JosΓ© Mourinho is back and what a job to step into. At Spurs he has a team that is among the best in the Premier League and still in the Champions League. How he approaches the project will be great to watch. For Eddie Howe to have been third favourite for the job shows us how much Eddie's status has risen and if these big name managers keep failing it won't be that long before one of the top six do ask Eddie if he would move. For the moment though AFCB fans can be very happy that Eddie Howe is staying to build AFCB and take it to the next stage, which could soon mean European football.

VARy good Liverpool

Liverpool were revelling in their win over Man City and they had quite a bit of help from VAR to get their win. If the decision had gone against Trent Alexander-Arnold the lead could have gone to Man City. But from that moment on, Liverpool were so impressive. The runs of the forwards and the tackling of Henderson and Fabinho soon pushed the red shirts further ahead when Salah steered his header in to go 2-0 up by half-time. Equally impressive was the way Liverpool handled the second half, as City did all they could to get back into it. On another day, City may have had a penalty with Stirling getting shoved and another handball incident from Alexander-Arnold. But overall, the atmosphere of Anfield makes it difficult for the officials to go against the home crowd and of the two teams it was Liverpool that played the better football on the day. Title over? Not quite, but for City to win it they will probably need some help from other teams to take points off Liverpool now and Chelsea and Leicester are in the title race as much as Man City now.

Saints 0-9 Leicester City
Friday 25 October 2019
I think some AFCB fans might remember this night. The goals just kept coming and Southampton basically threw in the towel after the third goal while their fans flooded out of St Marys before half-time.

Just in case you missed all the goals they came in these minutes:
0-1 Chilwell 10', 0-2 Tielmans 18', 0-3 Perez 19', 0-4 Perez 39', 0-5 Vardy 45', 0-6 Perez 57', 0-7 Vardy 58', 0-8 Maddison 85', 0-9 Vardy 90+2  

Some of the AFCB fans couldn't resist a bit of celebration on Twitter! No rivalry here then.

Manchester woes could rebound on Cherries
The poor start that Man United and in relative terms Man City have made to this campaign hadn't worried me too much in recent weeks. They have the investment and players to rebound from set-backs. I am sure any lapse will soon be addressed by Pep Guardiola for sure, even if Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer may have more reason to wonder if he can turn things around. 

It's the City aspect that has got me anxious as the Manchester Evening News is going transfer crazy talk early with Laporte being injured and they are adding more an more weight to the suggestion that Man City should go for Nathan AkΓ© in January. While Bournemouth are well supplied with central defenders, losing Nathan would be a major disappointment. The only saving grace maybe that Chelsea are believed to have a first dabs clause in AkΓ©'s contract having been his former club and with Chelsea unable to get involved in the transfer market at present, AFCB will hopefully be able to turn any bids from elsewhere away - now you don't see Man City losing out on players often do you?

Can Watford recover from this?
Going to Man City was perhaps not the team Quique Sanchez Florez wanted to take his team next knowing that Pep Guardiola would have torn into his team after their defeat at Norwich City last week. If we thought Man City were a wounded animal Watford soon found out that such an animal strikes out and within 18 minutes the Hornets were 5-0 down. Coming off the pitch at 8-0 was perhaps a relief in the end, but Watford's goal difference is completely shot. "I see this match like an accident," said Florez. But he is right in that City are one of the best teams in the world and it's not like Watford lost to Stevenage who are currently bottom of the football league. Watford were courageous in trying to attack City, but they had no organisation in defence and it was easy for City to pull them all over the place. It just didn't seem that any Watford player knew what to do and it was a real mauling. But it is only one game and only three points, so I don't see why Watford can't recover. The only man who will be relieved that perhaps his credibility has been slightly restored in Javi Garcia. he may have lost lots of matches with Watford including the FA Cup final against Man City 6-0, but yesterday's defeat was bigger and perhaps more embarrassing. It's the players that lost their heads and they no doubt have a mental block when it comes to playing Man City. With Swansea City riding high in the Championship next for Watford in the Carabao Cup, we will see if they can write this Man City thrashing off or not.  

Canaries bring Premier League to life
It is hard enough for any newly-promoted side to get points in the Premier League but to go and beat the Champions with eight regular starters out of the team is something quite sensational. Norwich City played with bravery and sensible heads against Man City and deserved every bit of their win. I kind of wished that AFCB could get a win like that against City and perhaps this game has set the blueprint of how well you need to play to do it. Norwich's left-back Jamal Lewis was unbelievably good and Ibrahim Amadou was timing every tackle so well that Aguero just couldn't eave his way through. Even Rahim Sterling looked human and once Man City got frustrated, it seemed that Norwich would hold out. The third Norwich goal was proof that Otamendi is not so comfortable playing out from the back and that a high press on Man City can get your strikers in on goal. I am just glad that AFCB won't be playing Man City next weekend, because Pep Guadiola will have his players more than fired up for their next game.

Man City fall foul of handball on VAR decision
The match of Man City against Spurs was a first test for the Champions to see if they could get a lead on one of their major rivals for the title. The game looked destined for a 2-2 draw
before Jesus seems to have scored a dramatic injury time winner. But hold on. VAR check - yes it was ruled out for a handball that would never have been picked up before VAR had been introduced this season. 

The result may seem unfair to City fans but it's just what is needed to build interest at the top of the table. Liverpool and Arsenal now have two points on the Champions and the next game for an angry Man City is Bournemouth at Dean Court. Eddie Howe probably won't welcome the frustration that City will feel and the injustice, but AFCB will aim to add to Pep Guardiola's frustration - can AFCB get their first point against Man City in the Premier League? It should be a packed house at Bournemouth

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