Monday, 24 July 2017

A fitter and better Lys Mousset?

There was quite a bit of excitement last season when AFCB announced the new signing of Lys Mousset. He had been scoring a tonne of goals for Le Harve and was a prospect that looked fresh and a bit unpredictable, well at least certainly something different from anything else at AFCB. But it hasn't really taken off for Mousset yet at Bournemouth, until his last outing at Portsmouth, when he looked the part as a hard working and energetic striker.
Lys Mousset is aiming for more football in 2017-18.
I wonder if the form of Josh King has give Lys Mousset a style of play he can now adopt himself. The young Frenchman has the physique to be a quick, bustling attacker and he now seems to know where he needs to get to, if he is to challenge for a place in the team.

Eddie Howe said that Lys was looking much better now, and that he had been unfit last season. This came as a bit of a surprise to me, but perhaps having seen how lively he was in the Portsmouth match, fans can see there is more to come from Mousset.


While the competition gets no easier for Lys with an international striker like Jermain Defoe joining the Cherries, it is important that he doesn't get downhearted and makes the most of any appearances he might get. He has done that of late but he must carry it on. I like the way he is always looking to shoot and is quite a selfish player when he sees the goal.

Surprisingly Mousset has made as many as 11 appearances for the Cherries in the Premier League, but they all add up to just 265 minutes. It's been five minutes here and there in games and he has not managed to hold down a place as a first striker sub yet. That should be something that Lys can target this season, and if he does get there he will get more than a few minutes at the end of games.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Bournemouth just edge out Pompey 1-2

Match Report
Portsmouth 1 v 2 AFCB
22 July 2017 Pre-season friendly
Attendance 7182 (988 AFCB fans)


The now seemingly annual pre-season fixture with Pompey was a lively encounter and a few AFCB players made the most of the outing. Lys Mousset made an excellent start to his claim for more involvement in AFCB's team with an early goal and he linked up well with Benike Afobe, which will give Eddie Howe something to ponder. Portsmouth found it hard to do much more than long shots, but the first half was tight with the Cherries just the one goal up. Chapman put the teams level just after half time, with a shot from just inside the box, before an alert Afobe restored Bournemouth lead a couple of minutes later to keep AFCB's pre-season on track. 

Fratton Park.
Bournemouth travelled to Portsmouth looking to keep their winning pre-season on track and they gave Asmir Bogovic his first start since he move from Chelsea earlier this summer. Simon Francis was used as a right back and Afobe and Mousset got the starts up front, while Max Gradel who is the rumour of much transfer talk began on the left wing. 

The Cherries put out a fairly strong side at Portsmouth but fans had to wait to see if Defoe would come on in the second half.

Match description
The weather was wet and overcast, quite a contrast to the Marbella training camp for AFCB. It did not take AFCB long to get accustomed to their surroundings though when Mousett crashed in the first goal on eight minutes, after Afobe pulled the ball back from the byline to him.

Portsmouth were getting long range shots off but there was nothing to bother Begovic by the 18 minute mark and Afobe dragged a shot wide that could have doubled the lead.

Pitman then had a shot from 20 yards that Begovic held on to.

Mousset then drove a shot from just inside the box that had McGee at full stretch, as he turned the shot wide of his post.

Kyle Bennett then put in a looping effort, but it sailed over AFCB's bar. Mousett comes close again with excellent work with Afobe, before McGee saves and a Pompey defender clears off the line!

Gradel is also getting into advanced areas, and wins a corner.

Carl Baker tries a 20-yard drive that just goes wide of Begovic's left post. Gradel is next to shoot, but its saved by McGee low down.

As half time approaches Naismith has a long shot that goes over.
Second half
Worthington replaces Steve Cook and Francis moves to centre-half and Daniels replaces Tyrone Mings at left back.

Portsmouth almost got off to the dream start with Pitman put through against Begovic, but the former Stoke and Chelsea keeper got his angles right and thwarted Pitman with a great save.

Portsmouth would not be denied though and Chapman put Pompey level on 52 minutes with a clean finish just inside the box. Mousset hits a long shot that the keeper pushes over, but Afobe knock in AFCB's second from six yards with a back heel!

Francis and Fraser were involved in the build up and Fraser was unlucky not to score himself but Afobe finished the job on 54 minutes. Eight subs for the Cherries (read then in the texts below). Off go Begovic, Surman, Arter, Afobe, Gradel, Mousset and Cargill.

Portsmouth are denied a penalty when the ball hits Francis' arm in the box. Bennett is the best player at the moment. Naismith comes off for Lalkovic.

Aké makes a good defensive header before Chaplin gets there. Ibe is proving a good outlet for the Cherries. Pompey subs come on with 13 minutes to go.

Josh King is okay after a head clash. Chaplin goes close again with a shot that flies off the base of the post!

Burgess then heads over from a Pompey corner. Gosling then has a shot that is deflected.

Full time.

Summary
Eddie Howe's biggest scare in this match was probably when King clashed heads with Davies and will be relieved there was no lasting injury. Bournemouth had to fight hard at times during this match to keep Pompey at distance, but there were some very good moments for Lys Mousset and Benik Afobe. Asmir Begovic is also going to be a contender for the keeper's position.

AFCB
Begovic, Francis, S Cook, Cargill, Mings, Surman, Arter, Fraser, Gradel, Mousset, Afobe

AFCB subs:
Federici, Worthington, Simpson, Ake, Daniels, L Cook, Gosling, Ibe, Pugh, Whitfield, Mahoney, Defoe, King

Portsmouth
McGee; Evans, Davies, Burgess; Holmes-Dennis; Naismith, Baker, Rose, Bennett; Pitman (c), Chaplin

Portsmouth Subs
subs: Bass, Talbot, Whatmough, Haunstrup, May, Close, Lalkovic, Lowe, Main, Kabamba

Official AFCB and Pompey Texts
Bournemouth get the game started
2: From a Bournemouth corner, Mings' deflected shot is saved by McGee
3: Mousset meets Fraser's cross with a header that is cleared by a well-placed Pitman
8: Chaplin meets Bennett's cross, but it's a comfortable save for Begovic
GOAL! Mousset crashes home the opener after good work from Afobe in the right channel! 0-1.
Afobe gets down the right and cuts the ball back for Mousset to fire home
16: Bennett with a left-footed drive from outside the box that flies narrowly over
20: Afobe drags a shot narrowly wide of the post 
22: Pompey growing into this game and Pitman's shot is inadvertently blocked by Chaplin
21: Bennett hooks the ball into the centre, but it's cleared to safety by Steve Cook
26: Naismith's cross from the left is headed narrowly over by Pitman
27: Few chances of late, though Afobe and Mousset have dragged efforts wide from distance
.
31: Nice footwork from Kyle Bennett down the right. He works space before looping an effort over Begovic's goal.
32: McGee gets a hand to Afobe's angled drive, but the ball bobbles towards the net and 32: Baker has to hack clear
34: Wonderful work from Mousset. He wins the ball and slips a neat pass through for Afobe, who sees a low shot well saved!

38: Baker with a 30-yard drive that flashes just past the post 
42: Gradel's low drive is well gathered by McGee
43: Naismith with an ambitious long-range shot that flies over the bar
44: Patient play on the edge of the area sees Fraser and Arter combine, before Gradel's low shot is well held by McGee.
Half Time: Pompey 0-1 afcb. Mousset's early strike the difference at Fratton Park so far.


Start of the second half has been delayed here at Fratton Park, as a supporter receives medical treatment in the stands. A Portsmouth fan is receiving CPR in the stands. Sadly, SkySports later in the evening reported that the fan had past away. 

46: Game back underway. Two changes for us at half time. Worthington and Daniels on for Steve Cook and Mings. 0-1.
49: Mousset combines well with Afobe once again, with the goalkeeper out well to bundle away the danger.
50: Naismith sends Pitman through on goal, but Begovic makes a good stop to deny the former Bournemouth striker
51: What a save! Pitman is clean through but Begovic stands up well to palm around the post!

Davies then heads narrowly over from the resulting corner
52: Portsmouth level. Pitman finds Chaplin who calmly finishes from just inside the area. 1-1.
GOAL! Pompey 1 (Chaplin 52) Bournemouth 1
Pitman sends a cushioned header into Chaplin's path and the striker beats Begovic to bring Pompey level
53: Mousset's shot pushed over the bar by McGee
GOAL! Pompey 1 Bournemouth 2 (Afobe 54)
54: Game really livening up now, as Mousset's smashes goalwards from 20 yards with the goalkeeper punching over the bar!
Bournemouth immediately restore their advantage courtesy of a neat back-heel by Afobe
55: GOAL! We're back in front, as Afobe flicks home a loose ball from inside the six yard box! 1-2.
59: Eight changes. Federici, Ake, Gosling, L Cook, Ibe, Pugh, King and Defoe are all on.
63: cry for a penalty when Bennett's cross strikes Francis' arm, but the referee's not interested
69: Lalkovic for Naismith
72: Game a little disjointed following substitutions for both sides. We still lead 1-2.
73: Rose tries to chip the ball towards Chaplin in the box, but Ake cuts it out
77: That flurry of substitutions has taken the sting out of the match

78: Collision of heads between King and Davies. Stoppage in play, with both players down receiving treatment.
81: Chaplin wriggles into the area and sees a low shot across the goal cannon off the base of the post!
87: Holmes-Dennis' cross has to be cleared behind by Gosling
87: Lalkovic's corner is then headed narrowly over by Burgess 
90: Chance! Defoe's effort is blocked, with Gosling then seeing an effort deflect wide.
90: Gosling's shot is deflected wide by Holmes-Dennis

90+1: Good tackle by Burgess to deny Defoe
Full Time: Pompey 1 Bournemouth 2


Saturday, 22 July 2017

Does having Defoe take the pressure off of King?

The signing of Jermain Defoe was said to be a significant moment by Eddie Howe. Defoe has years of Premier League experience and has scored 158 times in the top division. By bringing him in, AFCB know they have a player that is capable of 20-goals in a season and that should be used to take some of the workload off the shoulders in Josh King, who has to try and repeat what he did lasts season.
King will be able to focus on his game more knowing that
he has another top striker alongside him to share the goal scoring.
Josh King has always stated his desire to remain at AFCB and learn more from Eddie Howe and by staying at the club he is going to have a first-grade striker to watch and study in Jermain Defoe. Defoe is a natural finisher and has never worried too greatly about any spell when he hasn't been scoring. In most cases it has only happened when he has not been getting the ball, but at AFCB he should see plenty of it as AFCB move the ball through the phases and up to the last third.


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I remember how Spurs fans used to moan that Defoe was not getting long enough and that when he did get full games he tended to score more often than not. What I like about Defoe though is that he doesn't rest at one goal if he can get more in a game. Josh King has to find that kind of streak as well, although he already got his Premier League hat-trick last season against West Ham, as the Daily Telegraph recalls.

Defoe will hopefully look to get his name at the top of the goalscoring this summer as well and we could see a bit of competition in the friendlies to see who the sharpest striker is.

Having Defoe around though should be a big help to King when the pressure of games not going the way he wold have hoped come around. Defoe will have been through that many times before and for Josh it could be the extra help he needs to get him up to those 20 goals he will surely now aim for.

Enjoy today's game - UTCIAD!

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Friday, 21 July 2017

Portsmouth will have an old friend hoping to score against the Cherries

It looks like Bournemouth fans could well see their former striker make his debut for Portsmouth this weekend in the Pompey pre-season friendly. Brett Pitman joined Pompey earlier this month having decided that it was not working out for him well enough at Ipswich Town. 
Brett Pitman could well line up against AFCB on Saturday.
Now Pitman, 29, will be seeking promotion back to the Championship with Portsmouth and Pitman will have fond memories of how he ripped it up with goals in League One with the Cherries.  

Pitman is in no doubt that he can do well at Portsmouth and help them get promoted: "This is too big a club for League Two and arguably it’s too big for League One, so our collective aim has to be to go up to the next level," he said.

But first he is likely to face many of his former teammates at Fratton Park on Saturday and I'm sure the Bournemouth players will be looking forward to rubbing  shoulders with Brett on the pitch. It is going to be hard for Eddie Howe not to let Simon Francis have a centre-back spot and I hope Francis does get the job of keeping Pitman quiet. Francis needs to make a real statement if he is to lead the side out next season as he has real competition for his place in the team.


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Portsmouth may have a team that is less well known to the Cherries now, but they still have a goal threat in Gary Roberts, who scored against Bournemouth the last time they met in the 2015-16 FA Cup. Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain, younger brother of Alex is also a Pompey player in central midfield will also be interesting to see.

It will be Pitman that is the big draw though and the timing could not be better. He scored 15 goals in 42 starts and 28 sub appearances for Ipswich, His sharpness in front of goal may appear to have dropped off a little from his Bournemouth days, but Pitman says "Maybe the style of football didn’t suit me down to the ground at Ipswich.”

We'll soon know how much at home he finds things at Portsmouth.


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Thursday, 20 July 2017

AFCB may move for Leicester winger if Gradel leaves

The fate of Max Gradel looks to be coming to a conclusion, as we draw near the end of the transfer window. Toulouse have put in what the Sun describes as their second bid for Gradel to take him on loan for the season with an option to buy afterwards. The offer may be great for the French side, but would AFCB rather sell now and raise some more transfer funds?
Max is very much in demand, but will AFCB be happy with a loan move?
The option of a loan rather than a sale could be a sticking point, as Gradel is a player that would command a reasonable transfer fee, and Edie Howe may not wish to let him go on loan. While AFCB have suggested that their main business has been done, a transfer fee for Gradel could open up the purse strings again for a winger replacement.

SkyBet have quickly moved AFCB to the top of the odds to sign Leicester City winger Demarai Gray, who turned down the offer to join the Cherries from Birmingham when he joined the Foxes. Bournemouth are now 5-2 favourites to sign Gray. Would Gray be a good improvement to Bournemouth's squad? 

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The competition for wingers is already tough, but Gray is at a level that would challenge for a starting spot in my opinion, and would be favourable to Gradel in terms of age and potential. But with players like Pugh, Stanislas, Fraser and Ibe all wanting starts, it won't be easy for any new winger to walk straight into the side.

The transfer fee that Gray would cost is probably also in line with Nathan Aké's and Howe has already mentioned in the Bournemouth Echo that he is not comfortable with the high fees, but that is what players cost now.

The form of Gradel was excellent in Marbella, and while that has only heightened interest in Gradel, it could be best for AFCB if they hold out to see if a club is going to offer a permanent deal. That would give them a bit more cash for the Demarai Gray deal or another winger if Howe really feels he needs to replace Gradel.

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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Allsop swaps seaside towns

Yesterday, AFCB broke the news that Ryan Allsop would be on his way to League One side Blackpool for a season-long loan. It represents a good chance for Allsop to get his playing career back in the swing of things with match after match situation and should be just what he needs at this stage of his development.
Allsop takes a step forward in his career by taking a loan at Blackpool.
The number of keepers at AFCB was making things crowded, and it is not such a big surprise that Allsop is the player that has headed out on loan with his more limited experience to the likes of Boruc, Begovic and Federici. He has to make a name for himself and while he will be doing that away from Bournemouth, he should start to get that team feeling and respect that he no doubt craves for making saves week after week.

Blackpool won promotion to League One via the play-offs and they will have to first ensure they are competitive in their new league. Allsop will need to exude some confidence and show his teammates that he can be relied upon. Eddie Howe has always been supportive of Allsop and has kept him when it would have been simple for Allsop to have been left behind as the club grew in stature. Allsop has a long way to go to make it as the number one at Dean Court, but he has been doing enough right over the years to earn his place in various squads and I hope he really plays well.

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Having made his Premier League debut against Everton the season before last, and getting a full game against Leicester City last season, Allsop should be looking forward to running out in League One. It should be a place where he can excel and hopefully save a few penalties or be man of the match a few times.

Keeping is a specialist position and is not perfected overnight, but Allsop has been persistent and now he has an opportunity to really shine again, so I think Blackpool is a good place for him to go and play football. Give it your best Rockie!


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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Will Lewis Cook still be behind Surman in the pecking order for AFCB?

The places for central midfield have been more or less set in stone for the Cherries since their league one days. But in 2017-18 there will be serious challenges to the Surman/Arter duo and it will be important that some other players can step in when required. Whether Lewis Cook can oust Andre Surman from the starting line up will be something that fans might well ponder over the summer.
Is Lewis Cook ready to challenge for a starting place at ACB.
For me, I think Lewis is a great technician at the final pass from central areas and he will have been learning from Andrew Surman in the last 12 months. Taking over though is going to need more than a few good games from Cook. Surman knows where to be in the right place, when attacking moves breakdown, and his vision is amongst the best at the club for spotting runners going forward.

Lewis Cook will continue to improve though. The question is how fast will he improve under Eddie Howe? Will Eddie do what Gareth Southgate wants and play England U20 players like Lewis Cook more often? Well, Lewis only played in six games last season, mainly near the end when Surman became injured. It is one thing filling in for an absentee and another pushing them out of the starting line up.

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Lewis still has time to develop further and I'd expect him to target 10 appearances in the league next season and may well feature in a cup run or two. But Eddie Howe may well use him a little more often in the second half of games, if he does believe the ex-Leeds player is ready to start more often. 

I think that is the point at which Lewis Cook is at the moment, but Dan Gosling has been in a similar position for the last few seasons, and it's not easy for players to force their way into the AFCB line up when results have been excellent over the past season.

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