Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Is Frenchman set to leave the Cherries?

A few weeks ago it was clear that Lys Mousset was not totally happy with his lot at AFCB when he described his lack of football to the French paper L'Equipe. While these reports were played down by AFCB, the rumours that he wants a loan move have not gone away and Ligue 1 clubs in France have been put on alert it would seem.

A loan move back to France for Lys Mousset -
Spurs are also apparently interested in the former Le Harve striker.
There are not that many 20-year-olds that take the Premier League by storm and Lys Mousset may have underestimated the challenge he has been set at this moment in his career. He has only made two substitute appearances in the Premier League which is not what he might have anticipated, but he has four strikers at the club with more experience than him and with Jack Wilshere also playing in the hole in games it does not leave many opportunities for young strikers to get a go.

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The potential that Lys has was shown in his sensational goal against AC Milan in Warren Cummings Testimonial, but he hasn't managed to force his way into the match day squad very often despite making his Premier League debut against Sunderland in November when he played for 16 minutes, but it was a day when little went right for the Cherries. His nine minutes against Arsenal at the Emirates could have made him a hero as AFCB were 2-1 down but they slipped back further to let in a third in added time.

While he might not be a big miss for the Cherries considering that he has not played much, finding a replacement will need some attention unless Eddie Howe decides to promote Mikael Ndjoli or Sam Surridge to the senior squad for some experience. I still think Mousset needs to learn the English way of playing and needs more time to work with players at this level, but if he goes back to a French side on loan I would expect him to be back with AFCB in the summer to have another go at trying to make the first team for next season.

Finally, a great 0-6 win for AFCB's U21s against Gosport Borough in the Hampshire Cup puts them in the semi-finals. In addition, Max Gradel has been linked with a move away to next Saturday's opponents - Watford.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Tyrone will have better games

Last Saturday wasn't the game that Tyrone Mings will want to remember for long. While it marked his return to the Premier League, following his cruciate injury against Leicester City last season, there were few moments that will make him feel he hasn't really fully returned yet.

Tyrone has had a rough ride to make it back to the first team. He had only just made it on from the subs bench before and has never been a nailed on starter for the Cherries, so the game at Hull must have been massive for him. I don't think the goal that went in off him will cause him sleepless nights, but he won't like the defending he did for Hernández' second goal. He is experienced enough to know that he backed off too much and gave the striker the space he needed to score.
Tyrone is likely to get another game against Watford
with Simon Francis still being suspended.
The positives he can take from the game though is that he has got this game out of the way and he has started a partnership with Steve Cook. Eddie could easily have played three at the back, but he wanted to introduce Tyrone. In the long term, it will be good for the squad that he had this game and the next one I'd imagine against Watford, while Simon Francis is out. Yes, he can improve and do things better, but he'll be able to see the standard that he needs to get to now. I have no doubt that Tyrone can be a fantastic Premier League player.

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The one moment all AFCB fans probably winced was when Tyrone went down in the second half following a corner. For a moment it looked pretty serious as he held his knee and struggled to move. Thankfully he was okay, but I guess he will need to get many games underneath him before he is going to feel fully confident about his recovery. This game was a start and there's more to come from Tyrone.

Gradel just has to play games

Eddie Howe has already mentioned that he will be talking with Max Gradel about his future when he returns from Gabon and the Africa Cup of Nations. Yesterday, Max came on as a sub in the 81st minute of Ivory Coasts' opening match with Togo, which ended in a 0-0 draw. Max will want to get more time on the pitch but being around players like Wilfred Bony, Wilfred Zaha and Arouna Koné - Max will be aware that a move would be easier if he plays well at the tournament - if that is what he wants. 
Max has to get back into the swing of it at the Africa
 Cup of Nations.
Max's form has been slow to pick up this season following a long recovery period after his cruciate ligament injury last season. He has made only five Premier League appearances, and all of them were as a sub. He did score in the League Cup second round against Morcambe, but it's been a disappointing 2016 for Max and he may well return from the African tournament hopefully feeling that he can contribute more to this AFCB side.

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While some may wish for Max to be sold, I still don't believe that Max has played as well for Bournemouth as he can, or as well as he wants to have played. While it has been a frustrating time for him to have bad injuries to get over and fierce competition to contend with at Dean Court, Max knows that he should be a wide man that is first on Eddie Howe's thoughts most weeks. He has to get back to that standard if he is to give the Cherries more cause to pick him consistently. He has three more years left on his contract and I'm not so sure as others that he wouldn't want to fight for his place in the Bournemouth side.

Max is now 29 and probably only has one more big move that he could make. He perhaps needs to raise his stock some more though before a move would be attractive to AFCB and himself. For these kind of reasons, I hope Max returns from this tournament having played well and being really fired up to give the Cherries his very best in 2017.

Monday, 16 January 2017

No spark in the Cherries as they fall behind

Eddie looked very concerned about the team's
inability to summon any fight once Hull had scored their first goal.
Eddie Howe was gutted that his side fund that they could not respond to going behind up at Hull City having set the pace for the first 30 minutes. It was perhaps hard to understand as his sides have always fought for everything they've got and yet coming up against this determined Hull City side they seemed to lose their pattern of play,  and I wonder of some of the Cherries' identity was lost as the game wore on.

By that I mean, the core players that have taken AFCB up the divisions have fought hard for each other and their manager and the bond has magnified itself. Yet, when major names are missing from the line up, it becomes difficult to pick up the tempo when there hasn't been great consistency in selection. It's hard to accept because the team had the perfect start against Hull, but there are basics that are not getting done. 

There is no shame in falling behind to teams that are playing well, but you need a response. You need team-mates to help pull you out of a fix and perhaps the side had been diluted a bit from the side that has battled through difficult periods before. Each defeat will teach the players something though and I still feel that the Hull result was a bit of a hangover from the Arsenal game. The effort was there in the early stages of the game, but it quickly disappeared when questions were asked of the team. From the moment Hull City went 1-1, there was no spark that the Cherries would recover from the turnaround when the score went to 2-1. 
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It was a downhill performance in terms of belief as the game went on. The substitutions of King and Wilson might have made a difference on another day, but they could not create anything. It was only Marc Pugh who did come on and looked like he was making inroads against Hull City. But you need 11 players with spark to mount a comeback and the other players were like wet matches on this occasion.

AFCB should look at José Fonte for a short term move

Far from being a quiet January transfer window the odds are now very high on AFCB making some signings. This is not just because of recent results but the recall of Nathan Aké doesn't leave the Cherries with enough cover if anyone is suspended or sustains an injury in the back four. The luxury of bringing in an attacker may for once not be the priority for Eddie Howe.

The difficulty is that Steve Cook and Simon Francis are likely to remain the two players that Howe will want to play most in an AFCB back for at centre-half. What defender would want to come to a club when he is going to be the third choice and will be likely to sit on the bench for the majority of games? It took a long time for Nathan Aké to break into the side and even then, by accommodating him it meant that Simon Francis had to be switched to his old right back position. 
Will we see a new defender in AFCB colours this January?
As captain it is important that Simon Francis plays games and while he can move position it is better for the side to have two players who are regularly playing at centre-half. Francis and Cook are that pair and it was only the amazing form of Aké that broke that. Now the return of Tyrone Mings is going to be a plus point, but I expect him to struggle to match the form of Francis and Cook. Marc Wilson has also not emerged as a player that is going to challenge for a starting place.


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Bringing in a new face has its problems, but I get the impression that the side really needs a lift and a simple way to get that is to bring in a player that is going to raise the quality of the squad. AFCB don't need a player to sit on the bench, they need a defender that is above what they already have and that would need big money.

Finding that man in January is also tough as very few clubs would be keen to sell a top central defender. Southampton may well be one club that think differently on such matters but would José Fonte come to Bournemouth? I don't have a problem with Fonte coming from Southampton - when your team is conceding three goals a game something needs to change. His wages may be a struggle to pay, but if the Saints would agree to a loan for the rest of the season, it would not be such a bad solution for either club and José could still get a big permanent move in the summer, while AFCB would have improved their squad. 


In other news, disabled access remains a problem at Dean Court, reports SkySports.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Missed chances and poor defending killed AFCB's prospects at Hull

It was one of those Jekyll and Hyde performances from AFCB up at the Kcom stadium. AFCB began as well as they have in any game this season and to be 0-1 up in those first five minutes, it didn't look like it would be a bad afternoon. Yet, the dark clouds soon arrived and  they mounted as AFCB didn't slot home any of the openings they made after the spot kick.
The Cherries fail to find their form in front of goal.
We can look at several instances when the Cherries might have scored further goals in that first half. There was a superb ball from Jack Wilshere that singled out Benik Afobe. While the defender let the ball bounce, Benik gambled well and managed to get in front of the central defender but the keeper was virtually on top of him and he couldn't get a great connection on his shot.

Another moment that might have hanged the outcome of the game was Harry Arter's first half drive that just evaded the right post and went wide. Harry still hasn't scored this season and he's not really given himself many attempts to score.



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Others will look at the late not given penalty call on Marc Pugh. Another day AFCB might have been given the decision, even if it was already in the game by then. But all the missed breaks kind of add to the despondency and the team did not pick up enough in the second half to really put Hull City under pressure. They needed to make Hull City feel about their precarious position in the table and a second goal would have done that, but it never came.

Added to that we have the poor defending. It was especially bad on clearing and blocking crosses. As soon as Hull got width in their game the ball could almost be guaranteed to be crossed in and it caused havoc at times in Bournemouth's defending. With these kind of problems it is no wonder that the Cherries might even consider themselves lucky that Hull only scored three against them.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Hernández wrecks AFCB's visit to the City of Culture 3-1

Match Description
Hull City 3 v 1 AFCB
14 January 2017
Attendance 17,963
The Cherries found the bottom team too strong for them despite being an early goal up through a Junior Stanislas penalty, following a foul on Ryan Fraser. Hull City came back with a headed goal by Abel Hernández and some poor defending led to Hernandéz extending the lead in the second half, as he cut inside to bend his shot past Artur Boruc. A third goal was no injustice to the way Hull had fought and that it deflected in off Tyrone Mings summed up his and the Cherries day. It was a very bad afternoon for the Cherries and reinforcements look a real necessity this January, as AFCB look like they were running on empty.

Eddie Howe decided to play four at the back despite the loss of Nathan Aké. In came Tyrone Mings at centre back to replace Nathan. Josh King, Dan Gosling and Callum Wilson moved to the bench. Simon Francis served his second of three match suspension and Jack Wilshere, Adam Smith, Andrew Surman and Benik Afobe returned to the side. Artur Boruc also made his 100th Premier League appearance.

Hull City kept Harry Maguire in the team from the mid-week game. Meyler and Henricksen were dropped and Livermore moved to the bench.


Official AFCB tweeted team news.

Match Description

AFCB looked comfortable in the opening minutes and with Fraser running into the box Maguire made a silly late challenge, taking his legs and the ref pointed to the spot. Junior Stanislas made no mistake and it was 0-1 to the visitors in under three minutes - what a start!

AFCB have time to knock the ball around comfortably on this big pitch. Hull City are not closing down quick enough.

Diomande loses the ball on the edge of AFCB's box and Fraser races away. This game is very open very early - could be a lot of goals here. There is some lovely passing by AFCB in midfield. They look very assured on the ball and everyone is getting a touch.

Arter is picking up the loose ball well. Fraser is showing well and the ball is being zipped around.

Hull finally get a bit of possession and win a foul off of Afobe. Mings has settled in and is directing where he wants players to run. AFCB are beautiful to watch coming forward. 

Snodgrass almost gets Clucas in. AFCB have to watch the quick thinking of Robert Snodgrass. 

Wilshere has a great run through the middle of Hull's defence and a block from Davies prevents Hull from going two-nil down.

Boruc is fouled by Hernández after Adam Smith messed up a defensive header. Wilshere plays a long ball to Afobe and Stanislas picks up the pieces for Arter to shoot!!! Just wide.

Snodgrass tries a speculative shot on the turn from a throw in on the right but it drifts wide. AFCB are making Hull doing a lot of running when the Cherries have possession. Surman and Arter are happy to play balls back as well as over the top. Daniels over cooks a cross.

Mason wins a free kick on half way. Mings comes away with the ball though and its quickly to Daniels and then Stanislas on the right. Fraser drifts across the front line but can't stop the ball going out.

Hull are resorting to long balls from the back. Mings tries a similar tackle and Afobe just has Dawson to beat, he gets round him, but Jakupovic makes the block and somehow stops Afobe from scoring - 22 minutes gone.

Adam Smith is fouled by Snodgrass. AFCB have a corner now - this is one-way traffic. Hernández concedes another corner. Afobe wins the ball back expertly from Robinson. Arter puts the ball through for Fraser and Maguire just holds him off.

Fraser is looking very sharp today. Huddlestone gets a shot away but Arter blocks and as Diomonde tries to nip in Boruc comes out and smothers the ball with the help of his defenders.

Hull ware on the ball more now as they try and repair the damage. Mings wins a header well and AFCB just play their triangles as they move forward. Huddlestone gives the ball to Fraser, Daniels crosses but Dawson puts it out for a corner. A second corner now. AFCB players are lining up to hit it but the ref has blown.

Snodgrass wins a free-kick off of Mings even though Mings takes a knock. Snodgrass won't shoot from here but it's coming into the box to Davies at the back post, but AFCB clear. Snodgrass hits a rocket from 25-yards but it's well over. 

Huddlestone and Robertson on the left and the cross lands right on Hernández's head to make it 1-1 on 32 minutes. Boruc got nowhere near the cross and Mings could not stop Hernández coming in behind him.

Hull come forward again with Diomande but he is stopped. Hull City are right n this game now. AFCB playing from the back set up another move. Daniels can't get the final ball in.

Surman is restoring a bit of composure to the Cherries game. Bournemouth put the press on, but Hull escape. Robertson in space has a lofted shot but that's easy for Boruc. Mason and Hernández almost get the one-twos going but they are stopped on the edge of the box.

Adam Smith again takes down Snodgrass. Another free-kick for AFCB to defend. Davies glances a header wide. Just four minutes to half time.

Hull are starting to string passes together now. Daniels has to clear a ball in from Maguire. Cook gets a defensive header away. Robertson wins a corner off of Adam Smith's block. Dawson and Mason try and get on to it but it's out for another corner. It's bobbling around the box, and Hull win another corner with Diomonde going very close to scoring.

Another corner as Cook puts the ball out. It's a real aerial assault. Surman heads out and that's half time 1-1.


Stats
Bmth possession 57%, shots 6, shots on target 4, corners 4
Hull possession 43%, shots 5, shots on target 1, corners 4.

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Second Half
There are no changes at half time. It's Hull looking comfortable here and Robinson tries to put in a deep cross but it's over hit. Hull come forward with Abel Hernández as he takes on Mings, who back pedals. The left foot shot is fired in around Boruc to make it 2-1 to Hull on 51 minutes.

What a turnaround. What can AFCB do about this? Hull have a free-kick on the left side of the pitch. Snodgrass to deliver. Davies gets a weak header to it and it's a goal kick.

AFCB are just pleased to get a foot on the ball. Afobe is isolated and can't keep hold of the vall. AFCB are going to make a change Callum Wilson and Josh King are coming on and Afobe and  Ryan Fraser are subbed on 54 minutes.

Mason has a dig from outside of the box but it's wide of the goal. Mings gives another free-kick away.  Diomonde on the break puts the ball in but Hernández heads wide. AFCB have lost control of this game for all their pretty football. I'm not sure they know how to get back into this.

Adam Smith is yellow carded for taking out Clucas on the left wing. Wilshere tries to get AFCB going but can't find a Bournemouth player.

Adam Smith fouls Mason and it's another free-kick. The knockdown goes to Huddlestone it's there and it comes off Mings for Hull's third. Some 63 minutes gone and AFCB find themselves on the end of another comeback from a team.

The offside flag goes up for an AFCB break. AFCB's poor away record continues. Bournemouth are working the ball, but Wilshere loses the ball. Robertson takes on Smith but he has fouled Adam Smith. Arter and Wilshere combine but nothing is coming off for the Cherries. Marc Pugh is getting ready to come on.

Diomonde fouls Daniels which allows Stanislas to come off and Pugh enters the game on 69 minutes. Wilshere hits a straight shot at the keeper that is easily saved.

King now and Pugh is taken out and the shot comes in and the keeper saves. Pugh was chopped in the box by Mason and could that have bee a penalty? Mings is down injured in the box from the corner. He looks in trouble with his right knee. He's okay and up - thank goodness.

Mings shoves Snodgrass to the ground. Another free kick. This time Davies fouls Adam Smith with a kick in the ribs. Snodgrass is subbed on 76 minutes for Goebel.

Wilshere finds Smith on the overlap but the cross is badly hit by Smith. Adam Smith is warned again, jumping into Clucas.

Maguire puts a low shot across the box bit it goes straight out. Huddlestone plays in Hernández. Mings is holding him up and the shot is not too hard for Boruc to save. Callum Wilson has a fling at a Pugh cross but does not connect.

The long throw comes out to Wilshere but his chip is misdirected.

Hull sub Hernández for Niasse on 83 minutes.  Arter wins a free kick. Another Steve Cook long throw. Pugh turns his man and hangs up a cross but it's well caught by Jakupovic.

Hull make their final sub with Mason making way for Livermore on 86 minutes. There's no belief that AFCB can get back into this. Looking at the subs, King and Wilson have not made a big impact even if Pugh has been lively.

Cook puts in a long throw and it's cleared by Hull. Four minutes of extra time are being played. A break from Niasse is just thwarted as the offside flag goes up. Pugh's cross is headed out, but he'll try again - same result. 

Wilshere stands over a free kick. There goes the whistle.

Summary
The extra rest that AFCB's players had didn't give them anymore energy than Hull City that may have gone a goal down but weathered AFCB's first half attacks and came out the stronger side. The lack of ideas and ability to change things in the second half are not good signs for Eddie Howe to contemplate. Hull City were worthy winners and the aerial battles were well won by them. Tyrone Mings had an indifferent game and the sooner Simon Francis comes back the better. It;s another three goals conceded away from home and this time from a winning position. How can AFCB start games so well and fade so badly? 

Hull
Jakupovic, Maguire, Dawson, Davies, Clucas, Mason (Livermore 86), Huddlestone, Robertson, Snodgrass (Goebel 76), Hernández (Niasse 83), Diomande


Hull Subs
Livermore, Weir, Marshall, Niasse, Tymon, Bowen, Goebel

Bournemouth
Boruc, Smith, Cook, Mings, Daniels, Arter, Surman, Stanislas (Pugh 69), Wilshere, Fraser (King 55), Afobe (C Wilson 55)

AFCB Subs
Federici, Gosling, Pugh, C Wilson, B Smith, King, Ibe

Bournemouth Ratings
Boruc 5, Smith 5, Cook 6, Mings 4, Daniels 5, Arter 6, Surman 5, Stanislas 6, Wilshere 7,
Fraser 7, Afobe 5


Referee: Martin Atkinson 4/10 - he may have given AFCB one penalty but he missed another on Marc Pugh. I also thought Adam Smith was lucky to stay on the pitch.
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