Tuesday, 27 September 2016

It was all about spirit from AFCB

Fans wanted a reaction from the players and so did the manager for the Everton game. Too often the Cherries probably feel sorry for themselves rather than just acknowledging that they have to move on and create the conditions for a better week before the next game. Last week, they used all that they could in what had happened in the past, like they drew against Everton and not giving up on the game to steer them to a much more positive outlook before a ball was even kicked.
Harry is giving his all in games.
Negative vibes never help a team and yet just knowing that the players have done well in training and are keen to replicate one of their best performances from the previous seasons are all pointers towards AFCB finally getting its house in order on the pitch.

What I did see is that Harry Arter is back to his best. He is an absolute terrier when he gets in the mood and he was certainly in the mood against Everton. He wanted ever ball and he seemed quicker than everyone on the pitch. His fitness levels are surely among the best at the club and how he flexes himself before kick off gives you a good indication of how he can stretch an extra few per cent out of his body when he needs it. That energy and winning regularity that helped AFCB climb the leagues can be just as effective in the Premier League and it was good to see Martin Keown on Match Of The Day make recognition of how Arter was fighting for every ball.

It is always inspiring to others when one player is like a dynamo, pushing passes and pressing the opposition to force them into mistakes. That builds a spirit and an energy throughout the team and how far that will take AFCB will be great to see.

Boruc is saving AFCB time after time

Artur must be having the time of his life at the moment. He already has a cupboard full of videos this season of his greatest saves and he looks a complete and more confident keeper. That should be a big help to the back four in knowing that Artur is still likely to save a chance if the opposition get past them. To do this a couple of times is great but Artur has been outstanding as he has pulled a couple of match-winning saves out in just about every game so far.
There's no hint of a look in for Federici at the moment.
If good goalkeepers can save you 10 points a season, then Artur Boruc is already well on his way to that. He has started this season like no other in my view and if you think he is about to fall of that high pedestal I don't reckon you've been watching Artur closely enough. The movement he made to get across his box to keep out Lukaku's early header in the Everton game was already magnificent, but he is also surprising people in how he is able to back pedal and keep out deep crosses that seem destined for the top corner. In short, I think his attention to the game is a lot stronger this season. He is always alert to having to make a save and that quick thinking has been making the difference for him.

Since the penalty save at Crystal Palace though, Artur has been at a level that is probably as good as any Premier League keeper. It is something that AFCB have not had the luxury of having before and it is excellent faith that Eddie Howe has shown in Artur to keep him as the club's number one. It would have been unsettling to the team to keep changing and bring in Federici for a few games so I'm pleased for the team and Artur that he is making it hard for teams to score.

Did anyone expect Artur to have such a good start to the season? I doubt it. Perhaps Artur himself, but his value to the team is very high stock at the moment. 

Monday, 26 September 2016

AFCB play better when their backs are against the wall

Just when you expect the Cherries to struggle, they come out fighting. The win against Everton was great not only because it was a clean sheet and a home win against a good side, but it showed that AFCB had character as the managers like to say. The side had been condemned and criticised for its lack of fighting resilience against Man City and Preston, but the match against Everton was like a switch had been flicked on. The boys wanted it and they went out and fought for each other.
Forget about individual stars - AFCB are starting to pull together as a team.
I am not sure why the side seems to need a kick to get playing at its very best, perhaps Eddie Howe is the one to ask about that. But when there are set-backs and AFCB are on the back of a rough few games they manage to look deep within and find an extra 10 per cent to get a win. A negative result would have set a very different kind of atmosphere and it was imperative that Eddie Howe found away to turn things around. He has halted the side now and has given fresh optimism. You could also see how much it mean to Eddie Howe when Junior Stansilas put the Cherries ahead. He was highly animated and thrilled for his player. We don't often see that from Eddie but when they have had difficult times you do see him getting more involved in proceedings and I think it is great to see for the fans and the players.

You are not going to get great moments in every Premier League game so when they came along you should enjoy the high points. Eddie Howe paid thanks to the crowd as well which was respectful of what they have been through and the best way to apologise for some of the recent events. Everyone can draw a line now and start thinking positively again. The total of seven points from six games is a good position to be in to attack the season and now the players have found their groove it is important for the players who are not in the side to push those who have the shirts at the moment.

No player should feel comfortable in this side and the side will again have to be at its best against a Watford side that have already torn Man Utd apart and destroyed West Ham Utd, coming from two behind. This next game will be AFCB's biggest battle next and the resolve has to be high to get a result against a Watford side who also play better when they have a point to prove.

AFCB have found last season's form and their own identity

There were some very clear points by Eddie Howe that were made after the win against Everton. He was under a lot of pressure from recent results and was keen to impress that this side is not the same as previous sides, but that it is finding its own identity and a way to play against the top sides. It may have only been three points but it was as if a great burden had been lifted from the team and that they can now press on.

AFCB just may have found themselves and a way of
playing that suits against the top sides.
I think it is easy for fans to want instant results and yet the side has been undergoing a transition right before us, over the summer, and the early part of this season. The characters that have left the dressing room were strong ones in Ritchie and Elphick, and there needed to be an inner desire from this coming into also bond with their new team-mates and do something together to give them a platform. It came in this game against Everton, because it was a game when the Cherries were really up against it to hold on for the win. They felt the pressure together, dug in and kept Everton out. That was a more impressive win than the win against WBA, and it gives the players something to pull on in future knowing that they can keep a good side coming back at them.

Now the Cherries have more focal points than they did last season. With the old guard of Arter and Surman keeping the stability, there are exciting elements to what AFCB can do in attack as Jack Wilshire ad Jordan Ibe tend to try the exceptional, and that has already started to rub off on Arter's game when we watch that through pass to Junior Stanislas in the Everton match. Harry is raising his game with the need to hold his place and it will be even more amazing if he can raise his standard further as he is already a main component of AFCB's success.

Now the side is starting to put its roots down. The players know they can win games and they have to see if they can win back-to-back wins by carrying their high standards through to the Watford game. It is going to be a gradual progression for this team but Junior Stanislas' goal has given them lift off and I'm excited at what will come next.

Premier Talk: Stoke City fans should not fret just yet

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Stanislas stuns Everton again 1-0 to AFCB

Match Description
AFCB 1 v 0 Everton
24 September 2016
Attendance: 11,291

Junior Stanislas scored the goal that gave AFCB their second home win of the season against an Everton side who were previously unbeaten in the league. The 23rd minute goal was superbly taken after Harry Arter had switched play from the left side to Stanislas, who was some 25 yards out from goal, when he took aim and fired his shot past Steklenburg and into the top left corner of the goal. It was a narrow victory for the Cherries but a massive result for their season after a difficult last week. The Cherries are on the up, so much so that they now occupy 13th spot in the division.

The team selection for the Cherries saw Josh King removed from the side and he is thought to have had a knock that kept him out. That allowed Jack Wilshire to play in the number 10 role and Junior Stanislas started on the left wing.
Everton came to Dean Court unbeaten in the league.
Everton put out a strong side with Lukaku and the in form Gueye and new signing Bolasie among their starting line up.

It was the Cherries though that felt the weight of the English Football League Cup defeat lifted from them as they went at the Toffees, and played positively with Callum Wilson guiding an early header wide from a Charlie Daniels cross.

Lukaku was always going to be a worry and, from an early free kick, he had an early header saved by Boruc at full stretch to his left. It outstanding from Artue Boruc.

With Wilson breaking free it was Jack Wilshire who almost benefited shooting his shot off Coleman, only to see it come off the bar!  Arter then cut inside and drove a left foot shot across the goal mouth and saw it glance off the far post.

But the Cherries kept their attacking game going and Stanislas lashed his shot into the top corner, once Arter had found him in some space just outside the box to put AFCB 1-0 up. While Gareth Barry had a shot from distance before the end of the first half, he could not trouble Boruc who palmed it over the bar quite comfortably.

Ross Barkley had a better headed opportunity from a Coleman cross in the second half, but Boruc did not even have to make a save. Boruc then provided some acrobatics in digging out a deep cross with Everton players lined up to attack it. Valencia had the best chance to score though just before the end, but he could not get his finish on target from a fast cross that came in from the right. AFCB held out to take all three points.

The Cherries may only have won by a single goal, it was a win that will boost the team and the fans which was much needed. Harry Arter was instrumental in creating the goal and keeping Everton at bay for 90 minutes with his hard running. He perhaps was unlucky not to have scored himself, but it was a great performance by the Irishman and not unexpected I might add - as I pointed out that he tends to rise to the occasion in such weeks that AFCB have just had. Junior Stanislas will want to play Everton every week at this rate. He has the midas touch against them and he may well have sparked the Cherries' season into life once again, while Artur Boruc is just having a fantastic spell in goal. Suddenly, things on the pitch feel a whole lot better.

Boruc, Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels, Surman, Arter, Stanislas, Wilshere (Gosling 76),
Ibe (Gradel 71), Wilson (Afobe 90)


Gosling, Aké, Afobe, Gradel, Smith, Federici, Mousset

Stekelenburg, Coleman, Jagielka, Williams, Oviedo, Gueye (E Valencia 81),
Barry (Cleverley 55), Bolasie, Barkley, Mirallas (Deulofeu 60), R Lukaku

Everton Subs
Robles, Deulofeu, Lennon, Cleverley, E Valencia, Funes Mori, Holgate

Referee: Robert Madley

Saturday, 24 September 2016

AFCB can upset the odds and beat Everton

There is much to be upset about at the moment if you are an AFCB fan. If it is not the ticket distribution that annoys, it is the recent results and the lack of goals from the Cherries. Yet, a home win against Everton would perhaps give a very different perspective of the team and how quickly it can turnaround form.

Moving Josh King on the left would allow Jack Wilshire to
maximise his presence in behind Callum Wilson.
You are only ever as good as the last game and whether you take that to be the side that played against Preston or the side that was smashed by Man City, all AFCB fans are aware that there can only really be improvement ahead. To suffer a huge home defeat is simply not an option. AFCB's players owe the fans something now and that will be a big incentive for them to beat the odds and restore some pride in their performance. 

Having lost to Everton away last season and in the FA Cup at home only seven months ago, there may seem an inevitability about what fans can expect against the blue side of Everton. But the best results are always those that are not expected and it would be massive for the players if they could get the job done this weekend. After the week that they have had I expect them to raise their game. 

It starts with the manager though and what he asks of his players this weekend. He must get a better balance between defence and attack and impress upon his players that it is time to deliver. If the second season in this league is more difficult, then the home form is something that the side has to hold on to. WBA and Man Utd did not find it an easy place to come to and AFCB must aim to be more compact and to give nothing away this weekend. Even a 0-0 draw would be welcome at the moment. 

The team I suggest Howe picks accommodates Jack Wilshire as the Cherries have to aim to be more dominant at home. Pushing Josh King out wide is not my favourite place for me to see him play but there has to be more incentive in getting the team to work as a whole and for me that means starting Callum Wilson with Wilshire just behind him on a level with King and Jordan Ibe.

4-2-3-1 Boruc (GK), A Smith (RD), Francis (CD), S Cook (CD), Daniels (LD), Ibe (RM), Arter (CM), Surman (CM), King (LM), Wilshire (FW), C Wilson (FW)

AFCB Home Form

Everton Away Form

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Friday, 23 September 2016

Everton are more formidable now

Just one quick look at he Premier League table tells you that Saturday's match will be another really tough game for the Cherries. Everton sit second in the table by right and if they had not been held to a draw against Spurs they'd be joint top with Man City. The 'Koeman factor' is alive and well at Goodison and it's breathed new life into what looked a tiered team last season.

The Everton that beat AFCB in the FA Cup last season was a good team but not a consistent side that could be guaranteed to put in a solid performance. That can't be said about the Everton side coming to Dean Court this weekend. They are confident and banging in goals and Lukaku is making the art of goal scoring look simple. Everton have always had quality within their ranks but they have been too often the cause of their own downfall. Ronald Koeman has knocked them into shape and they are suddenly organised at the back with an explorative attack and its winning them a lot of games.
Everton are good, but can AFCB be better?
So should AFCB go for Everton or treat them more cautiously now that they have to look to get something after being brought down to size against City? I've no doubt that AFCB will go and attack as it is how they play best. But they have to look at Everton's strength as well. The pundits have been gushing with praise for Everton's Idrissa Gueye who was signed from Aston Villa. He plays with energy and a fast touch that has singled him out as a man to watch. in central midfield. Seamus Coleman is back in the side and will look to push Charlie Daniels back. Barry is the metronome in the centre who like Surman keeps things ticking along and Bolasie is going to be making a nuisance on AFCB's right. Lukaku is just irresistible when he is in form and he is unfortunately in form.

Everton might not be a flowing or individually as exceptional as Man City's players but they have a team spirit going now and they have structure. Moreover, it is a structure that wins them games so AFCB have to find a level that is good enough to match Koeman's high flyers and that is not going to be easy. The pressure of them knowing that they could go top if they get a result just might be something that unsettles Everton though.

The Football Blog Awards are asking for votes up to 26th September 2016 - Cherry Chimes is asking followers of the blog to vote for it in the Best Football Club Blog category