Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Arter makes the difference to this AFCB side

Like every father, I found it quite incredulous to have helped bring new life into the world. It is a watershed moment for any couple and for Harry Arter it could well be not only a special moment at home, but it could give him even more determination to be a success on the pitch.
Harry can fully concentrate on his form and can lift the team with his
great news.
When all is good with AFCB its is usually found that number eight is at the centre of things. Harry is not a bystander when the going gets tough and now he can enjoy his family while setting about winning pints for the Cherries with a smile on his face. There is something very humbling and settling about having children and I think it will give Arter a new perspective on things.

The year has been a busy one for Harry who has had to overcome tragedy and yet has broken into the Irish team ,and has launched his own football academy. I don't think things are going to slow down for him now either. But there are aspects of his game that have perhaps not gone as well as he might have hoped for this season. With a return of one goal from his 24 games, he'll want to do something about that before the end before the season.

Arter will throw himself into everything and I'm sure he will have his eye's set on picking up points. While AFCB search for a winning team selection, there is pressure on every player to be at their best but even with Lewis Cook waiting to play his part, it will be Arter that I expect Eddie to encourage to find yet another gear. Know Harry, he'll probably find something extra to give in games. UTCIAD!

Do you want to own a pair of signed Jack Wilshere's Nike boots?

Well you can if you visit the Givergy website, and bid on the online auction. Givergy is holding the auction to raise funds for St. John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity. There are some 8 days left to bid!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Is the Cherries belief restored?

Belief is something that managers talk about all the time. Having been bashed by Everton 6-3, it was not unexpected that the Cherries wanted to show they were better than that for the visit of Man City. Arter said that the side really picked up after the first half at Everton, and while it was too late for that game, AFCB have played a game and a half now in much better form.
AFCB - on their way back.
Still the goals against doesn't read well, no matter whether you look at one, three or five games in the current run. But goals can go in against you even when the side is paying well and I thought the Man City match was typical of that. Some times the ball just doesn't run for you and Man City were special in the areas of the pitch where it mattered. Had the last game been against a bottom three side then I expect we would all still be wondering what had been happening to the side, but because it was City I have not heard too many fans criticising the performance.

Eddie Howe was certainly pleased that the fans stuck with the team despite them going down. The atmosphere at Dean Court was excellent and it will be that kind of support that Eddie will want to hear for the run in. It certainly gives the players more belief when they have the crowd chanting and I have noticed that in recent weeks it has been deadly silent when things were not going so well.

The real belief will only come when the team gets the next win and the next clean sheet. Eddie is very clear in his message of picking up the points as soon as possible and communicating that he never thought the side was safe, even when the points were coming more frequently. I'm not sure that the players took their foot of the gas, but they kept losing an early goal and have found it hard to get back into matches when that happened. The players needed a fresh start, and I think they got that in the City game. Now they can put things behind them and look forward to the challenges to come.

Do you want to own a pair of signed Jack Wilshere's Nike boots?
Well you can if you visit the Givergy website, and bid on the online auction. Givergy is holding the auction to raise funds for St. John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity. There are some 8 days left to bid!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Real Madrid trip should fill AFCB players with more ambition

To me it seems hard to see AFCB aspiring to even greater things than what they have already achieved under Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall. They have reached the pinnacle of the Premier League and yet they still need to see that there is more they can do to improve their game and being at Real Madrid's training ground at Ciudad must be something special for them.
AFCB are becoming a more stellar team themselves.
The friendships that AFCB have made with Real Madrid have certainly been a big plus when you can take the team out to their facilities and mix with their world famous players. I imagine the game at the Bernabéu last week was also an electric occasion for AFCB players to watch in such a setting. It is of course the next level up for AFCB players and while they have played an exhibition game on the pitch with Real Madrid stars it is quite another thing to see how those players live and train over in Spain. I just hope it does not give one or two of AFCB's players an incentive to go and learn Spanish!

While the Cherries will no doubt enjoy their time out in Spain they will be worked hard and have to prepare for the WBA match coming up. This will be a very tough fixture and the squad will need to be very switched on for the end of the season push. If the players want to remain on the Premier League and to aspire to play teams like Real Madrid then they will have to graft a lot more, and I guess it is easier to reach a dream when you have seen what it would be like in front of you. The Hawthorns might not be at the same level but WBA are guaranteed Premier League football next season, and AFCB have to come back with much more purpose and resolve to get the points they need now.


It is one step at a time that AFCB has overcome its challenges and this next test over the following 13 games will need everything the players have got, so I can see why a great trip such as the one to Madrid has been organised. If you can't run out on the pitch at Ciudad without a smile on your face then there is something wrong with you. Let's just hope that some of the winning style of Real Madrid rubs off on the AFCB team.

Do you want to own a pair of signed Jack Wilshere's Nike boots?
Well you can if you visit the Givergy website, and bid on the online auction. Givergy is holding the auction to raise funds for St. John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity. There are some 9 days left to bid!

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Ibe is picking up

If there was one slight surprise in the the team line up to start against Man City, it might have been the name of Jordan Ibe. While Eddie likes to change his wingers more than any other part of the team, it as been a while since Jordan forced his way into the starting line up and we just might see him stay there now for the rest of the season.
Ibe is starting to make progress.
Eddie has been more supportive of Jordan Ibe I'd say than any other recent signing. Of course he has the highest transfer fee at the club and while the player has no control over that, Eddie will have wanted his star signing to be an instant success. It hasn't really happened though for Jordan and I'd see this as his second crack at trying to cement his place in the side.

There was much to admire though about his work against Man City. He very nearly stuck away his early chance and I think he needs to do that in one of the games coming up to really break free. Once he has scored and experienced the congratulations of the players and the fans, I think he will start to be more at home. We are always quick to judge players, and I am sure that there is a lot more to come from Jordan Ibe than what we have seen. 

It is frustrating that he has not hit top gear more often, but the way he beat City players and fought to get ahead of defenders was more of what we'd like to see. Against Man City he probably put in one of his best performances with 10 dribbles. He does not yet use his power as much as Josh King does, and I expect he will be a better player when he can start brushing off defenders with more regularity. He has not really got into that many shooting positions yet, but it will just take one to go in for him to encourage him to shoot more often. So I have my hopes raised with Jordan's recent performance and let's see now if he can up it another level in the next game. 

Do you want to own a pair of signed Jack Wilshere's Nike boots?
Well you can if you visit the Givergy website, and bid on the online auction. Givergy is holding the auction to raise funds for St. John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity. There are some 9 days left to bid!

Congratulations to Harry Arter and his partner Rachel. Rachel had a baby girl called Raine Renne Arter in a London hospital (probably St Marys - Paddington), according to news reports.

In other news
AFCB have been found to have broken anti-doping rules on the whereabouts of players.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Are things catching up with AFCB?

The season is in its final third and that does not seem to be lucky for the Cherries when it comes to injuries. After last nights game, two players needed to be subbed before half time. Wilshere and Francis may only have knocks that disabled them from continuing in the Man City game, but the bruising Premier League is stretching AFCB's squad.

The rest period is badly needed for the squad.
This may not be so problematic if AFCB were a bit further up the table, but when a team puts in a good performance and still finds itself picking up injuries it does effect the moral. The Cherries need a bit of good fortune as the work rate they are putting in is evident. At home they are playing with that freedom again, and it might well have helped them to be facing a team like Man City who they had nothing to lose by taking them on.

AFCB need to keep players fit to get some consistency. The back four is really the place where this is most important and Eddie Howe will be ruing the fact that he has not been able to put out the same four for a long time.


The bigger matter is that the side is finding losing games is routine. While we saw a better performance against Man City than we have in previous weeks, the side still finds itself no safer with one less game to add to its points tally. The job has always been tough and while the Cherries were riding high in the league, there was no guarantee that the wins would keep coming. Now that they have dried up, it will need a big effort to get the points that are required. The good thing is that there was much more fight and commitment to giving the opposition a real test, and they need to take that energy into away games now as well.

The table tells the team where it is and AFCB have been found to not be much better than the strugglers, and so the WBA game is looking huge with Man Utd to follow. 

Do you want to own a pair of signed Jack Wilshere's Nike boots?
Well you can if you visit the Givergy website, and bid on the online auction. Givergy is holding the auction to raise funds for St. John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity. There are some 10 days left to bid!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Arter is sure AFCB are now on the same page

Harry Arter's comments after the Man City game were just the kind of words that you won't to hear coming out of your club. He was very honest in saying that they hadn't been good enough for a while, and that something had been missing. It seems peculiar that a team can fall down so quickly from a level of performance that was proving sound, but I think the players are only just coming to terms with what happened in January, and their need to pick up their game.
Arter is confident that AFCB are back playing as they should be.
Arter is a sensible player when it comes to trying to put things right. He runs harder, pushes harder and tackles harder. He manages to find an extra two or three per cent all the time, and it's easy to see why that kind of game makes him such a crowd favourite. The pleasing aspect to last Monday's match is that I saw another 10 other players also look just as committed and they are, as Arter said "now on the same page".

I'm encouraged by the admission that things weren't working and that the players knew they had to do something themselves to put a performance in. Okay, they didn't win and the table looks no better, but the morale in the camp should be on the up again as they were not out classed by Man City, who had to be at their best to get the win. Eddie Howe will know his side has a heart beat again now and he has to keep that going.

The fire in the belly looks to be back and that is what the fans wanted to see - a bit of fight. What was concerning was why it took so long for the players to find that, but with all the other teams around them not giving up, it was imperative that AFCB found where they needed to be on the pitch in the level of performance, and I expect them to build on what they did against Man City in the next couple of games. 

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

There will be easier games than Man City

I can't be too disheartened by the performance the Cherries put in against Man City. They have a first rate coach and some experienced top four players that would walk into most sides in the Premier League. To judge the defeat as a failure to halt the run of games that AFCB have been on would be to misjudge where each club is at and their aims.
AFCB took the game to City.
There is always a hope that a game against one of the big boys will go for you and AFCB set out to play Man City with plenty ideas and promise. While they kept the chances for City down quite well early on, they had to stand up to some excellent play from City. They won't be facing that kind of team every week and the games that matter will be those when they need to put their chances away.

Beating the sides around AFCB is what it is all about now. The players have to turn up when they are not playing the top six and that is what has been disappointing if anything this season. The players know that their Premier League status is on the line though for the remaining games and they simply can't afford to be nervous or hesitant against the teams they now need to beat.

Something has clicked in the players. They were not clearly thinking that they could get sucked into a relegation battle, but the last few weeks have switched them on and the big defeat against Everton is probably what some of the players will look back at come the end of May and say we actually benefited from being hit that hard then. It has at least given the Cherries enough games that left to get themselves out of trouble.