Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Pitman knows how to finish

Many fans will have thought that Brett Pitman is not the answer for the Cherries in front of goal in the Championship. That view may even grow stronger as leading newspapers like the Daily Mail are following rumours that Monaco striker Gaetano Monachello could be on his way to the Goldsands stadium. But the home bred striker is proving again that you can't write him off. If there is a chance in the box and Brett is the nearest player to the ball, he finishes more often than not and it is a quality that could serve AFCB well in the 2014/15 season. It is likely that Brett will be well used as a sub but if he comes on and makes an impact in games he will more than have played his part.
Brett looking to make a bigger impact in 2014/15.
There is no one who should feel that their place is safe in the first team and if there are some injuries it is important that the squad players can take on the main roles without wondering if they are good enough. I expect Eddie Howe is constantly saying to Brett and others that they are good enough and that they will be required. Once a striker is on a good run it is hard to ignore them and that is what Brett needs to do now. His goals in pre-season should quicken his stride in training and with so many players doing so well Eddie Howe just may have to think twice on more than one or two players in August before the first game.

I have a good feeling that the players are getting on well and not worrying too much if they are in that first 11 or not, because while so many are scoring and passing the ball well they are in contention. Eddie Howe needs as many players as possible putting themselves in contention and you simply can't have too many players who are natural finishers. Brett is doing more than okay even if the club is being linked with new strike options.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Is the Championship heading for Premier League 2 status?

The summer transfer window still has some way to go but it is already apparent that there is suddenly a trend for Championship teams to bring in players from foreign clubs. That does not mean that they are all spending big though. Derby were quick to pick up Athletico Madrid star Ivan Calero on a free. Nottingham Forest have paid £1m for Michael Mancienne of Hamburg and have signed Roger Riera from Barcelona on a free. Charlton have gone for Standard Liege's George Tucudean and Tal Ben Haim on free transfers. Meanwhile, Leeds have signed Tommasso Bianchi of Sassuolu and Souletmane Doukara of Catania. Fulham have brought in Kay Voser of FC Basel and Tim Hoogland of Schalke. We might have expected Watford to look towards Italy, but this time they looked at Parma and Daniel Tozer. Middlesbrough have even bought Tomas Meijas of Real Madrid. The BBC has a good list of July's transfers.

So what is going on? Are the prices for players in Europe suddenly much more affordable for Championship sides? Are the foreign players much better than those in the lower English leagues? I believe that there are many reasons and some of them may not be for the better for English football. The amount of foreign club owners and managers may well be a stimulant in the pull to look abroad while the cost of players in League One has been demonstrated by AFCB's signing of Callum Wilson from Coventry. Among other clubs to pick up League One players we can see that Rotherham signed Febien Brandy of Sheffield Utd in June and Ryan Hall of MK Dons, plus Mat Sadler from Crawley, while Brentford signed Moses Odubago of Leyton Orient Andy Gray of League Two Luton and Byron Webster came to Millwall from Yeovil on a free and Lee Gregory from FC Halifax. Stephen Gleeson of MK Dons also signed for Birmingham along with Johnathan Grounds who was at Oldham - both were frees.

There are fewer big money moves though from the lower leagues to the Championship and League One and Two will be all the more poorer for it in the end. If Championship clubs continue to go abroad for new players that will cut the amount of money going down through our leagues and while transfers between League One and Two remain high they are not of the value of the Championship signings.

We do see Championship sides willing to loan out players to the lower leagues and this may well be the main way that the transfer market works in future years. For teams like AFCB, the signings from Premier League teams have been possible because they have been on free transfers and this goes for a lot of the signings we have seen coming from the Premier League to Championship clubs. The most telling signing from a Championship club to another Championship side has to be Fulham's capture of Leed's Ross McCormack for an estimated £11m. 

Whether you think that foreign signings are bargains or gambles it appears that the Championship will be full of them. I can see this league becoming Premier League 2 which will be yet more bad news for the FA and the hopes of English fans that want to see their national side do well. If there is some good to come of the foreign player attraction it is that the quality of the league is likely to rise and with that the FA has a much more marketable product than it had only a few years ago as seen by SKYBet's sponsorship of the Championship.

Just as a final word, I had some communication with Liz Finney, the general manger at AFCB, and she informed me that the reason for so many mid-week kick offs this season in the Championship was mainly down to two things. Firstly, the clubs had all voted to start the season one week later and also there will be three international breaks in the 2014/15 Championship season.

You can also vote in our poll for where you think AFCB will finish next season - scroll down the right side panel to vote and see the results so far..

Monday, 21 July 2014

Cherries will try and keep new ruthless streak in front of goal

I have my fingers crossed that AFCB can keep their ruthless finishing going as we enter the first games of the new season. No matter what team is put in front of the Cherries they still have to score the goals to win the game and too often we have seen them toil away only to find that they get rather pedestrian in the last third of the pitch. That is not how the Cherries are setting up for their next campaign. The level of opposition now goes up a few levels as they get ready to take on some Premier League teams, but playing as well against better defences is what AFCB will now be aiming to do now.
Arter was on target from long range against Dorchester Town.

Just as pleasing for me with the pre-season games so far though is the small amount of goals conceded. FC Copenhagen put two past Benjamin Buchel in quick succession but the goals against have dried up since then. What is more, we have seen the introduction of Baily Cargill to that defence and against Dorchester Francis and Smith both played in a back four without Cook or Elphick.

Eddie Will be pleased that Callum Wilson has scored and that Yann Kermorgant is sticking his chances away along with Matt Ritchie. The player that I think he will hope finds his grove in the team though is Dan Gosling. If Dan can start to master the play and dictate the tempo I believe AFCB will be a much more dangerous team than they were last season. Just the presence of Dan in the team though is pushing Harry Arter on and it may be that Eunan O'Kane has to push on now to ensure he keeps his place in the starting 11.

Will AFCB try and make more of Yann's heading ability?

Yann is the man for AFCB.
Last season we saw how good Yann Kermorgant was in the air. He basically dismantled Doncaster at home in the 5-0 win with his powerful finishing. When I look at Kermorgant though I don't see a player who instantly would be expected to score lots from headers but his determination to out jump opponents seems to take defenders by surprise and I think some of that comes down to his positional play and the timing of his runs.

There has been a distinct lack of headed goals in recent seasons at Dean Court and now that the team has a known strong header of the ball we might see the tactic used a bit more. I still expect Bournemouth to play with the flowing passing game but if anything more crosses may be supplied to the Frenchman if he is seen as the main strike force in the team.

Certainly Kermorgant has the ability to score 10 or more headed goals a season with the right delivery and over the summer the players will have a lot of time to work on how best to find him in the box when he shows how he likes to pull off the defenders to find space and make goal scoring opportunities. The pleasing aspect of Kermorgant's play though is that he is more than a striker who simply scores with his head. He has shown that he is an instinctive striker and also an unselfish one on many occasions. It maybe that we see an even more hungry Yann Kermorgant come August when he looks to show that he is the main man up front now.  Already in the Dorchester match he has demonstrated how eager he is to get on the goal scorers list and I expect a few more hat-tricks from Yann in the games to come.  

Yann - so calm in front of goal.
Eddie Howe has said that Ryan Fraser came off with a slight injury in the Dorchester game while Tommy Elphick and Tokelo Rantie were rested, the later because of a groin strain. 

Just to remind us all that Yann can also hit a free kick, thanks to Steve Wright's clip you can watch Yann's free kick against Dorchester Town. You even get Steve's knee as a bonus!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Cherries already among the goals

It was good to see so many of you decide to vote on the Chimes poll for the top scorer pre-season. To receive more than 50 votes was excellent for our first poll of the new season. It was no surprise to see that most of you expect Yann Kermorgant to get a hat full of goals this July, and while Callum Wislon also drew a lot of support it is not always those who you might expect to bag the most goals pre-season. I limited it this year to just the first team and last pre-season Jordan Chiedozie ran away with the top scorer and nobody picked him out as the top scorer. Still I get the feeling we could be in for a shock again.

While we have only had three first team friendlies 17 goals is a pretty amazing start and there are some unlikely candidates among the goals. It won't be Rakish Bingham  that catches you out though as his trail period seems over as he is reported to be trying out for Cheltenham Town now. It was interesting to hear that Eddie Howe did not dismiss the possibility of other players still joining the side before the start of the season and we'll have to wait to see if AFCB are still after more strike options or strengthening in other areas.
Where's Rantie?
Brett Pitman has also been doing his utmost to get noticed by scoring setting up a goal and hitting the bar and all in one match against Eastleigh, while bagging a couple in the anhilation of Dorchester. The fan who selected Brett to top the scoring chart could well be on to a good thing. I backed TK to come good and have my fingers crossed that he will if he gets some game time although he was not even among those used at Dorchester.So it is Yann Kermorgant leads the way on four and he had not even scored in pre-season before the Magpies game. It is good to see the goals getting shared out though with Matt Ritchie , Harry Arter, Marc Pugh and Shaun MacDonald all providing goals from midfield.

Of course it does not really matter who scores at this stage as long as the team is playing well, creating chances and putting away the chances they should. The spread of goals through the team is pleasing and it will help Callum Wilson that he has got off the mark. Congratulations also to Ben Whitfield who played against Dorchester and even got on the score sheet - that is fabulous to hear. It looks like AFCB's youngsters are starting to make the grade.

Excitement is sure to rise among fans in the next week when the first team finally line up for a home match in front of some eager fans who will be wondering how they will get on against a new look Southampton.

We have uploaded two more match day photo albums to the Cherry Chimes' Facbook page. You can now look back at the home draw match against Middlesbrough and the night time 4-1 win against Leeds Utd. Just visit Cherry Chimes' Facebook page and give us a like or download the phone app on the side bar to gain access to the Facebook site. 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Cherries put 11 past Dorchester in friendly

AFCB turned out at Dorchester with a strong first team in the first half and sadly for Dorchester they were in the mood to rack up the goals. With Francis captaining the side Cargill also started in defence and new signing Gosling also took to the field. It was Harry Arter though that was not messing about when his drive just 76 seconds in found it's way to the back of Dorchester's net to give the Cherries an early lead. He came close too a few minutes later when he hit the post, but was Yann Kermorgant who doubled the lead on 13 minutes.

The Cherries had their shooting boots on today and within another minute Matt Ritchie had nipped in to make it 0-3. That wasn't the end of the first half scoring though as Dan Gosling came within a whisker of his first goal, but Ritchie added his second on the rebound. It didn't end there either as Kermrogant go his second from the penalty spot to make it 0-5 and it was 0-6 on the half hour, Kermorgant again.

Even with Fraser and MaCDonald coming off AFCB still had the likes of Pitman and Sam Matthews to replace them. Sure enough Pitman did not make much time in adding to the score to make it 0-7. There was a bit of calm then in the scoring before Pitman made it 0-8 on 43 minutes. It was explosive stuff from the Cherries and Dorchester had no answer to it.

At this point I started to look up AFCB's biggest ever win.11-0 against Margate in an FA Cup tie in 1971 I though, but I was corrected by Keith Morey that AFCB beat MK Dons 13-0 in a friendly under Paul Groves.

Jack McCarthy replaced Adam Smith for the second half and we were off again. Kermorgant adding to his overall total with a free-kick to make it 0-9. A whole host of changes were then made on the hour by Eddie Howe to bring some fresh legs on including Junior Stanislas and Callum Wilson. Callum Wilson announced his arrival with his first goal for the Cherries on 65 minutes. The score ended at 11 in the end when Ben Whitfield finished the Cherries scoring.

Simon Francis captained the side against Dorchester Town.
Here are the official tweets from AFCB on the match:

#afcb XI to play @DorchTownFC: Buchel, Smith, Francis, Cargill, Harte, Ritchie, Gosling, MacDonald, Arter, Fraser, Kermorgant.

Simon Francis will captain #afcb in the first half.

01: @DorchTownFC get the game under way at The Avenue. #afcb

02: GOAL! @HarryArter2 opens the scoring after 76 seconds with a fierce drive. #afcb

08: @HarryArter2 hits the post! The midfielder strikes the woodwork after being picked out by @RyanFraser94. 0-1. #afcb

09: Matt Ritchie puts the ball in the net, but he's flagged offside. 0-1. #afcb

13: Yann Kermorgant makes it 2-0. Classy finish from the lone striker from 20 yards out. #afcb

14: GOAL! Matt Ritchie converts from @ianharte23's cross to add a third for #afcb. 0-3.

20: GOAL! Dan Gosling has a shot cleared off the line, but Matt Ritchie puts away the rebound. 0-4. #afcb

28: GOAL! Yann Kermorgant scores his second & #afcb's fifth from the penalty spot. 0-5.

28: @RyanFraser94 & @ShaunMac20 are replaced by Brett Pitman & Sam Matthews. 0-5. #afcb

30: It's a hat-trick for Yann Kermorgant inside half an hour! 0-6. #afcb

35: GOAL! Brett Pitman is on hand to tap in @AdamSmith912's low cross. 0-7. #afcb

43: GOAL! Brett Pitman keeps his cool to slot home from just inside the box. 0-8. #afcb

Half-time: @DorchTownFC 0-8 Cherries. #afcb in complete control during the first half at The Avenue.

Just one change at half-time for #afcb, with @JakeMcC_17 replacing @AdamSmith912.

48: GOAL! Yann Kermorgant curls in a free-kick at the start of the second half. 0-9. #afcb

57: @ianharte23 hits the post with a free-kick! 0-9. #afcb

A number of changes about to be made by Eddie Howe, including the introduction of Callum Wilson & Junior Stanislas. #afcb

#afcb XI to play final 30 mins: Buchel, Francis, McCarthy, Cook, Daniels, Stanislas, O'Kane, McQuoid, Pugh, Wilson, Pitman.

65: GOAL! Callum Wilson helps #afcb into double figures with his first goal in red & black. 0-10.

68: Simon Francis is replaced by @b_cargill, who started the first half. @JakeMcC_17 will play at full-back. #afcb

71: @ben_whitfield96 & Patrick O'Flaherty come on for @b_cargill & @BeniBuechel. #afcb
75: Former #afcb youth team goalkeeper Shane Murphy has made good saves to deny Brett Pitman, Josh McQuoid & @ben_whitfield96.

88: GOAL! Development squad midfielder @ben_whitfield96 scores from close range in the closing stages. 0-11. #afcb

Full-time: @DorchTownFC 0-11 Cherries. #afcb

Dorchester Town ready to stand in AFCB's way

There's a chance to see the Cherries' first team play today in pre-season as they take on Dorchester Town at 3pm at the Avenue stadium. The Magpies currently play in the Skrill Southern Premier League along with Poole Town. Many of AFC Bournemouth's players have been loaned out to the Magpies in recent seasons to learn their craft. Last January AFCB loaned out Charlie Lossaso and Jake McCarrthy and Benjamin Buchel had a spell there in February last season.

I can't say I have ever been a big follower of Dorchester Town even though I spent many early years living just 15 miles away at Bridport. Still they have a reasonable following in the hundreds and should turn out in their numbers for the AFCB game. Incidentally, Bridport are next up after the Cherries for Dorchester. So far this pre-season Dorchester have lost 3-0 at home to a Torquay XI and have draw 1-1 with Gosport.

Ben Joyce is their star man up front and he only signed for them from Weymouth last season and was at Swindon Town before that but he has had his injury troubles. Those of you familiar with Poole Town will also know that striker Dan Cann signed for Dorchester last May. Alex Godfrey was on the score sheet against Gosport and has been noted as one of their best players. If you are looking for leaders on the pitch though look out for Jamie Gleeson - he is the David Beckham look alike apparently (he also started out at that club called the Saints!), but I hope he does not play that well. Dorchester knocked out Plymouth in the FA Cup in 2012 so they won't be worried about AFCB coming down to their ground.

You should also take a look at the Dorchester Town Facebook page with loads of good stories and pictures of the ground and players. It also seems that they like their ale down there!

For AFCB we await team news but it is possible that Buchel will resume his keeper duties unless Flahavan and Camp are ready to take part, while injuries could keep out new signings Stanislas and Wilson.