Monday, 5 October 2015

Who would be a keeper?

We'd better get it out of the way. Well Artur Boruc would like to clear up something. Sadly, he can't go back again though and clear up the ball that was presented to him at his feet last Saturday. He can't really blame a bobble on such an immaculately kept flat surface. A lapse in concentration and a far too casual approach to the situation was surely what scuppered Artur's mind when the ball came to him from Distin's back pass.

Artur simply made a mess of it and if you are a goalkeeper it will happen to you at sometime. The concern that Howe may have though is that Boruc's kicking game is not the best at any time and it is an area where we have seen him make some errors in the past. I don't believe you can legislate for such moments. They simply happen or don't but rather than pick on a silly moment it would be better for Boruc just to work on ways to help him think clearly when being closed down and to get used to just doing the simple thing if he feels pressured - row Z.

Put your foot through it Artur.
We have seen players like O'Kane lose the ball on the half way line and similarly get punished by the sharp finishing of Norwich. The game is cruel at this level and when you are the very last line of defence there is even more likelihood that by losing the ball to the opposition in front of goal there will only be one outcome. If it happens in a game when the team is cruising by three or four goals it may not matter so much but in these tight games it is a heart breaker. No one will be able to console Boruc for his mistake but it was helpful that he made a strong save from Anya in the second half that will give him something to take from the game.

AFCB need Boruc to continue to be confident and be bold as he come for many crosses to relieve pressure on the defence and he has steadied the defence. AFCB are in this together and Boruc will have better days and I am pleased there is a strong goalkeeping network at the club to push Boruc on to some great performances in the future.  

I think Artur will put the ball out of the stadium next time.
Out today is the All Departments' podcast that reviews AFCB 1 v 1 Watford. To listen in visit All Departments' website.

PremierTalk also has a view on Two managers out already

Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Cherries let the Hornets off the hook 1-1

Match Report
3 October 2016
AFCB 1 v 1 Watford
Attendance: 11,187
Artur Boruc won't like the re-run of this game.
What a game we had a Dean Court. It was full on attack from both AFCB and Watford from the first minute to the last and while the game will be remembered for two incidents in particular both sets of fans may well have left this match thinking their team has enough to survive this season in the Premier League. Glenn Murray was always likely to make some of the headlines as soon as his name was given in the Cherries starting line up and he duly delivered in the 28th minute with a big header at the far post to put Eddie Howe team ahead. AFCB were almost imperious with their play in the first half and that comfort factor probably had a part to play in Watford's equalised as Artur Boruc's footwork saw him gift his attempted clearance to Odion Ighalo who rounded the spreadeagled and forlorn keeper to make it 1-1 at half time. The second half saw both teams go close with Ikecha Anya forcing a great save from Boruc and Steve Cook bring the best out of Gomes with an overhead kick, but when Adam Smith went down after a frantic scramble in the penalty box it seemed like Glenn Murray would put the game to bed from the penalty spot. But Gomes pulled off a superb save and the Cherries were left to think that two points had been dropped.
The teams are out.
AFCB team shot.
The captains in the middle.
Watford huddle.

There are more pictures on Match Day Gallery.

The team selection was fairly simple this week without Wilson and Elphick in contention so in came Glenn Murray to make his full home debut and he was paired with Josh King up front, while the rest of the team stayed as it had been against Stoke. Lee Tomlin was the man who was dropped to the bench.

AFCB were put under a bit of pressure from the start but there was a clear indication that Josh King was going to be a big factor in the game from as early as the second minute when he put in a cross from the right that was gathered by Heurelho Gomes just in front of the feet of Murray. Murray then had a loopy header that fell on to the top of the net as AFCB tried to get ahead early.

Ben Watson put in a strong cross from the right that saw Boruc take a high catch as Watford started moving forward again. It was the speed of the Cherries play though that was most promising. Ritchie playing a long cross field ball to Pugh who fed in Daniels and his cross  was just missed by Murray even if he was flagged offside. King was not quiet either as he charged down a Gomes clearance. AFCB meant business today.

The Hornets were not going to sit back though and both Troy Deeney and Allan Nyom had shots blocked. King had often not got into many shooting positions in previous games but he was only stopped from testing Gomes by a Cathcart block on the edge of the box. It was King that was being the mischief maker putting another cross that Murray just failed to get to.

A Boruc miss-kick was met with annoyance from the home crowd on 22 minutes but worse was to come later. Four minutes later though it was AFCB on the attack and King broke to take on Cathcart one on one and when the ball fell to Murray the chance slipped by as Watford got back to block. The attacks kept coming with Pugh cutting a shot back to the near post that had Gomes scrambling to his right to make a low save. With Francis back on the ball down the right though the breakthrough finally came when Ritchie received the ball and crossed to the far post and Murray jumped highest and powered in his header to make it 1-0. "Championi" came the cries of the AFCB fans taunting the Watford supporters in the East stand as a reference to last season's final Championship table.

The lead was well deserved on the run of play, but after the first goal free kicks and over hit passes started to slow the play. Glenn Murray and Capoue were caught up in a squabble which further delayed play, but Murray was booked. All looked as though it would be a slim 1-0 lead at half time until Artur Boruc suddenly thought he had more time than he actually did at the back and his attempted pass to Distin was a gift to Ighalo right in front of goal. While the keeper tried to recover his mistake by leaping early as he expected the Watford striker to shoot, Ighalo simply kept the ball close and went around the isolated keeper and netted probably the easiest Premier League goal he would ever be presented with. It was 1-1 and half time! Oh, Artur!
AFCB fans can't believe that it is all square at half time.
Artur walks off with Sylvain Distin.
Watford players can't believe that they have been gifted a goal.
Second Half
While we digested what had probably been the best 45 minutes of play that we had seen from the Cherries this season which had only been blighted by an individual error. the second half was soon upon us. Ake won an early free kick, but Watford were finding it hard to get shots in on goal with Deeney playing quite deep and Distin keeping Ighalo in his sights at all times. On 5o minutes watford won the first corner and  that was followed by Watson trying his luck from distance and he smashed his shot against the bar!

AFCB managed to record their first corner just a minute later after a clearance from Prodl, but as the applause broke out on 55 minutes in memory of Mick Cunningham, who sadly passed away last weekend, Watford came rather close to scoring as Ikech Anya just put his chance wide.

The Cherries subbed Pugh on 57 minutes and brought on Adam Smith. Pugh had been quite so it was worth trying a change. It was shortly after that that Boruc had to make another rushed clearance with his feet which he did well after a hurried back pass and Ighalo closing in. AFCB were coming under pressure though and Riche and Murray finally got the ball away after another prolonged spell of the ball being in and around AFCB's box. Watford were turning up the heat and when Abdi played a ball through to Anya running past the centre backs the pacey winger only had Boruc to beat. But Boruc made himself big and pulled off a big save when Watford could easily have gone ahead on 68 minutes.

Eddie Howe was not liking what he was seeing at this point and O'Kane finally got on having waited a while and replaced Josh King on 70 minutes.Watford took off Nyom who went down in a tackle a minute later and replaced him with Ibarbo. Watford fans then thought they had won a penalty as Ighalo ran on to a ball from Abdi and went down, but the referee waved it away even with Ighalo chasing after him complaining.

It was then that Adam Smith put in a superb solo run that took him down the right wing and along the byline but he was kept out by Gomes just at the last moment. The game was open now and both teams looked tiered. Matt Ritchie tried to hit a free kick screamer from 20 yards but only saw his shot blocked. Murray also had a go from distance but his weak shot was comfortable for Gomes to fall on.

Anya was subbed after going down injured and Paredes came on for him with 11 minutes to go. Francis then put in a good cross that saw O'Kane, Ritchie and Murray trying to get on it but the header from Murray dropped wide. Steve Cook thought a moment of magic might do it and he hit an overhead kick from fully 20 yards that saw Gomes make an outstanding save to his left at full stretch on 83 minutes. That might have got Watford safe, but a collision in the box with Murray saw penalty claims waved away before Smith went down under a challenge from Capoue in the box and Watford were not let off for that one - penalty!

Glenn Murray was the man who would take the kick and he was complaining as a Watford player was kicking up ground around the penalty spot. The players settled though and Murray had the chance to win the game. He hit his shot to the right, but it was at a good height for Gomes who made the save and the score remained 1-1.

Four minutes of extra time were added on but there were no more chances and just enough time for Watford to make their last sub, Guedioura coming on for Abdi on 94 minutes.
Game over. Honours even.
No goals in the second half.
Happy Watford fans.
A point each.
Individual mistakes will cost a team at any level of the game, they are just more costly at the highest level. While Boruc and Murray will have reason to feel they could have done better for their teammates over the two big talking points a point at home against Watford takes the Cherries up to eight points from eight games and if AFCB had really been unlucky in this game they could have lost all three points. So while it probably should have been a home win, AFCB have to consider that they have played as well in this game as they have at any stage of the season and that they can do well without the players that have been injured in recent weeks. Watford are a powerful side and the Cherries minimised their chances to just a few all game. The omens are good and the points should follow in the long run. 

AFCB: Boruc, Francis, Cook, Distin, Daniels, Ritchie, Gosling, Surman, Pugh (Smith 57), King (O'Kane 70), Murray

AFCB Subs: Federici, Smith, C
argill, Bennett, Kermorgant, Tomlin, O'Kane

AFCB ratings
Boruc 6, Francis 7, Cook 7, Distin 8, Daniels 7, Ritchie 7, Gosling 7, Surman 7, Pugh 6,
King 8,
 Murray 7

Watford: Gomes, Nyom (Ibarbo 71), Prödl, Cathcart, Aké, Anya (Paredes 79),
Capoue, Watson, Abdi (Guédioura 94), Deeney, Ighalo

Watford Subs: Britos, Paredes, Guédioura, Ibarbo, Diamanti, Dyer, Arlauskis

Gomes was undoubtedly Watford's man of the match.

Referee watch: Michael Oliver 7/10 Just Gomes and Murray in the book. It was a fairly well refereed game considering that it could have been tasty affair at times between these two sides, but it was never allowed to boil over.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

The Cherries must move on quickly

While there will be massive effort into getting Callum Wilson the treatment he needs to come back as good as soon as possible, the Cherries have to move on as the Premier League does not stop. Pressing ahead will not be easy of course, but AFCB have to find a new sharpness to the front of their attack. It will be a big headache for Eddie Howe.   

The good news is that it makes the Cherries more unpredictable for their next few games. Watford can look all they like at recent videos of AFCB and they will see them always looking to get Callum Wilson in on goal. It will be different in this next fixture and while AFCB will stay play their football from the back there maybe a new dynamic to the game plan.
Squad depth is now being tested.
I expect Josh King will be used to do the running that we saw Callum Wilson doing so often for the team and that means that Lee Tomlin would be favourite to be a sub option this weekend. We have not seen the best of Josh yet and it is now likely to be his most intensive week in terms of game preparation for Saturday. It must be on his mind that he has not yet scored and that he will need to be ready to up his performance level. Eddie Howe will want to find that speed and aggression that we saw last year when he played for Blackburn in the FA Cup. If selected he is likely to have Glenn Murray as his strike partner and that will be quite a change as King will be able to get beyond Murray more often than he would have got in front of Wilson.

The players will be focused on getting three points at the weekend.
Belief is what Howe will want his strikers to take into the game though. Whether it's King, Murray, Kermorgant or Rantie they have to know that the can break the net in the Premier League for AFCB. It's their job to get goals and for them there is no time to worry about Wilson not being in front of them. They need to produce now.

If AFCB win today they would go above Watford in the table - that has to be a big incentive for the players.

Charlie Daniels is confident the squad can fight back without Callum.

Make sure you give your support to The Football Supporters Federation's £20 is plenty campaign for away games that will be highlighted today at the ground. At least Swansea City away game tickets have 2000 tickets subsidised in price.

It is also a chance today for us all to think about the great work and memory of Mick Cunningham - a true AFCB hero. Remember to applaud on 55 minutes.

UTCIAD!  Enjoy the match.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Can AFCB shake off Watford?

There has been many teams that the Cherries have had grudges with over the years and I suppose the annoyance with Watford is a fairly new rivalry that built up following the first time AFCB played them at Vicarage Road in the Championship three seasons ago. That day the Cherries were humbled by a 6-1 thrashing and yet the score at half time was only 1-1. It left a footnote though in the minds of our players that played in that game that they had to be on it for 90 minutes or they would be punished by teams in the Championship. Now that both teams are in the Premier League it would be very pleasing if the Cherries could redress the balance.
Watford have had a great start to the season, but let's hope
 the Cherries can set them back a bit on Saturday. 
Watford have had less fortune against the Cherries in more recent times with a draw at Vicarage Road last season when Harry Arter scored a belter and a 2-0 defeat at Dean Court when they had 10 men after just 28 seconds. I doubt fate will be quite as generous to AFCB in the next encounter. But it is because of such an incident when Gabriele Angella was sent off in that match that Watford's loyal following feel they have cause to dislike the Cherries and that probably reached fever pitch for some when AFCB pipped them to the Championship title last season in the last game.

So there is history in these games even though it is only in recent seasons that it has built up. But if you stand back a bit and look at the two teams they both play some fantastic football that has made the fans of both clubs have plenty to cheer about as both have had some wonderful results in the last few years. I'm looking forward to the game not as a sequel to last season's Championship run-in, but as a match where two of the best teams from last season's Championship have tried to add more quality to their play. Both teams have some great players so let's enjoy what they serve up. Oh, and let it be an AFCB win! UTCIAD!

It is great to hear that the MatchDay programme will be dedicated to the memory of Mick Cunningham who sadly passed away last weekend. I'm sure everyone will join in with the applause on 55 minutes of the game. 

Make sure you sne din your Match score predictions on Twitter to @peterbell19

Watford have been getting great results but why?

I hate to say it but Watford have made a better start to Premier League life than the Cherries. Nine points from seven games is much better than many pundits would have predicted pre-season for the Hornets and their new manager is already getting high praise not only from the supporters but far further afield. Indeed, Quique Flores is hard not to like. You can see that football runs deep in his blood and that he loves the game. But he also has a calmness about him and has dealt with the press extremely well which takes a lot of the pressure off of his players.
AFCB got the better of the Hornets last time at Dean Court.
Watford’s results are proof that they are a better side than they were in the Championship. To go away and win at Newcastle and to get a draw at Goodison is down to the attacking style of play they deliver with Odion Ighalo finding the net on a regular basis. While Troy Deeney is yet to open his account, the Watford favourite and captain is no less a great finisher and AFCB fans may look in envy at the Watford strike force this weekend.

What nobody talks about though is Watford’s defence. The team has only conceded six goals from their seven games with only Man City and Everton having scored against them twice in a game. They have tightened up considerably at the back and to let in fewer than a goal a game demonstrates that they are becoming harder to breakdown. Cathcart, Prodl, Nyom and Anya have played in all their Premier League games so far from what I can see and it has clearly given them a solid base with Gomes in goal as well. Clean sheets have come at home to WBA, Southampton and Swansea which has to be seen as impressive.

So when Eddie Howe looks at Watford it won’t just be about their attack that he sees quality. The Hornets may not have been over flowing with goals but they are stopping sides from beating them more often than not, and the Cherries will need to play at a higher level than we have seen in recent weeks to get something from this game in my opinion.

I’d like to see the Cherries try and control the game in midfield and play as much as they can in the Watford half. Yet Watford are likely to want to spring attacks on the break with Anya and Abdi looking to exploit gaps. 

My prediction for AFCB's XI
Boruc (GK), Francis (RD), Cook (CD), Distin (CD), Daniels (LD), Ritchie (RM), Gosling (CM), Surman (CM), Pugh (LM), King (FW), Murray (FW)

Watford Away Form

AFCB Home Form

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Can Rantie now play a part?

Okay, we have probably been dismissing a man that could yet have AFCB fans smiling again. Yes, I'm talking about Tokelo Rantie, the striker who has probably been well protected at AFCB as he has tried to develop and ready himself for the English game but who has not yet shown the consistency to earn himself regular game time. But Tokelo is in the 25-man Premier League squad. He is a different kind of player to King, Wilson, Tomlin and Kermorgant and he may yet have a role to play.

We have seen Rantie fall down the pecking order fairly rapidly in the last few months. While it looked likely that he would go out on loan I don't see any chance of that now. Having renewed his visa by flying out of the country to Dublin last week and re-entering I wonder if he could make a return to the first team match day squad in equally quick time? Rantie has not got the physicality to his game of Wilson and may seem a little lightweight for the Premier League, but it is his speed that the team may find quite useful now.

Rantie may yet have more to contribute.
Josh King has really been the player that has slipped in ahead of Rantie in Eddie Howe's thoughts, but to be frank Josh has not inspired the fans greatly yet. Rantie would get AFCB fans excited and on the edge of their seats as he can do the unexpected. Having Rantie on the bench against Watford would be a good move now in my book and he has surely got to have something to add to the team if Howe feels he is worthy of having a place in the 25-man squad. Still I expect Junior Stanislas, Lee Tomlin and Yann Kermorgant are more likely to lineup n the bench for this game. 

Rantie has been at the club for long enough now to understand how his goals could be very important and that he could repay Eddie Howe very quickly with a good run in the team. I don't think the door has closed on Rantie yet and we may find that he is a player who still has to wait his turn behind King, Kermorgant and Murray. But in an instance he could become a match winner and with the injuries the club have he is now closer to getting an opportunity and if he does the whole of Dean Court will be willing him to show the sensational Rantie that we know is there and waiting to come out. 

Out today - Cherry Chimes' October Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month, plus a special Newsletter article entitled The chase will never be the same again.

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Captain Elphick can be a big influence

Tommy Elphick is not thought to be facing a major injury crisis. He visited a specialist last week over his ankle though which indicates that he might not be as confident about playing a part in the team for a little while yet. He'll want to come back strong and not having any worries so it is right that he gets the best treatment he can and with someone he trusts. But how much will the team miss him not being on the pitch at this time?
Tommy will hopefully be back holding on to the goal posts
 at some point but before then he can still be a big asset to the
club behind the scenes.
Normally I would think that as long as Tommy is around the lads will be okay on the field, but with Wilson also now injured I hope that Tommy can ensure that he does still get his team talks in and reinforces his message of concentration and being first to the ball. A captain needs to be around his players and with so much changing with the injuries the outlook has to be one of building a fortress as the league has not been kind to the Cherries.

While Distin and Cook will be looking to improve on the two goals that they could not stop at Stoke, we start to see how important it has been for Baily Cargill to have been building his game experience in recent seasons. He is now on the edge of being involved for 90 minutes in the team and as a sub he could be needed at any time. Seeing him preparing for the Stoke game, where he would be the sub for the centre backs, I thought this is another significant step for the young defender. This weekend could be an even bigger week for him if he makes a Premier League debut. That's why I am sure that Tommy and Sylvain will be reassuring him that he is ready.

Out today - Cherry Chimes' October Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month, plus a special Newsletter article entitled The chase will never be the same again.

To sign up for the newsletter just complete the form below:

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