Friday, 20 October 2017

Does Stokes' recent battering make it harder for the Cherries?

It's not that often that Bournemouth get to play a team after they have been literally torn apart by another team. But Stoke City will claim that they did not have a bad day, they just ran into an exceptional side on the day that played amazingly well. They could be right. Mark Hughes wants that to be the verdict as he wants a reaction in this next game and if he could have picked a team to play, Bournemouth would probably been high up on that list.
Stoke City will be glad to get back to a home match.

Mark Hughes admitted that his game plan didn't work. I'm not sure what his plan was but he soon found out that his team was getting overwhelmed. AFCB have been in that position before with some heavy defeats and if anything it only stiffens the resolve not to get beaten in the next game. But Bournemouth themselves have been on a poor run and need to go into this game with an attack-minded sense of aggression and energy to try and get on top early against this Stoke side.

If Stoke are allowed to dominate and get shots away and feel comfortable against Bournemouth, they will soon forget the battering they had up at the Etihad. Bournemouth need to make them feel that they are still in a sticky situation whenever Stoke set foot on the pitch and gets some doubt running through their mind. If Bournemouth can stand up to the physical battle and start to influence the game with strong wing play then this might be the game that AFCB away fans have been waiting for in terms of points.

Mark Hughes believes he can lift his players. But Stoke did make mistakes against Man City and AFCB have to put pressure on Stoke by getting them to turn and defend their goal as much as they can. Jack Butland will not be expecting to have a barrage of shots to save, but he won't be confident of keeping a clean sheet either. It won't be an easy game for AFCB but their is a glimmer of hope that Stoke will not be as confident as usual. Bournemouth have been lacking the scoring power to hurt sides and if they can find that before Stoke wake up from the trauma of Man City then Eddie Howe could finally be savouring an away win as well as sucking Stoke nearer to the relegation zone.

Rival Lines: AskFans' Stoke City supporter

Rival Lines: "Hughes' time should have been up last season!"

Rival Lines
Match Preview
Stoke City v AFCB
21 October 2017
Blogger Interview: Nathan Hildicth ASKFans

I was finding it hard to find a Stoke City Blogger as the site I went to last season seems to have folded. I can't blame that on Stoke's game against Man City last weekend, but I got a few failures to reply to my invitation until I hit upon Nathan who like me writes for ASKFans who do match previews and reports for all the Premier League teams. Luckily Nathan was more than happy to share his views ahead of Bournemouth's visit to the Bet365 stadium, you can also catch his lively match report from the unbelievable 7-2 City game on ASKFans.

CC: Stoke were blown away last weekend by Man City, so I guess you'll be very pleased to be coming back to play a game at the Bet365 stadium?

The Bet365 stadium.
NHAF: Our away form this season has been nothing short of pitiful, so in that sense – yes, I will definitely be glad to be back at the Bet365. Plenty of teams will take a good hiding at the Etihad this season, but with only a point to show for on the road this season, we are reliant on our strong home form at the minute.

CC: Has Mark Hughes delivered enough in his time at the club so far for the fans?

NHAF: No, is the short answer. His first couple of years were a huge success and pushed Stoke forwards to a level beyond what we were capable of prior. In the concurrent two years however, Stoke have stuttered and are now starting to head backwards. We are a million miles away from where we were two years ago, and I think many fans feel like his time should have been up at the end of last season. We are grateful for what he has done for the club, but he is stubborn in the face of change and we can’t stagnate forever.

CC: Has the departure of Marko Arnautovic been a blessing or a loss?

NHAF: I’d love to tell you it was a blessing in disguise but I can’t honestly say that. As West Ham are learning he is a very enigmatic and inconsistent performer, so we definitely got a good price for him. Choupo-Moting has equally showed flashes of brilliance in the early stages so maybe he is not a bad substitution. We haven’t really sufficiently replaced him though, he was our most influential player by far for the last two seasons and we are going to miss that.

CC: You've drawn with Man Utd and beaten Arsenal, so do you expect a stronger season than what was achieved last season?

NHAF: Possibly, we didn’t beat a team that finished above us last season, until the final day of the season. Failing to beat 11 of the top 12 teams was a very poor showing for us, so the results are already an improvement on that. As I said prior though, we are totally lost away from home at the moment, if we don’t arrest the situation it could derail our entire season. We can only hope to achieve Premier League survival at best relying entirely on home form.
Peter Crouch is becoming a bit of a super sub.
CC: Is Peter Crouch proving that he might actually be the best striker at the club?

NHAF: Definitely, he was actually our top scorer last year, despite not featuring heavily and is our top scorer again so far this year. He has a wealth of experience as a striker and continues to do the business for us almost every time we play him. With Saido struggling and neither Jese or Choupo-Moting commanding enough in that role, Crouch is a great solution. Diouf is making a pretty good case for himself of late as well though.

CC: What have you made of Kurt Zouma on loan from Chelsea?

NHAF: I was initially underwhelmed by the signing, especially as we needed attackers at the time, but he’s great. He is one of our best performers every week, he’s quick, disciplined and dedicated, everything you could ask of a defender. It’s a shame we almost certainly won’t get to hold onto him after his loan expires.
CC: Was the signing of Darren Fletcher a masterstroke and were you surprised to get him?

NHAF: No and no. Don’t believe everything you read, unless of course it’s my own Ask Fans match report. Fletcher is not good, I was not happy to sign him at all, given that it spelt the end for die-hard fan favourite Glenn Whelan. Fletcher is getting on a bit now and it shows, he’s been off the pace more than he’s been on it this season. He’s not mobile enough to get around the pitch well these days and he commits far too many errors. Joe Allen has done a spectacular job of picking up the slack in the middle this season but as it showed, when he didn’t play i.e. Bristol City and Manchester City we were way too permeable. Two defeats and nine goals conceded, he’s simply not cutting it at the minute and I’d like to see him dropped for Bournemouth.

Mr Shaqiri the balls right next to you!
CC: Has Xherdan Shaqiri lived up to his big name status in his time at Stoke and do you think he is capable of scoring more goals?

NHAF: He has not yet lived up to his billing, his sporadic brilliance makes it obvious why things never worked out for him at Bayern. On his day, he is unplayable and one of the most tricky wingers in the league, those days are all too rare though. Not only is he capable of more goals he really needs to start delivering those goals, especially in the absence of Arnie.

CC: Is there a Bournemouth player that you think could fit in well at Stoke City?

NHAF: Insert front line hear! We have actually seen signs of an upturn in goals in the early stages of this season but attack continues to be a problem for Stoke. Ricardo Fuller is still our most potent striker in Premier League history with 11 goals in our first season up. Everyone who has come since has failed to beat that fairly achievable bar. I’d happily take Josh King, Callum Wilson or even Jermain Defoe to boost our strike rate this season.

CC: How do you expect Stoke to line up against the Cherries?

NHAF: Business as usual I expect, as I said Hughes has an aversion to change so doubtful he’ll change his plan from our other home games. We’re still in the midst of a defensive crisis so late tests will have to confirm our back line.

Possible Stoke City line up from Natahan. 
CC: I may think Nathan might be a bit optimistic about how good AFCB's front line is looking at Bournemouth's record of goalscoring this year, but it's nice to hear an opposition fan that rates some of our players. Nathan gives some string opinions on who is not at the races in the Stoke City side and it's good to hear about a passionate fan that does not hold back. If you want to read more about Nathan's preview of the game head over to the Stoke City page on ASKFans where you can let him know if you agree with him. Thanks again Nathan - loved every minute of that!

Check out the Fans' verdict from last weekend's games including Cherry Chimes' verdict on the Spurs game at The Daily Mail online.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

AFCB need to create more chances themselves

The match against Tottenham was a clear indication that Bournemouth still have problems in front of goal. Having not scored in their last two games and finding the net an ever smaller target, Howe needs to find a more effective striking solution, and it's quite amazing to think that Bournemouth have only scored four times in the league in eight games.
Jermain Defoe says, just give me the ball in the box - simple!
I have not visited the Cherry Chimes' goal scorers' chart since the Everton defeat and I must admit part of the thrill of seeing Bournemouth pay is that they do enjoy celebrating their goals. I hope there is a special celebration for the next goal, as it has been a long time in coming. Eddie Howe played his excellent tactic of doubting a start for King and then playing him anyway, which surprised me last week, but he still hasn't found a permanent solution to the lack of goals and poor Benik Afobe must be wondering why he is just having to keep the bench warm.

Now that Callum Wilson should come into Howe's thoughts I wold imagine that all the strikers will be hoping to impress this week ahead of the Stoke City game. The players need to hit the target far more than has been happening in recent games. Only Crystal Palace have scored fewer goals than the Cherries and something has to change if Bournemouth are going to start accumulating points.

It is not just the strikers though. Andrew Surman and Charlie Daniels are two non-strikers that have scored this season in the league and it's been a feature of previous seasons for wide men to add more goals than they are currently doing. So why are there no goals from Stanislas, Pugh, Ibe or Fraser? It may be that there have been too many changes in these positions and that AFCB need to stick to two players that can play themselves into form.

Last time up at Stoke it was Nathan Ake that grabbed the winner, but I'll be pleased if the defenders can just keep a clean sheet.

Can Harry Arter re-find his spark?

It may seem strange that Bournemouth are struggling to pick up points and are only just hanging in games, but they have to find something extra. The organisation at the back is much better and they now need something to ignite their performances.

IS Harry going to comeback rejuvenated?
Part of the missing spark I do feel is the absence of a fully raging Harry Arter in midfield. He has had a great boost from being involved in the Republic of Ireland's push for World Cup qualification that has now reached the play-off stage, but he is a player that is seen at the fulcrum of Bournemouth when the team is taking games to the opposition and we have not seen enough of that this season.

Harry always has a lot of issues around him it would seem and while the Achilles has been a big problem for him, there is a Harry Arter waiting to put things right hopefully, ready to come out and play soon. The team needs players to come and fight now to get the side up and running and the big players need to be playing. Harry Hasn't played since the 2-1 win over Brighton and that seems a long time ago now.

If Harry is anywhere near being okay to play hope he is on the pitch at Stoke. It's not that those that have been playing while he has not have done a bad job, but AFCB need inspiration - a familiar balance and energy. Without Harry's energy and intrigue Bournemouth do appear rather flat, and perhaps the fall in Harry's form at the start of this season has been more important for the team as a whole than some might have thought.

Harry is a menace when he is on his game. Opposition fans don't like him at all as he gets stuck in and doesn't give in. AFCB need that now.

Cherry Chimes' ASKFans match Preview Stoke v AFCB

Kick it Out has released a statement on the FA following yesterday's DCMS Select Committee and the Enl Aluko case. I just want to say well done to the two women who stood up to the FA and who can now feel vindicated, but I want to see a lot more change at the FA and fresh people in charge with modern attitudes.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

AFCB's pitiful away record has to change at Stoke

While half of AFCB's games have been away from home they haven't managed to get any points from those games. It is not that the team hasn't put in some good away performances - the match against Spurs showed they can put up stiff resistance. But Everton is the only away game where AFCB have so far scored. So what needs to change?
AFCB still await their first away points of the season.
I don't believe the attackers are really letting fly with their shots as much as they might when they approach the box and Defoe has not been getting many chances inside the box where he is at his most deadliest. AFCB are getting enough possession to have strong spells in games, but the away record is something that has to improve. Even when the team gets corners and free kicks in good situations, we haven't seen any goals resulting from them. The maximum number of shots that AFCB have had on target in any game this season is four.

While the best chance of an AFCB win out of the four away games on paper was probably in the first game against WBA, it is perhaps understandable that things would be more difficult against Arsenal, Everton and Spurs. Stoke is the only remaining away game this month and it is perhaps a game that AFCB can believe is winnable if the Potters are a little fragile after their demolition by Man City.

Mark Hughes will expect a reaction and yet it is not going to be simple to turn on the style for Stoke if they suddenly find themselves behind. AFCB need to get their fast start and put some pressure on the opposition. They nearly managed it at Spurs and I think that the first goal will be everything in this next match. Bournemouth had the lead at Everton and could not hold on, but just getting ahead in a game is going to be massive for the players who need to see the ball hot the back of the net.

I know it is hard to accept what has happened so far this season, but if possible the players have to think it's a fresh game and a new opportunity. It's the only way they can have a positive future and they need to visualise things going for them for it to happen. I want to see the strikers gamble on getting the bounce, on winning the header and expecting to be put through. A bit of positivity will work wonders, but it's going to need a big effort to get that elusive first away win in the league.

Can Eddie afford to ignore Callum's form?

I was pleased to see on Twitter that Callum Wilson had been tweeting about his latest outing and had been shrugging off any doubts that he is back and ready to play for AFCB. In the Tuesday Central League game at U21 level against Southend Utd he smacked in a hat-trick and even though Eddie Howe says Callum has to be fit before he returns to the Premier League, it will be hard for the manage to keep closing his eyes to a striker that wants to help AFCB get out of their current predicament.

Callum was quick to jump on Twitter with his joy of playing so well.
Bournemouth won the game 4-2 and also gave run outs to Emerson Hyndman and Connor Mahoney. But all the talk will be of Callum and his contribution. He is not only getting fitter but he is finding the net, something that AFCB are struggling with. How soon should Eddie call on Callum's services? Callum was not on the bench at Wembley and there has to be caution about being 100 per cent certain that Callum can contend with the attention he will get in the Premier League. While Callum might be looking on top form he won't have done that much in training with Defoe or King, Mousset and Afobe and Eddie Howe needs the forwards to work well and be at the same physical level. 
We know Eddie often says one thing pre-match and then does the opposite, but risking Callum too soon would be heartbreaking and no one wants Callum to be out again quickly. The pressure of needing goals and points though will not be helping Eddie Howe's preference for being patient. 
There is no guarantee that Callum will be an instant success when he does get back in the first team, but I think eve having him on the bench would give Callum and the team a lift. It may not come at Stoke City but it's good to know that Callum is really beginning to knock on the door now.

Premier Talk - Leicester City freak out and cast Shakespeare aside

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Bournemouth's position doesn't reflect how well they are playing

All managers will say that they have not had great luck, but AFCB really have had a tough start to the season. It may not have been all about luck but more about a lack of preparedness which worries me. Why have so many players been struggling with fitness and performance levels early on and why has to taken until October to really feel that the team is pushing forward together again? 
AFCB players after the Spurs defeat.
I don't have the answers and I'm not sure Eddie Howe has them at the moment either. What we can tell is that performances have been better in the last two games and the defence has been stronger in only conceding once. Bournemouth are not playing like a side that are in the bottom three. They are still passing the ball around well and are building their attacks with controlled football. What we are not seeing is anyone sticking away the chances.

AFCB have to be better when they do have the ball now and getting players with some confidence on the ball is what Howe will want. I sense that Ibe is getting closer to contributing a lot more in games and Defoe seems to have the singular thought of just taking a shot now which is also encouraging. Between the goal posts, Begovic looks more at home now and it's just bringing it all together in a game that Howe now needs.

The longer the winless streak continues, the more difficult it will be to look at the table and in some ways AFCB's players are probably best not to look at the table at the moment. Just concentrating on the next game is the goal for them. There is plenty of time, but each defeat makes it harder. Playing well is better for the fans but it won't be enough unless the team starts picking up points. Something needs to click in AFCB's play and the small starts that looked to have started AFCB's season like Daniels goal against man City and the 1-0 win against Brighton already seem a distant memory.

We all want to bounce again by witnessing an AFCB goal. Performances aside it's time for AFCB to really take their vengeance out on a team and getting shots on target is what we need to see now.

Begovic has started to pull out the saves

There has been no real qualms about Asmir Begovic getting the number one shirt in AFCB's goal, but it has taken him a while to really come up with a very strong performance. The game against Spurs I believe was by far his best game so far, and he is starting to show he can be a leader on the pitch.
Asmir Begovic at Wembley
It looks like Begovic will play more games in goal than Boruc for AFCB this season and while the two keepers are going to be watched very carefully if AFCB remain in the bottom three, goalkeeping errors are not the reason why AFCB are in the position they are in. Against Spurs, Begovic really stepped up and made a good splattering of saves in both halves. The incident that the pundits liked to dwell on though was his added time foul on Nihoudou who looked set to score.

Begovic was very quick of his line and decided he was going to get everything as long as the challenge was outside the box. The good thing is that he was committed once he had made his decision and he got there quick enough to get there in time. Whether he got enough of the ball and was unlucky to get carded is one that only video replays will decide, but I have expected the referee to send him off as that is how AFCB's season has been going.
Luckily Begovic only received yellow and could be pleased with his overall performance on the day at Wembley. Going up to Stoke will be a home coming for him of course and he should want to be just as keen on getting a good performance in there. But something about me hopes he is not as busy as he has been of late, because AFCB are defending better and they need some reward for their performances which they are simply not getting at the moment.

Cherry Chimes' Match Report Spurs v AFCB on AskFans

Monday, 16 October 2017

Timing of Eriksen goal was cruel on Bournemouth

Bournemouth had played well up until the time for Spurs only goal in the last match. That is what the best sides do though - one chance - one goal. It is not the Tottenham way to sneak a win, but they still got the points. Still, AFCB frustrated Pochettino's side well up until the goal by making a very effective barrier to keep Harry Kane fairly quiet and Dele Alli.
The big screen catches the moment when AFCB are finally beaten by Eriksen's strike.
As an away performance a 1-0 defeat to Spurs would be a good effort in most seasons but the poor start that the Cherries have made doesn't bring much satisfaction. The goal that Spurs did score was at a really crippling time. Bournemouth will have had an inspiring dressing room discussion about how well they had been doing and then they will have come out and seen all that good work wiped clean in just a minute or two after half time. It wasn't what they would have been expecting, and it must have been so annoying as it meant the second half would be a very different game.

I wonder if anything had been said about Eriksen at half time as he had been the best player for Spurs and was enjoying creating chances for the front men. But AFCB's midfield had difficulty in picking him up and eventually he got in himself. I could see Eddie Howe just coming out of the tunnel after half time as Eriksen had scored, and he would not have seen the goal in real time I imagine. But he will have needed to get some fresh instructions out quickly after the goal. What I was surprised at was that he did not change things even quicker but stuck to the same game plan until the 75th minute.

The thing is that AFCB had done so well that Howe probably thought it too big a risk to change things so soon after the break. As long as the team kept on getting the odd chance he may have felt AFCB were still well in contention and could get their opportunity with what was on the pitch. But the way Bournemouth played would have needed them to score first I think to win the game, and when that did not materialise they were going to need to think about getting more possession which didn't happen.

The game plan almost worked against Spurs

Bournemouth are in a difficult place right now. Eddie Howe can be pleased that the team is getting harder to beat, but they are still getting beaten and they are not quite producing enough up front to get anything much out of games. In away, it is like Bournemouth are in a quagmire of potential but no fulfilment of their aims appear possible with every fixture seeming just as hard as the last game.
Bournemouth players run out at Wembley.
All the teams in the Premier League are good sides. If Crystal Palace can go and beat Chelsea having not won a game prior to that, or having scored all season, then we should know that anything can happen in a top flight game. It should not matter to the players if it is Wembley or the Bet365 stadium, AFCB have to beat the 11 players in front of them and they need not only a win but a back-to-back win just to get themselves involved in the league, because at the moment they are fading away into obscurity.

However, the international break certainly helped in terms of organisation if we look at the Spurs game. The three centre backs made it very difficult for Spurs and only the genius of Christian Eriksen really caused problems for Bournemouth. Stopping Spurs' big stars rampaging through the middle of the pitch was a valid call and out wide Bournemouth had their wing backs to try and shut down the number of crosses.

The problem was Eriksen kept up his intensity and managed to find some space in the centre of the Bournemouth defence in the end. Bournemouth still have these moments when they concede having done so well. It was unfortunate in this game as AFCB could so easily have been ahead first and if they had scored early the game plan would have become even stronger.

Bournemouth did not react quickly to change things either after they had gone behind and that was perhaps a slight mistake, as Ibe and Defoe did make a difference when they did come on. So the game plan didn't quite work this time, but AFCB have found a good way of playing against the best sides that come on to them.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Eriksen condemns Bournemouth to Wembley defeat

Match Report
14 October 2017
Spurs 1 v 0 AFCB
Attendance: 73,505
AFCB visit Spurs' temporary new home at Wembley.
Playing Tottenham at Wembley on a Saturday afternoon may seem cereal, but AFCB fans will have lapped up the occasion even though Christian Eriksen won Spurs the points. The match was a tight affair with no quarter being given in the first half. The Cherries kept Spurs out of their box very well and the visitors could have even gone ahead after a scrambled away corner. Eriksen's cool tip-toeing dance past a lunging Simon Francis and gasping Steve Cook brought a bit of reality to proceedings as Spurs took the lead just after half time. While Bournemouth had a big chance with Defoe coming on and forcing a save from Loris, Spurs had even better chances to kill the game off in added time when Begovic bravely stood firm and kept the score down to one.

The two teams shake hands.
The team selection was slightly surprising in that Josh King was declared fit enough to start and Bournemouth played the three at the back which allowed Steve Cook another start and Daniels and Adam Smith operating as wing backs. Meanwhile, Defoe was dropped to the bench.

AFCB fans Donna, Andrew, Dianne, Jamie and Mark give their pre-match views 

Simon Francis and Hugo Lloris in the middle.
There are more pictures on Match Day Gallery.

The game started fairly slowly with neither team over extending themselves in the first 10 minutes. Spurs hit long balls that were too far reaching for Alli. Bournemouth were intent just to hold up Spurs when they came forward. 

Matters became more urgent when Alli crossed to Eriksen in the box and Francis had to make a string challenge to keep Eriksen from shooting on 14 minutes. A corner to Spurs brought on more pressure with Eriksen lobbing the ball back in before Alli tried a back flick that went just wide.

Bournemouth almost broke the deadlock when Junior Stanislas saw his shot from the centre of the box deflected off of Sanchez for a corner. The shot had been going in and Sanchez had blocked the shot by moving his body across and allowing the ball to hit part of his arm. A Bournemouth corner from the left side soon followed and Toby Alderweireld saw the ball come off him and Lloris had to make a save on the line before the ball eventually ran out to Lewis Cook, but he skied his shot.


Steve Cook was the first player to be booked when he took out Harry Kane n a promising Tottenham break. When King was pushed off the ball soon after though he won no free kick.

Begovic was called upon to make a low down save against Harry Kane at the near post on 33 minutes and Alderweireld headed over from the following corner. Adam Smith was booked soon after and Lewis Cook found himself almost playing himself into trouble around his own box.

King was brought down by Harry Winks near the end of the half but again no yellow was awarded to the Spurs player. But 0-0 at half time was more than pleasing for AFCB fans.

Half time entertainment - dancers celebrate  the festival of Diwali
Second half
The half started as badly as it could for Bournemouth. Eriksen had been the best player up to this point and he shattered the Bournemouth defence by passing an outstretched Simon Francis and slow to react Steve Cook. He had time to pick out the bottom left corner and put Spurs 1-0 up on 47 minutes.
Video replay still shot from the big screen. Erksen shapes to score!
Eddie Howe was only just emerging from the tunnel. It was not the return pitch side that he wanted to see. Bournemouth were up against it now and Begovic added to some anxiety by missing a cross.

A second goal almost came when a right sided chip from Spurs was headed in on 58 minutes but it was ruled out for offside. Harry Kane should possibly have added to his season's tally after being given a clear shot by Winks' pass that split Steve Cook and Simon Francis, but he was blocked twice by Asmir Begovic when the Bournemouth defence were scrambling to keep him out. Begovic did excellently to make two smothering saves.

Bournemouth did have chances. Gosling put Stanislas in with a great moment to shoot but as he took aim a tackle came in from Vertonghen to save the day for Spurs. King gave Stanislas a one-two that put Stanislas through on goal, but he chose not to shoot and the chance had gone.

Defoe and Ibe came on to replace Stanislas and Adam Smith on 75 minutes. Sissoko also replaced Son.

Defoe  almost scored straight away by taking the ball from Ibe at the near post, but his shot struck Lloris on the legs for a corner.

Asmir Begovic then made an even better save at the other end as Eriksen tried to pick out the top left corner. The last 10 minutes saw Vertonghen pick up a yellow card for a pull back on Ibe and Lys Mousset came on for Lewis Cook.

Harry Kane was taken off to give Llorente the last five minutes. A big chance for Dele Alli arrived when Sissiko crossed for him and the Spurs number 10 headed back across goal but wide of the right post. Dele Alli was then subbed for Nkoudou.

It almost gave Spurs another goal as Bournemouth saw throw-ins high up the pitch turn into Spurs' breakaways and on the second one, Begovic took down Nkoudou on the edge of the box while Harry Winks shot over under pressure from Surman. It was a yellow card for Begovic, but it could have been a penalty and a sending off if he had not timed as well as he did. Still, the game was lost.
The match slips away from Bournemouth.
Another steadfast defensive performance from Bournemouth almost got them something from the  game but they switched off just after half time and it cost them dearly. The score line was clearly kept down by Begovic's good play, but Bournemouth need to find more in attack. It could come from a fully fit Callum Wilson. But where ever it comes from it needs to come quick as points are the only thing that are going to get AFCB moving in the right direction. Brave and full of heart is now what we are getting, but Eddie Howe needs to find some quality in the last third to start picking up those points.

The players come over to the fans.


Team details.

AFCB Ratings

Begovic 7, A Smith 5, Francis 4, S Cook 5, Aké 6, Daniels 5, Stanislas 5, Gosling 5, Surman 5, L Cook 6, King 6

Cherry Chimes' Bournemouth MOM: Asmir Begovic

Lloris, Trippier, Sánchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Dier, Winks, Eriksen, Alli (Nkoudouat 90+3), Son Heung-min (Sissoko 75), Kane (Llorente 85)

Referee Watch Robert Madley 3/10 - Happy to give Bournemouth players yellow cards but looked the other way when Spurs committed fouls. If he had given a penalty in the last minute to Spurs it would not have surprised me. He didn't want to upset the home fans one bit.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

AFCB have to get their plan right against a ruthless Spurs

While Tottenham have not been in superlative form at their new London home they have been a little more than a bit impressive on the road. It will only need a flick of a switch for Alli and Kane and company to suddenly hit form at Wembley, and it's important that AFCB do everything they can not to be the victim of another horror show as we close in on Halloween.
Eddie Howe hopes the bigger the game the better AFCB will play.
The team must look to establish themselves in these sort of games more than most. Tottenham have the talent to blow them away in a five minute spell and sometimes there will be little any team can do to stop Pocchetino's attacking players. But it's not just about keeping Spur's out. At the other end Spurs have only conceded five goals all season and have only lost one of their seven league games, which was against Chelsea.

What plan could Eddie Howe hatch? Well, a five-man midfield would seem to offer the best barrier to make it a competitive game and while three at the back has not always been positive for the Cherries it worked well against Man City. Injuries up front though could mean it's better to stick to four at the back. What the team will need is energy in abundance. The international break will have been tough on some who have travelled, but relatively easy on others who will have had some time to train hard with Eddie and Jason. It will be about holding their shape where Bournemouth can make the game difficult for Spurs. Too often the attacking intent of the Cherries has been countered by the best teams with speed and accurate shooting, and it's about time they did better at shutting the door. They nearly did it against Man City, but this game will be more difficult I suspect being away from home.
Where Spurs have done well this system is in their full back play. Davies and Trippier were particularly strong in their last match against Huddersfield and overwhelmed the Yorkshire team in midfield with Davies even getting on the score sheet. So the battles on the wings will be just as vital as anywhere else on the pitch, and getting the balance right between attacking and falling back to keep the shape in defence is going to be quite a skill to try and get right.

Keep the game tight should be AFCB's main goal in the first half. Making the game just a second half match would be a positive step, as long as Howe can get his substitutes right and with the possibility of Defoe and perhaps Lys Mousset being kept for the second half, there is always a possibility of pinching a point or more. While I'd like Callum Wilson to be on that bench, yesterday's press conference suggests that Callum is not quite ready yet and Josh King and Ryan Fraser could well be unavailable.

Potential AFCB line up at Wembley 4-5-1


Boruc, S Cook, Arter, Pugh, Mahoney, Defoe, Mousset 

Friday, 13 October 2017

Rival Lines: Wembley could quite possible deny Spurs the title

Rival Lines
Match Preview: Spurs v AFCB
Blogger Interview: Tottenham Blog
Twitter @DJFitch

Our second of two Rival Lines this weeks comes from Dan at Tottenham Blog. The lack of Premier League football got me a bit anxious this week so that is why we have ended up with a double helping of Rival Lines. It's all been a welcome period though for Spurs blogger Dan who can marvel at Harry Kane being on the short list for the Ball'on Dor and Harry Winks getting an England debut cap after just four Premier League appearances, but perhaps can AFCB bring Spurs back down to earth or should I say Wembley - their unhappy hunting ground.

CC: How did you get started on Tottenham Blog?

TB: I was working as a freelance journalist for lots of websites and figured I could learn a lot from running one myself.

CC: Is the Wembley form going to cost Spurs a crack at the title this season?

TB: Quite possibly. I’d have really fancied us if we were still at White Hart Lane. That said, our away form wasn’t great last season, so that was always an area in which there was potential to improve and so far we’ve done that.

CC: TalkSport's Alan Brazil and David Ginola have been talking about whether Spurs could sell Harry Kane in a swap deal with Gareth Bale and £120m - how would that sit with Tottenham fans?

TB: There is no player that Spurs fans would love to see back more than Bale, but not at the expense of Kane. These stories never explain how we’d pay the wages of someone like Bale, though I guess the £120m would help.

CC: Have you been surprised at how well Ben Davies has played at full back?

TB: Not really. He’s never really had a consistent run in the team until now, which has made it difficult for him to be at his best. We’ve missed Danny Rose’s energy and pace at times, but I’ve always thought that Davies was a better crosser.

CC: Do you think Dele Alli need to have the naughty boy image to be the player he is?

TB: He gets himself in trouble for silly things, often off the ball, which is a habit that he will hopefully grow out of. If that happens, I think he’ll be a better player, not a worse one.

CC: Did Mauricio Pochettino do enough in the last transfer window?

TB: We could have done with an attacking player with real pace and perhaps a playmaker, so we’re not so reliant on Christian Eriksen, but overall it was a pretty successful window.

CC: Does Son Heung-min deserve to be on the subs bench this season?

TB: The fact that we’ve mainly played with wing-backs has reduced his chances, as he played most of his games as a winger last season. He’s started more games in the Champions League, where his pace is vital when breaking against opponents that are likely to have more of the ball than us.

CC: What can you tell us about Harry Winks?

TB: I’ve yet to see him have a poor game, though Pochettino has been very careful in regards to what fixtures he’s picked him in. Winks always wants the ball and has the confidence to get his head up and pass imaginatively. It says much for his intelligence that Pochettino often brings him on as a substitute to see a game out, which is a job that a more mature player would normally be trusted with. I’m hoping that his England debut will lead to us picking him more regularly this season.

CC: Do you think Jermain Defoe is still good enough to go to the World Cup with England and is he the player Spurs fans will most fear in the Bournemouth line up?

TB: With Kane a certain starter, Defoe would be a useful super-sub to bring on if we needed a goal. He’s much loved among Tottenham supporters, though I’ve never been his biggest fan. For me, Defoe never convinced when played on his own up front, yet nor did he ever form a truly effective partnership with any of the strikers he played with at Spurs.

CC: Would Josh King have been a good fit for Tottenham this summer?

TB: A lot of Spurs fans were against this move, but I was all for it. We lack a really fast forward and it would have been great to have landed an adaptable player like King to make the most of the wide spaces at Wembley.

CC: Have spurs got many injuries?

TB: We’re without a number of players that would be contenders to play if fit. Mousa Dembele, Erik Lamela, Danny Rose and Victor Wanyama are all out.

CC: How do you expect Tottenham to line up for the game against Bournemouth?

TB: Lloris in goal, a back three of Alderweireld, Sanchez and Vertonghen, Trippier/Aurier and Davies at wing-back, Dier and Winks in central midfield, with Alli and Eriksen supporting Kane.

Another strong set of answers from our second Spurs blogger. Dan may be worried that Spurs are not yet picking up maximum points in their home games but as an AFCB fan we would just be happy to get a point or two anywhere at the moment. While Spurs have several players out and a big mid-week fixture against Real Madrid, AFCB will have to show something they have not shown yet this season I believe to win at Wembley. Still places can inspire players and the Cherries just may be fancy having a good crack at Spurs with 3000 AFCB fans behind them. Catch up with more of Dan's views on Tottenham Blog including the Pochettino's views on the differences between Spurs Man Utd and Man City and why Spurs may become record breakers this weekend.