Thursday, 19 April 2018

Man Utd rattle two past the Cherries with no reply

Match Report
AFCB 0 v 2 Man Utd
18 April 2018
Attendance 10,952
AFCB fans walk away disappointed form Den Court.
Bournemouth found a bit more of they style against United, but left the gate open after a United corner to go one-nil down before the half hour. In a close first half the Cherries only managed one shot on target, but were well in the game despite Jesse Lingard finding a way to get behind AFCB and give Chris Smalling a simple task to take the lead. But the game suing right away from Bournemouth when Lukaku put things beyond doubt with a well taken run across AFCB's back line and a sharp finish. Earlier, Luke Shaw was a lucky man not to have been seen fouling Wilson in the box, but United had the edge all evening despite a strong game by AFCB.

Bournemouth made two changes bringing in Andrew Surman and Callum Wilson to the starting kine up and moving Dan Gosling and Jermain Defoe to the bench. Harry Arter was also back on the subs bench.

Meanwhile, Man Utd made seven changes after their defeat to WBA out went Ashley Young, Victor Lindelof, Antonio Valencia, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata, Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku and in came Phil Jones, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw, Marouane Fellaini and Matteo Darmian.

Match Descrption
AFCB lined up in red and black while Man Utd kicked off in an off white, grey shirt and white shorts. Bournemouth began well in possession and King won an early free kick. Fraser and Daniels stood over the ball 25 yards out, but it was touched to Francis and his shot was blocked.

Martial drifted down the AFCB right wing and Steve Cook had to concede the first corner, which Begovic punched away.

Fellaini beat Surman with ease in midfield, but Rashford was soon caught offside. Ibe battles through a couple of challenges before Steve Cook fouls Rashford.

Daniels and Fraser work well down the left forcing Herrera to clear hurriedly in front of Wilson. Martial is looking to be Man Utd's liveliest player, but Fellaini is offside.

Wilson almost out runs Phil Jones, but just loses out having run on from a ball through from Jordan Ibe on 10 minutes. Daniels finds Wilson up the left and he pulls it back to Ibe who pulls his shot wide for a goal kick!

Daniels just does enough to prevent a corner to Man Utd. Aké makes a good interception from Lingard's pass to Rashford. Man Utd win a corner, but nothing comes of it.

Luke Shaw tries to get a cross in but is blocked. Francis now gets flagged offside. Man Utd on the attack get a deep cross in to Fellaini but is kept out.

Bournemouth have a corner and Daniels is kept out on the short corner. AFCB are working the ball will but Aké's slip lets Rashford's shot is saved by Begovic and from the corner Lingard gets round the back and Smalling has an easy tap in on 27 minutes - 0-1 to United.

Ibe puts in a string cross but De Gea catches it well. Lewis Cook makes a forward run and Fraser gets a weak shot off. Ibe now wins a free-kick, but Aké can't make contact in the box. Pogba puts Martial through but he's offside.

Lewis Cook fouls Paul Pogba on 36 minutes. Surman heads the kick out for a corner. Man Utd are just keeping possession now. United are truing to stop AFCB playing out. Wilson wins a free kick to relieve some pressure.

Lingard plays Martial in but he's held back. AFCB now come forward but King can't find a team mate. The game is opening up. Wilson runs into Fellaini and Aké makes a run, now Ibe shoots and its parried out by De Gea. Steve Cook has to do some covering.

AFCB on the attack towards the end of the half. A long throw from Steve Cook as we go into a minute of added time and Francis' shot wins a corner. Francis wins the header, but it runs out wide until Ibe puts a cross back in which is cleared. Half time 0-1 to Utd.
My son Stephen waves his flags and was picked out by the BBC.
Second Half
Aké makes a mistake that is almost costly but Lingard does not make the most of it. Lewis Cook is carded for taking Lingard out from behind.

Lingard puts in Rashford but Aké holds him up for a goal kick. It's a positive start by United this half.

Wilson stretches his legs and picks up a corner for the Cherries on 50 minutes.

It's short but Surman's cross is cleared. Rashford's pull back is intercepted by Francis. Lewis Cook stops Pogba.

Daniels finds Ibe but Wilson does not read his pass. Francis deals with Martial. Fraser finds King and the cross to Wilson should go in, but Wilson does not make contact and Shaw holds him back - should be a penalty!

Mouseset has replaced Ibe on 56 minutes and AFCB have gone to a back three. Mousset gets a cross blocked and Daniels has his shot deflect for a corner. Lewis Cook has a free kick now on the right. Francis puts the cross in but Wilson knocks it out for a goal kick.

Wilson and Smalling are having a rough and tumble, interlocking arms. AFCB have the free kick and Smalling is carded. Aké. heads but does not get an AFCb player. Steve Cook gets a yellow for fouling Pogba on the break.

Lingard is replaced by Lukaku in 63 minutes. Martial's chip is claimed by Begovic. Lewis Cook on a run finds Wilson, but Jones gets back for a corner. King tries to get a shot in but it does not break for him with Jones hindering him. Fraser's cross is cleared.

Rashford is picked out on the edge of the Cherries box but his shot is deflected for a corner. Pigba is give an free kick right on the edge of the box after Surman has minimal contact with him. Lukaku hits the wall.

Surman is now carded for being late on Herrera. Rashford shoots and Begovic is down quickly to save on 69 minutes. Wilson is fouled by Darmian on half way.

King is away. Wilson loses the ball though. Pogba finds Lukaku and it's 0-2 to United on 70 minutes. AFCB were done on the break. Lukaku finishes with his left foot. King is now right wing and Mousset on the left of a front three for AFCB.

Lewis Cook comes away with the ball well. Dan Gosling replaces Surman on 74 minutes. Pogba plays in Martial who fouls Fraser.

Steve Cook finds trouble and AFCB have to make rash clearances in their box. AFCb having to fight hard to win the ball.

Fraser on the right but Smailling beats Wilson in the air. AFCB have a corner, Fellaini clears. Pogba is subbed for Blind on 80 minutes. Daniels cross is too high.

Mousset lets fly on the right side but hits it just over the angle. Defoe comes on for King on 82 minutes.

Wilson goes down in the box and nothing is given. Jones chopped across Wilson and Smalling got the ball back to De Gea. Fraser and Gosling come forward. Fraser's shot is blocked.

Martial dummies for Blind who air kicks the ball!Fraser puts in a great cross that Darmian puts out for  corner. Gosling shoots well over.

Martial pulls back a great chipped cross beating Francis but it's too high for Pogba. Wilson does well to recover the ball and AFCB have a corner from Darmian's header.

Four minutes of added time. Jermain Defoe handballs.  Wilson does a turn but can't keep the ball.

Francis has just to much to do. Fraser puts in a great cross. That's it full time 0-2 to United.

An unfortunate night for the Cherries, AFCB deserved a penalty for the pull back by Shaw on Callum Wilson but you don't always get them - in fact, Graham Scott didn't want to give hardly anything to the Cherries. The Cherries fought well and troubled United at times, but Mourinho's side were powerful enough to really hold AFCB off at arms length. The change of formation for AFCB in the second half gave them a much better ability to get forward, but United's goals were clinical and two goals to the good.

AFCB's starting line up
AFCB Subs: BorucArter, Simpson, Gosling, Pugh, Mousset, Defoe
AFCB Ratings
Begovic 6, Francis 6, S Cook 6, Aké 6, Daniels 5, Ibe 5, Surman 5, L Cook 8, Fraser 7, King 6, Wilson 6

MoM: Lewis Cook 8/10

Man Utd
De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Jones, Shaw; Herrera, Fellaini, Pogba (Blind 80), Lingard (Lukaku 63), Rashford, Martial 

Man Utd Subs
Bailly, Sánchez, R Lukaku, Blindm Young, Matic, Castro Pereira

Referee Watch Graham Scott: 1/10 - shocking oversight for missed penalty and fell foul of giving as much as he could to the big named team.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

I keep dreaming of 40+ points for AFCB - is tonight the night?

It sounds easy. A win against Man Utd and AFCB can rest easy for the remaining games knowing that they have done enough. The final points are always the hardest to get and to be honest I'm not opposed to having some tough fixtures at the end of the season as I'd be even more stressed if the Cherries were not performing against the bottom sides. But by playing Liverpool and Man Utd before the last three matches, it should raise the play levels and if the points don't come easily in these games, the players know they have work to do in the last few games.
One more win and AFCB are out of sight
Players are often accused of switching off when they are virtually safe. AFCB's players are as honest as they come though and the word safe is no doubt banned for the halls of Dean Court. A gap of 10 points ahead of Southampton is good but not impossible to overturn (ever the pessimist!). Games against Liverpool and Man Utd are glamour games, but it won't do our players any good to suffer two big beatings. The Cherries need to give something back to the fans after the Liverpool match and to do that against Man Utd would put the team in a great position going into the Southampton game.


In some ways the defeat that the Saints had against Chelsea has taken the pressure of AFCB. The gap could have been seven points to the bottom three, but with that lead still in double figures, two more defeats for Stoke City and Southampton and the Cherries will be uncatchable. But wouldn't it be better for the Cherries to do the job themselves of getting to safety? It would be more of a carnival if the Cherries can also do that with a win against a team such as Man Utd.

This is not a poor Man Utd team though. They sit second in the league and if one thing Mourinho has given them it is organisation. United are also playing in the FA Cup Semi-final at the weekend and the line up for Utd may reflect that with Man Utd having games in hand over Liverpool who chase them in the league.

Possible AFCB line up to play Man Utd - an unchanged team?
AFCB Subs: Boruc, Simpson, B Smith, Surman, Pugh,
Mousset, Wilson

AFCB have to stamp out wayward passing for Man Utd

Bournemouth didn't really have any answer to Liverpool's play at Anfield. When the team did get possession they lost it almost immediately and at the end of the game AFCB had only managed 38.2 per cent possession, and had not achieved as much as they would have liked with that. Bournemouth's midfield was chasing shadows and found it hard to change to make a positive impact on the game. So, what needs to change for AFCB to beat Man Utd?
Can AFCB find their passing game?
At least Man Utd will have to come to Dean Court. They still have a great array of attacking players with Lukaku, Lingard, Sanchéz and Pogba posing multiple threats. But AFCB have to compete in midfield much better than they did up at Anfield. The home crowd will not accept a Bournemouth team that don't have a go under floodlights and the team has to find a response that is creative and at the same time not feeding the Man Utd stars with easy possession. Man Utd might also rest some players for the FA Cup Semi-Final with Spurs and Mourinho is probably none to pleased with some of those who lost to WBA on Sunday.

The passing from AFCB at Anfield was rarely lasting longer than three passes and interceptions were numerous. But were the runs of Defoe, King, Ibe and Fraser good enough to make it easy for themselves to be found and did they work well enough in front of goal to pose any problems for the opposition? AFCB were blunt in attack and by trying to contain Liverpool the team lost its identity to create effective attacks until the last 15 minutes when the game was arguably already gone.

Against Man Utd should we expect more opportunities? I expect the game to be more end to end and for the Cherries to be more aggressive. They have to set out with the intention to win the 50:50 challenges and to get in front of Man Utd rather than let them dictate.

Eddie Howe stated that the passing was wayward at Anfield and that Andrew Surman gave the team the control he was looking for in the end. But does Howe think that Gosling and Cook are not yet ready to be effective enough against the best sides? Should he recall Surman to the starting line up? I don't believe fans want Surman to start against Man Utd but Howe will be aware that AFCB's midfield has to have more control against Utd and he'll have to find away of getting that platform to get AFCB's passing game going.

AFCB Home Form

Man Utd Away Form

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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

The Cherries have much to learn from top six teams

Struggling away up at Anfield was not quite the match Eddie Howe had wanted to see, but his team were well mastered by a Liverpool side that could go on to win the European Cup this season, and just being able to be on the pitch and play against these players is what AFCB's players have to gain experience from. It will be no different against Man Utd who will aim to dominate AFCB's players, but the things that Howe and the players can learn from these games are important for future games against the top six which the club hopes to have.
Eddie has to piece together where it is going wrong at the moment.
Bournemouth have picked up just two wins against top six sides this season and both Arsenal and Chelsea are at the bottom of that top six. It is more of a top four this season and while Bournemouth have lost narrowly to Spurs and Man City in some of those fixtures they have found it difficult, even when getting a goal up against a top four side. So playing Man Utd at home will be another tough examination.

Eddie Howe only has a few days to pick apart what didn't go as well as it might at Anfield, but the match against Man Utd gives the team another chance to make more of a go of it against a top team. The two matches (Liverpool and Man Utd) will probably remind Howe of the Christmas period, when the Cherries had their worst run with poor results against the same teams, even if AFCB's performance at Old Trafford was one of their best. I don't think we can expect AFCB to play well against Man Utd though just because they did up at Old Trafford. Bournemouth have to earn the right to play their game n the way they want to and Man Utd won't make it easy for them.

AFCB should pick up a few pointers from the Liverpool defeat though ahead of this next match with United. They can't stand off players like Pogba who can hit long forward passes with great accuracy and they have to press together and get Defoe into the game, while King must bring other players into the game when the ball is hit up to him. There are certain parts of the game that have to be done well to get the team involved in the game and being progressive, and there were too many negative factors that kept popping up against Liverpool. Howe has to change that around now and find ways of playing positively against United.

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ASKFans - Liverpool 3 v 0 AFCB

Centre-halves play well despite Liverpool's three goal win

I thought Steve Cook and Nathan Aké had strong games up at Anfield, even if things did not go well in the end with conceding three goals. They had a hard job to do and they new that before a ball was kicked, but while they looked up to the challenge I did not think they were given enough support or protection by their colleagues.
I can't fault Steve Cook for his tenacity and determination, but both
 he and Aké need help to get a clean sheet.
The art of defending is not appreciated enough in the Premier League, and when we get excited about seeing players like Mo Salah every week you can see why perhaps. But it wasn't exciting to see Salah run at Aké for much of the game. While Nathan marshalled the Egyptian better than most, he could not stop him from extending his goal count to 30 in the Premier League this season. For the goal, Aké was perhaps feeling already guilty for an incident a moment earlier, when he put a hand on Salah's back in the box, but Salah got a yard on Aké and positioned himself perfectly for his headed goal from Alexander-Arnold's deep cross.

Steve Cook was just as much in the thick of it with Firmino posing plenty of trickery for the Bournemouth defender. Cook was reading the game well though and was thinking quickly to make clearances before Liverpool players could get shots away and even when they did he blocked well. Steve Cook is the kind of player you want in the trenches when things are really hard, because he digs in and is so defiant.

Despite the two centre-halves' brave attempts to defy Liverpool they ultimately came up short you could argue, but they were not so well protected. Asmir Begovic will be annoyed that Henderson was not closed down for the ball in for the fist goal and that he himself spilt Mane's header, but the third goal was lost up field and Francis didn't offer much resistance to Firmino when he looked to shoot.

So the goals keep going in against the Cherries, and while Tyrone Mings could find himself on the bench against Man Utd, I wouldn't say there is much popular demand for Aké or Steve Cook to be dropped.

Monday, 16 April 2018

AFCB were too passive to get anything at Liverpool

Eddie Howe said every player has to be at their maximum when they go to places like Anfield. But said far too many of AFCB's players weren't at it and while there may be a reason for that in how the Cherries approached the game, Howe knows he can't have indifferent performances in this league and expect to pick up points.
AFCB have to be more aggressive against Man Utd than they were against Liverpool.
Liverpool are a great team but AFCB made their task a bit easier than it might have been. An early goal was always what AFCB needed to avoid and while they couldn't do that they did enough to frustrate and get in at half time still in the game. I kind of expected a much bigger performance in the second half. And while AFCB played better and did not concede an early goal in the second half, there wasn't much pressure being put on the ball when it was in Liverpool's possession and without that spark as a team, AFCB gave a flat performance.

The team did find a bit of their game though when Callum Wilson and Andrew Surman joined the game. I guess Liverpool could take their foot off a bit by then, but the calming influence of Surman and the nuisance value of Wilson gave AFCB something to hang on to for the first time in the game. There were some late opportunities created late on with Gosling perhaps having the best chance to score, and Wilson coming close. But where was that on the first 80 minutes? If the game plan was to keep it tight and have a go in the last 20 minutes when perhaps Liverpool would tire, then Eddie Howe got it wrong.

Whatever we say about AFCB's performance, Liverpool are a big proposition for any team at Anfield at the moment. Damage limitation is not something that we see Eddie Howe teams set out to accomplish, but I think this game was that kind of a match where AFCB did not challenge hard enough and gave a bit too much respect. I don't expect to see a repeat against Man Utd.

Did Aké get away with a penalty shove on Mo Salah?

When I first saw the challenge of Nathan Aké on Mo Salah in the penalty box I did hold my breath. It was the first time when Aké had lost Salah, and he clearly felt that Salah had got away from him. The hands went out and they certainly shoved the Liverpool front man, but it would have been soft to give a penalty when the ball was speeding away from Salah.
Nathan Aké did everything he could to try and stop Mo Salah getting a shot in.
Looking at the video in slow motion though, I'd say Nathan was a bit lucky to get away with it. It was a penalty. When you think that handling and holding a player for a corner can often result n a penalty, this was more of a deliberate shove, and perhaps if Salah had been in a better shooting position the decision could have gone against Aké. Of course, the position of the player in the box should not make a difference, if it is a foul in the box, but with little chance of Salah being able to do anything before the ball would cross the goal line, the referee's decision was perhaps made a little easier.

AFCB fans will say no penalty and Liverpool fans will say it should have been a penalty. I wouldn't argue with that. But I am pleased it wasn't given at the time. AFCB were still hanging in the game at the time and it was only the next attack that gave Liverpool, the breathing space they needed at 2-0 to relax a bit.

There was no time for AFCB to relax. Aké was perhaps a bit on edge after Salah had given him the slip and he will know a bit more about Mo Salah next time they come up against each other. While Aké could have given a penalty away he didn't and he will be aware of how close it can be to getting a yellow card for losing hold of such a talented striker. But having marked Salah for a game, he should be well warmed up for the likes of Jesse Lingard or Lukaku on Wednesday.

Chimes to Camera - AFCB 2 v 2 Crystal Palace

Premier Talk - Well done to the champions Man City