Tuesday, 2 May 2017

AFCB were tested to the brink against Sunderland

I got the sense of there being some relief after the Sunderland match rather than a feeling of a comfortable win. Eddie Howe will have a lot to digest after that match as the game was very open, and plenty of mistakes were made that could have been pounced upon if AFCB had been playing a better side.
AFCB have come through the tests this season.
We saw the ball given away and turned over fairly regularly. Both sides were so keen to get the ball forward that they did things in a frantic manner and both teams seemed happy for the game to run from one end to the other. It was a super contest for the neutral, but one where it was an energy-sapping game and the quality of passing certainly suffered the longer the game went on. It was still pleasing that the Cherries did not give way under pressure from set-pieces, and they defended Sunderland's six corners without too much difficulty. Artur Boruc was fouled for one of them, when stretching for a punch, but the big man had one of those days again when just about everything went right for him.

Boruc was certainly tested and he made some big saves from Fabio Borini and George Honeyman in particular, but Howe will wonder why he was not better protected on some occasions. Sunderland got to the last line of defence several times, and I thought Simon Francis was most determined not to let Jermain Defoe get the better of him.

This was a tight match when one mistake was likely to decide the outcome and the fact that both teams were right on the edge for the whole match perhaps took away some of the quality. The importance of a win was huge for both teams, and it's not often that you get great games in those circumstances, but Sunderland contributed to the game and will feel unlucky that they did not get at least a point to keep their Premier League status for another week. It was a hard test for AFCB's players to come through, but they can look ahead now with a belief that they may be able to play more football in the next three matches without that high tension.

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