Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Points against the bottom teams - signs AFCB are learning

The run of back to back wins against the two bottom sides has pushed AFCB into the higher reaches of the league, but had they lost those games it could have been a very nervy end to the season. Wins against the bottom sides were fairly infrequent in 2016, but the Cherries seemed to have managed these games slightly better in 2017 and I wonder why?

AFCB react when the pressure is on.
When you look back at how AFCB have gone against the bottom six they started in August with a draw against Crystal Palace when the team let in an added time goal, defeat against West Ham followed where the Cherries failed to score and Arter was sent off. The stand out result was the 6-1 win against Hull City, but it was soon followed by a 2-0 away defeat to Middlesbrough when the Cherries failed to score again. A defeat to Sunderland in November and an away win to Swansea in December meant that the Cherries accumulated six points from a possible 18 points in the early season fixtures. This is where AFCB have slipped up a bit this season.
The New Year did not bring immediate improvements with defeat to Hull City 3-1 and a 0-2 home defeat to Crystal Palace. March saw the turnaround with a 3-2 win over West Ham and 2-0 win against Swansea City. April has also been fruitful with wins against Middlesbrough and Sunderland, making it 12 points from 18 in these bottom fixture games. So in all the team has only gained 18 points from 36 in games against the sides that are struggling and it is an area where Eddie Howe can look to make further gains next season if he can do better against the weaker sides. Swansea City have been the only side in the bottom six that AFCB have beaten home and away.

This gives me optimism that if the Cherries do not end up with 50 points this season, then at least there is room for improvement. Now that the pressure is off a little though for this season will AFCB be able o pick up more points in the remaining three games?

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