Four games into the new season and it’s one goal, no points and new formations, and we reckon it’s going to change again against our newly promoted South coast neighbours Brighton.
After all we have said previously about line-ups and formations, we still can’t resist the urge to give our thoughts for both. Top six opposition in the last two games has seen Eddie Howe go a little gung-ho and try out a new formation to combat the talents that both Man City and Arsenal possess. Against City the lack of our usual selection of wingers and a hard-working midfield very nearly, very, very nearly reaped its rewards. Against Arsenal it didn’t really matter what formation we had, we will say no more.
BACK TO BASICS
The visit of Brighton will present the opportunity to throw off the shackles and get back to a more familiar-looking line-up. We are never quite sure who Howe is going to play. While he likes familiarity he’s not afraid to change. It seems unlikely that Howe will pack the midfield, we think he will be looking to get on the front foot, play the pressing game and attack with intensity for the first twenty minutes. How will he do this? With a back four, wingers and a forward-thinking midfielder, maybe.
THE LATEST AFCB LINE-UP
We reckon that Eddie is going to stop listening to Tindall’s suggestions and get back to what he knows best. With the favoured son Francis back from injury he seems likely to start but who should he replace? Cook or Ake in central defence? Or Adam Smith on the right? The usual option is to replace Smith and move him forward. That didn’t work last time out. So Francis should stay on the bench. Looks like Mings will miss out, but we are not sure why. We reckon he has been playing better than Ake.
TIME FOR LEWIS COOK TO SHINE
To the midfield and it’s almost certain that Surman will come back into the fray with Gosling dropping to the bench. We are not convinced this is the right thing to do. Arter has been off-colour all season, so drop him and play Gosling next to Surman.
Finally, this must be the game to give Lewis Cook his much-deserved chance. We would play him just ahead of Surman and Arter (or Surman/Gosling) and let him dictate the play and give the right ball to Defoe to score. Alternatively, he can put the ball out wide for King or Fraser to run at the Brighton defence or send in crosses. Remember feed Defoe and he will score.
Whatever Howe decides now is the time for the team to step up and show exactly what they can do. Onto victory we go.
NOTE: We spotted that we have Arter on bench and in the team in our line-up. Replace him with Mings on the bench