Defeat against Aston Villa was the perfect introduction into life in the Premier League. We didn’t take our chances when on top and then got done by a corner routine.
Defending corners has been something of an Achilles heel for AFC Bournemouth. Teams who lack the more free-flowing football philosophy of the Cherries have to look for a more direct route to goal. Corners and free-kicks are two prime opportunities to score and plenty of teams target this philosophy. We know which philosophy and style we would prefer to watch.
However much we might despise teams who choose the set piece approach, its a reality in every league AFC Bournemouth play in. And, Eddie Howe has to come up with a tactical plan to deal with it.
Against Villa, it was a good header, but would a different line-up have prevented the goal?
It is hard to fault the Cherries performance and even more so, any of the players. There were no poor performances, some players didn’t reach the heights we know they can and with so much talent on the bench will Eddie Howe think its time to make changes.
We think it would be unfair to drop anyone after only one game, but how many games can Howe allow to go by before changing things. Can he afford to go five games without picking up any points? Can he afford to go three games without picking up any points?
Taking a look at the line-up against Villa there would be two changes I would make to the starting line-up. Up front Joshua King looked lost, but by his own admission he needs to do better. I would put him on the bench and start with Kermorgant. Looking a little more left field how about Tomlin? After his cameo against Villa Max Gradel, he looked good, should surely start against Liverpool. I hate to say it because I would love Pugh to get his chance and succeed. But, how long can you leave £7 million Max on the bench?
Arter’s inury raises the issue of central midfield. I would drop Gosling, but who would replace him? O’Kane? MacDonald? Eddie Howe know he needs reinforcement hence the bid for de Guzman.
I would like to see height added to the defensive line, but who do you drop? Distin for Cook? Mings for Daniels? The ideal solution would be that Steve Cook and Tommy Elphick grew a few more inches, job done. We know positioning is as important but it seems that in the Premier League we could with a few extra inches. We say stick with Cook and Elphick for now and you can’t drop Elphick he’s our captain.
The problem of dropping players after only one game lies in the psychology of the team. Will the players resent not being given more game time to get up to speed? Will they think the deserve a spot in the team after their last performance? It’s a fine balancing act, but if Eddie needs to be ruthless, then he needs to be. As we all know there is no I in team