WHAT EDDIE HOWE HAD TO SAY
TALE OF TWO STRIKERS
Crystal Palace used to have one of my all-time favourite players in the shape of Mr Ian Wright. Thankfully, Palace won’t have anyone of his calibre in this game
The addition of Christian Benteke to their forward line for some quite expensive fee, will give Palace hope, but if he was as crap as he was against Bournemouth in the FA Cup when he played for Villa we will have nothing to worry about. But he is still a quality striker and give him a chance (or three) and he will score.
We have being saying the same about Callum Wilson. Give him a chance and he will score. But, he still doesn’t look like the striker who was going to set the Premier League alight last season. He is too good to drop at present but so is Josh King, but I can’t see Eddie Howe going with two up front away from home. King can play out wide but he is most effective in the middle.
If we can’t score goals we are going to need to learn to defend better. Cook and Francis are doing OK, but as we have said before we would love to see Francis back out on the right bombing forward to get crosses into the box. He’s not too old yet and he is in our opinion one of the, if not the best, crosser of the ball at the club. He has set up so many goals and we need more of that.
To get a win against Palace we need to start showing some solidity in defence, some imagination on the wings and get the ball forward quick to whoever Eddie deems fit as the striker of choice. We would go with King currently, but we believe in Wilson, what a dilemma.
Third game of the season and we will score a goal (maybe more) and we will get a point. Forgot to mention if Ibe ain’t good, get him off earlier and don’t put Grabban on if we want to win. Hoof balls up to Afobe he will nod one in (honest)
TFTSE FAVOURITE – PAUL MERSON
This is a big game already. Both sides have lost two and if you lose a third before the international break it is dull around the place. I think the Christian Benteke factor could decide this in Palace’s favour. You would think he would turn it on for his home debut in the league. It’s rare a centre forward doesn’t do something in his first appearance at home.
They have paid a lot of money for him. He had a good season for Villa then didn’t really produce at Liverpool, but there is a lot more to come from him. If they play to his strengths he will be a handful, but if they don’t get the ball in the box he won’t score too many.
PALACE 2-1 BOURNEMOUTH
Crystal Palace are still searching for their first win of the season but did push Tottenham all the way in their last outing. The arrival of Christian Benteke should give them the boost they need to move up the table. Bournemouth are also still looking to get their first points of the season but may have to wait another week with Benteke looking to make up for lost time following a frustrating 12 months at Liverpool.
The Eagles were winless in each of their last two matches against Bournemouth last season but look set to end their funk against Eddie Howe’s men this weekend.
PALACE 3-1 BOURNEMOUTH
We have only had two league games, but supposedly it is because of Palace’s poor run in the second half of last season – they did not win a league game between 19 December and 9 April. I always think you should take the season as a whole anyway, but just looking at the above ignores Palace’s run to the FA Cup final. Also, Pardew has just spent £27m on Christian Benteke – why would you give him that sort of money and then give him two games to save his job? Like Palace, Bournemouth are yet to pick up a point this season, but thankfully nobody seems to be saying Eddie Howe’s future is in doubt.
PALACE 2-1 BOURNEMOUTH
PALACE, PALACE WHAT’S THE SCORE?
The so called experts know little more than the fans. In fact that they probably know less as they only watch us on TV. And, what makes their opinion any more ‘expert’ than anyone else. Vote now ‘experts’ your opinion counts.
WHERE WERE AFCB 5 YEARS AGO?
On the 27th Aug 2011 AFC Bournemouth were taking on Walsall at home in League One, managing to lose to two Ryan Jarvis strikes, one in each half.
The only member of the current squad in action that day was of course a certain Mr Harry Arter. Who was in charge? Mr Lee Bradbury who had these wise words to say, “We had two or three golden opportunities to go 1-0 up and we didn’t take it”.
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The South End would like to give a big thanks to the crew at The Eagles Beak for giving us their insight into the game.
Q. Last season Bournemouth and Palace finished 16th and 15th respectively with the same points. How many places and points do you hope to finish above us this season?
I think we can expect something similar come the end of the season. It was strange because although we both finished on the same number of points, the reaction from both sides’ fans was completely contrasting. Bournemouth fans were – quite rightly – celebrating doing something which many outsiders though would be completely impossible, whilst Palace fans – having been promised that we would challenge the likes of Tottenham and Everton – were, quite frankly, glad that the season was over and were looking forward to the FA Cup final. Both sides are very similar on paper and I expect us to be within a close margin of each other once again.
Q. Alan Pardew started well last season but faded badly, just after drawing 0-0 with Bournemouth. What is the general opinion of Pardew amongst Palace fans?
Pardew is a legend in the eyes of all Palace fans. Although this is largely down to his playing days at the club, when he scored an FA Cup semi-final winning goal, rather than his stint in the dugout. His capture of Yohan Cabaye gave everyone associated with the club a huge sense of optimism heading into last season but injuries to key players and a loss of form saw us capitulate after Christmas. The fall down the Premier League table was a shame because we were even in with a chance of qualifying for European football at one point which would have been beyond any Palace fans’ wildest dreams.
It’s fair to say Pardew’s job was spared purely on the fact that he was in the process of guiding us to our first FA Cup final since 1990. Although there were several injuries, poor tactics from the former Newcastle United boss were as much to blame, particularly when trying to see out a win or a draw. A poor start to this season and the sales of fan favourites Yannick Bolasie, Dwight Gayle and Mile Jedinak have made several fans turn their backs on Pardew and he is now under serious pressure. The signing of Christian Benteke has eased the worries slightly but a defeat to Bournemouth could take us right back to square one. When Pardew does go, I hope that he is remembered more for his playing career at Selhurst Park, as opposed to his managerial stint. Although he is sadly going down the route of being remembered for the latter, particularly in the eyes of the younger generation of fans who never saw him play in red and blue.
Q. AFC Bournemouth are into their second Premier League season. Did you think we would stay up and how do you think we will do this season?
I did expect Bournemouth to stay up last season, although certainly not by as big a margin as you did. I had followed Bournemouth’s results for a couple of years prior to their promotion in 2015, and their style of play, coupled with Eddie Howe’s desire to succeed, made me believe that you could survive in the top-flight and you did it in style. Particular highlights include the victories against Chelsea and Manchester United which both came within a week and I wouldn’t put it past the Cherries to secure points against the big sides once again. I think the primary ambition this season for Howe’s side should be to survive, but there is certainly no reason why they cannot build on last campaign’s 16th placed finish. I was surprised to see Matt Ritchie sold to Newcastle, although the fee was hardly one that could be easily turned down. I expect Callum Wilson to build on the start he had to last season before his horrific injury and finish with a goal return in the double figures, whilst Jordon Ibe was a superb capture by Howe.
Q. Which one AFC Bournemouth player would you like to see in the Palace team?
This is a really difficult question as I was desperate for us to sign Lewis Cook from Leeds in the summer. however, as he has hardly been a Bournemouth player for very long, I’m going to go with Callum Wilson. He would add something different to our striking options and would complement the style of Christian Benteke really well. His injury last season was extremely unfortunate as he hardly needed any time to adapt to the top-flight and even scored a hat-trick at West Ham. He’s very similar to Jermain Defoe in the way that he doesn’t need several chances to score and you certainly expect the net to bulge when the ball arrives at his feet in the box. I suppose you could also compare him to Dwight Gayle who scores very similar types of goals.
Q. Premier League teams are spending a lot of money. What are your thoughts on both team’s recent signings Jordon Ibe and Christian Benteke?
I was extremely surprised that Liverpool let Ibe leave. He was just beginning to adapt to life in the first team at Anfield and his good relationship with Jurgen Klopp was well documented. I suppose their capture of Sadio Mane, as well as the emergence of another one of their youngsters, Sheyi Ojo, would have seen him fall down the pecking order and, ultimately, he needed regular football. Unfortunately, his first two Premier League games have left a lot to be desired; he seems to take far too many touches on the ball and his decision making isn’t great. In a way he reminds of Wilfried Zaha, who can be jaw-droppingly brilliant but also very frustrating in equal measures. I expect Ibe to really improve under Howe and Jason Tindall who have a very good record of developing players.
In Benteke’s case, I certainly wasn’t surprised that Liverpool allowed him to leave. He didn’t fit the mould of the typical Liverpool striker, with his big frame making him far less mobile than the likes of Robbie Fowler, Iain Rush, Michael Owen, Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge. I expect him to thrive at Palace, though, and he’s still the fourth highest-scoring player in the Premier League since his arrival in 2012, even despite his mere ten goals during his spell at Liverpool. He will suit our slightly more direct system and as long as the supply for him is good, he will score many goals for us.
Q. There weren’t a lot of goals between Bournemouth and Palace last season, and neither have scored many this season. What’s your prediction for the game?
Adam Smith’s strike on the opening weekend is the only league goal scored by either side so far this season from a possible four games, so I’m not predicting it to be a thriller. This fixture last season is certainly one to be forgotten for us, the 2-1 really did confirm our bad form as a capitulation, rather than just a rut – which many excused it as at the time. On a brighter note, we are hoping Benteke will make his Premier League debut and he will hope to impress, so a goal from him in a 1-1 draw would be a good result for us. Neither side can really afford to lose so I expect a very cagey game with fairly tense atmosphere.