In midweek, AFC Bournemouth travelled to the Emirates to face Arsenal.
The Cherries went on to lose the game 5-1, a scoreline that AFC Bournemouth aren’t unfamiliar with against the top six sides of the top flight of English football.
But the problem with this result was the overall performance of the side.
The squad is struggling with injuries and suspensions in all areas of the pitch at the moment, but Howe still wasn’t prepared to make excuses.
For the visit of Manchester City to Dean Court, the Cherries made changes to the system and personnel. In a somewhat uncharacteristic move from Howe, the Cherries changed to a back five, with four in midfield and the lone striker of Joshua King up front.
In an attacking sense, it’s clear why it’s not a go-to system for Howe. AFC Bournemouth failed to register a single shot on goal.
But in a defensive sense, Manchester City were held to a slender 1-0 lead, despite naming Jack Simpson, who had previously only played 72 minutes of Premier League football and Chris Mepham, who signed in January and was making on his third start.
AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe told afcb.co.uk…
“We were pleased, overall, with how we defended. We had to answer a few questions from Wednesday against Arsenal (5-1 defeat). We pride ourselves on being organised and giving everything to every match without allowing our standards to drop.
“We gave everything today and our young back three did really well considering their ages and lack of experience. They produced some good performances individually and collectively that kept us in the game…”
“…If we hadn’t conceded, who knows what would have happened? The longer it went on, maybe they would have been frustrated, but your defensive game against them has got to be very good because one slip or one momentary lapse can cost you. Artur did well and we weren’t troubled seriously until we went 1-0 down.
“We’ve played them before in games where they’ve blown us away and some of the goals they’ve scored have been very good, but today, in an unspectacular way, they did nothing to stand out but kept making the right decisions at the right times and that deserves a lot of credit…”
On the one hand, we kept ourselves in the game which is all I’ve ever asked against these big sides. We make it hard for them to get clear cut chances. Our concentration at the back was much better than usual and Ake was immense.
However, the front players were completely ineffective whenever we did get it up the pitch which made it impossible.
Might have been a different game with Jefferson Lerma, Callum Wilson, Junior Stanislas and a fully fit David Brooks.
Overall happy with the effort but shame we never really had a go at the end. – Join the conversation, click here.