Written by billythekid
The Cherries suffered another defeat on the road, this time against Everton. There were encouraging signs with our sides first half performance, but AFCB didn’t get the rub of the green or any points. AFCB are back home at Dean Court on Saturday with a normal 3 pm kick off. The visitors are West Ham, in our three Premier League games against them at Dean Court so far, there have been 15 goals. Then the Cherries have a ten-day break before their next game again at Dean Court on Wednesday 30th January 7.45 pm against Chelsea. This is due to the FA Cup Fourth Round matches the week before.
West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini had a tough start to his new job, with his side losing their opening four Premier League games, three of which were in August. Away to Liverpool 4-0. Then our away game there which we won 1-2. The Hammers next game was an all London affair away to Arsenal which they lost 3-1.
September started with their fourth defeat in a row, 0-1 at home against Wolves. Things improved after this and they gained their first win away to Everton 1-3. Then back home at the London Stadium, the visitors were another London club Chelsea, the game ended in a 0-0 draw. West Ham finished the month with another home game, beating Manchester United 3-1.
October started with two defeats, first away against Brighton 1-0. Then another all London game at home against Spurs, losing by the only goal of the game. Next, it was a visit to Leicester City where they gained a point in a 1-1 draw.
November’s three games were a WDL. The win was a 4-2 against Burnley. The draw was away at Huddersfield, it finished 1-1. Last game of the month was at home, West Ham suffered their heaviest defeat at home so far, 0-4 against Manchester City.
The busy December month started with four straight wins, scoring eleven goals, conceding three. The first game was up in the North East against Newcastle United, West Ham won 0-3. Then they had two home games, first against Cardiff City which finished 3-1. Next, it was against the first of two London clubs, they beat Crystal Palace 3-2, then travelled to Fulham where they won 0-2. The winning run ended in their next game at the London Stadium, losing 0-2 against Watford. The next two games ended in a 1-2 win away at Southampton and a 2-0 defeat against Burnley. The year ended with West Ham in 11th place with 27 points after 20 games. The Cherries were one place and one point behind them. Now, West Ham 9th on 31 points, four points more than 12th placed AFCB.
The New Year started with two home matches, a 2-2 draw against Brighton and in their last game, a 1-0 win over Arsenal.
So far in our home Premier League games at Dean Court, we have LWD against West Ham. 2015-16, it ended 1-3 in favour of West Ham. 2016-17, it finished 3-2, our first ever home win against West Ham in any competition. 2017-18, who can forget that Boxing Day cracker which finished 3-3. In all league games at home, AFCB have W1, D2, L1.
In all competitions, AFCB have W3, D4, L5.
Six Game Form Guide in the Premier League – Starting with the latest game first:
AFCB LDLLWL – West Ham WDLWLW
Home Form Table
AFCB – 9th P11 W5 D3 L3 GF19 GA17 Pts18
Away Form Table
West Ham – 10th P10 W4 D2 L4 GF13 GA14 Pts14
AFCB Team News
Apart from the long term injuries to Simon Francis and Lewis Cook. Dominic Solanke not expected back until next month from a hamstring injury. Callum Wilson missed recent games with a hamstring injury, could be back for Saturday.
AFCB Player To Watch
At home with the form he has been showing must be David Brooks.
West Ham Team News
West Ham have nine players on the injury list, the highest in the Premier League. Marko Arnautovic with a back injury, slight doubt. Fabian Balbuena knee injury. Javier Hernandez back injury. Jack Wilshere ankle injury (hopes to be back in 2 weeks). Ryan Fredericks ankle injury. Andriy Yarmolenko Achilles injury. Carlos Sanchez knee injury. Manuel Lanzini ACL knee injury. Winston Reid knee injury. On transfer rumours, if Marko Arnautovic leaves to go to play in China, West Ham have been linked with our own Callum Wilson to replace him.
West Ham Player To Watch
Felipe Anderson the Brazilian midfield player, been showing good form for West Ham, he is a strong all-round player and scores goals. Marko Arnautovic the big Austrian striker has to be another, but may not start (see above team news). Samir Nasri after a long time out played 71 minutes against Arsenal in the last game and made the assist for their goal scored by Rice. Declan Rice another promising youngster for the Hammers.
Simon Hooper is the referee, we had him against Blackburn at Dean Court and away at Wolves.
Subs: Boruc, Mings, Daniels, Stanislas, Surman, Mousset, King
With Ibe, I think he was flat-out wrongly maligned for an average performance against Brighton and did more in 10 minutes than Stan did the whole game vs Everton. I’d give him a go in that formation, where he has more protection from the deeper lying midfielders and the excellent Clyne, and more of a license to drift centrally. Not too much wrong with the Everton first-half performance, so keep that as similar as possible, with the more clinical Wilson coming in for King. Please for the love of god get Mings in the squad for this game, if they bring on/start Carroll, then we have no answer and will be dominated aerially. No need for a back 3 for this game, but we’ll invariably need his height and physicality at some point.
If Fraser needs a rest, I wouldn’t mind seeing King in the sort of wide forward position. While as a striker he’s completely out of form atm, he’s very good at dribbling, hold up play etc. out wide, so might be a good option; might even cut inside and get himself a goal.
The same way as last season, I felt 3 at the back was our best formation with the players we had, this season this 4-2-3-1 looks to be the best use of our players. 3 advanced midfielders who are comfortable drifting centrally and out wide, a formidable lone striker and a defensive screen for the back 4. You’ve got creativity, better options on the bench with how the squad is used, it’s easy to switch into another formation, its dynamic… I look at the team and think “That’s a Top 10 lineup”.
However, I fear that what we’ll actually get is this…
Subs: Boruc, Rico, Daniels, Simpson, Brooks, Ibe, Mousset
King and Wilson, on the whole, simply doesn’t work very well together on a consistent basis (apart from that 0-4 Watford beauty). All of their goals come from either other players or their own individual play; they rarely look for each other, or at the very least fail to get the ball to each other. King is out of form up front, and Wilson no longer needs a strike partner to do well. I’d rather see Wilson and Mousset than Wilson and King, judging by the Chelsea cup game. King seems to have forgotten how to press properly from the front, which essentially leaves us with a 4-4-1 when not in possession, or he charges back to make a tackle and leaves Wilson on his own. King at his best is a nightmare for defenders, but he isn’t at that level.
This awful, flat 4 in the middle formation is most of the reason we concede a lot of goals. We have very good individual defenders, who can defend their goal very well when under pressure. But when you’re constantly getting ran at, you’re going to make errors or be overwhelmed. All 4 of those players in midfield, as much as I love them, can give the ball away very easily, putting the defence under unnecessary strain. I’m starting to hate 4-4-2 with a passion, I think its the most limiting formation around, predictable, and not really all that conducive towards our more explosive counterattacking style this season, nor is particularly good at keeping hold of the ball (especially with Gosling as one of your main pivots). – Join the conversation, click here.