Written by Neil Dawson
Bournemouth’s stop-start season moved back into dissolve mode following the joy at Brighton as they gifted Fulham their first away win of the season. A game played in blistering heat resembled an August friendly in more ways than the weather with lots of stops for drinks, subs and both teams looking like they were still finding their feet.
The team was due to be unchanged but Smith limped off in the warm-up so Junior came into the unfamiliar right back position.
The game started well for Bournemouth with Fraser, in particular, showing why he has so many admirers with some great runs and crosses. King should have scored from one of these, skying over when a touch would have done six yards out. Fraser looked frustrated, most of the day, in fact, having harsh words with most of the team at one point or another.
If that miss was bad Mitrovic was guilty at the other end of an equal one. Gradually Bournemouth started to fade. Stanislas pulled his knee trying that odd free-kick technique that has worked once in three hundred attempts. This left us with Cook at right back and Simpson on. ‘Why are our two best centre backs at full back’ asked my twelve year old. A fair question and Eddie soon swapped Cook and Mepham so must have been pondering the same thing.
Precious little happened after this, Bournemouth fading worryingly. Eddie rightly pointed out that full backs are a good avenue of attack for us and we didn’t have any. A fair point which begs the question as to why he didn’t move to a back three and put Fraser to wing back.
Ht Bournemouth 0 Fulham 0
The second half quickly descended into farce. We can’t even use the excuse that the other team were well organised with strong players and on a good run like we could with Burnley.
Bournemouth did miss two great chances with Fraser and Wilson misfiring when excellently found by Brooks. Two chances both players would normally snaffle up. Fulham were offering little but went ahead when Simpson clumsily challenged MITROVIC in the box. The big striker buried his penalty convincingly
Panic then struck. I will get slaughtered as usual for saying it but Eddie lost the plot in the exact same way as against Burnley. Throwing more and more forwards on when you don’t have the ball means you have less of it. Solanke and Mousset joining the other three stood facing backwards and turning Fulham into Barcelona with nobody to challenge them in midfield as they sprayed it around. It’s tactical naivety and to do it so often raises huge concerns for me. No doubt I will be alone though!
And so the game played out with Fulham looking far more likely to score and the Chasm between our four centre half’s and four centre forwards filled with Lerma, probably wondering why he left Spain, and Gosling who couldn’t have looked more tired if he had done back to back marathons.
Embarrassing, only three world-class saves from Boruc kept respectability. Credit to the big Pole as well for going through King like nobody’s business about his laziness.
FT Bournemouth 0 Fulham 1
Boruc 8 – four stunning saves and good use
Stan 6 – doing ok before the injury
Cook 7- some great blocks and tackles.
Mepham 5 – not a full back.. we know now.
Ake 6 – full back position lowers him to mortal.
Fraser 6 – best threat going forwards
Lerma 6- tried to keep it going, strong.
Gosling 4- lost and shattered from tenth min.
Brooks 5 – quiet with the odd moment of vision.
King 4 – not at it today, lackadaisical.
Wilson 4- Touch and finishing not existent.
(Simpson 4 – needs to stick to Man C games)
(Solanke 5 – good feet and turns)
Here we go again! I should just cut and paste the Burnley game. I know some people don’t think tactics matter. Personally, I do. We allowed ourselves to be outnumbered in midfield today. Gosling was chasing shadows all game. Look at how Chambers, a converted centre half that struggled on loan at Boro was made to look like Iniesta today. He hasn’t improved, he just had time on the ball. We didn’t have enough of the ball and to compound it by throwing more and more forwards on is just rank bad. You can take this mistake once, maybe twice but for a manager of this calibre to do it so many times this season it’s astonishing.
Injuries haven’t helped but Eddie could see that we were short in midfield when Stan had to depart. A three-man defence with an extra body to ferry it forwards in midfield was crying out. He can’t do it though, they don’t train it, so we ended up with four centre half’s marking Mitrovic – a man who makes Fletch look like Usain Bolt. About a mile away from them were four forwards getting in each other’s way.
If you are that amateur in your set up you deserve amateur results. Hopefully, we will get some semblance of tactical awareness before the annual ‘piss the fans off’ trip to St Fairies. If there are no fit full backs Eddie….play wing backs.
What a waste of great weather!
Eddie’s Achilles heel is that he cannot think quick enough during a game to change tactics.
Whatever he writes on his ‘love’ notes handed around to his chosen few during the game, don’t appear to have any effect! – Join the conversation, click here.