Written by Rodmorg
Following an entertaining and unbeaten 3 game start to the Premier League season, it was put on hold so Bournemouth could host MK Dons in the second round of the Carabao Cup. It would prove to be a success for the Cherries, as we eased into the third round.
New manager Paul Tisdale’s side had been relegated to the fourth tier after a tough season in League One, and currently sit second after a great start to the season. Familiar face Baily Cargill started the match after joining for free from us during the summer, but could not stop the attacking prowess of our front three.
Eddie’s team consisted of new summer additions, with both Diego Rico (from Leganes – £10.7 million) and Jefferson Lerma (from Levante – £25 million), but also some who would be considered for the first team, such as Simon Francis, Lewis Cook and Jordon Ibe. Only one player had retained his starting position from our extraordinary comeback against Everton – Ryan Fraser. It was hard to determine whether or not the team set out as a 4-4-2 or a 5-2-3, despite various news sites displaying the formation as being 4-4-2, I constantly saw the back three of Simpson, Mings and Francis (later Steve Cook) staying back while we attacked, so I presume it’s a 5-2-3.
The whistle blew at 19:45 as the spectators created an astonishing atmosphere and applauded our record summer signing, Jefferson Lerma, as he took his first touch in front of an AFC Bournemouth crowd. Within ten minutes, a run from Mings found Mousset, who danced through two oncoming defenders and made an exquisite pass to the oncoming Lewis Cook, passed sideways to Fraser and the powerful shot from outside the box whistled over the bar.
However, five minutes later, we were ahead. A quick counter-attack starting from Defoe’s looping ball to Mousset shifted the pendulum. He found the sprinting Fraser to his left and played a quick one-two before skipping past two defenders and poking the ball into the net from six yards out.
After an acrobatic shot from Mousset and an unlucky drive from Defoe were saved, we were two ahead. It started off when Lerma gave possession to the oncoming Ibe to his right, with him sprinting along the byline to the dead ball line. A ground pass to Mousset was intercepted and had gracefully been given back to him. Ibe then attempted to cross and this was again intercepted, but fortunately fell to Wee Man 12 yards out who struck an unstoppable second volley into the back of the net.
After half-time, Bournemouth continued to press in the same fashion hunting for a third and killer goal. Operating on the left this time, Fraser looped the ball to debutant Rico in a packed Dons box, who impressively made a mid-air backheel to lay it off to Fraser. From a tough angle, he again second volleyed the ball, of which bounced a few inches wide of the goal post. A few minutes later, Bournemouth had an excellent chance to kill the game off. After a bad foul, a free kick was given to us 20 yards out. Left-wing-back Rico stepped up to curl the ball over the wall and unluckily hit the bar. Had it had been an inch under, it would’ve been an outstanding goal to kick off your Bournemouth career.
After roughly an hour of play, a quick corner led to Lewis Cook laying off a simple pass to Lerma who struck a 20-yard rocket towards the top right, only to be palmed away by MK Dons goalkeeper Lee Nicholls – of which was a world class save. The game dragged on for half an hour before the killer goal was scored that had been expected far earlier. An excellent Lerma interception from a throw-in allowed King to outmuscle a defender and lay it off to Ibe, who drove the ball into the back of the net from 15 yards out. A simple goal from a player that had underperformed during the match.
Artur Boruc – 7 – Only faced tame shots from the opposition but good vision and quick distribution to Defoe contributed to the first goal.
Simon Francis – 7 – On point today. Made some blistering runs down the right and put a few fine balls in. A solid 7 for the captain.
Jack Simpson – 6 – A quiet game from the young lad but made no mistakes today. His defensive partners were better.
Tyrone Mings – 8 – The best of the three tonight, pressed forward constantly and intercepted and tackled well. His pressing would start attacks and showed considerable pace today and seemed full of confidence. A great game for him.
Ibe – 6 – Hard to say, because he had some good spells during the match but then other times he was the opposite. In my opinion, he needs to pass the ball more like his teammates but he can be creative on the other hand. Scored a goal, the keeper should’ve done better, but a goal is a goal so well done. As one said, “Ibe is Ibe”.
Lewis Cook – 5 – A not so very Cook like performance today which is quite disappointing for the England international team hopeful. Made some simple passes and dribbles but below par due to the fact that some of these simple passes went straight to the opposition.
Jefferson Lerma – 7 – An all-around solid performance for our most expensive signing and seems to have the potential to be worth every penny if he continues to play like he did today. Was involved all match and did nothing wrong. Better than his midfield partner by a distance. Speaking of, he nearly scored a fantastic goal if it had not been to an even better save by the Dons goalkeeper.
Diego Rico – 6 – A decent debut for the new man, put in some good crosses into the box and could’ve provided a brilliant assist if Fraser had scored early in the second half. Likes to get forward which in turn means that there is a pocket of space behind him which the opposition can exploit.
Ryan Fraser MOTM – 9 – Typical Wee Man. Excellent dribbling, perfect passing and shooting and a well –deserved goal and assist too. No faults whatsoever and glad he played today. His speed is unstoppable (without bumping into) and my Man of the Match.
Jermain Defoe – 5 – Did nothing wrong but very quiet today. Made some good runs but most were offside or he didn’t receive the ball. Not involved as much today which is sad for a veteran of such high calibre. Made a powerful effort which should’ve seen the net bulge.
Lys Mousset – 9 – Danced through the defence with real confidence as well as winning many 1vs1 battles with his intense pace. A great goal too sharing some familiarity to Wilson’s excellent strike against West Ham. Came off injured and didn’t see it for myself but hopefully, he’ll be ok. If he continues with performances similar to that, he’ll be in the first-team lineup and deservedly so. It was tough to choose him or Fraser as MOTM.
Josh King – 7 – A similar performance to Mousset but gave the ball away a few times. Showed great strength and agility to set up the Ibe goal.
Steve Cook – 6 – Showed bravery as per usual and once got in behind the defence. Not much to note other than that.
David Brooks – 6 – Not much to note given that he ran around for ten minutes but looked lively as his usual self.
The new signings look as if they have gelled well. Lerma especially, and it’ll be very interesting to see who he partners with in the future. He’ll fit in well with Surman and/or Gosling if he plays. Rico requires some improvement as he was too far forward and was lucky we weren’t against tougher opposition. Most of MK Dons’ attacks came from his area. Displays definite similarity to Daniels but needs to revamped a little. But overall a decent performance.
Defoe really needs to improve. I really like him as a person but as a player, he isn’t the best compared to other players in his position. His rather disappointing performance justifies as to why Wilson and King are ahead of him in the lineup. I hope he improves and this is only a bad run of form. Additionally, it was surprising to see Lewis Cook perform badly. It’s not usually like him to do that but of course, everyone goes through a bad run of form and we’ve got to accept that – nobody can be perfect. The argument about whether or not Surman or Gosling should play with Cook has gone on for a long time and will continue, but maybe we should look at who partners well with each other, and not automatically select Lewis Cook as being the definite starter. Of course, this is only one match but he underperformed in his cameo against Everton and nearly gifted a goal. Overall, he’s been a great player but personally, I believe he’s going through a rough patch and that at the moment Surman and Gosling are performing better, thus why they are selected for the first team.
Anyway, this match has shown how far we’ve come as a team. Eddie only retained one starting position in Fraser but even without him, we would’ve won comfortably. Of course, MK Dons aren’t the hardest of teams (no offence) but a match like this shows that a “second” or “reserve” side could progress far into the Carabao or FA Cup. With the performances I’ve seen today, it’ll be interesting to see if anyone will be pushed into the starting XI, such as Mousset and Mings, who shone today. Our FA Cup runs have ended in total disaster for the last couple of years, and the Carabao Cup run last season ended with pride, but an unlucky game against tough opposition. Hopefully, this scintillating match is the beginning of a great cup run that us fans are desperate for.