Written by Uttoxeter cherry
There are few things more predictable in life.
The sun will always rise, the moon will always set and AFC Bournemouth will always bring an end to an oppositions bad run…
Remember in seasons past, matches against Newcastle, Sunderland, Hull and Huddersfield…
The team had only 1 change from last week with Andrew Surman in for (an injured) Dan Gosling and with the welcome return of Junior Stanislas on the bench. I am sure some like me are wondering what Lewis Cook has to do to get a start in midfield.
The game started in scrappy style but the visitors gradually gained the initiative to keep the normally noisy home crowd silent. For the first 30 minutes, it seemed a matter of time before we broke the deadlock, but when we got into good positions, we took too long to decide what to do, and ultimately took the wrong choice. During this period though, Burnley did prove dangerous on the break and looked sure to take the lead when a ball arrived at the feet of a striker, only for him to get the ball stuck under his feet, delaying his shot which was bundled away
A deflected shot from Nathan Ake at the other end looped agonisingly onto the bar via Joe Hart’s outstretched fingertips. This was to be the closest we came all game to scoring. And so it was that after all the possession we had had, 2 minutes of madness essentially decided the contest. Disappointingly, both goals came from opposition crosses from the left back position. I was looking forward to seeing Diego Rico and his early forays forward looked promising, but defensively he was found out. First a cross in caused defensive chaos and after a bit of pinball, the ball fell to Vydra who smashed home. Virtually with the next attack, it was 2-0 as a floated cross evaded our defence and was swept in at the far post by Lennon. We huffed and puffed for the rest of the half, seemingly desperate for the whistle.
Such is our reputation as comeback kings, there was still some optimism at halftime that we could still get something out of the game. Nothing had really clicked yet with the front 3 not linking well and particularly Ryan Fraser not getting the ball enough. We hoped things would get better.
The Second half started with Rico replaced by Simon Francis and a move to a back 3 with Adam Smith and Fraser moved to wing-back roles. This immediately enabled the wee man to get on the ball and sporadically, we looked more dangerous. Joshua King was, unfortunately, having an absolute ‘mare. I don’t think anything he tried today came off. Callum Wilson worked hard but never really got a sniff. David Brookes had more influence in the 2nd half with some good passing and neat touches on the ball. Real chances were at a premium for the Cherries despite dominance in possession. Jefferson Lerma drove a powerful shot just over, Brookes whipped in some decent balls and we had a number of corners. It was great to see Stanislas back playing, coming on for Wilson. I was surprised it wasn’t King. Stan made a difference with an ability to find a pass and showing calmness on the ball. We looked a better team with him in it.
In a final twist, Jermain Defoe was brought on for Smith, who had been moved to left back. He sniffed around and nearly turned in a shot past Hart that went the wrong side of the post. Fraser skied a free kick and Stan got closer, forcing a save from Hart.
Pushing up the pitch left us vulnerable at the back, and Burnley exploited this ruthlessly in the closing minutes with Barnes scoring twice to put a final gloss on the scoreline for the home side.
I couldn’t help thinking of the Leicester players in the tunnel at halftime last week. “How are we 3 down?” We were ruthless last week, Burnley was this week.
It’s been a decent start to the season. In Howe’s words, it’s now about how we respond.
Begovic 6 no real chance with goals. Some strange passes to Ake when playing from the back.
Rico 5 not above Daniels for me on this showing
Ake 7 some good challenging back and good strength
Cook 6 solid, even though we conceded 4
Smith 6 linked with Brooke’s well at times and was a threat going forward
Fraser 6 quiet 1st half, better 2nd half
Surman 6 tried to keep the ball moving
Lerma 6 As Surman
Brookes 6 As Fraser really
Wilson 6 no real chances but kept busy
King 4 this was a bad day at the office for him
Francis 6 slowed up play when forward. Get crosses in quicker
Stanislas 7 looked class and moved the ball well
Defoe 6 no real impact
MOTM – Ake again