Written by Waz afcb
This performance can be summed up by three words, the first one is ‘possession.’ Unfortunately the second 2 are ‘without substance.’
The amount of safe possession we had in our own half against Hull City (and at other times this season) was bordering on ridiculous in all honesty.
AFC Bournemouth head coach Scott Parker explained in last weeks post-match interview that this was intentional, with the aim of drawing the opposition onto us and then, in theory, giving us the opportunity to play through them. In theory, this is a sound philosophy, but (and it’s a big but,) the success of this philosophy is very much dependent on having the correct personnel at your disposal. You really need to overload the midfield with creative players, players who can pick up pockets of space, and both drive forward with the ball and have an eye for a pass. To be blunt I’m not sure that we have these types of players, I think both Philip Billing and Emiliano Marcondes are late box arrivers/getting on the end of things type midfielders rather than creators. The only number eight I’d say we have currently who’s suited to this style is Junior Stanislas, and we all know we can’t rely on him to stay fit.
The result of this is that we are almost entirely reliant on our wide men/full-backs to provide a creative threat, which is where most of our chances were created from not just on Saturday but also the entire season so far. As a result, if you are able to negate the threat of our wide men/attacking full-backs then you are likely to negate us totally.
We badly need a creative midfielder or two for this to work or else we are going to see many performances like the one at Hull.
Man of the match against Hull?
Neil Dawson wrote…
I think David Brooks, not Stan is our best number 8. Having him so far on the flank is a waste for him and robs us of a goal scorer which we need a few of. That spread-out team thing of Scott P’s with the winger on the touchline I actually like but only works with lightning-quick wingers which Brooks isn’t. He is wasted there.
Football managers need to remember their job is to entertain first and foremost, it drives me mad when they don’t see this and we need to limit the endless passing around at the back especially against lesser teams that don’t come on to you as is the intention.
Above everything we need a natural finisher though because had, we had one instead of Dominic Solanke we win and this conversation becomes redundant. I keep hearing he works hard but so did Callum Wilson in our promotion season. Working hard should be taken for granted… strikers have to finish reasonable chances or be dropped.
I think we are collectively, here, starting to figure out how SP wants to play, and what threat that represents with the players at his disposal. There’s not a lot of disagreement on what we see just how to fix it.
Likewise, every opponent will be scouting to do the same.
Overall I would say that other than counter attacks, we are quite predictable and formulaic. You can see other teams also figuring us out as the minute’s pass, and no amount of new players to the system changes that. However good or bad the managers have been in the last couple of years, they all possessed the ability to make big enough tactical changes to change games, but need to see at least another 5 from SP to see if he is capable of it.
For me, what’s going to be needed is one or more players changing the system mid-game on their own at the risk of being dropped if it goes sideways, i.e. the players need to become unpredictable in SP’s predictable system. I much prefer Brooks giving the ball away 9/10 times, but the edge of their box rather Kelly losing possession in our half or asking the keeper to just clear it.
The only question from me is, if as some suggest we play with 2 No. 8’s. What number are we not playing with and what effect is this having?
Against Hull our substitutes killed the game for us. After Brooks and Marcondes went off the players coming on created nothing and just disrupted the system we were using.
Jaidon Anthony switched to the right flank, Jordan Zemura stopped bombing down the left and Lloyd Kelly’s forward passes went into touch on the halfway line.
Our play is also somewhat robotic. Other than set plays it is 99% on the deck. Without a threat alongside Solanke, the opposition doesn’t need their central defenders close together so there is no space for the inverted winger to come inside, only Zemura has the skill to be comfortable with taking the ball to the bi-line so the attack comes back to the halfway line.
Please when we do get a rare opportunity please please have a shot.
We have become the Arsenal of a few years ago of wanting to pass the ball into the goal.
We’ve been sussed already. Time to have a Plan B. Whilst Jefferson Lerma added stability and a bit of nous with being confident on the ball and covering/breaking up danger we missed Billing’s height, presence/unpredictability and Kilkenny’s vision for a pass.
At times we were very sloppy with our passing.
I don’t profess to know what the answer is. Whilst with Gary Cahill looking pretty fit in the half-time kick about plus Steve Cook, Adam Smith and Ibsen Rossi we have cover at the back we seem to have bodies available now in the wrong places.
Our attacking is like a funnel shape overloading the outsides and not enough down the middle.
Hull looked like they’d done their homework on us and came out looking the better side. They hassled us on the ball and then once in possession they looked to go at our flanks. Our middle looked pretty solid though, Ben Pearson and Lerma tidying up as necessary. For all Hull’s play, they didn’t have much upfront to cause Nyland too much trouble.
We were reduced to counter-attacking and had 1 or 2 chances of note. I think it was Solanke who had a header saved point-blank from a corner. Dom got up well and made a good firm connection, the keeper was just well-positioned. It’s one of those where if it just scuffs off his head it probably goes in.
Zemura and Anthony had one of their link-ups that worked Anthony into prime shooting position, only for him to slip at the crucial moment.
We came out much better after half-time, I couldn’t put my finger on a specific tweak but we just looked more assertive.
Hull were countering this time and had one real close chance doing so. Docherty connected to cross from the right And it cannoned onto the crossbar.
Once we settled and took a bit of control, it became a frustrating half as we knocked on the door but never quite unlocked it. The Hull keeper gifted Solanke the best chance of the game when he passed it straight to Dom and left him one on one. The keeper made up for it though it was quite a tame effort close to his body.
We continued to look busy but didn’t create a huge amount. By the end of the game, Hull were back applying all the pressure and if anything the final whistle was a relief.
Parker put it best when he says we could have got more out of the game, but that we were never really fluid.
Partly that’s due to sides starting to suss out our Zemura Anthony combo a bit. Whilst it worked once, in general, they were well shepherded and out-muscled or fouled. Meanwhile, our other flank didn’t create much, and our middle was industrial rather than creative. We have to expect a little more from the likes of Brooks and Marcondes. Solanke did what Solanke does, lots of hustle but the fact is a more ruthless goalscorer pinches us that game.
It seems clear we need one or two returns from injury and one or two signings. – Join the conversation, click here.