Departure of Nathan Ake created a breach in Cherries defence


Bournemouth will be playing against Crystal Palace on January 31st and it is going to be a tricky match. Crystal Palace haven’t won since December 3rd but it is seen that they struggle to get the motivation for the sides they should be beating.

Eddie Howe’s style of attacking while trying to keep maximum possession is well known. They have gone for a number of 9,508 passes this season along with an average possession of 51 percent. They sit on the Eighth place of passing and possession league rankings. The current top six sides in the division stand on top of them along with midtable Southampton.

Everton may not have a good score on these specifics but they are still on top of Bournemouth in the ranking. The statistics prove that Howe’s possession football is more likely to earn points and that has been proved already.

Nathan Ake has been an integral part of the club’s fruitful style of football. His passing accuracy was 88 percent and this was the highest among all the players in the club. The drop in the results is partly because of his exit.

Howe’s philosophy demands a certain type of player but it is difficult for a club like Bournemouth to find a player like Ake repeatedly. The initial short term benefits can lead to long term damage that is seen with Ake’s departure. The early recall of Chelsea has left an irreparable hole in Bournemouth’s team presently.

Simon Francis is playing for the centre-back currently as the team is being forced into playing him with little option in hand. He is a limited defender and not very suitable for Howe’s philosophy.

Howe needs to make some tactical adjustments in order to make up for the early departure of the 21 year old. The one consistent thing about Bournemouth has been Junior Stanislas’ free-kicks which have also resulted in five goals this season.

Another idea to explore is by fielding Harry Arter in a more defensive midfield role along with Dn Gosling. They compromise 14 shot per game on an average but with the duo of Arter and Gosling it might reduce.

The chances of any new player coming in the team are unlikely and according to Howe the summer window has more value. Bournemouth have 26 points and 16 games to go which makes them almost definitely safe. There is not much difference in finishing 11th or 12th and thus the players have very less to aim for. Paying a high price seems unnecessary right now.

But for further succession they should have their eyes on the next season. They should seize the chance of configuring a new system or integrate new players in the final five months. Mings has been in the team for quite some time without featuring and he hasn’t played well which adds signing of a new defender in their to-do list.

A few weeks ago, a home fixture would have meant a certain victory for Bournemouth. But they have slipped into patchiness and it will be a tough task for Howe to ensure that the back end of the season is as flourishing as the first one.