INSIDE THE OPPOSITION: AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth are the visitors to the Etihad Stadium this Saturday for City’s fifth fixture of the 2016/17 Premier League season.

Ahead of the match, we sat down with Peter Bell from Cherry Chimes to get the low down on Bournemouth’s season so far, Jack Wilshere, Eddie Howe and more.

cherry-chimes

TC: Many thanks for agreeing to speak to us Peter. Firstly, what have you made of Bournemouth’s start to the season?

PB: A bit indifferent I would say. While the opening two games against Manchester United and West Ham United were a hard start, I thought we should have got a point against West Ham. Man Utd’s strikeforce was too strong for us – we seem to get bullied out of games like this. We then had a strange match against Crystal Palace when we battered them for a half and they then did the same to us. One point from three games seemed harsh but the win at home against West Brom will make the players believe a bit more in themselves and now we have a couple of tough tests against top sides.

callum-wilson

TC: Jack Wilshere’s deadline day loan move took a few people by surprise. What are your thoughts on that transfer and how did he look on his debut?

PB: For AFCB to sign a player of Jack’s quality is massive for the club and the fans. Sides bigger than the Cherries would have loved to have him in their line up and it is fantastic that the club is now seen so positively from outside as a place where players can improve. Jack will blossom and so will our other players around him – it’s a great learning environment that Eddie Howe has set up. I did not see his debut in the testimonial for Warren Cummings against AC Milan but against WBA he came on as a sub and you could see how he moves easily into spaces and can spot a pass quicker than the average player. He just seems to have more time to do things on the ball, which is always a good sign of a talented player.

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TC: Eddie Howe has done a tremendous job at Bournemouth and is now being touted as a future England manager. How highly do you rate your boss and do you have any complaints about him?

PB: Put it this way. When Eddie Howe left the club in 2011 to join Burnley I was one of many fans that felt like they had never felt so low. It was made worse by the announcement a few days earlier that he had turned down Southampton. Then when he came back, in October 2012, I thought I would start writing Cherry Chimes as it was like he re-energised everyone at the club and I knew that the players that were now under his tutelage would improve. I did not expect AFCB to go from 21st in League One to promotion in the same season, but there was a buzz back at Dean Court. Eddie just has to walk in a room and everyone is eager to hang on his every word. He is considered in his answers and charming. I don’t know of anyone who has a bad word to say about him – maybe his wife who would be right in feeling he works too hard! As for the England boss – the FA would be very lucky to get him in the future. I think he will be given the opportunity one day, but I hope it would be like a loan and that he would still come back to AFCB eventually. He is simply inspirational.

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TC: What would you define as a successful season for Bournemouth this year?

PB: My prediction is 14th. It would be an improvement on last season and I’d like to see a few of the Under 21s prove that they can get nearer to the first team. The quality that has been brought in is quite amazing. AFCB are the 20th largest transfer spender in 2016 – Jordan Ibe, Brad Smith, Benike Afobe, Lewis Cook, Emerson Hyndman and Lys Mousett are all young players that will take the club forward and it is an exciting time. As long as the club can stay in the Premier league it will be a successful season, but things are building and the club is still very ambitious. Fingers crossed for a cup run, too.

AFC Bournemouth v Manchester United - Premier League

TC: What have you made of City’s start to the season?

PB: I was not convinced that Pep Guardiola would do that well so quickly. I thought it would be a difficult transition season with a few players needing to be replaced at City and may be one or two others would need to step up as Sergio Aguero can’t be superman all the time. It looks like Kevin de Bruyne has accepted the challenge. I thought United would win at Old Trafford, but City were outstanding and Pep is doing well to keep things on track at the Etihad. I listened to his interview with Noel Gallagher and he seems very much at home and calm about the project. City will only get stronger from what I can see and they will challenge for the Premier League and the Champions League this season I feel.

TC: How do you expect Bournemouth to line up on Saturday?

bournemouth-line-up

TC: And finally, your prediction please?

PB: Well AFCB were thumped last season at the Etihad. Unfortunately Artur Boruc got injured in the warm up. He has been in great form by the way. I think it will be closer this time though and the mid-week match might help us there. My head says 2-1 Man City but I’ll hope the Cherries get a bit of luck and escape with a 2-2 draw.

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