Match Report and final verdict v Everton

DJ

Moderator
#41
I’m not sure anyone can muster any big debate. I’ll throw out some ground bait, see if there are any nibbles...

Two man midfield despite all the groans worked. King and Brooks on the flanks worked. Solanke scored and Wilson was a workhorse.

Gosling looked a full Premier League midfielder.

Howe’s substitutions came early, changed our shape again, didn’t go defensive, didn’t sit deep and got a third to confirm all the points.

Cook post match taking responsibility again, players on the pitch didn’t do enough and didn’t always do what they were asked by their manager during the season.
 
#42
A Very Bournemouth Exit.

So farewell Premier League - you always felt more of a mistress than a wife and today you decided to stay with that loud big bloke from the midlands who has let you down so many times before. Bournemouth's magical stay in the top flight came to a nail-biting climax today as we all waited for the elusive West Ham goal (Villa having conceded in every away game) that never came...

Such were the fine margins that exist in top level sport, Bournemouth's relegation was by one point. Cue a whole trawl back through the season as all narrowly relegated sides do to point out the 'what if' moments. We have a massive one - the goal-line technology switch off that helped gain Villa a point v Sheff U. Ultimately Eddie will not focus on that in any post mortem - the two points gained against the fellow relegated sides and the lacklustre return post covid when just one home draw against Palace, Newcastle or Saints would have done the trick hurts far more than a dormant camera.

Today his side did what was asked, something that hasn't happenned often enough this year. Eddie wanted to make sure that we won, rather than face the pain of knowing it would have been enough. His side did that today - they went out with spirit and effort and whatever could be thrown at them through the year didn't apply in a convincing away win at Everton.

Eddie switched to his favoured 4-4-2 with a very attacking King and Brooks on the win - Gosling was back in for Billing and Smith for Stacey. It was s*** or bust time and the line-up reflected it. The performance reflected it too - high up the pitch, full backs attacking it was like the side that had taken the Premier League by surprise was back.

An early lead was key and it happened quickly with Richarlison handling in the box and KING converting the spot kick effortlessly. King was a huge threat all game and he should have had the chance to double the lead but a second hand-ball penalty was denied - one hoped it wouldn't be pivotal and it wasn't. Once again the vagaries of VAR continue to baffle and it won't be something we miss.

Wilson had a chance to double the lead too but a familiar sickening feeling came back when KEAN tapped in Theo Walcott's cross after slack marking - once again Bournemouth coming to the aid of an out of form forward.

The side showed how fired up they are and came back strongly and took the lead just before half time when SOLANKE headed home Rico's sumptious cross. How fitting after his struggles if he had been instrumental in keeping us in the league.

HT Everton 1 Bournemouth 2

The second half followed a similar pattern with Everton, understandably, less invested in the result and Bournemouth controlling the game high up. Kean showed the most threat for the home side with a couple of half chances but was part of a forward line that was well marshalled by our back four - Kelly and Rico impressive again.

Pickford beat away a Wilson drive as Bournemouth threatened but the game was playing itself out in the main with a sea of substitutions. Eddie moved back to a 4-5-1 as he protected the lead and Stanislas and Billing came on for Brooks and Solanke. They were soon to the fore though and STANISLAS who has been excellent since the return cut in and fired a drive that Pickford will want to forget as he should have done much better.

That was the game sealed and attention with the fans turned to West Ham. No amounts of bubbles blown, eels eaten or choruses of 'Lambeth Walk' could do it - and we tried them all in our house except the eels. Even in these times I still have taste-buds. The players walked off dejected, Eddie tried to stomach facing the media, the fans shed a tear. We might come back... although it's statistically less likely than we think but it won't be the same as your first time. As for Eddie - more on him in the verdict but a seminal moment in the history of our club awaits next week. 'May you live in interesting times' states the old Chinese proverb - we certainly have and in the short-term at least - we certainly do.

Ramsdale 7 - Strong handling and one good save.

Smith 7 - Back and buzzing.
Cook 7 - Dominant, strong and good leadership during and post match
Kelly 7 - Another promising outing - could be a star next year.
Rico 8 - Outstanding deliveries and intelligent play.

King 9 - Was outstanding at times - such a hit or miss player.
Gosling 8 - Good strong performance always there - cared.
Lerma 7 - A nice wing man for Dan and helped sieze game.
Brooks 6 - Worked hard - still on recovery path though.

Wilson 6 - Fluffed a few chances but worked hard - not on form.
Solanke 7 - A good finish and hope he goes into summer on a high.

MOM - King just shades it for me ahead of Rico and Dan - he played the way we know he can and may well be watching on TV next year!

Verdict.
‘The value of things is not the time they last, but the intensity with which they occur. That is why there are unforgettable moments and unique people’ Fernando Pessoa

Little Bournemouth’s stolen time at the top table ended today as we were sent, beleaguered and beaten back to the championship – ironically the league we had spent most of our 100 odd years fantasizing about being in.

What happens next will potentially define whether we slip back to the comfort zone of a bottom two leagues yo-yo club and financial implosion or whether we establish ourselves in an excellent second tier or rise back for a second improbable stint with the big boys. The answer to that may lie with the fate of Eddie Howe who one assumes will be spending a few days pondering his future. The last two years have become progressively more painful for the maestro as his hard-working over-achieving loyal stalwarts evolved into a more mercenary, self centered bunch with more talent but less desire, ultimately disconnected from the values and morals of the man who signed them.

If Eddie does return for next season then one hopes he remembers what made him successful – bravery and entertainment. The swashbuckling football of his early days, and indeed early Premier League days, was jettisoned two years ago for a safety first approach that relied heavily on the form of forwards breaking at pace. When those forwards succumbed to injuries, poor form or unfaithfulness there was nothing left bar a team that struggled to get out of its own half and sometimes played whole games without a shot on target. Sad – as Eddie was the pioneer of realising that you have more chance of beating Liverpool 4-3 than you will ever have of beating them 1-0 Playing reserve teams in every cup and even resting your best players against the top sides were all part of a slip into that Stoke/West Brom territory that none of us wanted and along with VAR will make leaving this league less painful than had it happened a few years ago.

If Eddie doesn’t return then we have a potentially bigger problem. The whole off field set-up is well documented as him and on the pitch he is up there with Clough, Busby, Shankly and Revie as men that built an entire football dynasty. There won’t be many people who take a league club from obscurity to the top ten of the Premier league – indeed neither of the afore-mentioned legends did. It is not dramatic to predict that there are more chances of a poor next appointment than a strong one. Dynasties don’t tend to be followed by other dynasties unless they are Mings…… and I don’t mean that one.

Whatever happens though we should never forget we were the chosen few. Generations of Bournemouth fans shuffled off the planet having answered the question ‘do you ever think you could play in the top league’ with a chuckle and a ‘not in my lifetime’. They were correct too. We also said it…….but we were wrong. We went to Stamford Bridge and won often, we beat Liverpool from a two goal deficit and drew at Anfield, we beat United at home a few times, we beat Spurs in the last minute, we beat Arsenal (and more incredibly Jordan Ibe scored) and most importantly……….we beat Southampton at their place. These are the stories we will tell our grandchildren and they are statistically more likely to tell theirs than they are to see it themselves.

It is for that reason – whatever our individual criticisms of his last few years – that we are forever indebted to Eddie Howe for giving us the most magical of journeys. Whether he will stay to re-establish his legacy with a stadium and training ground is a little up in the air but his greatest gift is to a generation of Bournemouth fans and fans of small clubs up and down the country - the belief that anything is possible. We might be back with sparse crowds losing at home to Rochdale but we will have a smile inside and when people ask the next generation ‘ do you ever think you could play in the top league’ they will answer ‘yeah………of course’.

Whether Eddie stays or goes there is no better legacy than that.
Thanks Neil - I think this sums up our premier league journey superbly - I can only echo all your sentiments and take the liberty to add my sincere thanks to all concerned for the opportunity to go to venues up and down the country to see "my team" take on the so called big boys - a dream come true - let's now be positive, take the 46 match break and come back even stronger than before: "we still believe, we WILL return!
 
#43
Brilliant report and summing up Neil.
Thank you for your reports as usual through the season.
Unfortunately due to medical problems the year we won the Championship I didn't renew my season ticket and could only get to a very few games and thus didn't accumulate the points for tickets in the premiership, thankfully due to the generosity of some very good friends I was able to get to a fair few games over to 5 seasons so these match reports were a godsend.
To illustrate how far we came in such a short time, I was sorting out my cupboards the other day and came across one of those dual scarves - it was from 2010 for the last game at Chesterfield in league two complete with the wheelchair pitch invasion:

 
#44
I think I'm right in saying that we've always finished top of the relegated sides whenever we've gone down.

We've also got a reasonably strong record for going straight back up when we're not docked points.
 

Neil Dawson

Fans' Favourite
#45
I’m not sure anyone can muster any big debate. I’ll throw out some ground bait, see if there are any nibbles...

Two man midfield despite all the groans worked. King and Brooks on the flanks worked. Solanke scored and Wilson was a workhorse.

Gosling looked a full Premier League midfielder.

Howe’s substitutions came early, changed our shape again, didn’t go defensive, didn’t sit deep and got a third to confirm all the points.

Cook post match taking responsibility again, players on the pitch didn’t do enough and didn’t always do what they were asked by their manager during the season.
Not sure there is anything to debate there. Contrary to other beliefs I have no problem with 4-4-2 if you play it like we used to, high up the pitch with a quick press.

If you are using it to sit deep and the forwards get isolated you just have one less man to get the ball and against talented teams you will eventually concede. The only way you can play 4-4-2 from deep is long ball like Leicester did... not really Eddies style.
 
#46
Not sure there is anything to debate there. Contrary to other beliefs I have no problem with 4-4-2 if you play it like we used to, high up the pitch with a quick press.

If you are using it to sit deep and the forwards get isolated you just have one less man to get the ball and against talented teams you will eventually concede. The only way you can play 4-4-2 from deep is long ball like Leicester did... not really Eddies style.
Saying "play further up the pitch" is easy but most teams worked out how to keep our full backs pressed deep. Everton didn't give a toss yesterday and let us do what we wanted.
 
#49
It’s tempting to say yesterday was back to how we used to play but even when Eddie’s 4-4-2 was a success with advanced full backs and high pressing, his sides never had 30% possession. In fact they’d have double that.

It’s not really relevant to yesterday’s result, but our possession numbers have been steadily getting worse over the last few seasons. Of course it’s not the be all and end all, but if we are going to have any sort of success next season, we need to find a way to keep the ball better.
 
#50
Its been reported on Afcb 'Breaking News that Bielsa was at Goodison watching our players....and its why some played out of their skins.
Why would Bielsa have been allowed in the ground when numbers are restricted to essential staff as per Covid regulation?
 
#51
It’s tempting to say yesterday was back to how we used to play but even when Eddie’s 4-4-2 was a success with advanced full backs and high pressing, his sides never had 30% possession. In fact they’d have double that.

It’s not really relevant to yesterday’s result, but our possession numbers have been steadily getting worse over the last few seasons. Of course it’s not the be all and end all, but if we are going to have any sort of success next season, we need to find a way to keep the ball better.
This is true, we sat deep for the majority of the game yesterday and attacked sporadically. It wasn't the attacking 4-4-2 that people are trying to suggest. As I say though I'm not sure a performance against an uninterested Everton proves much after so many lacklustre showings post lockdown.