Match Report: Cherries Huffed and Puffed and Blown Away after Howler

Having only tasted victory on a solitary occasion in the past seven matches (that could be described as being a ‘lucky win’), Bournemouth travelled to the Molineux, where Wolves had won their previous two matches after a bad run of form. Given this, at least a point was expected among some fans of the Cherries.

During when it is possibly the worst time to have injuries, December had not been a lucky month in this aspect. Injuries to Dan Gosling, Lewis Cook, Adam Smith and now Simon Francis meant that Eddie was forced to play an out-of-form Jordon Ibe at wing-back with Tyrone Mings being reintroduced into the side after his impressive performance against Man City a fortnight ago. Andrew Surman captained the side against the team that handed his first ever Premier League start, while Junior Stanislas replaced David Brooks on the wing. Callum Wilson and Marc Pugh returned to the bench.

The match kicked off to a bright start with the weather portraying otherwise. In the coldness, Bournemouth had dominated possession and looked to get a goal quickly, only for Wolves to score first. A throw in for Daniels met Surman who returned it, Daniels drove the ball into the desolate midfield for an opposite man to latch onto and drive forwards. His shot dragged wide, meeting Jimenez to shoot into an empty net.

The game dragged on with little to no chances for either side. Cook and Lerma had been booked for hauling down players and Mings was another much-needed player that added to the list of injured players with a back injury. He attempted to carry on but could not stand the pain induced from a collision with Daniels and another and eventually came off for Diego Rico.

Bournemouth had not seen a shot on target until just before half time, as Surman laid-off to Lerma from 30 yards out, who drove an audacious effort into Patricio’s hands; with the wind not on his side.

Half Time: Wolves 1-0 Bournemouth.

After their main striker left for injury, Bournemouth restarted brightly after kick off. An energetic display especially from Lerma and Surman down the middle caused panic at the Wolves back line as Bournemouth hunted for an equaliser. It culminated in Surman dragging wide as our most prosperous period of the game dwindled down to Wolves counter-attacking and shooting over from 6 yards out.

Callum Wilson came on just before the hour mark and moments later Stanislas hit the crossbar with an exquisite free kick on the left hand side, as the Cherries were getting much more desperate for an equaliser. Wilson had a chance to grab it, only for his shot to be miraculously blocked by Boly. Eddie rolled the dice and brought on Mousset and switched to a back-four that, arguably, should have been done earlier.

As more and more men were thrown forward to snatch a point, this was to no avail as on the counter, Wolves sealed the all-important three points with Cavaleiro driving past the on-rushing Begovic with the last kick of the game.

Full Time: Wolves 2-0 Bournemouth

Player Ratings:

Asmir Begovic – 6: Could not prevent the first goal and had a 50-50 chance of preventing the second, but had good distribution across the game. Produced a good save to deny further disappointment.

Steve Cook – 6: Was well in the air and could’ve risked sending off early in the first half. Pushed forward and made some good passes but his long throw-ins posed no threat to the opposition.

Nathan Ake – 5: Not his usual self and looked very demotivated. Was not involved during much of the game, with his lack of creativity.

Tyrone Mings – 6: Unfortunate for the injury but looked bright again, and pushed forward down the left wing.

Charlie Daniels – 5: A terrible mistake to make when we had looked the better team, but eventually grew into the game and then did reasonably well when he shifted to be part of the back three.

Andrew Surman – 7 - MOTM: Had very accurate passing today and one of the few motivated. Became much more of a presence in the second half and got into some good positions, with some good defending too. Began to tire near the end but one of the few that performed well.

Jefferson Lerma – 7: Played well but continued to lose the ball in dangerous places, got some powerful efforts saved too. His deep physical presence allowed Surman to have some space further forward.

Jordon Ibe – 4: Very complacent and kept running into cul-de-sacs and on most occasions lost out. Another disappointing game for him, and had little to no influence on pushing the team forward.

Junior Stanislas – 4: Was non-existent for most of the match but made a cameo appearance after his effort hit the bar, then was hardly involved afterwards.

Josh King – 5: Missed having a striking partner to feed off of and provide to. Looked rather lost up front but was more involved when moved to the wing, and unlucky not to see his strike bulge the back of the net late on.

Ryan Fraser – 5: Didn’t look confident throughout the match. Moved to RB and got forward a few times but was bullied by the opposition’s defenders. His crossing from corners was okay.


Diego Rico (Tyrone Mings – 35) – 4: Awful in the first half and constantly gave the ball away. Grew into the game in the second half but Daniels seemed to do more on the left side despite being a central defender.

Callum Wilson (Jordon Ibe – 58) – 4: Could not provide the spark to ignite a comeback, and this game was not entirely for him. Only contribution of note was his shot that was unluckily blocked a few minutes after coming on.

Lys Mousset (Junior Stanislas – 80) – N/A

Overall Team Performance – 4: Very off colour against a team that wasn’t their best either. Both sides had three shots on target and Wolves were the ones better off. Focussing on wing play was no benefit as the wingers and wing backs were usually bullied out of play. Central midfield were slightly better than mediocre.


A frustrating game to watch. The result didn’t help with the omission of Francis, Cook, Gosling and Smith who have all had some great contributions so far this season. Morale looks very low at the moment, after the battering against Liverpool and the loss today will only plummet confidence. Some, if not, most, players here are easily affected by confidence and it was evident today. With no recognised right-back available, times are in dire straits – keeping in mind the next three away games are Spurs, Man United and Everton, all after a Cup match with Chelsea on the 19th.

Eddie attempted to solve this issue by shifting to a back three with Ibe at wing-back, but to no avail. Perhaps a more preferable option would have been Pugh there but his current level of quality is disputed and having no appearances in the Premier League this season doesn’t help too. However, the few appearances he has made have been in cup fixtures and he’s done well, especially against Norwich (of whom are yo-yoing at the top of the Championship). Thus maybe Pugh should start at RWB/RB if Francis is not available on the 19th or against Brighton.

The tactics were one of the leading factors for the loss aside from the injuries. As mentioned, to mitigate the injury issue on the right side Eddie was forced into a back three, with three up top and four in the middle. We were quite comfortable down the middle with Surman and Lerma but were so weak on the right side with Ibe and Stanislas. It just seems that three at the back isn’t working. Only time it has this season was against Fulham… who are bottom of the table at the time of writing. When 4-4-2 has been played, performances have been better even if they were losses, such as the 1-2 defeats against Arsenal and Man United, the 4-2 win over Leicester and the 4-0 win over Watford. One observation this season is the utilisation of three at the back away and four at home. Against the likes of Fulham, Man City and Wolves today there’s been a back three and all of these were away. Considering that last season the formation was used against tougher opposition, it’s interesting that it has been used against sides that are considered to be more ‘weak’, while a back four has been used at home, no matter the quality of the opposing side. Perhaps the result may have been different if a back four was used.

I think the game against Brighton is a significant one and probably pivotal as to where our overall standing is at the end. Word of relegation has sprung up recently but nearly midway through the season and at 10th position (at the time of writing), it is highly unlikely that we’ll be involved considering who we’ve played and the points we’ve accumulated. Up next is Chelsea in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday the 19th, and after that, a hosting of Brighton.

Neil Dawson

Fans' Favourite
Eddies final journey from brilliance to stratospheric (big club) will depend on his ability to make a system other than 4-4-2 work. Everytime we play something else I shudder...although it often is the correct thing to do on paper.

Everyone just got in each other’s way today in the final third...all the speed and movement we used to have has gone and nobody picked up their wide men.

It was pretty shambolic against a team there for the taking...
Lets face it Eddie got it wrong with the team selection. He should of played Pugh on the left and Stan should of been on the bench with Ibe.
Two up front with King and Defoe and Fraser on the right flank.
Our back line was fine, with Surman and Lerma in midfield. Begovic needs to learn to come off his goal line. Lerma was MOM for me again.
Lets face it Wolves were shite but we couldn't unlock their defence.
Eddies final journey from brilliance to stratospheric (big club) will depend on his ability to make a system other than 4-4-2 work. Everytime we play something else I shudder...although it often is the correct thing to do on paper.

Everyone just got in each other’s way today in the final third...all the speed and movement we used to have has gone and nobody picked up their wide men.

It was pretty shambolic against a team there for the taking...
the starting formation worked today, loads of room between the lines for daniels, fraser and stanislas in the first half especially, only when wolves went to a back 5 and closed the game out did we look clueless
lack of quality in the final third and daniels woeful pass killed us
Good report thanks.
I think a 5 for Ake is controversial though! Thought he was pivotal to most of our forward play in the first half. Would have given MOM to Lerma who was holding things together for most of the match.
A really cold, wet frustrating day and performance
Ake much higher than a 5, and Begovic having a 50-50 chance to save a chance clear through? Way, way, less chance than that, always in the strikers favour.
Was so disappointed in Wolves, I thought they were better and more exciting than that. Deserved to be 0-0 as both teams didn't do enough.


Star Player
We started with 3 wingers on the pitch. Poor Wee Man is shattered but keep to his task often at the back. The other 2 Ibe and Stanislas (free kick apart) did not contribute in the Eddie Howe team work ethic style. Stan is at bests a 70 minute player or a sub.

The back 3 with Mings worked until his unfortunate back (I really hope not for his sake) injury. Daniels, he of the sloppy pass and Rico were poor.

Despite a bad day at the office we deserved a point for our pressing even if always 1pass too many. Lima and Surman worked well in midfield despite the lack help from those designated to help. Ake and Cook more than did the their but crossing the half way life.

As for Moussett just what does he contribute? A failed French Fletcher.
Mings was absolutely atrocious in his cameo. He had one run down the wing where Daniels thread the ball perfectly. But defensively he was a complete liability - getting the ball stuck between his feet, positionally all over the place (where on earth was he going for Wolves' first?) and not comfortable in his passing or with the ball at his feet. He has this ability to make Big Fletch look agile. A rating of 2 would have been generous for his first 15 mins. I know everyone seems to love him because he's tall and not frightened of a tackle, but he's a million miles away from Aké, Cook and Francis.

Aké's having a tough season, but I don't think putting him in the middle of a back 3 does him any favours. Would have been better to put Cook in the middle and move Aké to the right.

I wish Lerma's ballplaying ability would match his athleticism.

Stanislas, King and Fraser had no chemistry whatsoever.

We miss Smith and need one of Fraser, King, Stanislas, Ibe (...?) to find some form.

Lys looks totally unfit.