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Five points on Bournemouth - with Sam Cunningham of the Daily Mail

Posted on 12 October 2017  - 12:15

Sam Cunningham has been a regular in the press box at Bournemouth matches so far this season in his role as football reporter on the Daily Mail. He was at Bournemouth's draw against Leicester City last time out, a performance seen as their best so far this season. Sam gave us his insight in our 'Five Points' feature...

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sam_cunninghamSam Cunningham
Football reporter, Daily Mail

Point 1 - last time out

Sam: “The performance against Leicester was their best of the season so far. Eddie Howe (manager) has mentioned several times how concerned he has been with not just results, but the performances. I’ve watched them against City, Watford and Leicester and Arsenal at the Emirates and whereas in previous seasons they might have lost matches but played good football, free-flowing, creating chances, they haven’t been doing that this season until the first half against City and then Leicester. They were very unlucky not to win against Leicester and Craig Shakespeare (Leicester manager) admitted as much afterwards. Eddie Howe was also happy after that, he’d seen enough to suggest his players were getting their flow back.”

Below: Eddie Howe

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Point 2 - tactics

Sam: “Eddie Howe seems to favour a 4-4-1-1 formation, a twist on the more traditional 4-4-2. Last season he experimented a little with 4-2-3-1 with Jack Wilshere in various positions but he’s gone back to 4-4-1-1 this season. He likes two central midfielders who are going to be solid, he likes his wingers to push on and get down both flanks but also his full-backs to overlap, he encourages that. Charlie Daniels scored that absolute screamer against City and that’s an example of how he likes his full-backs high up the pitch. He likes an out-and-out striker, largely that’s been Jermain Defoe, although he also has Benik Afobe and Callum Wilson who can play there with Joshua King in behind.”

Below: Josh King takes aim

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Point 3 - potential dangerman

Sam: “Josh King was at Manchester United as a youngster, it didn’t work out there but Eddie Howe has got the best out of him. I feel at the moment he’s definitely their most dangerous player going forward. None of their strikers have really taken off this season but Josh King is a player who can make something happen, score a goal out of nowhere. Nathan Ake is also worth a mention, a great signing from Chelsea. He was on loan last season and they made that a permanent deal. He’s a calm head in the centre of defence.”

Below: Jermain Defoe

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Point 4 - Jermain Defoe

Sam: “He’s not quite got up to speed yet at Bournemouth. He didn't start at the start of the season (he was on the bench in the first two games, started the last five) and has the one goal so far. Everyone knows Jermain Defoe - give him half-a-chance and he’ll score - and from the matches I’ve seen, those chances have hit the crossbar or the post and he could have had three or four by now. Then you'd be saying he has four goals in seven, a good return. You also have to bear in mind he’s now 35! I don’t think Jermain, Eddie Howe or the Bournemouth fans will be unhappy by the end of the season. He’s still got that edge and I’m certain you’ll find he'll get to double-figures again this season.”

Below: Harry Kane on target at Huddersfield last time out

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Point 5 - thoughts on Spurs

Sam: “I think Spurs have made a fantastic start. They’ve picked up a couple of wins in the Champions League, great to see after the disappointments of last season. The team is sitting there tucked in just behind the two Manchester clubs and what Mauricio Pochettino and the team are doing is showing everyone that they are here to stay, right up there challenging in the Premier League. In terms of the Premier League, that’s very exciting because it’s another club in the melting pot.”