|Middlesbrough 1 v 1 AFC Bournemouth|
Saturday, 19th September 2020 Kick-off 15:00
AFC Bournemouth - an expert view of the opposition
Friday, 18th Sep 2020 17:00 by Phil Spencer
Middlesbrough return to Championship action this weekend, and the tests don't get any easier.
After facing Watford on the opening day of the season the Teessiders will welcome Bournemouth to the Riverside Stadium.
The Cherries were relegated from the Premier League last term after an excruciating end to the campaign which saw them end their five-year stay in the top flight.
But despite losing a number of key players this summer - as well as their manager Eddie Howe - Bournemouth are optimistic of making an immediate return to the top tier.
Ahead of the clash with Jason Tindall's side we spoke to Sam from Back Of The Net - The AFC Bournemouth podcast to get the lowdown on the Cherries.
How has Bournemouth’s summer period been?
It has been very much a summer of change for AFC Bournemouth with the departure of our managerial legend Eddie Howe – a person that was integral to numerous aspects within the club. As a result of this, I think it would’ve been very difficult to employ a new manager who is not used to the way the club works, therefore it made sense to promote Jason Tindall to become manager after he was Eddie’s number 2 for so long. This has ensured some continuity, retained harmony within the squad and I’m sure will help to reduce the wage bill in the managerial department too!
We have signed absolutely no-one in the summer break. Whilst it was expected to say goodbye to the players that we ended up losing, many fans thought that we would be replacing them instantly. However, with the club owner needing to be repaid for the investment that he has made, plus the fact that AFC Bournemouth with want to put aside a wedge of money for the new training ground facility which is in development, it means that we’re having to be very shrewd with our incomings and I have not seen any rumours involving anyone that is valued over £5 million - so, in a way it’s nice to see up being frugal with our money again!
How big an impact will it be to lose Callum Wilson, Nathan Ake and Ryan Fraser?
Whilst the departures of the aforementioned players will be a big loss for us, they were all personnel that we expected to be losing. Conversely, I actually believe this gives tremendous opportunities to some of the players that didn’t really get to feature last season - not least players like Arnaut Danjuma, who seems to have hit the ground running this season. The squad is still extremely talented, however the depth of it may be questioned if we suffer injuries.
What are Bournemouth’s ambitions this season/
The ambition is to simply to get promoted back to the Premier League. We have the squad to do it and strangely I think the behind closed doors aspect of many of the games this season, excluding the one on Saturday of course, will actually be quite an advantage to a team that quite often can get stage-fright in front of the big clubs.
Who are the key Bournemouth players to watch out for against Middlesbrough?
The attacking trio of Arnaut Danjuma, Dominic Solanke and Junior Stanislas certainly have got many a mouth watering recently with the fluid and dynamic style of attacking. Elsewhere Jack Stacey who is playing right wing-back also likes to get forward and get in goalscoring opportunities as was shown with his long distance strike against Blackburn. Elsewhere the midfield duo of Lewis Cook and Jefferson Lerma seems to be clicking at last so all signs are positive!
What will Jason Tindall bring to the club as head coach?
We’re certain that Jason Tindall will deploy a lot of Eddie Howe’s thought processes, but what he has shown already in the four matches that we have played (two of them being friendlies) is is that he is trying a 3-4-3 system that seems to work really well - he is not relentlessly putting square pegs in round holes by playing players out of position plus he brings a style of man management to the club that brings players together - and there now seems to be a very positive and less less studious environment around the club.
Where do you see the game being won and lost?
Our mission this season is simply to outscore teams that we play, therefore it is as simple an answer to say that it will be won in the attacking third and lost in the defensive third. That’s possibly a very obvious statement to make but are by far the defence is something that can be exploited at times - and if you have any set pieces and make sure you just swing them into the box - you'll have more than half a chance!
How do you see Middlesbrough’s season playing out?
Middlesbrough for me are a really big side that need to be doing a lot better than they are. Certainly with Neil Warnock you have a manager that has got experience of getting a side promoted from this league - however whether you have the personnel is a different question. Although he’s not going to be there at the weekend I do see him deploying a similar style that he had at Cardiff and I can see you finishing in the top half of the table - but it is whether you can push on from this that is the real question.
My prediction is that Bournemouth will win 3-1. If we play to our potential that is how the game should go but we are certainly aware that many Championship sides pose more of a threat than we might have expected - and the Blackburn match last weekend demonstrated that.
Photo: Action Images
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