David Brooks

Getty Images

Eddie Howe concerned about Bournemouth

Leave a comment

Eddie Howe‘s Bournemouth are enduring their toughest stretch since being promoted to the Premier League in 2015.

The Cherries lost 2-0 at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday to leave them perilously close to the relegation zone as scoring goals and defensive injuries have become a problem for Howe’s side and their players, fans and staff looked dejected at the Amex Stadium at full time.

Speaking to the BBC after the clash, Howe admitted it was a tough day for the Cherries who have now won just one of their last nine games.

“That was a tough day today, we know how good Brighton are with the ball and we gave ourselves a mountain to climb and didn’t settle in the first 10 minutes,” Howe said. “We did recover and did well in the remainder of the first half. What was most disappointed was the second half where we needed to get on the ball and we didn’t have the composure to do that.”

With Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser coming off the bench and David Brooks out injured, Bournemouth have looked surprisingly lackluster in attack all season and they lacked creativity against Brighton and never looked like dragging themselves back into the game.

Howe is determined for Bournemouth to not start feeling sorry for themselves as they now face a key stretch of games as they play West Ham, Watford, Norwich, Brighton and Aston Villa.

But he admitted they could have lost Josh King and Jack Stacey to injury, as their long list of absentees continues to grow.

“The most difficult is the run or results but the strength of the squad has been knocked and that allows a feeling sorry for yourself if you don’t get the results you want,” Howe said. “But we have to go again, find the inner strength and keep going… You know with a small squad the Christmas period is ultimate test and you need to rotate players, it’s very difficult to ask players to go twice in three days and it looks like we’ve lost Joshua King and Jack Stacey so it is not a good day. The games come thick and fast and this was one of the games we needed to get something and we didn’t. We need to learn our lessons.”

Brighton dominate Bournemouth

Leave a comment

Brighton and Hove Albion brushed aside fellow South Coast club Bournemouth 2-0 in the Premier League on Saturday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Alireza Jahanbakhsh smashed home an early goal and Aaron Mooy sealed the win with a superb late solo goal, as the Seagulls totally dominated the Cherries at the Amex Stadium. It was Brighton’s first win against Bournemouth in the Premier League.

The win pushed Brighton up to 13th place on 23 points, while Bournemouth are on 20 points.


3 things we learned

1. Bournemouth’s attacking woes: Scoring goals has never been an issue for Bournemouth under Eddie Howe. Until now. The Cherries are the fifth lowest scorers in the Premier League this season and the likes of Ryan Fraser, Callum Wilson and Josh King have totally gone off the boil. Add to that the long-term injury of David Brooks as Howe has a big problem to solve given their defensive injuries and generally sloppy play at the back. Bournemouth now face West Ham, Watford, Norwich, Brighton and Aston Villa in their next five games. If they are still struggling for goals and points at the end of that run, it is time to seriously worry about the Cherries.

2. Mooy pulls the strings: He’s on loan from Huddersfield Town and he’s making a huge impression at the Amex. Mooy has been really good in recent months and his quality on the ball and from set piece situations gives Brighton a cutting edge. Mooy’s goal summed up what he is all about as he surged into the box, showed lovely close control and stroked the ball home. Brighton’s four-game winless run was ended in emphatic style as Mooy showcased his supreme talent on the ball.

3. VAR under scrutiny: Dan Burn thought he had given Brighton a 2-0 lead as he hooked home after a goalmouth scramble but VAR chalked the goal off after he was a smidgen offside when the ball came in. It was the tightest of calls (more of half an elbow than an armpit) and VAR ruled it was offside. It was the correct call but purists everywhere were left shaking their heads in disbelief.

Man of the Match: Aaron Mooy – Scored his first goal for Brighton with superb style, whipped in dangerous balls all game long and the Australian midfielder ran the show.


Brighton were dominant early on and raced into a deserved 1-0 lead.

After receiving the ball from Neal Maupay, Jahanbakhsh drilled home a superb low effort and the Iranian playmaker broke down in tears as he celebrated scoring his first Premier League goal for Brighton following his move from AZ Alkmaar in the summer of 2018.

Aaron Mooy was causing plenty of problems for Bournemouth, as the Australian midfielder was pulling all of the strings for the Seagulls as they pinned the Cherries back.

Before half time Bournemouth launched two counter attacks as Dan Burn blocked Harry Wilson‘s shot on the first and Josh King’s ball on the second was blocked by Lewis Dunk.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The start of the second half turned into a frantic end-to-end encounter as Dunk did well to deny Domnic Solanke at the last moment as Bournemouth wanted a penalty kick, and at the other end Brighton continued to look dangerous from set piece situations.

And that is how they thought they doubled their lead. After an almighty scramble in the box, giant defender Burn hooked home what he thought was his first goal for the club but the goal was then chalked off by VAR as Burn was offside when the original free kick came in.

Mooy dragged a shot just wide of the post and Yves Bissouma hit the post as Brighton were unperturbed by that disallowed goal.

Bournemouth brought Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser off the bench for the final 30 minutes but they couldn’t get anything going as Mooy sealed the win for the Seagulls with a fantastic finish.

PL Preview: Chelsea v. Bournemouth

Getty Images
Leave a comment
  • Bournemouth has 2 wins over Chelsea in 9 matches across all competitions
  • Chelsea has not earned a point from a losing position this PL season
  • Chelsea has 31 goals this PL season, only 11 at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea looks to pick itself up off the turf before the festive fixtures begin as they host Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE HERE

The Blues have lost three of their last four Premier League matches, dropping them to fourth in the table. The three losses have come via a total margin of four goals, with the Blues showing an inability to fight back from deficits. Chelsea conceded a goal to Everton five minutes in, ultimately losing 2-1, while they were 2-1 down to Manchester City before halftime but couldn’t find an equalizer and fell behind against West Ham soon after the second half restart. The Blues are one of only two Premier League teams to have not registered a single point from a losing position this season, the other being Norwich City.

Bournemouth, meanwhile, is mired in an even worse stretch, having lost its last five in a row. The Cherries have conceded at least two goals in four of those five matches, with the defense completely gutted with injuries. Bournemouth saw a whopping eight players ruled out for Saturday’s match, including young defender Nathan Ake who has played every minute so far this league season until succumbing to a thigh injury 35 minutes into the defeat to Liverpool last weekend.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Fellow center-back Steve Cook was also recently lost to a long-term injury, while Callum Wilson will also miss his first match thanks to a thigh problem of his own also suffered in the Liverpool loss.

Injuries/suspensions:

Chelsea – OUT: Fikayo Tomori (hip), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Achilles).

Bournemouth – OUT: Nathan Ake (thigh), Callum Wilson (thigh), Lloyd Kelly (thigh), David Brooks (ankle), Adam Smith (ankle), Steve Cook (hand), Junior Stanislas (knee), Charlie Daniels (knee). QUESTIONABLE – Joshua King (thigh).


Projected Lineups

Chelsea – Kepa; Emerson, Rudiger, Christensen, Azpilicueta; Kovacic, Kante, Mount, Pulisic, Willian; Abraham.

Bournemouth – Ramsdale; Rico, Simpson, Mepham, Francis; Lerma, Billing, Gosling, Fraser, Wilson; Solanke.


What they’re saying

Chelsea manager Lampard on tough recent results: “If you don’t perform at the levels, you don’t do the basics that you have been doing all season, then any team in the Premier League can beat you. Bournemouth are having a tough time but there’s no doubt that they have talent and ability in their squad to beat us if we are not at it.”

[ MORE: JPW’s PL picks ]

Bournemouth winger Harry Wilson on Chelsea boss Lampard: “I owe Frank Lampard a lot. He was fantastic for me last season [at Derby County], probably the most important one in my career so far, the one where I played regular football. To play under a legend like him, he taught me a lot. I’m in regular contact with him and it’s great to see him doing so well at Chelsea now.”


Prediction

Chelsea has struggled of late, but their strength – attacking play – matches up well against Bournemouth’s big weakness at the moment. With Ake among the drove of injured Cherries, there will be no stopping the Blues who will put a bushel of goals past Aaron Ramsdale. A 4-1 victory will return faith in the Frank Lampard youth movement.

PL Preview: Bournemouth v. Man United

Getty Images
Leave a comment
  • Bournemouth has not scored in 314 PL minutes
  • The Cherries are winless in last 7 PL matches v. MUFC with 6 losses
  • Man United has not won back-to-back PL games since last March

Manchester United looks to overcome a number of key injuries as the Red Devils travel to Vitality Stadium to take on Bournemouth, Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE HERE

In-form defender Harry Maguire is questionable for the game after picking up a knock in his 90-minute performance against Chelsea in EFL Cup action midweek, while fellow center-back Victor Lindelof and forward Marcus Rashford are also in doubt. Rashford limped off after scoring another vital Red Devils goal midweek, while Lindelof also came off injured during the Chelsea game. The new problems add to the growing list of injury concerns, as Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, and Jesse Lingard are all currently sidelined.

They will go up against a suddenly anemic Bournemouth offense that has been held goalless in three matches and has not scored since the 46th minute of a 2-2 draw with West Ham in late September, held without a league strike the entire month of October. To make matters worse, the Cherries have been locked down by struggling defenses in Arsenal, Watford, and Norwich City in that time.

Injuries/suspensions

Bournemouth: QUESTIONABLE – Dan Gosling (hip). OUT – David Brooks (ankle), Charlie Daniels (knee), Junior Stanislas (knee).

Man United: QUESTIONABLE – Harry Maguire (knock), Marcus Rashford (knee), Victor Lindelof. OUT – Axel Tuanzebe, Luke Shaw (hamstring), Nemanja Matic (undisclosed), Paul Pogba (ankle).


Projected lineups

Bournemouth: Ramsdale; Rico, Ake, Cook, Smith; Lerma, Billing; Cook, Fraser, H Wilson; C Wilson.

Man United: De Gea; Young, Maguire, Rojo, Wan-Bissaka; McTominay, Fred; Rashford, Pereira, James; Martial.


What they’re saying

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe on Solskjaer: “They’ve got quality players, a very good manager who has given them real stability. He’s working to the future to build a new Manchester United. “I imagine it is [hard under the pressure]. I think he’s handled himself really well and done an excellent job to this point.”

Manchester United manager Solskjaer on Scott McTominay“He’s been excellent. And him and Fred work in a good relationship. They’ve played well together, they did that last season at PSG, there were a few games there when we had a few injuries and now they’re working as a pair. But Scotty’s a leader, a Man United boy, he’s come through the ranks you can see he’s been a striker with the goal he scored at Norwich on the half-turn. But he’s developing into a very good midfielder.”


Prediction

Bournemouth’s struggles can’t continue for much longer, can they? Eddie Howe is too good a manager not to drag his side out of the doldrums. With the injuries piling on at Manchester United, the Red Devils could see a slip at Vitality Stadium and slump to a 1-1 draw in a tightly contested match plagued by giveaways in the final third.

Premier League Preview: Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal, Man United in action

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sunday’s slate of Premier League fixtures is set to be filled with jam-packed actions, as Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, andManchester United all look to climb up the table.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Southampton vs. Chelsea — 9:00 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Desperate for points, it is likely both Southampton and Chelsea will go for the jugular on Sunday at St Mary’s Stadium.

Coming off of a 2-1 win against Lille in Champions League play, Frank Lampard‘s men are in better spirits, but then again, their season has been riddled with inconsistency. The quintessential embodiment of that is N’Golo Kante, who has been riddled with injuries all season, but is expected to go on Sunday, according to Lampard.

“It’s something we’ll have to watch over the next 24, 48 hours to make sure he’s okay,” Lampard said on Friday. “All the players are on a semi-recovery program after the Lille game but it’s also the fact he hasn’t played much.”

“In terms of the injury, he’s fine and there was no fallout with that from the Lille game so it’s just about making sure he’s fit and ready, which is a call for me to make,” he added.

The home side, on the other hand, have lost two consecutive league games, and are only a point clear of the red line. The Saints, whose last league win at home dates back to last season, won’t count on Cedric Soares or Moussa Djenepo. No pressure, Ralph Hasenhüttl.

INJURIES: Southampton — OUT: Cedric Soares (calf), Moussa Djenepo (thigh)| Chelsea — OUT: Emerson (thigh), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (achilles), Antonio Rüdiger (groin), Marco Van Ginkel (knee)

 Arsenal vs. Bournemouth — 9 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

Mezut Ozil is nowhere to be found, and Arsenal are on a seven-game unbeaten run. Welcome to the Unai Emery era, which writes a new chapter on Sunday as it hosts Bournemouth.

Fueled by newcomer Gabriel Martinelli‘s brace, the Gunners routed Standard Leige, 4-0, at Emirates Stadium on Thursday. It is the ideal result the North London side needed ahead of Sundays match, but it is misleading in a sense. Despite the positive results, one thing remains true of Arsenal: an unreliable backline. In seven games, the Gunners have allowed 11 goals, a total count that is only one off their goals scored through the seven-game stretch.

Bournemouth, too, have been in worse shape in the past. In September, Eddie Howe‘s side were unbeaten in league play. The Cherries, injured riddles and all, will look to use their current positive run and their previous experiences at the Emirates to their advantage on Sunday.

“What we have to do from our previous visits to the Emirates is start better,” Howe said. “We’ve conceded early goals, which have made the games even harder for us. So if we can start stronger, show a better resolve early in the game, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”

INJURIES: Arsenal — OUT: Alexandre Lacazette (ankle) | Bournemouth — OUT: David Brooks (ankle), Dan Gosling (hip), Chris Daniels (knee), Adam Smith (hamstring), Junior Stanislas (hamstring)

Manchester City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers — 9:00 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

If Manchester City’s loss at Norwich City in September wasn’t a wake-up call, then who knows what a wake-up call is.

Since their historical woeful night then, Pep Guardiola and company haven’t looked back, winning five consecutive games. City will be without Kevin De Bruyne once again, but as their recent run has showed, there is no lack of firepower from the defending champions. That said, the Spanish manager is aware that against Wolves, any team should be cautious.

“Yesterday they took an incredible result,” Guardiola said about Wolves’ Europa League performance midweek. “I saw the game and they were so solid as expected. At the end, they have a team to make you suffer in the Premier League.”

“They know exactly what they have to do, three or four seasons together and there is a really impressive defensive structure,” he added. “We have to be smart to take a result. ”

Wolves, the outright underdog on Sunday, are far from meeting the expectations set on them, taking up the 15th spot on the league’s table. Recently, with the helpful of more efficient attack and sturdier backline, the Wolves find themselves on a four-game unbeaten streak. Will that be enough to hold off City? Probably not.

INJURIES: Manchester City — OUT: Leroy Sane (knee), Aymeric Laporte (knee), John Stones (thigh), Kevin De Bruyne (hamstring)| Wolves — OUT: None

Newcastle United vs. Manchester United — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Sunday’s visit to St. James’ Park poses as the ideal scenario for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United to send a message of intent and crawl out of the 11th spot, which has made club officials the lighting rod for criticism.

Without Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, and Anthony Martial to name a few, the Red Devils will have their work cutout in front of them in one of the league’s most intimidating atmospheres. Still, win on Sunday can serve as the turning point Solskjaer has been looking for all along.

“Of course you don’t enjoy not winning games,” he told Sky Sports. “You put your heart, life and soul into this job. If you win games you are happier, your mood changes but it doesn’t mean your performances have been better – results change mood.”

“For us to get a result [at Newcastle] is vital now,” the manager added. “I think it will change the mood.The boys can go away on their international break and freshen up their heads.”

The Norwegian’s counterpart on Sunday, Steve Bruce, too, is in charge of guiding his club out of internal turmoil. For Bruce, however, who has led Newcastle to only one win this season, the seat is much warmer, and he acknowledges that the pressure  for him to turn the results around continues to worsen.

“Mud has been thrown my way since I walked through the door, that’s not going to change,” Bruce said heading into Sunday’s match. “The only thing that can change it for me is results. I’m determined, if I possibly can, to turn it around and take the club forward. That has been my remit since I arrived.”

“I’m a resilient so and so,” he added. “You wouldn’t be human if it didn’t affect you in some sort of way but you try and get on with your job as best you can. These days you don’t get the time that you would like to get, you have to get results instantly. The flack always stops with me at the top of the tree but that’s the way the job is.”

INJURIES: Newcastle United  OUT: Matt Ritchie (ankle), Florian Lejeuene (knee) | Manchester United  OUT: Paul Pogba (ankle), Anthony Martial (thigh), Jesse Lingard (hamstring), Eric Bailly (knee), Phil Jones (unknown), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (illness)