Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Swansea 0 Cherries 3

Date: 31 December 2016

One massive improvement over last season is that this year the Cherries are convincingly beating the teams we need to beat – the ‘six-pointers’ like Hull and Swansea – rather than teams like Manchester United and Chelsea.

The less said about my day the better. I was suffering from what would the following day be diagnosed as gastroenteritis. I had no appetite for the usual lunchtime meal and pint, and it took me an age to walk slowly to the ground. Thankfully I was able to sit for at least part of the match! But, the result being what it was, I was still glad I went in the end!

It was great to see Ake, Surman, Afobe and Stanislas all back in the starting line-up. And these players would be key to the way the game panned out. The biggest worry in the early part of the first half was Francis, every one of whose passes seemed to find a Swansea player! But Afobe’s a good player to have leading the line, and he was in exactly the right place to meet a pass from Fraser and fire home from short range. 1-0 to us.

The next goal would now be all-important because, while Swansea were looking very poor, we weren’t great either, and it wasn’t clear which way this match would go. And we had to wait until late in the half for the answer. But when it came it was a wonderfully worked piece of team work – evidently straight off the training ground – involving Arter, Wilshere and Stanislas, with ‘wee man’ Fraser getting the final touch and putting us 2-0 up at the break.

In the second half our play scarcely improved – except for Francis, whose passes actually began to find their target! Arter’s play these days seems very cautious, as though he’s trying to avoid a booking, and he was not his usual lively self in midfield. Eventually Eddie made a few substitutions, in particular replacing Fraser and Surman neither of whom looked like they had 90 minutes in them. And it was one of the substitutes who finally put the score beyond doubt. King streaked down the flank at lightning speed to meet a pass from Daniels, and scored with a stunning shot right in front of the away fans.

For the final ten minutes or so we tried to wind the clock down; while Swansea fans began streaming away from the ground. Meanwhile the away supporters all stayed to the very end – and beyond – to celebrate the fact that we’d finally got a win (following two consecutive defeats) and moved back into the top half of the table. Who’d have thought it: Bournemouth in the top half of the Premier League at New Year!

The team lined up as follows at the start of the game (I've given the players marks out of ten):

Boruc (7);
Francis (6), S Cook (7), Ake (8), Daniels (7);
Surman (7), Arter (6);
Stanislas (7), Wilshere (9), Fraser (8);
Afobe (7)

By the end the line-up was:

Francis, S Cook, Ake, Daniels;
Gosling, Arter;
Ibe, Wilshere, King;

My 'man of the match' : Wilshere.

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