Benik's Double does Double
18th March 2017, 5.30pm
Bournemouth's first Premier League double has been a long time coming but it should go a good way to securing a third season at the top table. Benik Afobe's two (maybe one) strikes ensuring a nine point gap to the bottom three as the Cherries embark on a tough month of fixtures.
It wasn't a game that will live long in the memory as for the second time in ten weeks Bournemouth beat a toothless Swans without really getting out of second gear.
Eddie made one change to the side that beat West Ham, Arter failed a late fitness test and Sunman slotted back in after his suspension, again leaving Wilshere kicking his heels on the bench. Eddie expressed his surprise Jack wasn't in the England squad but the irony of picking two English central midfielders ahead of him won't go unnoticed by the media.
Bournemouth started slickly, popping the ball around with ease, Fraser shot wide following a great run and Pugh and Daniels in particular were weaving magic on the flanks.
Swansea gradually found their way into the game and their football was so like ours that it reminds me of when me and the lad play Bournemouth v Bournemouth on FIFA. It was a surreal period that was more like basketball with each team taking turns to advance slowly towards the other with everyone involved before losing it and retreating.
As the half wore on Swansea started to take control with their five man narrow midfield dominating our four man wide one - Afobe and King relegated to harrying. Sigurdsson's set pieces were as always incredibly hard to defend but Cook and Francis were outstanding all game to their threat. The pressure reached it's peak when King headed millimetres wide of his own net from another Icelandic exocet.
When Bournemouth scored, it was against the run of play, King winning the ball and playing in AFOBE who crossed the area and saw his shot take a wicked deflection to leave Fabianski flat footed.
Swansea hit back and Boruc was alert to tip a Sigurdsson thirty harder past the post. Bournemouth's attacks were floundering on Afobe who despite scoring conceded possession way to easily in the final third.
HT Bournemouth 1 Swansea 0
The second half saw a return to the first half of plenty of Swansea possession but they lacked any cutting edge and our defence was bang on the money. A succession of set pieces winged their way towards Boruc and very little was happening at the other end. It looked like Eddie had to go five in midfield and Wilshere was warming up in earnest.
Eventually Eddie made the decision to try and wrestle back the endless Swansea possession with the arrival of Jack. As is sometimes the way the diminutive England midfielder was stood next to the fourth official as his team went two nil up. Gosling pounced in midfield and fed King who slipped AFOBE down the side of his marker. The big hit man made no mistake with a first time shot across Fabianski and in off the post.
Wilshere arrived anyway for Fraser - King moving to the wing. He was straight into the action moving the ball forward at pace and with class. He crossed tantalizingly for King to bullet a far post header that Fabianski miraculously kept out and then thundered a drive straight at his former Gunner's team mate following a great break.
Bournemouth saw the game out in full control and at half pace.
Bournemouth 2 Swansea 0
Boruc 7 - Solid handling and assured punching.
Smith 7 - Good concentration and some great movement forwards
Francis 7 - Kept Llorente very quiet and good distribution.
Cook 7 - Read the game very well and so solid.
Daniels 8 - Part of a dominant defence but also excellent advancing.
Fraser 6 - In and out of the game but worked very hard.
Surman 6 - Tidy enough and retained possession.
Gosling 7 - Worked his socks off and chased endlessly.
Pugh 7 - Some great twisty turny moments and good retention.
Afobe 6 - First touch off today but took goal very well.
King 6 - Clever and speedy and very hard working again.
It was an odd game - we were out Bournemouthed for some large periods of the game but we created more clear cut chances hence deserved to win. We didn't have our normal fluidity and think we missed Arters ability to scrap a ball back and I'm not sure that two up front works as well against teams that like to keep possession. I hope to god we go back to Wilshire behind King for the Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs games as we look far more cohesive.
The interesting thing is results would say otherwise and Eddie will point to seven points out of nine with two up front - and you can't really argue with that!
Good to see Gosling continue to look the part and it's always great to watch Daniels and Pugh bewitch quality defenders in the way they used to confuse League one jobbers.
I would say that four more points would be enough this season and this last two games will mean we can hopefully have a right go and enjoy some games against quality opposition. The two Swansea games this season have been half paced affairs but done wonders for league position and goal difference. I hope they stay up though - great place to visit and a side that suit our style of play.
Nice couple of weeks off now to get everyone ready for the big one!!
Report by Neil Dawson