18th November 2017
Despite a sending off, a referee looking to enter the annals of 'referees we remember the name of for longer than 1 year' and, to be fair, a lively Huddersfield start, Bournemouth overcame it all to register their second biggest win in the Premier League. Perhaps more importantly - returning striker Callum Wilson plundered a hat trick,which puts him firmly back at the ascendancy of a lively strikers list.
As predicted in times like these, Eddie stuck to the side that beat Newcastle - as many League one and championship players as he could fit on the pitch and the obligatory 4-4-1-1 that works well against the lower end of the table. It continues to serve him well.
He wouldn't have predicted the start. Wagner learned his trade under Klopp and the Dortmund 'Gegenpresse' was evident early on with four forwards pushing high on our back four, penning us in, causing errors and nearly capitalising on them. Begovic was very alert to deny Van de la Parra and returning 'Big club devotee' Malone roasted Francis and skipped into the area before poking wide of the far post.
The home fans were growing anxious and the ball was not sticking up front at all with King and Wilson on their heels and Ibe at his infuriating worst. Bournemouth looked more like the away team with Huddersfield completely dominant and the cherries desperately trying to break. These breaks offered the only respite for the defence as a flurry of free-kicks and corners bought them time.
Having rarely looked like scoring from set-pieces we now look like West Brom in their pomp as a corner bought a headed goal for the second game in a row! WILSON was the grateful beneficiary although how the ball arrived at his head as he stood by the keeper will be the subject of much work on the Terriers training ground this week.
This was the first open play goal for Wilson on his second return and if he stopped to ponder when the next one would come....the answer was five minutes. Having dominated the game Huddersfield will have been stunned to find themselves two goals adrift but when Surman's clever free-kick by passed the off-side run of Daniels and crossed the area there was the buoyant WILSON to fire home with his right from 12 yards. Replays showed there may have been a whiff of offside.
Surman should have buried the game with the next attack as Bournemouth started playing like the team of the last three seasons but his shot was at a great height for Lossl who palmed over. Arter then won the ball back superbly and fed King who hit the side netting.
Ibe took a rough tackle and left the pitch for Smith but if anything this just upped the level of performance.
It was a dramatic transformation and it didn't look like anything would derail it but ref Probert had different ideas. He had started erratically booking players during Bournemouths resurgent. Francis, Cook and Arter had all seen yellow while similar tugs or trips by visiting players didn't seem to match his criteria. When Pugh played a suicidal cross field pass and Francis stretched to take out Van de la Parra the ref called it a second yellow and the second half was to be a very different game.
HT Bournemouth 2 Huddersfield 0
Bournemouth started with 4-4-1 with King on the wing and Smith dropping back to his familiar position. Huddersfield moved to 4-2-4 with the arrival of Mounie. Bournemouth did their specialised containment exercise that has seen our ten men draw with Man U, the title winning Leicester side and Arsenal. It is well drilled and despite the less educated fans screaming at the team to attack it works a treat!
Huddersfield moved from side to side and our team shuffled the same way in front of them like a well drilled rugby team. Dull but effective. The aim is to break out now and again in numbers and with pace but not very often. Thankfully Huddersfield fell for it. Malone (who left us for the world footballing giants that are Millwall) wonderfully f***ed up royally on the edge of the box where an angry, marauding ARTER was ready to pounce. It's odd that a right footed player always trusts their left foot more when shooting and Harry cleverly cut inside, seemed to wait an age and then buried a low howitzer past Lossl into the bottom corner. It shut up the bloke behind me who had screamed for Cook on the rare occasions that Arter gave the ball away.
You wouldn't have thought it could get much better - with only a Wilson hat trick there to ice the cake. Well...... someone had read the script and when WILSON won the ball and fed King the Norwegians clever feet got the ball back to the expectant hitman who took home the match ball with a mighty smote of his right boot. The emphatic nature of that finish meant more to me than the fact he scored three goals. It said - 'I'm back'.
Bournemouth played the game out in style although as Wilson confessed afterwards it was odd that he squared the ball to Gosling when one on one with the keeper else it really would have been dreamland.
FT Bournemouth 4 Huddersfield 0
Begovic 7 - Steady in the air and one good save when called on.
Francis 4 - Roasted by Malone and sent off. Not sure he is a R/B
Cook 7 - Outshone by his partner but very solid
Ake 9 - Everything that came into the box hit him. Outstanding.
Daniels 7 - Defended manfully and first half attacking strong.
Ibe 4 - Just awful. Ran into men, second to every ball.
Surman 6 - Tidy enough but a little weak in the tackle.
Arter 7 - Grew into the game, rattled Huddersfield - great goal.
Pugh 7 - Good tricks and composure. Will kick himself for Franno pass
King 6 - Quiet game with involvement but was superb for 4th goal.
Wilson 9 - Took awhile to get into game but then.........wow.
Joking aside, the first half hour, as Eddie said himself, was poor. We know that when pressed back our two forwards get isolated as we don't possess a number ten. King sits deep but he is still a forward and is not comfortable getting the ball running backwards. The huge gap that develops between the midfield and forwards see some fans blame Surman and Arter but it is a system error not a player one.
That said - if the team can establish themselves up the pitch, breaking with King and Wilson is a lot of fun as was proved, particularly when the fullbacks join in and out-number the opposition. That was the case for the second quarter and would arguably have been the case for the second half before the referees intervention.
The best display was the control at 2-0. Eddie openly prides himself on our ability to defend with ten men and the practice he puts in always seems to work. Huddersfield aren't as tough as Old Trafford was last year with one short but we also added two goals today so that tops it in my book.
Individually, Wilson will have Howes heart singing tonight. That's the equivalent of a £25m striker coming into the team and he looks much better with two synthetic knees than two imbalanced ones. If you are prepared to not let the result gloss the performance (which seems a little harsh) then the two questions are... are we shoe-horning Francis into the team and when do we give up on Ibe again. Stanislas will answer the latter when fit - the former is Eddies toughest decision. Personally for me Francis has to be better than Cook or Ake to play, he get's caught at right-back.
Anyway - not a night to dwell on negatives, a great six points either side of the break, a rejuvenated hero, a display of togetherness and a referees nose rubbed in it. It will be a good Match of the Day watch tonight!
Report by Neil Dawson