Fresh (not really) from the international break, our players return to the Ken Bates Motel once more to try and overcome… The Wembley Curse.
Bournemouth are the visitors to our home away from home on Saturday afternoon as we have another go at throwing off the bad vibes man that come with playing underneath the arch and consolidate our current third place. Given the stiffening of our fixture list in October and November, (Liverpool, Man Utd and the first NLD of the season) the sooner we get over whatever ever it is that is impeding us the better.
Bournemouth have one win thus far this season, a Jordan Ibe inspired come from behind win against Brighton. It was at home though to be fair so they’re one ahead of us in that column in the league table. Away from home they’ve lost their three games at a cost of six goals conceded to one scored even managing to lose recently from a winning position to the shambling beast that is Everton.
At one point towards the end of last season it appeared that Eddie Howe’s men were spiraling gracefully down towards the bottom three but then a Josh King inspired run pulled them out of the tailspin and they survived sort of comfortably. Some apparently astute summer spending on Begovic, Ake and Defoe made them look like solid bets to keep that good end of season form going but it’s not quite worked out like that thus so far. They sit 19th, one place clear of Crystal Hapless, so not ideal.
As per usual after the international break Poch’s team selection may depend a lot on who is fit, who doesn’t have jet lag and who might be saved for Tuesday’s top of the table clash in the Bernabeu. Assuming the normal five at the back the position that may give Poch most selection headaches is that of right wing back. Aurier is back from suspension and his energy and speed make him, on paper anyway, a perfect Poch type player. Trippier’s performance at Huddersfield though was excellent and I wouldn’t be surprised if he plays in this game with Aurier taking over in Spain.
With the usual suspects, Vertonghen, Davies, Sanchez and Alderweireld filling the rest of the spots in the back five and Kane, Eriksen and Dele up front that leaves two places to be divided between Dier, Sissoko, Son, Dembélé, Wanyama and Winks with probably the two English players being given the chance.
In an ideal world we’ll have the game in control early enough that we’ll be able to give a few of the key players a rest and maybe those coming back from injury a bit of a run out. How likely is that though? For all their lack of impact so far this season Bournemouth’s players and manager are more experienced, streetwise etc and, if accepted wisdom is correct, will raise their game. It won’t be easy but surely….
Bobby Madley is the referee.