Bournemouth are a team that is rich with potential and Eddie Howe has already shown that why he is the next big thing in the managerial world. Still only 38, Howe has a long way to go. However, all managers have their flaws in their early days and Howe is not an exception. Even the likes of Mourinho, Guardiola, Ancelotti had their drawbacks but over the course of time, they worked on it and the only, they could become the managers they are now.
Eddie Howe is an attacking minded manager who likes his team to play a direct and attacking football but playing on the front foot sometimes turns out to be costly. If the Bournemouth defence did not ship away so many goals last season, the Cherries could have finished higher than 16th. The South Coast club conceded 67 goals from 38 games last season which was as much as relegated Norwich City and two more than another relegated side Newcastle United. Things have not improved much this campaign as the Cherries have conceded five goals from three Premier League games.
Eddie Howe must ensure that he can come up with a plan that makes Bournemouth defence more compact or else all his good work will go in vain. In this article, we will take a look at what tactical approach Howe should take in order to improve The Cherries defence as a unit.
Switch to a 4-2-3-1 formation with double pivot protecting the back four
Bournemouth lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation in their opening game against Manchester United and in the two following games, they lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation. Things did not work out at all for the Cherries as they are now just on one point after three games and now it is time for Howe to look for an alternative approach. With the loan signing of Jack Wilshere, the Cherries’ midfield looks much improved now and it is time for them to switch to a 4-2-3-1 formation with a double pivot in front of the back four.
Wilshere hasn’t played much in the past couple of seasons due to his injury problems and Howe must play him in his comfort zone. The English international is poor defensively but excels in terms of creativity. Howe should deploy the Arsenal loanee in a number ten role and give him the full freedom to burst forward and unlock defences with Wilson up front and players like Ibe and King on the flanks.
With Wilshere operating as the brain of the team, Howe should go for a double pivot in midfield whose key task will be to protect the back four and break opposition’s play. Andrew Surman will be an automatic choice in midfield with his excellent screening ability (.67 tackles won, 2.33 interceptions, 3 clearances every 90 minutes). We can expect a rotation between Lewis Cook and Harry Arter for the place alongside Surman in the middle of the park.
With two central midfielders protecting the back four, the job to keep out opponents from scoring will be much easier for the error-prone Bournemouth defence. Wilshere’s ball winning ability will help in the attack as he’ll work tirelessly. Bombarding full-backs like Adam smith and Charlie Daniels will also have the freedom to burst forward from the flanks and help out the attackers as the pivot can provide cover, hence making the team more fluid. But again, it’s just a theory.