• Albion 2 - 2 AFC Bournemouth, 01.01.2018

    Happy Frustrating New Year.

    Sky will have been delighted with their match selection – a terrific game for ‘the neutral’. We’re not though, are we? Neutral.

    Thus it was exciting – exhilarating – yet ultimately unsatisfying. A game, probably more than any of the previous home draws (perhaps Bruno’s ridiculous elbow apart), that we really – really – ought to have won. Cherries fans, in light of hitting the post and seeing a couple of credible penalty shouts waved away, might legitimately feel that way too, mind. But who cares? – this is about us - we’ve already established a lack of neutrality. As Warren Aspinall likes to say on the wireless – these (were) there for the taking (JC).

    A starting line-up from Chris Hughton that made sense – Izquierdo over March against a ponderous Bournemouth back line, understandable. Schelotto over 37 year-old El Capitan inevitable, given the ludicrously short recovery time. Suttner over Bong because he is significantly better at playing football.

    Another Amex crowd of *cough* 30,000 barely in their seats (or settled, hungover on their sofas…) when they were back out of them. Dream start for the hosts, through an especially fired-up Anthony Knockaert. Suttner expertly controlled a raking Duffy pass on the touchline and moved the ball on to Pascal Groß, who in turn fed Jose Izquierdo – a perfectly weighted touch leaving the Colombian through on goal. His cross/shot laced across the mouth of the goal, where from the tightest of angles, with his weaker right foot, ‘le petit magicien’ applied the finish. Terrific stuff. Come on Albion. Let’s do this.

    Izquierdo came close to doubling the early lead – cutting inside from the left, and flashing a low drive a foot wide of the far post – before the visitors gained a foothold in the game. Wilson shot wide, before Harry Arter beseeched referee Mr Oliver for a spot kick, after Knockaert slid to block his low shot. Clearly unintentional, and outside the box – not that either were an issue for the Cherries man, unsurprisingly. He’s a snide, by the way, Arter – an obvious favourite of his cynical, smiling, snide of a manager. This incident was presumably one of the ‘four penalties’ that the smug tool in the Cherries’ technical area, felt they ‘could have had’. Absolute member.

    Arter’s principle role in Howe’s team is to kick the better opposition players as often, and as hard as he can, yet fall over himself under the slightest of contact. Knockaert is no angel on the latter part, himself, and Arter was fortunate not to receive a bit of his own pathetic medicine, when his clear shove in the Frenchman’s face drew no response. For future reference, Anthony – a masterclass from young Harry:

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