The focus at the Cherries over the past few weeks of the Premier League season has been mainly about the individual scoring abilities of Callum Wilson.
There is no excuse for that as he is a special player, and he will surely be missed for several months following his injury but, while Bournemouth’s attack has had to change, the choice Eddie Howe made to play Josh King and Glenn Murray in the first match after Wilson’s absence is one that could be the start of a vibrant new strikeforce for the Cherries.
The experience of Glenn Murray is a big factor in the decision of Howe to bring him to the Vitality Stadium. Having played at Crystal Palace at the top, he is used to knowing what it is like to battle against the leading teams and to snatch points when they may not be favourites to get anything from a game. He is strong and a good focal point for the team when they look to build attacks now, and this has already benefited Josh King, who looks more at ease running off the big man and picking up balls from him in a fashion that we rarely saw when he partnered Wilson.
So is the King and Murray partnership a potential goal mine? Well it is one goal from one game so far, but the whole team appears well balanced with these two players leading the attack. It could be a challenge for the likes of Lee Tomlin and Yann Kermorgant to get a run in the side. Howe has always favoured pace in his front men and that gives King, and even Tokelo Rantie, an advantage over some of the other players at the club, if the Premier league new-boys continue to go after teams rather than looking to contain the game. The more cultured and intricate flicks and build-up play of Tomlin and Kermorgant will be required at times, but we need goals more than anything else and Murray and King are arguably the best fit in terms of being a partnership that will work together in a profitable way for the team.
Too often we think of football stars in their own right and forget that football is a team game. Getting the best out of this Bournemouth side is not just about picking a striker in form as there are goals all over the team. Howe has been looking for a solution that adds pace and power to the team and while that has always been seen on the wings, he could have come across a new partnership that will integrate well with the other pairings he has in other parts of the pitch.
So the Wilson show may have become the King and Murray show, but that does not tell the whole story as there is a license for other players to also get forward. This was made very obvious when King was subbed in the second half of the game against Watford and Eunan O’Kane came on to replace him, producing a five-man midfield behind Murray. Instead of seeing Murray isolated though, it just freed runners from midfield to join in the attacks and Gosling, O’Kane and Surman all tried to get involved with runs into the box. It was a different way of playing for the Cherries and very nearly brought results. Wilson is surely a big loss, but don’t write the Cherries off just yet.
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