Adrian Clarke looks at a key tactical battle in Matchweek 26.
Pulling off a surprise free-kick or corner routine is not easy, but Eddie Howe’s team have made a habit of it in the Premier League this season.
They have displayed a variety of training-ground routines, testing their opponents’ concentration from dead balls on a regular basis.
Playing it short
Short corners are one of AFC Bournemouth’s fortes.
Or as they showed at Old Trafford, Howe’s men will regularly send out a runner from the near post to link play with the corner-taker.
It was one of many intricate moves that Howe’s men have attempted across 2018/19.
|Team||Corners into box||Short corners||% short|
Last season the Cherries also mixed up their corners more than most rivals.
|2017/18||Corners into box||Short corners||% Short|
A lot of thought goes into the wide free-kicks that AFC Bournemouth send into the box.
Howe likes two of his players to stand over the ball, and between them they do their best to create confusion within the opposition ranks.
They also frequently set up fake deliveries, pretending to step up to the ball before starting their run-ups again.
The strategy is designed to force defensive lines to shift a touch deeper, and it frequently disrupts the structure of the line they hold for offside.
Creating gaps between attackers and their markers, who are marking tight, and enough hesitation for an opponent to play the rest onside, the Cherries are becoming masters at this crafty set-piece skill.
They have scored 10 goals from dead-ball situations this term, following up a 2017/18 campaign where they plundered an impressive 16, the joint-most in the division.
Liverpool, who are also impressive from set-pieces this season, must be wary of AFC Bournemouth’s threat at the other end.
The Cherries are undoubtedly the most inventive team in the league when it comes to set-pieces, and are bound to have some tricks up their sleeve for the visit to Anfield.
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