5 takeaways from our disappointing defeat to Middlesbrough

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  • Andrew Surman
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Víctor Valdés
    Víctor Valdés
    Spanish footballer

Having watched your football team lose a game you know they should have won always annoys you in a very unique way - these matches claw away at every spare thought you have for hours after the final whistle has blown.

And that’s exactly how I feel as an AFC Bournemouth supporter after our 2-0 defeat against Middlesbrough on Saturday. So talking about it certainly isn’t easy. All the same, here are the five things I took away from the game…

No luck

This was a game where we lacked a bit of sharpness, but to compound this things just didn’t fall for us either. Things continued to fall all over the shop - but certainly never in our favour. We hit the woodwork twice, had a clear penalty denied (Victor Valdes doing his best impersonation of Harald Schumacher when clearing out Josh King), and Andrew Surman got injured when we had no substitutes remaining.

We were by far the better side in the first half in particular, yet conceded at awful times - with a bit more good fortune I feel the final result could have been very different.

We lack killer instinct

Despite our lack of good fortune you also have to say we had enough presentable opportunities to take a point - and perhaps more if we’d scored first. King hitting the bar was a great piece of individual brilliance with a superb save from Valdes to match it, but it was the clear openings that we somehow squandered that really rankles.

Charlie Daniels having the opportunity to shoot but refusing to on his weakest foot, and Benik Afobe somehow heading over when free in the box being just two prime examples. Maybe some more shooting practice is needed in training…

We are far too vulnerable when WE have set-pieces

Yes, you read that correctly. The opening goal on Saturday came quickly after messing up our own set-piece - and this isn’t the first time this season we’ve conceded almost immediately after having a corner or free-kick either. It was made all the more frustrating after we had (as I mentioned above) been the better side up to that point.

Middlesbrough defensively sound but little else

What made this defeat really sting though was who we were playing. Boro defended exceptionally well all afternoon, but when it came to skill on the ball they were largely found wanting - surging run from Gastón Ramírez for his goal aside.

Their players were regularly kicking the ball out of touch under no pressure, and seemed happy to simply soak up pressure and hit us on the break - even when the game was 0-0. This system may have worked this weekend - and against Arsenal the week before - but it won’t be an approach that will see the Teesside outfit do anything but struggle at the bottom for much of this season in my opinion. Hopefully our superior ability on the ball and more attacking ethos will see us finish well above them at the end of the campaign.

Surman and Daniels surely under threat

Our fans are usually a fairly easy going bunch, but on Twitter this weekend they were annoyed about a couple of our players in particular - namely Andrew Surman and Charlie Daniels. I can’t really argue with their complaints either, with both putting in limp displays - Surman in particular.

With Dan Gosling playing so well against Tottenham Hotspur last week I would imagine he’ll step into the first team sooner rather than later - and especially if the injury Surman was struck down with (hamstring apparently) near the end of the match is serious (which hopefully it isn’t of course!).

When it comes to Daniels Eddie Howe must surely be considering giving Nathan Aké a chance at left back soon as well - our manager has always shown a strong loyalty towards certain players though, so it will be very interesting to see our line up for our upcoming clash with Sunderland next weekend…to say the very least.

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