El Jurrasico: Combined XI
Posted by Kieran Cross | Published on March 1, 2016
To some, tonight’s game between AFC Bournemouth and Southampton may appear to be a run of the mill relegation candidate vs mid table team game. However, with the amount of quality and style of football that both teams play, this game has all the potential to be a match of high standards. Throw in the added bonus of being a “local” derby and we could have a real barnstormer on our hands. To assess the quality on display in tonight’s fixture I have put together a Combined XI of the sides competing in “El Jurrasico” based on overall ability and including some of the club’s injured players, and will go on to explain why the players positions in the team are justified. Goalkeeper: Fraser Forster
This was a relatively easy decision to make. Although Artur Boruc of Bournemouth is a quality keeper on his day (proven by some excellent saves throughout the season), Fraser Forster is easily one of the best keepers in the league and has recently broken the Club record for time spent in goal without conceding. In my opinion, if he keeps up his form he will be a certainty to travel to France for the Euros.
Center Backs: Jose Fonte and Virgil Van Dijk
This was also a simple decision to make. Bournemouth have been nothing short of shocking in the center back position all season, a problem made worse by a long term injury to captain Tommy Elphick which he is only just returning from. On the flip side, the experienced Fonte and the young and promising Van Dijk have developed a solid partnership at the back, surely contributing to the high number of clean sheets that Southampton have kept all season.
Full Backs: Ryan Bertrand and Simon Francis
This was a much harder decision to make. On the left hand side I went for Ryan Bertrand over Charlie Daniels due to the consistency that Bertrand has shown in the Premier League over several seasons. This should definitely not take away from the excellent season that Charlie Daniels has had, which has left him on the verge of an England call up according to some sources. In the right back spot I picked Simon Francis over Southampton’s Cedric Soares. Although Soares has had a good season for the Saints so far, Francis has come out of nowhere to become a key player for Bournemouth at both right back and covering for Tommy Elphick in the center back position. His link up play with Matt Ritchie makes him a real attacking threat.
Wingers: Maxi Gradel and Sadio Mane
A slightly controversial decision on the left wing to pick Gradel over Dusan Tadic, but I feel that in terms of quality, Gradel just edges away from Tadic. His pace advantage and dribbling skills as well as a lethal shot and the ability to pick a pass makes Gradel an almost complete winger, and a key player if Bournemouth are to stay up. On the right I have gone with the enigmatic character of Sadio Mane. I feel that his pace and dribbling ability just pushes him ahead of Matt Ritchie, although this season he is yet to hit the heights of the previous campaign.
Center Midfielders: James Ward-Prowse and Harry Arter
I feel that this midfield duo would complement eachother very well were they to play together in real life. On the one hand you have James Ward-Prowse, who is capable of picking passes, has deadly set piece deliveries and is exceptional at everything to do with the technical side of the game. On the other hand is Harry Arter, who specialises in the gritty side of the game: winning the ball back, challenging for 50:50s and making yards with the ball to relieve pressure. He also has a killer long shot, shown by his goals last season against clubs like Middlesborough and Watford. He is the proverbial “engine” of the team.
Strikers: Callum Wilson and Charlie Austin
Despite being injured for the majority of the season Callum Wilson has the potential to worry any defense in the Premier League on his day. A combination of pace, power and clinical finishing makes him a potent threat and a key weapon in Bournemouth’s armory. His return to action will be a huge boost for Bournemouth’s survival hopes. On the other side we have Charlie Austin, a former transfer target for the Cherries. He is tall, strong and holds the ball up well, quite similar to Bournemouth’s Afobe. He is also one of those rare players that can make a goal out of nothing and has a great record at Premiership and Championship level.
Overall, this side looks to be the complete package: a solid goalkeeper, strong partnership at the back with two attacking full backs, rapid wingers, talented, young midfield and power and precision up front. Feel free to leave comments down below with any suggestions for changes in the team.