Bournemouth ended their six-game winless run courtesy of a 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest at the weekend. Whilst Jaidon Anthony’s first-half strike, their first league goal since the resumption of club football, backed up the faith that’s been shown in him in recent weeks, it’s merely small steps, but if Anthony and Bournemouth can strike up a fruitful relationship, their survival bid will take on a new impetus.
Anthony shone for the Cherries last season as they got promoted from the Championship but has found opportunities hard to come by this year. The academy product has, however, started Bournemouth’s last four games. A right-footed wide man, Anthony’s work rate and knack for making things happen in possession make him a good option for Gary O’Neil.
The 23-year-old records lots of touches in the attacking penalty area and receives high levels of progressive passes. This last point owes a lot to his intelligence out of possession, a trait that also sees him produce a large number of defensive actions – he recorded five tackles against both Brentford and Crystal Palace. There’s an energy and enthusiasm in his play that helps Bournemouth build and maintain attacking pressure.
When Anthony receives the ball in and around the penalty box, he makes the most of the opportunity. Producing an array of crosses, shot-creating-actions and through balls, but he’s also key to Bournemouth winning back possession and counter-pressing. Though he’s yet to record an assist this season, Anthony also offers a threat from set pieces. His inswinging corners mirror the clipped half-space crosses that he made his party trick in the Championship. Bournemouth have scored five set-piece goals from just 50 set-piece shots, and Anthony will only add more quality to this department.
Anthony’s a raw talent with fairly inconsistent output at the top level, but at his best, he can bring goals and assists to a Bournemouth side who’ve only scored 13 goals from open play this season. According to reports, Anthony is being tracked by former club Arsenal, who want to sign him upon the expiration of his contract in the summer. So, if he can find the sort of form that saw him contribute 15 goals and assists in the Championship last season, then there could be a handful of potential suitors for him in the summer.
By: Sam Tabuteau / @TabuteauS
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Tony Marshall / Getty Images