Bournemouth 2-1 Brighton Five Things: Ibe-lieve in miracles

Deadly Defoe nets the winner –

Substitute Jordan Ibe inspired Bournemouth to pick up their first three points of the season on Friday night. Solly March’s header saw them fall behind to Brighton but goals from Andrew Surman and Jermain Defoe gave Eddie Howe’s side a 2-1 win. Here’s five key talking points.

Cherries’ final third struggles

Bournemouth got into good areas on many occasions in the first half with Surman dictating play. However, Harry Arter and the wide men either side of him were guilty of trying to be too precise in possession. Marc Pugh relied on the overlapping runs of Charlie Daniels and did not have the pace to hit the byline quickly when opportunities arose. Ryan Fraser and Adam Smith had pace about them but little product, not helped by the lack of movement from Defoe and Josh King.

Dunk’s blocks

King latched onto a sloppy clearance from Shane Duffy but centre-back partner Lewis Dunk bailed him out with a fine defensive block on 17 minutes. The captain then kept Defoe at bay with a similar intervention close to the half hour mark, moments before the veteran striker fizzed the ball wide of the far post.

Bright second half start

In the first half, we saw the best of Bournemouth’s back-line, which excelled at shifting the ball quickly to sustain pressure. Once Brighton showed some intent in the second half, they immediately looked rattled. Simon Francis lost his man at two corners, both of which resulted in goal-line interventions from Andrew Surman. First he headed Duffy’s aerial effort off the line, before doing the same with Davy Propper’s shot. Duffy threatened again, his header glanced on by the excellent Dale Stephens, hitting the underside of the bar. When Albion got the breakthrough – March scoring a back-post header after some good work from Anthony Knockaert and Pascal Gross – they looked good value for their lead.

Ibe-lieve in miracles

Howe didn’t change his side’s tactical approach, instead replacing Fraser with Ibe, in what appeared a like-for-like swap. Ibe had been criticized previously for a lack of end product but here, he offered the kind of off the cuff quality that had been missing from Fraser. A wonderful, improvised flick released Surman, who showed neat feat before slotting the ball past Maty Ryan. Shortly afterwards, Ibe played an excellent reverse pass to find Defoe, who finished with the timeless sharpness we have come to expect from him over the last two decades.

In summary

This was not a bad performance from Brighton, who looked organized for long spells, but Chris Hughton might ask for his side to create more in open play. For Bournemouth, Ibe provided a reminder of what they need to do in the final third to improve their measly goal return. Short passes won’t always work, as we saw in the first half: it’s often the risky balls that unlock defences.