By Akshay Kulkarni (@ImpatientPedant)
After another thrilling, late Bournemouth win, this time against Crystal Palace, man of the match Nathan Ake spoke exclusively to Buzz about the preparation the Cherries went through ahead of the match.
Junior Stanislas’ 87th minute penalty proved the difference as Eddie Howe’s side climbed to seventh in the league table with a 2-1 victory over the Eagles last night.
Youngster David Brooks opened the scoring with a terrific, early finish from the edge of the box, but the Cherries were pegged back in the second half through Patrick van Aanholt’s strike.
Ake was a solid presence at the back for Bournemouth. Not only did he help halt attacks through the middle, he covered the flanks as well to stop Palace danger-men Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend.
Ake was modest about receiving another player of the match award, one of many he has collected over his 2 years on the South Coast.
Ake said: “To be fair, I think today was more of a team performance, the team did really well to stop their threat.”
His solid response to Palace’s set piece threat, however, was probably what ultimately earned him the award for the Cherries. His assured clearances saved his defence from many dangerous set-plays.
Ake exclusively told Buzz that work carried out behind-the-scenes in training, was the key to the victory.
“They’re [Crystal Palace] very dangerous in the air, top players, but also good attacking players.
“It was going to be difficult today. But, we worked a lot on it during training and tried to stop that. Luckily we did today.”
The 23-year-old also spoke about having to deal with Zaha, one of the trickiest wingers in the league and Palace’s star man.
The Ivorian had a quiet game on Monday, mostly due to the efforts of Ake and his defence.
Ake continued: “I think we coped very well with Zaha, he’s a very tricky player. All of the attacking threat is very difficult.”
The Dutch international then revealed how they successfully executed Eddie Howe’s plan to stop the Ivorian.
“I think our fullbacks did very well, they got a lot of help from David Brooks and Ryan Fraser to make sure we have two against one at all times. So, I think the team dealt with him very well.”
Ake’s consistency bodes well for the Cherries as they head into a crucial set of matches. Their next match is against one of his former clubs, Watford, away at Vicarage Road on 6th October.