Pugh leads total team effort as Bournemouth take down Leicester

If Bournemouth can replicate their first half performance, they are more than capable of beating any side in the Premier League. They won nearly every header, tackle and 50-50 in what was a superb performance. A touch more presence up front and the Cherries could be a realistic proposition for a top eight finish this season.

Positives

Responding to the Burnley defeat on Dec. 10 in this emphatic fashion is a very pleasing sign. Bournemouth are continuing to dominate at home as well and the Vitality Stadium is a place away teams do not enjoy playing at. They enjoyed 62% possession and the link up play down the right flank between Adam Smith and Simon Francis was a joy to watch at times.

Negatives

A quiet spell between minutes 45 and 65 was a gentle reminder that keeping concentration is key in this division, a better side than Leicester may have capitalised on that. Benik Afobe and Callum Wilson are decent players but both are failing to really impress with regards to leading the line. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Bournemouth buy a new striker in January.

Manager

7 -- The right team selection again but the insistence on allowing Simon Francis to take corners is truly baffling. Employing Benik Afobe in a more defensive role on occasions seemed a strange choice as well considering Leicester were offering very little in attack.

Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Artur Boruc, 8 -- The Poland international had little to do in the first half but whenever he was called upon he was a reliable and safe pair of hands. His last-minute save to deny Leonardo Ulloa on the goal-line was world class.

DF Simon Francis, 7 -- Bournemouth's captain was the best player on the pitch for the first 20 minutes but as the game wore on so did his positive influence. Solid tackles in the 54th and 61st minute were notable highlights.

DF Nathan Ake, 8 -- Another solid performance from the Chelsea loanee. Ake is rapidly becoming one of the first names on the team sheet.

DF Steve Cook, 9 -- Two fantastic headers in the 30th and 40th minutes saved the Cherries from dangerous Leicester attacks. Cook also made a vital block on a goal-bound Jamie Vardy shot in the 7th minute and again in the 85th. Outstanding performance.

DF Charlie Daniels, 6 -- It's hard to criticise a defender involved in a clean sheet but Daniels was repeatedly dispossessed. He was the weakest link in the Bournemouth team.

MF Adam Smith, 7 -- One of his better performances in a midfield position as opposed to a full-back spot and his 49th minute effort that skimmed the post was a reminder of his attacking threat.

MF Jack Wilshere, 8 -- The England international performed well again and he is surely just moments away from scoring his first goal for the club. His vision and awareness is something very few players, especially in the Premier League, possess.

MF Harry Arter, 8 -- Exactly the sort of performance a team wants from their central midfielder. Made a driving run in the 32nd minute and his 10th, 15th and 36th minute tackles were vital in stifling Leicester in the first half.

MF Marc Pugh, 8 -- Put in a great performance both in attack and defence and Pugh has definitely given Howe a selection dilemma ahead of Bournemouth's next game against Southampton on Dec. 18. The technique on his goal was also superb.

FW Josh King, 7 -- His pace caused problems throughout and King offers something different up front in comparison to Afobe and Wilson. His bursts of energy often lead to decent-looking Bournemouth attacks.

FW Benik Afobe, 7 -- Applied constant pressure to Leicester's defenders and his physicality was definitely a useful asset before being subbed off. His 33rd minute shot was saved by Ron-Robert Zieler but it played a big role in allowing Pugh to score.

Substitutes

FW Callum Wilson, 5 -- Arrived midway through the second half and failed to make a significant impact.

MF Dan Gosling, N/R -- Replaced King to shore up the midfield and add some more defensive reliability and he did just that.

DF Tyrone Mings, N/R -- Came on in the dying seconds as Wilson was taken off with injury.