AFC Bournemouth are currently in tenth place - yet there is still the feeling that the club could be a few points better off.
The month of December started off in sensational fashion with the thriller against Liverpool, but then there were dispiriting defeats against Burnley and Southampton - games in which the Cherries didn’t get anywhere near their best and were subsequently punished.
Hard working wins against Leicester City and Swansea City did help round off a month in which they grabbed three victories though - but also saw them lose the same amount. Eddie Howe's men even conceded twelve and scored eleven. All in all I think it’s easy to say it was an up and down month.
But who played well for the south coast side consistently across December?
The stand out man in December
Several people look at Jack Wilshere’s stats as an AFC Bournemouth player and scoff at the decision for Howe to bring him in on loan. Those people, quite simply, aren’t seeing the bigger picture.
Despite not having scored for his loan club yet Wilshere has been involved with much of our good play going forward this season - and his performances in December were no exception. He finds space where there seemingly is none, and helps give more bite to the attacks when played behind the striker - essential considering Bournemouth have often looked a little toothless going forward at times this season.
Sure, he sometimes went missing when games went against the Cherries in the last month - but the same could be said of much of the team.
Who was also worthy of praise?
Considering they conceded twelve goals across the six games in December it seems odd to single out the defence for praise, but centre backs Nathan Aké and Steve Cook were largely faultless in most of the games across December.
Cook in particular made several superb last ditch blocks to save vital points - his will to stop Shinji Okazaki’s shot at the death against Leicester City being particularly memorable. He’s improving season on season with the club and that’s great to see.
Who needs to do better?
Callum Wilson has clearly had his head turned by interest from other clubs, most recently Newcastle United. His display against Southampton was particularly poor, and the fact Eddie Howe has been unwilling to bring him off the bench in recent games is telling. It’s a real shame if he is looking to move, but if the right offer comes in then it is possible that he could move on in January.
Several players need to use the FA Cup tie against Millwall to impress too - they won’t get many more chances, especially if the Cherries get knocked out. They include - but are not limited to - Max Gradel, Lewis Grabban, and Jordan Ibe.