Philip Billing is excelling in an advanced midfield role


Philip Billing’s recent form has gone under the radar due to the performances from Arnaut Danjuma but the Danish midfielder’s new position is one of the key reasons behind the Cherries’ resurgence.

Philip Billing scored for the third league match in succession to help AFC Bournemouth to a vital victory over Blackburn Rovers and help maintain the Cherries’ play-off push.

The Danish midfielder has become a crucial component in Jonathan Woodgate’s starting eleven since being deployed in a more attacking midfield role for the south-coast club.

However, the 24-year-old’s recent performances have gone under the radar of many fans due to teammate Arnaut Danjuma being nominated for March’s Championship Player of the Month award.

In the past two seasons, Billing had been predominantly used as a holding midfielder in order to utilise the Danish international’s  6’4″ frame and to try and dominate proceedings in the middle of the pitch.

However, the role had seen Billing relegated from the Premier League twice in consecutive years, firstly with Huddersfield in 2019 and then with Bournemouth in 2020.

Yet, despite the unwanted statistic the 24-year-old has started to repay the hefty £15m price tag that the Cherries invested in the summer of 2019 with performances that have reignited Bournemouth’s push for the play-off spots.

The Danish midfielder had slipped down the pecking order under former manager Jason Tindall but came off the bench to score the winner against Birmingham City and earn Woodgate’s trust in his first match in charge of the Cherries.

Billing then started his new role as an attacking midfielder and helped Bournemouth to progress to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with an audacious touch off his back helping the Cherries to win a penalty that secured a 2-0 victory over Burnley.

Yet in the league, defeats to Queens Park Rangers and Cardiff City in quick succession saw the Cherries fall out of the top six and questions were raised as to whether the south-coast club would finish in the play-off positions.

However, Billing has inspired a resurgence in form for his club with five goal involvements in his last five appearances, which seen the Cherries tally 16 points from a possible 21 in their last seven matches.

Furthermore, in the last three league matches, the Danish international has scored the crucial opening goal in vital victories against Swansea, Middlesbrough and Blackburn.

It is the first time this season that Bournemouth have won three matches in a row and Billing’s new position has played a key role in the Cherries resurgence.

The 24-year-old has showcased all of his talents and a clear eye for goal in recent weeks, arriving in the box at the perfect moment to score off the rebound against the Rovers.

Despite his tall physique Billing has incredible athleticism and an ability to run beyond the strikers and stretch the defence of Bournemouth’s opponents as proven in his goal against Boro.

Furthermore, Billing’s technical ability on the ball was one of the predominant reasons Eddie Howe brought the midfielder to the club and that was once again evident with his sensational overhead kick goal against the Swans.

The Cherries have seven matches left of their season and are currently in seventh position with a game in hand over Barnsley and Reading who sit directly above them in the play-off positions.

A victory in that game in hand would see Bournemouth leapfrog both teams into fifth position putting them in pole position to qualify for the play-offs at the end of the season.

The Cherries have managed to keep the majority of the squad that got relegated last season together which could give them an edge should they reach the season’s climax.

However, in order to reach those play-offs and potentially earn a spot back in the English top-flight, the Cherries will need to keep their unsung hero Billing fit and use his technical abilities alongside the likes of Danjuma and Dominic Solanke to give them an edge over their less Premier League-experienced rivals.

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