Ryan Christie stole the show on Saturday as Bournemouth beat Luton Town 2-1 in an end to end match at the Vitality Stadium.
The Cherries summer signing from Celtic has hit the ground running in the Championship, playing a key role in the club’s rise to the summit of the division.
The 26-year-old has added crucial creative guile to an attacking midfield contingent heavily reliant on the goals and dynamism of Philip Billing.
Billing remains one of Scott Parker’s main goal threats and looks even more dangerous with greater licence to get into the area with Christie in the side.
Fulham and West Bromwich Albion will be snapping at the Cherries’ heels for as long as they remain above them in the table but in Christie they boast one of the best playmakers in the division.
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If Dominic Solanke, Billing and even wide forwards like David Brooks can be clinical in their finishing then Christie is sure to rack up the assists this term.
Here, is a graphic visualising the Scotsman’s epic contribution against Luton Town…
Despite the Hatters missing some guilt-edged chances in the first half, Christie’s two assists gave Luton a mountain to climb by the 31st minute when Bournemouth doubled their lead.
The 26-year-old’s link up with Billing feels like it could be the difference between another unsuccessful play-off campaign and sealing promotion with the pair looking like Premier League standard players applying their trade in the second tier.
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Christie’s versatility makes him a dream of a player for Scott Parker, able to operate equally as effectively in a variety of systems and positions. The Scotsman could be deployed in a double pivot, in the number ten role of even as a false nine providing so much flexibility for the ex-Fulham boss.
Christie’s delivery from dead balls are also a strength that paid dividends on Saturday, crossing in from the second phase of a corner kick for Solanke to head past Simon Sluga.
The loss of Arnaut Danjuma puts a lot of question marks over the Cherries’ promotion credentials this season but, in a much deeper creative role, they could have filled the void with Christie as a player who will increase the goalscoring output of the likes of Billing and Solanke.