The stats that prove Bournemouth are missing Nathan Ake

Bournemouth's Nathan Ake celebrates scoring their first goal

The Chelsea defender was recalled from his loan spell on the south coast earlier this month.

As Nathan Ake returned to the Chelsea bench in The Blues' 2-0 win versus Hull City on Sunday, both player and former parent club may have been left wondering what the future now holds.

With regard to AFC Bournemouth, since the versatile Dutch defender was recalled from his loan spell at The Vitality Stadium earlier this month, The Cherries have taken just two points from their last two games versus relegation threatened opposition Hull and Watford.

Watford's Miguel Britos in action with Bournemouth's Junior Stanislas before Watford's Christian Kabasele (not pictured) scores their first goalWatford's Miguel Britos in action with Bournemouth's Junior Stanislas before Watford's Christian Kabasele (not pictured) scores their first goal

Having been dumped out of the FA Cup also by League One Millwall two weeks ago, Eddie Howe's brow would have become a furrowed one over the past fortnight.

The Cherries blushes were spared on Saturday, when substitute Benik Afobe earned a point for the hosts. It was however the ninth time in 11 games in all competitions that Bournemouth had conceded at least two in a game, as they miss both Simon Francis and Ake at the back.

Bournemouth's Nathan Ake celebrates scoring their fourth goalBournemouth's Nathan Ake celebrates scoring their fourth goal

It is Ake's absence however that has been the biggest factor and the numbers do not lie during his ten appearances since October.

Aside from his trio of goals in that time, the defensive side to his game elevated Bournemouth into beating Liverpool at the beginning of December.

As per Whoscored - despite a lesser ratio of games - the 21 year-old had the highest pass success rate with 87.9, just 0.1 ahead of midfielder Harry Arter but comfortably in excess of Jack Wilshere with 84.5.

Bournemouth's Nathan Ake in actionBournemouth's Nathan Ake in action

His biggest asset has been his defensive prowess. Coming second behind Steve Cook in aerial battles, Ake averaged almost two tackles a game, close to Arter and Francis with 2.4 and 2.2 respectively.

Cook again weighs in with the most clearances per game with almost ten every 90 minutes, but Nathan Ake's 7.3 per outing comes second in the standings ahead of both Charlie Daniels and Francis, pointing to the void left in the heart of Bournemouth's defence.

Whilst Ake himself waits for his first minutes under Antonio Conte, Eddie Howe's Bournemouth are left looking rather nervously over their shoulders.

Simon Francis' return for the home clash with Crystal Palace next Tuesday comes at a vital time, but questions remain whether the Cherries can handle the departure of Nathan Ake for the rest of the campaign.

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