Bournemouth Review: A Welcome Victory

Arsenal 3 – 0 Bournemouth

Job done, and it must be said, well. Bournemouth, cast as sacrificial lambs to the slaughter, were sunk without much of a threat, even when we were reduced to ten men with Francis Coquelin’s injury. It was half-decent preparation for next weekend’s trip to Chelsea but let’s not go overboard in proclaiming we’re on the rise again. That was one good performance in a match we were expected to win.

Confidence oozed through the side as Arsenal took full advantage of the time and space on the ball Eddie Howe’s side afforded them. Arsène declared he went with “more experience at the back” and that he “changed the positions a little bit”, as if playing defenders in their favoured positions were a tactical switch which will revolutionise football.

The back three featured two specialist centre backs alongside Nacho Monreal and looked more solid. Coupled with that shocker, the wing-back pairing of Hector Bellerin on the right and Sead Kolasinac on the left showed a vast improvement on the opening three games of the season.

The young Spaniard said afterwards that he felt the criticism after the Liverpool defeat was “fully deserved”. Yesterday was a positive reaction from the team as a whole but playing on the right once more must have rebuilt individual confidence in Bellerin. After the criticism at the end of last season and watch Oxlade-Chamberlain steal his place, little wonder Barcelona seemed so inviting in the summer.

After Manchester City put five past Liverpool, Ox is turning into a Jonah for his clubs; 7 goals against and none scored in his last two appearances? The schädenfreude of the football supporter.

Some Things You Can Explain Away

Kolasinac’s cross led to a well-taken goal by Danny Welbeck to break the deadlock. The England international contorted his body to chest the ball across Begovic and into the net. OK, it came off his shoulder which makes it more of a centre forward’s goal. Finding consistency in his finishing is the issue; if he can do that, it’s £16m well spent.

Alexandre Lacazette’s omission at Anfield was an act of folly on the manager’s part and Wenger came close to admitting that. The strikers goal underlined why his presence will be important; the willingness to shoot from distance isn’t something teams are used to with us and brings a variety to the ‘pass-pass-pass’ opponents are used to. In big away games, that’s going to be a useful attribute.

Welbeck added a third, a well-taken goal and almost his third when his chip drifted wide of the post, before he departed with fifteen minutes to go. Lacazette went at the same time bringing Giroud and Alexis into the fray. The latter’s omission raised eyebrows beforehand but was a gamble which worked for Wenger.

Sanchez came on to a smattering of boos which, while not baffling, is just stupid. That will motivate a player to perform well, won’t it? He looked sharper than Anfield and by all accounts, for Chile. Next weekend’s trip to Chelsea gives Arsène a selection headache: Welbeck or Sanchez. Not a difficult one in season’s gone by and the midweek fixture against Köln will give us an answer on that.

You Must Explain Why This Must Be

We finished the game with ten men thanks to Francis Coquelin’s hamstring injury. It rules him out for a few weeks and of cup games he would certainly have featured in. Social media was awash with jokes about it and this was my favourite:

There can be few complaints about the match. Not all of the problems are solved with central midfield remaining an issue. Ramsey and Xhaka weren’t punished for their indiscretions but Chelsea won’t be so lax. It’s the only real area of concern left with some of space left yesterday setting alarm bells ringing.

The pair played well on the whole but still lack discipline in their movement. That it is still an issue underlines it’s a problem we won’t solve quickly. However, we’ve got to and Coquelin’s injury rules out one solution; Ramsey and Xhaka will have to find the answers themselves.

On this overcast Sunday, yesterday’s win brightens the gloomy weather. While the victory comes with a number of caveats, I’m going to enjoy the rest of the day. The Specials Jukebox Classics is the perfect backdrop to that.

’til Tomorrow.

27 thoughts on “Bournemouth Review: A Welcome Victory

  1. Result important and looked like it could have been more.

    Nice to see the Pool thrashing – Klopp as our next manager ?

  2. Afternoon,

    I thoroughly enjoyed my excursion to the Emirates yesterday. It may have been Bournemouth, but it was a confidence boosting performance and Welbz has now scored more goals this season than he did last.
    I agree, there was a bit more discipline in the midfield. It is a concern that Wenger might now feel he has the answer, lining us up for a fall against Chelsea. Most managers know that you have to set the team up differently when you play against the big teams, but Wenger is a stubborn man and will likely go with his usual set up. If he can get the same performance out of them that he did in the FA Cup Final I won’t complain, but it will need as disciplined performance again and we haven’t shown much of that until yesterday. Playing the players in their correct positions, as we did yesterday, will certainly help.

  3. DALM,

    Its well known that Liverpool needed to sort out their defence this summer and it will be their downfall this season. Considering how poor they are at the back, it is astonishing that we didn’t manage a single shot on target in the match against them. Klopp seems to have been almost Wenger-like in his chase for Van Dyk this summer. It was him, or no one. I’ve seen journalists praising him for his determination in trying to get his man, but leaving yourself weak at the back because you can’t get your main target makes absolutely no sense. Too many things can go wrong in a transfer window for managers to just target one player.

  4. Maureen refuses to shake Hughes’ hand and makes the story all about him again. Then he compounds it by walking out of the interview when asked about it. A great job in deflecting the story away from the 2 points they dropped.

  5. Wavey – so Klopp fits on 2 levels – failed to buy the required player(s) and cannot defend !

    Interesting week ahead – no idea how Thursday will go but horrid feeling that Sunday won’t be pleasant !

  6. Man City are little better at the back.
    In fact, Liverpool were all over them for the first 25 minutes or so – it was entirely one-way traffic and the opening goal came very much against the run of play.
    Liverpool have problems there for sure but having watched the game live – this scoreline was an aberration and not really reflective of the game.

  7. Good afternoon, yes an important three points and you are quite right Yogi, we must not get carried away.

    From what I’ve seen, just the highlights on Sky, Mesut Ozil looked to enjoying himself and put in a good performance.

    Thursday night might give us a hint as to Wenger’s forward thinking, as far as the defence is concerned, they were hardly run off their feet yesterday, I hope he keeps the unit together and allows them to develop an understanding. For that reason I’d like to see Cech play rather than giving a run out to Ospina.

  8. A mate of mine with 2 season tickets can’t go to the game on Thursday, so put his seats up on ticket exchange. He got £17.50 per ticket on face value of £35. Suggests that there won’t be full house on the night.
    For anyone interested, he can’t do Thursdays at all so the seats are available for all of the Europa League home games. Upper tier seats in corner at the clock end. Other corner to the away fans.

  9. Great review Yogi

    It was nice to have a get well game after the poor results at Stoke and Liverpool. It is certainly far to early to talk about must win games but our home form was quite good even during the bad part of last season and a poor result yesterday at home against a Bournemouth team that looks lik relegation fodder would have been a very very bad omen. I think we are going to need to get to at least the mid 70’s in points this year to have any chance for 4th place and as poor as we have been away from the Emirates we can’t afford to drop points at home to any team not in the top 6 even this early in the season.

    It was a dominant performance for us and really enjoyable to watch. We always have a huge advantage in technical skill over almost every team in the league and we can really turn on the style when the opponent allows us time and space to operate. However, even with the dominant performance we still needed some nice finishes to score the goals. Credit to Welbeck for his man of the match performance but I don’t expect that sort of finishing skill from him. Perhaps the most encouraging thing for the long term is Lacazette looks like a really good finisher and hopefully he can rescue us a few times with the great finishes we will need when we play opponents who are not so eager to give us all of the time and space we need to express our technical skill advantage.

  10. I was hoping to see Benik Afobe yesterday but he did not even make the bench. I am not sure if he was injured. Afobe along with Nick Bendtner, Jack Wilshere and Wojo were arguably the 3 top prospects and most hyped players coming from our academy in the Emirates era. I was hoping that Afobe would actually make an impact in the PL. May be he will get better as he heads into his mid to late 20’s but right now he is a squad player. He was pretty good a couple of years ago in the championship and if Bournemouth do get relegated he might get back to the level where he can be more effective.

  11. Jonny,

    Yeah. Before the sending-off, I was struck by how confidence-uninspiring both defenses were.
    Frustratingly, I feel we are better-equipped in this area but do not usually offer our CBs any real shield. Yesterday and the recent Wembley outings being rare exceptions. Frustrating that they can do it if they want to.

  12. Woolwich Freddie,

    Totally.

    Our defence is better than Liverpool’s in EVERY single position. They would bite our hand off to swap our back 5/6.

    With a decent amount of defensive cover in front, our backline would be among the tightest in the PL.

    But AW stopped taking that position seriously 10 years ago.

  13. Confidence boosting for sure. As I noted the other day, expect a good run of results apart from Chelsea in all 3 competitions. Then we’ll see in early November what the team is really targeting when we face City and then Tottenham. Of course we have to get the rhythm of Thurs/Sun-Mon pattern, make sure the wantaway players are focused and motivated, and finally avoid more injuries to midfield. Losing Coquelin could be a problem and certainly will hurt vs Chelsea. Unless Ramsey learns to be disciplined and/or JW makes a remarkable return to fitness and form (he’ll get a chance), this could be the flaw that keeps us from top 4.

  14. But I really enjoyed the quick passing and moving. Games like this are perfect for Ozil. He looks amazing against weaker opposition and with the time to pick beautiful passes. Similarly, DW was impressive and confident. He almost had a third on a skillful and powerful drive past two players toward the line the box for a chip to the far post that just missed. Lovely to see. I hope he can play like this against Chelsea but probably Alexis will start.

    I didn’t mind Alexis on the bench, having to be hungry and facing an in form DW performance, to motivate him.

    Lacazette looked like a clinical assassin. Didn’t need to look up–knows where the goal is. Smooth as you like, one to control and another to put it away effortlessly. Happy to see a striker like this after 5 years of waiting.

  15. Good post. Welldone.

    It’s a great performance after the lukewarm attitude at Liverpool.
    The thrashing of Liverpool leaves me with a dilemma – is the Arsenal team that bad or just a bad performance? The latter looks very much the thing to me. Teams have bad performances, it’s not gone full cycle yet but I think it will – even in other leagues (even Bayern lost yesterday). We need to support the players and let’s hope they turn up 100% ready for every game.

    The team goes to Stamford Bridge with a settled mind and off a good performance (I hope Thursday gives more conviction of their capability) – we’ve beaten them once already, and doing it again will be a pleasure to savour.

    “The latter’s omission raised eyebrows beforehand but was a gamble which worked for Wenger.” Try and give some credit where it’s due. If benching Laca & Sead was a tactical error at Liverpool, shouldn’t that of Alexis be a good stroke from the Manager rather than a gamble as you stated.

    I believe there is more to come from the guys.

    Good luck to Ox with Liverpool – but he needs to be more committed if he’s to make it there too.

  16. Orson Kaert,

    With better players and in a good structur he can be quite effective as well. It is hard to deny however that in the PL and CL for Arsenal he specializes in exploiting weaker teams with his skill but in games against better defenders and where he has more responsibilities to defend and less time on the ball, he has less impact and doesn’t look as good. I think he needs a much stronger team around him, particularly in midfield to shine. He’s a set up man so he has also suffered not having clinical finishers–hopefully Lacazette will make a difference.

  17. Oludotun,

    As I said above, I wasn’t upset by leaving Alexis on the bench. I think it was a good move even before the match. But, I was quite wrong on who to put in instead. I thought DW looked out of form and wanted Iwobi to get a chance. Credit to AW for picking DW.

  18. An encouraging performance & result but as Yogi says it’s a little early to get the bunting out.

    It’s amazing how much more cohesive we are when players are allocated their favourite positions (just Ramsey & Monreal left as slightly square pegs) so no surprise that things went well.

    Most importantly, the malaise from Anfield appeared to have gone. Hopefully the game next Sunday can bring some more redemption.

  19. Orson

    Its easy for Ozil to look good when he is playing with arguably one of the best teams in world football that is winning 6-0 against Norway. I realize that stats don’t tell the whole story but against the stronger teams in the last World Cup and Euro 2016 Ozil has 2 goals and 2 assists in 13 games. That is not much production from someone who touches the ball as much as he does in the final 1/3 and is supposed to be one who makes the great final passes.

  20. Bill,

    I wonder how that compares with other major figures in the German team. But the point overall is about AFC. He doesn’t change the game enough in our attack in big games against top competition and is a defensive liability usually. If he scored and assisted more–and he might with Lacazette and Alexis in the side–it would be easier to praise him for excellent games like against Bournemouth, for me. I love his skill but I don’t look to him first when the team is under pressure. I look to Alexis, Lacazette, even Ramsey and OG despite Ozil’s extraordinary skill and vision.

  21. I agree. Ozil is no longer a difference making player for us. If he is not making a difference by scoring or assisting then he is a liability. He is taking a position that we could be using for a goal scorer or at least a player like Welbeck who does other things.

  22. YW
    I do’t agree that the minority were booing Sanchez coming on-I felt it was a fair 50/50 on that score.I agree with the bookers actually-fuck him.
    He’ll be off in January no doubt.

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