Bournemouth Review: Mesut Takes The Miki

Arsenal 5 – 1 AFC Bournemouth

You can only beat the opposition in front of you and despite six changes to the starting line-up, Arsenal did just that and then some. Bournemouth resembled a punch-drunk boxer by the end of the first hour and ended up on the canvas thanks to Alexandre Lacazette’s fine free-kick.

At the centre of the performance were Mesut Özil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Both produced their best moments since Moses stepped out his reed basket to give us the perfect start. Özil scored in the fourth minute to give us the lead with his now-trademark finish. Fair play to the Telegraph for asking the question “Has Mesut Ozil invented his own finish – the Ozil chop?” in their headline. Only two years too late...

The German turned provider, setting up the Armenian for a simple finish after Bournemouth gifted possession with a sloppy cross-field pass. Arsenal in the ascendancy and set fair for a comfortable victory which is the cue for us to shoot ourselves in the foot.

Matteo Guendouzi took aim and fired. Collecting the ball on the edge of the area, he needed to quickly distribute the ball to his right. Instead, he invited a challenge and duly fell to earth; the referee signalled play on and in an almost carbon copy of Mkhitaryan’s finish, halved the deficit. It’s a sharp learning curve for the youngster but one he has to take to heart quickly. That moment doesn’t define his season, however.

Half-time came not as a relief, I think that’s too strong, but time for a breather. Whatever Unai Emery said, had the desired effect. The social media logic emerged that the Spaniard has “won” the dressing room, whatever the hell that means.

Seconds Out…

Ninety seconds into the second half, Koscielny’s shot found its way into the net, with Artur Boruc clawing the ball back with a look of total resignation at conceding. Which relaxed us and killed off what little fighting spirit Bournemouth possessed.

It set the scene for the strikers to take over. Aubameyang rammed in the follow-up to Koscielny’s goal but it mattered not; the ball had already crossed the line. Sensing Bournemouth’s weakness, he became increasingly desperate to score and when the opportunity presented itself, did so with consumate ease.

Mkhitarayan countered and as opponents closed him down, sent a lovely pass spinning into Aubameyang’s path. A blink of an eye later, the ball was in the net with defenders and goalkeeper left trailing in PEA’s wake. Lacazette finished off the scoring with a touch of class.

From 1 to whatever, nobody had a bad game. Guendouzi’s wasn’t the only mistake made but certainly the costliest. However, in the scheme of things, it is just a part of his learning curve, nothing else.

Standout performers Özil and Mkhitarayan could do no wrong as far as this match was concerned. In playing so well, they underlined where the bar must be set for the future. Can they reproduce against better opponents? We will find out this weekend.

I suspect the 3-4-3 formation will return at Wembley at the weekend with Torreira and Xhaka at the heart of the midfield. The game will be more physically demanding than last night and that will be the question mark over Özil. Let’s not beat about the bush; if Özil couldn’t handle the physicality of Bournemouth away, the North London Derby is another level. In Emery’s mind, is the German ready to handle that match?

If he plays, then Ramsey and Lacazette will be on the bench.

Give The Man A Hand

Unai Emery spoke afterwards about whether the pair will play:

We are speaking and we want to get our identity first, be competitive – and being competitive how? First is being organised with our quality and skills, our combinations with different players in different systems and it depends in each match. After is the intensity with the ball and without the ball. The last matches we are doing this. Saturday is the same, but with every player can be okay. This is what we want and I think every player is convinced to do that, and we can use different players in different matches, but the idea is that every player can play with this idea.

I’m guessing the extent of Koscielny’s injury will tip the balance in whether it is a three or four. Mustafi was absent, the jitters weren’t; we’re just a jittery defence at the moment, it seems. I should think, however, he will return with Kolasinac seemingly nursing himself through games.

Those are thoughts for tomorrow. What remains of today is just enjoying last night’s win.

’til Tomorrow.

80 thoughts on “Bournemouth Review: Mesut Takes The Miki

  1. thrillbo says:

    Thanks for the post YW. Auba was standing in _acres_ of space for his goal before Henrick sent him thru. Lovely to see that kind of direct attacking. Our game (and modern futbol in general) seem to be centered on getting wide & sending in cutbacks , tons of cutbacks. It clearly works too, our O is top tier this season and teams are scoring more than ever.

    This type of direct, straight down your throat attacking is good to see as well. Wish we would play on the counter more often, you’ve got the ultimate burner up top. We have the creators, the speed demons, the finishers. It just takes one bad moment from the opposition and within 2 or 3 passes we can go from our defensive third into the penalty box.

  2. ferkov says:

    Morning

    I think you covered the Bournemouth away statement in your review YW.
    An early indicator that though he may not have been officially injured he’s not training enough to get a spot.
    I’m not gonna predict the selection tho. Mugs game these days! Innit.

  3. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Bright & breezy home performance & dare I say it , almost Wengeresque.

    Always nice that strikers get amongst the goals too. Confidence is everything.

    I would partly blame Leno for the Bournemouth goal. Obviously Guendouzi made the more obvious error but Leno had a better view of the pitch & still chose to pass to him. Fortunately it will hopefully be a lesson learned in a game when it didn’t cost us.

  4. Bill says:

    Great review Yogi

    A top performance and an excellent scoreline to match. Mikhitaryan with a goal and 2 assists and Ozil with a goal and assist were the stars. Amazing that Ozil increased his entire seasons production of goals and assists by 50% in 27 minutes of one game. If he had been playing anything like yesterday at any point earlier in the season he probably would never have lost his starting spot. This game and the Leicester game are the only 2 games this season where Mesut has played the way you expect a $350K/week player and he has a full 66% of his seasons production in those 2 games. It would make every fan and Emery very happy if this is the start of something better for both Miki and Ozil but we have been done this before so time will tell. For now we are in 4th place at least until this weekend and I think we have a realistic chance to finish in the top 4. Emery will deserve a lot of credit if we can do that.

  5. Bill says:

    I know goal and assists stats don’t tell the entire story but players like Miki and Ozil’s job description is to provide influence in the final 1/3 of the pitch and if they are not scoring goals or creating a reason number of assists they are not doing the job they are being paid large sums of money for. Just like yesterday when those type players are playing well it will show up as objectively quantifiable production on the scoresheet.

  6. Pete says:

    Anyone notice the recent goal celebrations? A new found comradeship perhaps…

  7. C says:

    When Ozil is in the mood, man what a joy to watch. Mhkitaryan certainly seems to have found some form and I actually hope both get the nod along with Aubameyang and Lacazette against Spuds.

    Well done to Jenks too who put in a shift and played well especially when you consider his current standing.

  8. LSG says:

    Credit Jenks—the man for an NLD? He will certainly give everything he can. Maybe AMN will be fit.

  9. LSG says:

    Ozil’s bounce technique is getting belated attention as Yogi notes. Justifiably as it is a very distinctive even unique skill and flair of a supremely talented player. How about showing it off more often, Mesut!? I think he passes up too many shots when he clearly can score.

  10. C says:

    LSG,

    I would love Ozil to score more but don’t think its in his natural style of play. His shot though is a brilliant piece of skill though especially cause he looks like he has complete control over how high it bounces and where it goes. I hope he starts and rips Spuds to pieces.

  11. Dukey says:

    There is an excellent article somewhere on xhaka about his stats for the last season or two. In short he is consistently in the top 3 in the league for passes forward, passes in the final third, passes leading to chances, percentage of successful passes but then consistently in the bottom three for successful tackles, blocks made, duels won, interceptions , So we have an excellent player for when we go forward and a poor player when we defend. He needs terrierera next to him to make up for his lack of defensive knowledge and for him to be able to attack.

  12. Bill says:

    Dukey

    Any team with Xhaka, Ozil and/or Mkhitaryan as 2/3 of their central midfield is not going to be very good at playing an energetic pressing style and is probably going to struggle defensively no matter who the 3rd midfielder is.

  13. Bill says:

    Guendouzi has done a nice job this season. The thing that really separates him from most of our midfielders not named Torriera is his energy. I suspect that is why Emery likes him and has used him so much.

  14. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    I expect to see a different line up for the Spuds then what we played against Bournemouth. I think Emery will be a bit more pragmatic with his approach. (Well at least that’s what I’m hoping). It was a great win, but we’ve seen it before where Mesut goes missing when the opposing defensive midfielder is up and at him. I suspect Sissoko will be given this job of being the hard man. I’ll take a draw. The Spuds will be reeling from the loss at the Chavs so they’ll be up for it. Let’s see if Emery has learnt anything about game management. I would definitely have Torreira, Guendouzi and Xhaka in midfield, with a combination of Iwobi, Auba, (AMN, Mikhi or Laca) up top. Then it’s a case of whether we’re a 3 or a 4 at the back to the rest of the personnel. Just don’t lose lads. We’re counting on you!

  15. C says:

    Bill,

    To be fair Bill, even when we have had what others, like yourself, have said are players that fit the high pressing, they haven’t done it very well. Here’s the thing with the high press, its all about being together, and on one page. NOBODY would ever think that Inesta and Xavi would be brilliant at it but they, along with Busquets, were the absolute best at it for years on end because they understood how to press, when to press and did it together. Its why players like Sanchez and Ramsey struggles with it because its not all about running around, its about positional and spacial awareness. Understanding how to press along with your mates to cut off not just the obvious pass but the angles for other passes.

    To be honest, its why players like Ozil, David Silva, Inesta, Xavi, De Bruyne, Juan Mata are actually good at it despite not running the miles of others; they understand passing angles and space so they know how to effectively and efficiently cut them off. I know you probably won’t do it, but watch a Citeh match and in particular Daivd Silva. He will press not to get ij the face of the opposition first, but to cut off passing anvles and lanes AND THEN actually press the opposition.

  16. C says:

    Leno
    Jenks*—–Mustafi—Sokaritis—-Nacho
    Xhaka—-Torriera
    Aubameyang—-Ozil—-Sead
    Lacazette

    *maybe Maitland-Niles or put Mustafi there and have Sokaritis/Kos CB partnership

    That’s something I would be interested in seeing in the NLD. Then he could bring on Iwobi and Mhkitaryan to change things up.

  17. C says:

    Just think, the world has praised Spuds and they are off to their best start ever BUT/AND after the NLD if we grab all 3 points we will only be 1 point behind them for 3rd. I wonder what the narrative outside the Goonerverse will be then🤔.

  18. Damon says:

    C,

    Off to their best start? Gracious, when does a start meet the middle then the end?

    We’re on the run in now, in my very humble books, old bean 😀

  19. Blue Yonder says:

    I’ve been waiting to see Jenks re-appear if only to see what he might offer, and he was a welcome addition to the team. He must have been nervous but he responded well and his energy and determination were evident.
    Guendouzi, up to his ridiculous give-away, was playing in slow-motion: standing still, looking around and (invariably) passing backwards or sideways. Fair play to him though, after his faux pas, he put his foot on the accelerator and started playing forward and with more pace. Many more experienced players might have hung their heads but he didn’t.
    I expect to see Ozil start on Saturday, not only because of his scintillating play against the Cherries but because, if he doesn’t start or even feature, we may be back to where we were with him. You can’t cajole a player to up his game and then bench him when he responds.

  20. thrill says:

    I wouldnt be so quick to put Ozil up there as a good weapon in the pressing defensive phase of play… Sure he understands passing angles and all that, but he doesnt press with energy. He should take some lessons for Mr. Lacazette. Now THAT is a guy who presses hard from the front, with energy.

    Enjoy the friday all, cheers to a good weekend and hopefully eating some mashed SPUD puhtaters for breakfast/lunch AND dinner tomorrow.

  21. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    C: We have also seen Ozil rise to the occassion and put in a performance when the opposing DM is up and at him.

    Not very often in my humble opinion and certainly very rarely against a top 6 opponent. Would we moan if he was consistent!? None of us doubt his ability C. It’s his aptitude!

    Doubt Jenks will start. Might make the bench. Asides from that it’s anyone’s guess.

  22. thrill says:

    HenryNorrisDialSquare,

    I was thinking the same thing. Maybe C can point out some crucial performances but I dont really remember any recent games. Ozil played in the 1-1 against Liverpool right? Must have been decent to get 1-1 but not great. If he put in a performance he is banging in cheeky goals and settings up his bros. Having a blinder against a beaten down Leicester side doesnt count C =). Even if they did try to put Kante V2 man marking Ozil…

  23. Bill says:

    C:
    Bill,

    To be fair Bill, even when we have had what others, like yourself, have said are players that fit the high pressing, they haven’t done it very well.Here’s the thing with the high press, its all about being together, and on one page. NOBODY would ever think that Inesta and Xavi would be brilliant at it but they, along with Busquets, were the absolute best at it for years on end because they understood how to press, when to press and did it together.Its why players like Sanchez and Ramsey struggles with it because its not all about running around, its about positional and spacial awareness.Understanding how to press along with your mates to cut off not just the obvious pass but the angles for other passes.

    To be honest, its why players like Ozil, David Silva, Inesta, Xavi, De Bruyne, Juan Mata are actually good at it despite not running the miles of others;they understand passing angles and space so they know how to effectively and efficiently cut them off. I know you probably won’t do it, but watch a Citeh match and in particular Daivd Silva.He will press not to get ij the face of the opposition first, but to cut off passing anvles and lanes AND THEN actually press the opposition.

    I know your instinct is to defend players you like but suggesting that a midfield with Xhaka and Ozil would be good at playing a pressing defense stretches reality far beyond its breaking point.

  24. C says:

    HenryNorrisDialSquare,

    Can’t disagree but I also think part of the narrative can’t simply be Ozil doesn’t show up because some of the matches against top 6 sides our defense has let us down early on in the match making things much more difficult.

    I doubt Jenks starts, thats why I have the other options. To be honest, I would rather Jenks start than Lichtsteiner and if not Jenks than Mustafi.

  25. C says:

    Bill,

    Defending yes, but would you EVER think a midfield of Xavi and Inesta would be sublime at it, how abouy Gundoghen and Kagawa. The point is, pressing isn’t simply: “Aight boys, go press and close down everything!”

  26. MikeSA says:

    I see Keown seems to have forgiven Ozil for driving over his dog or whatever crawled up his arse, or maybe he just came to his senses after watching the sheer shit on display in recent games without any creativity because he’s now suggesting Emery has to start both Ozil and Mikitaryn against the spuds.

    I think he’s right for once, we look like mid to lower table shit when Emery tries to be ‘conservative’, so we need to get on the pitch showing some swagger and confidence instead of acting like a bunch of frightened little kids trying to minimize damage.

  27. Arsetralian says:

    MikeSA,

    It is certainly interesting and positive we are seeing so many good options. For instance I was convinced Leech was finished but he played very well. Mustafi looks better and is probably our best attacking weapon on corners. Mkhi was our best player last 2 games. I think he looked better than Ozil.

    This is a big game and we need one of those energetic powerful displays we have managed only twice this season!

    Still we seem to be building momentum and experience is everything.

    Leno

    Leech Kos Sok Nacho
    Torr Xhaka
    Ramsey
    Mkhi Laca Auba

    If Ozil plays instead of Ramsey ok but not both
    Sead, Gwen, Iwobi to keep energy high which is why I favour Ramsey over Ozil for this one

  28. ferkov says:

    No post from YW?
    That’s a worry.
    Hope no big problem.
    A win today can’t make it worse that’s for sure
    COYG

  29. C says:

    Ozil, Torriera and Aubameyang all on the bench!

    So Emery has banged on about if you perform you will play you start then I would of thought Emery puts out the strongest team or at the very least Torriera and Aubameyang start. I’m confused about Ramsey starting because he hasn’t been playing regularly and if we are going off the last 2 matches than surely Ozi, Torriera and Aubameyang get the nod.

    I’ll trust Emery but FFS that XI better perform or there will be questions asked.

  30. C says:

    Leno
    Mustafi—–Sokaritis—-Kos—–Nacho
    Xhaka—–Guendouzi—–Ramsey
    Mhkitaryan—–Lacazette—–Iwobi

    Thats the XI.

  31. Arsetralian says:

    C,

    Here
    Happy with that line up
    Torr has looked tired if honest

  32. Arsetralian says:

    Tony Adams and Tim Sherwood here pontificating
    Painful
    Only Sol is more awkward than our other heroic CB on tv

  33. C says:

    Arsetralian,

    If he has than he should of been rested midweek.

    Have to say, Sead has been a BEAST this season and he should have started IMHO instead of Nacho especially with essentially 3 CB’s.

  34. Arsetralian says:

    C,

    Spurs with back 3…
    At ‘home’

  35. C says:

    Since his PL debut for Arsenal, only Mo Salah has scored more goals.

  36. Ras says:

    On y va Arsenal..

    I worry re the legs of Nacho and Mustafi.

    Lacazette’s lack of technique there for all to see. Have to weather the 1st 20 Minutes .

  37. C says:

    We are struggling to put 2 passes together.

  38. C says:

    If Rose dived, shouldn’t he see yellow🤔

  39. C says:

    Lacazette plays Ramsey through and he has just enough pace to round the GK!!!!!!!!!

  40. C says:

    Spuds defenders really cocked that up but well fucking done by Lacszette and Ramsey!

  41. consolsbob says:

    Get the fuck in! Take that you cheqting spud wankers.

  42. Ras says:

    Excellent composure shown by Ramsey when needed most.

    The next 20 Minutes will tell us a lot.

  43. C says:

    Ramsey picked the wrong pass, Lacazette would have been clean through with a little slotted pass centrally.

  44. C says:

    Mhkitaryan has offered nothing going forward but has worked his socks off defensively.

  45. C says:

    Leno just made 2 ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT SAVES!!!!!

  46. Michael says:

    Great 1st half, can we have more please.

  47. Jonnygunner says:

    C,

    Not by grabbing his arm petulently when we’re in no danger at all.

  48. Arsetralian says:

    Jim Beglin is happy with how we are defending
    Who am I to argue?
    But uncomfortable viewing
    The result is everything though
    Hope our strong bench can be used…
    Wisely !

  49. Pete says:

    Wise men of Sky have been singing paens to our defense.. Kind of unsettling

  50. C says:

    Spuds getting away with loads of off the ball stuff.

  51. Rqs says:

    Finally in Sokratis We have a defender with considerable physicality . He has bossed Kane today.

  52. consolsbob says:

    Another Mustafi brain fart.

    Mind you Kane was offside.

  53. Pete says:

    So when are they bringing in VAR again?

  54. Rqs says:

    That Goal would not have stood if VAR were in use . Kane offside.

    Very very surprised how easy it was for Sissoko to man handle Aubamayeng when put through by Miki. It was a fantastic through ball. I’d fancy PEA in a situation like that .

  55. consolsbob says:

    Bloody awful penalty. This is a missed opportunity of our own making.

  56. Paulie Walnuts says:

    You pay strikers the big bucks for days like today.

    Neither Lacazette or Aubameyang have delivered.

  57. consolsbob says:

    Another stupid act. That ridiculous free kick leads to a red card. Bloody stupid.

  58. Ras says:

    I NEVER fancied PEA to score.

    It was not a “great ” penalty. I think, believe that miss is going to haunt PEA. Had he scored that he’d be ETCHED In the annals of Arsenal Football history forever.

  59. Buckagh says:

    Extremely poor by Aubameyang on penalty and follow up, lack of conviction, unforgiveable in my book
    Big opportunity missed to put the pressure on

  60. G4E says:

    I think not a bad result after all….

    This is the kind of moment you want your Top Striker to put the ball in the back of the net from 12 yards. Disappointed FOR not From Auba, better luck next time.

    We should have won, but we could have also lost. Again, another poor decision from the officials resulting in a game drawn instead of a team getting closer to the top 3. This faulty decision can mean a lot for any team. VAR to make it Fair?

    Silly for Torreira to get red carded in the final seconds of the game….but maybe in the heat of the moment, it was inevitable.

    I’m just going to take the point and enjoy my weekend….I hope y’all do too.

  61. MikeSA says:

    Very disappointing but on reflection not a bad result.

    Refereeing very poor though.

    They should never have got that penalty.

    Sissoko should have seen red for kicking Leno long after the one move ended, it was a straight petulant lash at him. I’ll be surprised if there’s any retrospective action though, the commentators made note of it then strangely didn’t say anything more about it.

    Our penalty should have been retaken because Vertongen was way inside the box and probably would not have got there to block if he had stayed out like he should have.

    How was Torreira’s foul worse than Rose studs straight into Leno?

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