GUN POWDER REVIEW: ARSENAL VICTORIOUS AGAIN BUT ENDURED TOUGH GAME FROM BOURNEMOUTH
With the final whistle from Referee Mike Jones, Arsenal ensured they delivered the best November they have had in many years to their teeming supporters- November,a traditionally difficult month every season for the gunners came with its upheaval this year,but somehow the London side managed to scale through undefeated. Despite Injuries, loss of Form, and ineffective player rotation which have been negative factors that have combined to see the flying start the Gunners made to the season Fade away somewhat.
The weekend game versus Bournemouth came admist the statistic that the gunners were winless since the game versus Ludogorets away in Bulgaria.But in the premiership it was the 1-4 thrashing of Sunderland away on 29th October. The team must have known that with the soaring form of Chelsea, Liverpool and Mancity getting 3points,this was a must win game otherwise things would head to full blown crises levels given the targets the team had set for themselves ab initio.
All the pre-match drama centered around how Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe and Arsene Wenger were the 2 longest serving Managers in the English premier league then the Jack Wilshere angle thrown in for good measure also was an unwelcome distraction.. Jack had caused a bit of a stir by saying he wanted Bournemouth his adopted team to win. But Arsenal fans would not be drawn away from what they wanted, which was a resounding 3 points and they didn’t hesitate to let their team know it as they roared them on to the pitch.
Arsene Wenger continued the tinkering of his team, admist claims the gunners Midfield had become shorn of creativity and was the cause of recent uninspiring outings. The chopping and changing suggests a manager searching desperately for a midfield pair that will strike a balance between defensive and offensive abilities alongside the permanent presence of Mesut Ozil. Coquelin the first choice DM for 2 seasons had already been used with Xhaka and Elneny in many games this season to contrasting success levels.
This was the Starting Line-up: Cech, Monreal, Debuchy, Mustafi, Koscielny,Xhaka, Elneny,Ozil, Oxlade Chamberlain, Walcott, Sanchez
No Coquelin in the midfield hinted that the cries of the fans and others to try something else had reached the ears of the manager. Something had to be done as far as all Arsenal stakeholders were concerned to rediscover our flair and You could see the response from the likes of ELneny who began the game in energetic fashion.
Arsenal’s early foray’s saw Mesut Ozil almost register the first goal on 60 seconds with his strike from an Oxlade chamberlain cross only just blocked by Ake the Bournemouth Center back. Alexis swiftly put the gunners ahead after profiting from a bad defensive slip by Bournemouth defender Steve cook. Alexis sanchez is a master at forcing these sort of errors from defenders and off the top of my head i recall the One at Sunderland last season, then the Cahill one this season versus Chelsea and Now Cook.. He definitely needs no incentive to chase down defenders passing out from the back no matter the futility in the attempt. Not long after that, In quick succession a raking pass from Xhaka exquisitely executed from deep in our half found Alexis running into the box. The chilean was fouled but the referee waved all claims off.
It was proving a good start and most fans would have been fogiven to think the flood gates would open at that point. But a freak injury to re-turnee rightfull-back Debuchy changed the game. He had to be replaced and Wenger had a decision to make. He opted for Brazilian Defender Gabriel. The brazilian had been a regular on the bench and took a while to get in the swing of things. Bournemouth were not willing to afford such luxuries to him as they quickly unleashed forays of attacks down that right-full back area. The imbalance was apparent and soon Arsenal were being pegged back.
However on the dot of 23 mins calamity reared its head in the Arsenal backline. An innocous ball in to the danger area saw Monreal go shoulder to shoulder with Bournemouth forward Wilson. The striker made the most of contact with Nacho Monreal and tumbled to the ground. Mike jones pointed to the penalty spot. Cue boos and frenetic protests from the fans and Arsenal players alike. Wilson picked himself to fire the visitors level. 1-1.
That equalizer rocked Arsenal as Bournemouth promptly felt emboldened. The should have gone ahead on 30mins when Nathan Ake’s cross/header should have been turned in by Smith. Arsenal weathered the storm and Countered with a chance of their own. Alexis unleashed a blistering shot that cannoned off the crossbar. In all the half ended 1-1 and it looked like we had quite an encounter on our hands.
The start of the second half mirrored that of the first, with the Gunners soon up and running, working their socks off to take control of the game.
Wenger must have called on his side to move the ball quicker and more precisely, and they responded – and within eight minutes of the restart they had the lead again.
Ozil was the instigator, picking up the ball to the right of the box and tying Simon Francis in knots, before delivering a ball to the far post. The ball took a deflection before finding Nacho Monreal, who immediately centred to the waiting Walcott to head home a rare goal from close range.
The goal capped a memorable week for the England international, who celebrated the birth of his second child, and his pace and energy continued to cause problems for the visitors.
But Bournemouth were proving tough to shake off, they had shown in the first half that they could trouble us and they were not going to go down without a fight. Once again there were hearts in gunners mouths when the ball hit Monreal’s hand in his own area – but Jones waved play-on once again. It would have been the harshest penalty ever seen, though the spaniard will do well in future to put his hands away at his back.
We just could not kill off the game, and as we entered the closing stages Wenger sent on Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey to add some fresh legs to a greuling contest.
But we were soon indebted to our goalkeeper Cech as he made a fine reaction save late onon to keep out former Gunner Afobe’s close-range effort in the 76th minute after he reacted first to a loose ball in the area. You could just feel the palpable relief around the stadium.
It was tight and tense, and we came close to adding a third when Ramsey picked out Giroud in the six-yard box but the striker’s hooked effort was just off target. He ususally buries those for fun, but it came at a time we desperately needed the 3rd goal to cushion the victory.
That goal eventually came and it was Giroud who turned supplier, racing on to an Alexis’ ball on the breakaway before pulling it back for the Chilean hitman to convert from close range.
with that the points were surely in the bag and another typically industrious display from the Chilean proved important. We sealed the victory that was as much about character as anything else.
So it was bye bye November on a victorious note. How we needed to get this win to ensure the leading pack at the summit of the Premier league do not leave us far behind. Giroud was spotted clutching his leg in an apparent hamstring niggle but we hope its nothing serious. As we will need all hands on deck on a potentially telling weekend of fixtures as we take a trip to the east of london to face WESTHAM.