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Arsenal 3-0 Bournemouth – PL Review

Arsenal returned to winning ways in comprehensive fashion, thumping Bournemouth by three goals – and it could well have been more.

Caution must be applied to any Gooners who think recovery is now complete, but we can at least find solace in the fact that a win has been achieved, we are again looking threatening – and we have a left sided player on the left once again!

Arsene Wenger chose Sead Kolasinac on the left, and the Bosnian was instrumental in our first half showing, setting up the opener for Welbeck and rampaging on the flank to great effect. Hector Bellerin on the right also showed some signs that his form is on the up.

Our midfield too, kept tabs on the Cherries midfield runner, with Aaron Ramsey often being the deepest of the midfield duo, as Xhaka stretched his limbs with some great passing. It was the Welshman’s discipline though, that was most pleasing. We will need every ounce of that when we play our next Premier League fixture – next weekend at Chelsea.

We were two goals up by half-time. Danny Welbeck, picked ahead of the returning Alexis, nodded us in front early on, a deft header coming from an incisive cross from Kolasinac. 

Chances came and went for us, with Ozil testing Asmir Begovic with a great free-kick, but we would have to wait until around the half hour mark before we made it two. Mesut Ozil was deep once again, and his foraging ball along the turf found Alexandre Lacazette, who passed to Welbeck, who immediately returned the favour. Lacazette teed himself up, before lashing a high finish over Begovic.

Bournemouth were trying, but lax in defence. They did have a good chance though, but Jermain Defoe could only head onto the post. 

We would make them pay for their profligacy.

The second half saw a similar pattern. Arsenal pushing Bournemouth back into their half as we sniffed for goals, and when the Cherries got ideas above their station, we hounded their men until the ball was retrieved. We can still improve our attack, but we did look a far better outfit that in recent weeks. 

Seven minutes after half time, we had our third, as Aaron Ramsey found Welbeck, who finished well into the far post area from an acute angle. 

It could – and possibly should – have been five or six goals, but let us not look a gift horse in the mouth. We played well, we scored a few goals, and we kept a clean sheet. This was exactly what the doctor ordered, and hopefully the confidence is flowing on the eve of a massive London derby next weekend.

Lacazette is looking like the lethal striker who banged in plenty in Ligue Un, Danny Welbeck has already beaten his last season’s total of goals, and our defence is finally settled. With Alexis looking likely to return in the next game, we have plenty to worry the Blues. 

Can the Chilean wonder come straight back into the side with Welbeck playing so well? Will Ozil do what he did to Chelsea last season in our 3-0 win? Can Kolasinac run his own brand of rulie on the left as he has done so far? 
So many questions, but for now, let us just enjoy a tranquil few days after what has been an incredibly turbulent few weeks. It is the calm after the storm, let us all hope we have weathered the worst of it. 

Arsenal Vs Bournemouth Match Preview

Kickoff – 1500hrs, Saturday 09/09/17

Arsenal welcome Bournemouth to The Emirates tomorrow, and the return to our home is more than a welcome one.





Two consecutive defeats on the road – at Stoke and Liverpool – have resulted in questions and furore levelled at the players and Arsene Wenger. Team selection has been puzzling, the team’s motivations on the pitch has been seemingly bereft, and the bottom line is that three games into the season – we have been well below what is expected.


Arsene Wenger has said that he had questioned himself before signing his two year extension, but now that the ink has dried on his contract, the questions marks from Gooners still remains.


Wenger himself states that the only way to answer questions is by results on the pitch, so a good – and mandatory start – would be three points against the Cherries.


Us fans did have some good news to latch onto, as Arsene revealed that we have a fully fit squad – aside from Santi Cazorla – to pick from. The international break did not blight our players with injury, and team changes may well occur after the horror show of our 4-0 hammering at Liverpool.


Jack Wilshere may well be included in the squad for this game, and his return could not have been timed better. With Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey struggling for a dynamic, the diminutive England man could be offered a chance to come straight into the side in the near future, especially if the Swiss star and the Welshman continue to leave gaping holes in our setup.


Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez were obviously dominating questions levelled at Wenger during his Presser on Thursday. Alexis has taken to social media to offer cryptic messages regarding his state of mind since his broken-down transfer to Man City. The good news is that he has a chance to play in this game, but faces a fitness test.


Ozil was on fire for Germany during the international games, and it was yet another stick used to bash the German playmaker. why can’t he replicate his Die Mannschaft form for The Arsenal?


Maybe it could be that Joachim Low has a midfield that works in perfect harmony to the demands of the game, rather than abandoning their posts?


Either way, Ozil will be fit and could do with a performance that shows his critics what he is capable of.


Alexandre Lacazette will duke it out with Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud for the striking berth, but it would be great to see the running of our record signing combining with the vision of Ozil.


The Cherries will be a motivated opponent. Pointless so far, but far from toothless, Eddie Howe can count himself unlucky to not grab at least a point in their last game versus Man City. A ridiculously late goal saw all three points go to Guardiola’s men, but Bournemouth were worthy of a share of the spoils.


Goals look likely in this game. Both teams like to play open football, and if their last game against each other is anything to go by, spectators could be in for a show. Last season’s 3-3 draw was both dramatic and awful to watch, and our defence will have to be on their guard with the likes of Jermain Defoe, Josh King and Benik Afobe on the prowl.


Three points, no matter how we achieve it, is the cornerstone of our recovery. A Europa League game is up next at home against FC Koln, which is then followed by a tough game at The Bridge against Chelsea. Rotation will be obvious, and our kids will get a run out in midweek to protect our players for the battle against the Blues.


Already, every match is looking to have huge ramifications. A few wins on the trot could well see us go on a run.


Predicted Lineup – Cech, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac, Welbeck, Ozil, Lacazette.

Predicted Scoreline – a tight 2-0 win. I hope.

It’s Time To Hit The Road Jack

Club loyalty in football is a commodity rarer than a politician’s promise coming good. 

When a player genuinely loves the club he plays for, it shines through in the interviews he gives, the gestures you see on the pitch. It is unmistakable. It isn’t the flagrant badge kissing you see from all and sundry, even though they joined in January and are french-kissing the crest in February. 

These players that have the club in their hearts are held dear by fans. Their shortcomings are put to the side in most cases and we hope and pray that they end up becoming the legend they’ve dreamed of becoming.

Jack Wilshere falls into this bracket. The bow-legged midfielder burst into our vision in 2008. Yup, it was that long ago. The talent, the touch, the vision. Wilshere at his tender age was showing age was no barrier for supreme skill, and the bar was set so high that 99% of players would struggle to see it, never mind reach it.

It is a recurring tradition that England must sieze upon a promising youngster and heap unnecessary pressure onto their shoulders, and so it proved with Wilshere. This time though, it was warranted. It appeared that there was nothing he couldn’t do.

This burning flame of talent attracted injuries like curry to an alcoholic. Since his debut in 2008, Jack has played a full season just twice. Injuries have not only played havoc, they have left his hopes of reaching his peak perilously dangling.

Something had to give, and the unthinkable happened this season when Jack realised his injuries had left his playing chances hindered at Arsenal. He knew it was time to prove he could last an entire campaign, so a spell playing for another club was the answer he reached.

His loan deal with Bournemouth was meant to herald in the second coming of Jack Wilshere. He would be placed on a pedestal amongst his new lesser-talented teammates, as they looked to him for divine inspiration on the pitch. He would shock and amaze once more, like a stumpy David Copperfield.

Instead, he has been overshadowed by those that technically should not be able to hold a flame to him. Jack has been left out of the side sporadically – and some may claim that it was the kid gloves he was being handled with that saw him out of the team on occasion – but mostly it was tactical. Cherries boss Eddie Howe has seen fit to demote Jack from the Boy who would be King, to understudy to Harry Arter. 

What in fresh hell has happened? Jack should be lauded by everyone by now? 

He has flattered to deceive at Bournemouth. He has showed flashes of his potential, but his numbers do not lie. He has barely contributed to their totals, and even if he simply lacked the finishing touches, his dearth of MOTM awards is evidence of a player not making his presence felt.

Then, his bad luck rears its ugly head again, and the news of his hairline fracture is the ending of his season.

Is it the end of his Arsenal career too?

Jack has one year left on his current deal. He has not reached the heights we know he is capable of, and he seems utterly incapable of stringing more than four games together in a row before his pins buckle. Arsene Wenger has iterated his worries for Jack’s career, and the sole hope he has is that his fracture is due to heal in time so he can take part in pre-season.

He must ensure that the special measures both Arsenal and Bournemouth have gone to in order to increase his fitness are enough. What more can be done to keep Jack fit enough?

If Arsene retains his midfield playing staff, Jack has a real fight on his hands to prove his worth. 

Not that any of them are as talented as he is. But it seems that this time, talent doesn’t matter if he can’t show it. Jack is on his last chance, and if he can’t stay fit – and above all else show he is not just potential unmanifested – then the Gunners legend he and we want him to be will just be a pipedream. 

Bournemouth 3-3 Arsenal – 5 Key Points From The Game

​Phew.

Take a deep breath, there was a lot to take in and digest.

Bournemouth, for sixty five minutes, were the better side, and will feel hard done by after decimating the Gunners for the majority of the game. Forget the three goals they scored, they should have scored about five. 

The decision to bring back Shkodran Mustafi in place of the improved Gabriel did not pay off, as Cherries striker Calum Wilson and Josh King both terrorised the Gunners backline and made them look foolish at times. The usual fare of sensible defending went out of the window as even ushering the ball out of play seemed beyond us at times. 

It was flabbergasting, Arsenal were unable to build the basic foundation to attack. Bournemouth got the goal their play deserved, as Charlie Daniels took advantage of a hesitant Bellerin and cut inside the dithering Spaniard before dispatching past Petr Cech.

Five minutes later, Eddie Howe’s side were in dreamland. 

Granit Xhaka planted his arm on a Bournemouth player and applied weight. Whatever the standard of foul, it was still an effort made to hinder. It was a penalty. Naive from the Swiss midfielder, but Calum Wilson didn’t mind. He put the spot kick straight down the middle to score his second penalty against Arsenal in two games.

The rest of the first half was a mixture of tepid Gunners possession and Bournemouth looking dangerous.Francis Coquelin went off injured, and was replaced by Oxlade-Chamberlain, and he took the right hand side spot that Ramsey had, as the Welshman reverted back to central midfield.

 It was a small mercy when referee Michael Oliver blew for half time.

The second half began with at least a little intent from Arsenal. We probed and passed, with Alexis dropping deeper and deeper as his frustration grew. Then, a hammer blow.

Ryan Fraser was set free to take on Hector Bellerin in a foot race. It was pretty even to e fair to Fraser, but Hector edged it. He then was shoved in the back in similar style to when Xhaka gave the penalty away, but Oliver did not blow his whistle. The game carried on, as did Fraser, who slotted it through a prone Petr Cech to put Bournemouth three goals up.

It was perhaps the most demoralising showing for quite some time. Was it down to Arsenal playing poorly? Partly, but Eddie Howe deserves enormous credit. They did not stop.

Then, a lifeline, which was barely deserved. The Ox put a cross in and Giroud, under intense pressure, managed to flick the ball with the back of his head. The ball fell to Alexis at the back stick who dived in to head into the net.

With twenty minutes to go, Arsenal needed another two to salvage a point. They needed only five to grab another. 

Lucas had come on only minutes before for Alex Iwobi, and he took advantage of a smart flick from Giroud to swivel and plant a volley into the far corner. A great goal, and with fifteen minutes to go, the Gunners could see light at the end of the tunnel.

Then, another turning point. Simon Francis was red carded for a foul on Aaron Ramsey, and hope became ever more tangible.

Then, on the ninetieth minute, it was man of the hour Olivier Giroud again. He finally won a header in a congested box, and the ball found the far corner. 

Salvation.

His scorpion celebration was as good as his goal. 

This is a much summarised version of events, but here are five key points that arose from the match:




Play with intent, win the game










We played on the front foot for the last twenty minutes. We scored our three goals in that time. When we have played in this manner, utilising our speed of thought, we have usually gone home with the points. Why can’t we do this every game? WHY????


Third away game without a win

Our losses to Everton, City and now this lucky draw represent one point from nine in away games. Not good enough. With six teams vying for the top four, and the title disappearing into the distance, this is not up to standard. Must do better.



Ramsey’s first game back, cut him some slack

It was Rambo’s first start since November and he was wide on the right for the first half. At times he was the only one who looked like he was making any effort. He never shied away from possession, and always tried to make things happen. He deserves credit rather than lambasting for the things that didn’t work.



Bellerin had a mare

Only two days ago, I tweeted that I thought Bellerin was the Premiership’s best full-back. Oh how my mouth loves to make me seem a fool. This was his worst game since his debut versus Dortmund where he was given a baptism of fire and some marshmallows after being roasted. He looked switched off, and appeared powerless in the face of shoulder barges and the usual physical fare dished up on a weekly basis. The boy is good, but he can’t rest on his laurels.



The fightback showed great spirit

We played badly. All Gooners will be sadly familiar with this blip. The twenty minutes where we staged our fightback was powerful stuff though. Whilst this ensued, thoughts ranged from “Why couldn’t we have done this earlier?” to “wow, come on you Arsenal!!!” It was inspired, but needless. It should never have got to that stage.
There was much more to write about. Mustafi was pure awful at times and Gabriel deserved to keep his place on form. Bournemouth probably deserved the points as for sixty minutes, their press and their drive were unrivalled. 

Olivier Giroud also deserves a special mention. Yet again, he rose to the top like Gallic creme as he set up first Alexis, then Lucas, and then scored the equaliser. Cometh the hour, cometh the fantastically bearded man. When he goes through his next dry spell, hark back to this moment when we can try to remember how useful he really is. 
Lastly, Petr cech must step up. He was great against Palace, but it looked like he couldn’t stop anything in this game.

This hasn’t been the most coherent of blogs, but it was written in the style of the game. Frenetic, crazy and rammed full of points. 

Bournemouth Vs Arsenal – The Warm Up

Just two days after what historians will brand ‘Scorpion Day’ forevermore, after Olivier Giroud’s quite extraordinary goal against Crystal Palace, Arsenal have another Premier League game.

The Gunners travel to Bournemouth with barely time to rest, and this will lead to a side that may include some changes to allow for the inevitable fatigue that comes with two games in two days.

Arsene Wenger would have been pleased with the fighting qualities shown in the last two games – the hard-fought 1-0 win over West Brom on Boxing Day and the 2-0 win mentioned above – but Bournemouth pose an entirely different threat to the two opponents we have defeated.

Eddie Howe has always tried to play expansive football, and although they may opt for the counter-attack in the face of Arsenal’s possession-based football, they will have plenty of the ball – and chances – themselves. 

So Wenger could do with the best men at his disposal. In that regard, Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott will again miss out, after missing the last two games through injury. This sees Nacho Monreal keep his place at left-back, which he deserves after he and Hector Bellerin tormented Crystal Palace. Mohamed Elneny is off to the Africa Cup of Nations so the midfield dynamic will change from the last match. Aaron Ramsey made a late substitute appearance in the same game, and with Granit Xhaka having played twice within a week, that leaves Francis Coquelin and the Welshman as the two freshest choices.

The most difficult choices come in attack. Alex Iwobi played in Mesut Ozil’s position on Sunday, with the German suffering with an illness. Iwobi excleed in his new role, and may just get another shot with Ozil still under the weather. Ozil may just recover in time, but it is comforting to know that we have another who can jump in when needed. Alexis will most likely start again on the left, as Olivier Giroud has started the last two games as striker and come up trumps on both occasions. 

Shkodran Mustafi may return to the side in place of Gabriel, but the Brazilian has made the most of his chance at centre-half and it would be harsh to immediately send him to the bench. He has also played a fair amount of games in a short space of time too however, so Mustafi may just get his place back by default. Seeing as he has never been part of a losing Arsenal side, this would not be  bad thing.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be looking to get a start as well, and has really started to flourish this season. Will he get a shout? Lucas played well on the right of attack on Boxing Day, but The Ox may just edge him out.

Bournemouth will have ex-Gunner Benik Afobe at their disposal, after he refused a call from DR Congo to play in the AFCON. Best mate and still a Gunner Jack Wilshere is unavailable for selection. Calum Wilson scored the last time these sides played, and he will again be chief threat with his pace.  Howe’s team are in ninth spot at the time of writing, and their last result was a handsome win against struggling Swansea City. Howe will be keen to rectify a poor record against the Gunners though, with all three previous games in the Premiership going to the Arsenal, and only one goal scored in favour of the Cherries.

Arsenal have a recent record they also want to change. Their last two away games they have lost, after going a goal up in each of them. If we have any hope of making ground at the top of the league, this is a game we must deal with ruthlessly. With Olivier on fire with eight goals in his last six starts, Alexis dictating play and talented individuals ready to be rotated into the side, we must be optimistic.

Our North London neighbours are once again breathing their sour breath down our necks, and it is up to us to keep up the pace. 

Predicted Lineup – Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi, Alexis, Giroud

Predicted Scoreline – 3-1

Jack May Not Be Back

When a youngster rises through the ranks like Jack Wilshire has – from the age of 9 – then the ties that bind them to their club are that little bit stronger.

From the footballing education that forms the malleable talent that dwells beneath, to the life education they receive on a day-to-day basis, the club and its infrastructure become intrinsically linked to the player.

From his teenage years where his bursting on the scene drew gasps nationwide, Jack was adored by his clubs fans, and a glittering career wearing the cannon of Arsenal was laid in front of him. 

Fast forward some years later, and the now 24 year old Wilshire is on loan at Bournemouth – and a return to his spiritual home may not be the foregone conclusion that was at first advertised.

It was injury that curtailed Wilshire’s potentially stratospheric career path, and lots of them. With each ailment and tear, broken bone and ligament damaged, Jack took a step back. Months and months would go into his recovery, only for a handful of games and another setback.

It is easy for the youngsters to enjoy the good times. When everything they touch is successful and wonderful things are being bandied around about them. It is when the form withers and the bench beckons though, that we see the true mettle of their constitution and desire. For Jack to spend so long out of action at such an age, must have been a drain and a constant shadow.

Fast forward to the start of this season, and Jack was once again on the comeback trail. He had again acquired fitness, and was searching for the sharpness which gives each footballer that last ten percent. That ten percent is the edge which the top players need. 

That ten percent is only obtained through matches. The heat of competition. The problem with being repeatedly sidelined though, is that the grandiose plans your manager has for you, have to be constantly rewritten. Which means that they cannot rely on you and thus, replacements have to be bought.

These replacements then get settled, and before Jack knew it, these men that had been drafted in to act as filler until he found his way out of a leg cast had established themselves. So, our English hope had a choice – does he stay and yet again fight for his place? Risk putting his England career, and his club, at a standstill for a season? Or does he take one of the many offers of regular football, but from a club that isn’t his home?

We all know the answer, and inexorably, since his loan began on the South Coast with Bournemouth, Jack has stayed fit! Not only that, but he has played an integral part for Eddie Howe. He has been trusted.

Every Gooner has kept a keen eye on Wilshire’s developments with the Cherries, and every good game he has means a step nearer to a successful reunion, surely?

That was the initial reason for his sojourn down south, to gain match fitness, get a season under his belt and remind the people that matter what he is capable of.

In a recent interview however, it seems that Jack is enjoying his time at Bournemouth quite a lot, and the return to Arsenal isn’t quite as scripted as we all imagined.

In his interview with the Daily Mail, Jack revealingly said,

‘I haven’t really thought about my future beyond getting a season under my belt and just trying to improve as a player,’ he says.

‘To be honest your question is a hard question to answer because I don’t know what to say. I genuinely don’t know if I am going to end up at Arsenal or somewhere else.

‘If you’d ask me two months ago if I was going to finish my career at Arsenal then I would have said, “Yeah, of course”.

‘The fans have been great to me, the boss has been great to me. I have a lot of friends there. But sometimes that’s the way football is. Two months ago I wouldn’t have seen myself being here, but here I am. And I’m enjoying it.’ 


It is open to interpretation, but his comments give off more than a whiff of a dithering of commitment. He has spent time in a role which he desires, and that isn’t just in the Number10 spot. He is a big fish at Bournemouth, and his teammates look to him for inspiration. 

Not only that, but he seems to be enjoying the escape from the rat race, the frenetic pace of life in London.

There are still a lot of variables in the air regarding his future, and what he said is hardly a declaration of a severing of ties. It is though, a dose of realism. The years of struggle have dwindled the ties, made them wither. Where once the connection between the club and player was nigh on unbreakable, now, the unthinkable is a distinct possibility.

The one club player is a rarity indeed, and loyalty is scarce. Jack has seen another possibility to his situation, and it may not involve Arsenal. The club may just be synonymous with negative vibes for Jack, even in his interview he mentions his close connection with the club physio! 

A fresh break is something he is enjoying, for now. Arsene Wenger has always rated him highly, and the path to return to his welcoming busom will never truly be closed. The decision is down to Jack himself.

The fact that we are now doubting about his destination speaks volumes. 

Arsene Wenger spoke out recently about Jack’s contract, and how keen Wenger was to extend Jack’s stay at Arsenal.

The ball is firmly in Wilshere’s court. 

Arsenal 3-1 Bournemouth – 5 Key Points 

Arsenal returned to winning ways with a 3-1 victory over Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth, and Arsene Wenger will be pleased to see the team pick up the three points with his title rivals all winning.

Keeping pace with the top of the league is one thing, but getting a win after three consecutive draws was a welcome fillip, and the confidence earned from this performance will be needed as the slew of fixtures shows no sign of abating.

The depth of the squad came into play for this game, as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka ccame in for Alex Iwobi, Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin, but more surprising was the inclusion of Mathieu Debuchy for his first Premiership game of the season. Carl Jenkinson had taken the right back spot since the unfortunate injury to Hector Bellerin, but rotation gave Jenko an opportunity to rest – and a chance for Debuchy to hopefully kickstart his Gunners career once more.

Nacho Monreal also returned to the side in place of Keiran Gibbs, and Alexis returned to the striking berth ahead of the benched Olivier Giroud, and it would be the Chilean who would make the breakthrough. 

A dreadful backpass was sniffed up by Alexis, and he sidestepped the Cherries keeper and slotted it low into the net. It was the purest evidence that the incessant chasing from Sanchez does reap rewards. 

Soon after, the unlucky Debuchy crumpled to the floor through injury and was replaced by Gabriel. It then got much worse for the home side.

A bouncing ball into the Arsenal box saw Monreal and Calum Wilson contest it, only for Wilson to jump into Monreal and claim a penalty. It was ludicrous to suggest Monreal impeded Wilson, but referee Mike Jones adjudged that the Spaniard had fouled the striker. Petr Cech went the wrong way for the spot kick and all of a sudden, Bournemouth were level.

The Cherries had taken the initiative and Adam Smith could have  given Bournemouth the lead. A free header sailed over the bar wthout testing Cech and the sighs were audible around The Emirates. 

Arsenal dug their heels in, and a Mesut Ozil through ball found Alexis in the box, who fizzed a shot at goal with only the bar putting up any resisitance. It was the last act of the half and a combination of Mike Jones and the frame of the goal had denied Arsenal the lead.

The second half saw Arsenal snap out of their reverie, and they snapped at the away side, pressing and looking pumped for the challenge. The home side then restored their lead.

Mesut Ozil twisted and turned and put in a cross which Nathan Ake got a head to. The ball looped to Nacho Monreal, who found Theo Walcott in the centre to head the ball emphatically home. The rhythm that Arsenal had dictated from the start of the second half had proved the difference. 

Bournemouth didn’t give up though, and former Gunner Benik Afobe looked to have earned a point, but a point blank save from Cech denied him and kept the scoreline in the Gunners favour.

Arsenal then wrapped the points up, as a wonderful move saw Giroud – a second half sub for Theo – found Ozil. The German noticed Giroud had continued his run so he fed him accordingly. A first time pass from inside the box was perfect for the lurking Alexis, who slotted home from close range.

Job done. There was far more to take from this game though, so here are the five keypoints from the ninety minutes:

Elneny and Xhaka need time, but the signs are good

Both were busy, both never relented. They attacked at the right time and sat back when required. The ball ticked over nicely and they performed their roles satisfactorily. Both need a run in the side and although different opponents will dictate which midfielder gets the nod, these two more than deserve their chance. 

A moment of beauty nearly realised

A passage of play in the second half really did illuminate the match. Alexis scampered away from a broken Cherries attack, and with the ball he made up twenty yards. A quick look up and with the outside of his boot, he curled a ball around the Bournemouth backline to find the run of Ozil. It was sumptuous, but Ozil was being tightly man-marked. He pulled the defender out of position and backheeled it into Theo Walcott, but the ball was snuffed out. If theo had found the goal, it would have been a goal to remember. As it is, it was merely a reminder of the football that we can play at times.

Cech quietly showing everyone 

Not much is ever written about Petr Cech, but that speaks volumes of his class. It is only when a mistake occurs that he will garner words in the media, but once again the tall Czech performed well and possibly saved us dropping points. Not for the first time. An air of experience, adab hand at winning, Cech is an asset. 
Ramsey ousted, but he will play his part

Ramsey had played a fair few games since his return from injury, so it was sage to bench him and allow recovery, but some may have took it for a straight replacement. Rambo did take to the pitch as a second half sub, and his input during his cameo smacked of a player eager to prove the doubters wrong. The players who make the difference will always lose possession as it is difficult to perform what they do without making errors. Ramsey is the same. Xhaka and Elneny played well, but Ramsey always looks to get his side on the front foot. He will be back in the side sooner rather than later. Fitness and a long run in the side will see him back to his best.

Bournemouth proved to be a real challenge

More corners and the same amount of shots on target may give a clue as to how tough a test the Cherries gave Arsenal. They play football on the deck as opposed to lumping it into the mixer, and they always look to get the ball forward with pace. They posed questions all over the pitch, and on this evidence, they should be looking for a midtable spot rather than the trapdoor. Eddie Howe has them set up well, and they avoid being overly negative, even away at The Emirates. 

There was far more goings on than these five salient points. Alexis was on fire, Gabriel adapted well playing at right-back, and Oxlade-Chamberlain showed again how fragile his confidence is with an under-par game. 

All that is important though, is that three points were gained. Midweek sees a chance to rotate and rest key players, with the EFL Cup tie against Southampton, and then the Premier League is back on Saturday as we go to the London Stadium to take on West Ham. 

We are back on track, but every game is a huge test. 

Arsenal Vs Bournemouth – Match Preview

November has seen the usual drop in standards at Arsenal, but despite the annual malaise, Arsenal have maintained the run of games without losing – which currently stands at 18.

The form has dipped and points have been dropped, but more importantly – these tough games which has seen us scrape a point this season, in the last few campaigns we would have surely lost them. 

Scraping for positives? Perhaps. The fare that has been served up on the pitch lately has not exactly been up to our usual standard, and a dearth of goals and shots on target suggest a footballing version of writers block. The invention that is our staple at the club has been bereft, and one of the telltale reasons is the loss of Santi Cazorla.

The Spaniard usually is the man responsible for taking possession from Coquelin, and actually being productive – either feeding the wide men or allowing Ozil to weave his magic. Without him, it leaves Coquelin looking to offload to anyone, or actually doing something with it himself, which isn’t pretty.

This game does bring as close to a guarantee as football can give though. Bournemouth play an expansive type of football, and will not come to The Emirates looking to shut up shop. It is exactly the game we need to bring back a little confidence. 

With Bournemouth looking to match our attack every step of the way, it is vital our midfielders step up and spark attacks quickly. With Arsene Wenger’s comments yesterday regarding Granit Xhaka, the Swiss midfielder looks the perfect option to play.

Wenger, speaking in his press conference, said that Xhaka’s strength is the pass which goes straight to high midfield and bypasses the opposition’s midfield. With Bournemouth pressing high up, these quick passes could be the key weapon in piercing the Cherries backline.

Petr Cech should come back to take the gloves from Cup Keeper David Ospina, but Hector Bellerin, Santi Cazorla, Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck are still missing, although Lucas Perez could well come in for the midweek EFL Cup tie next week.

Francis Coquelin may be limited, but his skillset is sharp. He is the midfield destroyer and again exhibited what he brings in the tussle with PSG on Wednesday. Will he play again so soon after a tough game? Or will Mohamed Elneny be given another chance to pick up some form? Surely Granit Xhaka is the perfect option to play, and with Aaron Ramsey looking assured in the tie with PSG, a midfield combo of Xhaka and Ramsey could well be on the cards.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud combined to great effect in our last match in the PL – the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford – but will either be given a chance from the start? Giroud may find himself on the bench with Alexis starting in the striker spot, but The Ox could grab Alex Iwobi’s spot on the left, with Theo occupying the right attack and Ozil again in the hole. It is all conjecture, but it does show the variety we have in the squad. Giroud would certainly be unlucky not to play, seeing as he has scored in his last two games – and hasn’t started a game in the Premier League this season. 

Cherries boss Eddie Howe will have to do without midfield dynamo Jack Wilshere, as playing against his parent club is not part of his loan contract. Speaking of contracts, Arsene Wenger spoke of Wilshere’s Arsenal contract, and stated he is keen to tie Wilshere up for next season. He has impressed all with not only his form on the South Coast, but his fitness. He may have just forced himself into Wengers plans for the future, and with Santi Cazorla not getting any younger, Jack seems the perfect option to replace his vibrant play.

Bournemouth are not a one-man threat though. Calum Wilson, Josh King and Stanislas can all cause defenders nightmares on their day. They also earned their first away win and clean sheet in their last match, by winning 1-0 against Stoke. Their confidence will be high and it will be an entertaining test.

Arsenal lie three points from top spot, and have drawn three of our last four games. We are still within touching distance, but this game will be a telltale sign as to how low the confidence is within the camp. Bournemouth will not camp in their own box, so there can be no excuses regarding a stubborn opponent. 

This match will hinge on one thing – which team has the sharper blade? The squad lists point to the Gunners. 

Predicted Lineup – Cech, Jenkinson, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Ramsey, Walcott, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sanchez. 

Predicted Score – 4-1 Arsenal

Jack On Loan To Bournemouth – Wilshere-ly Be Back?

Every club has their fan favourites.

These players enjoy the adulation a little more than most, and the reason they can bask in the love varies.

Some of these idols bang in the goals with unerring frequency. Others typify the battling qualities that the fans identify with. Others fall into a ‘cult classic’ mould, due to their lenght of time with the club and lack of flair – a la Tony Hibbert.

Then you have players who have represented the club all the way through the youth ranks, and have an obvious love affair with the crest they carry on their chest.

That is Jack Wilshere.

News of his season-long loan departure has strains of positivity, but dominating the thoughts and feedback surrounding his move is one of regret and sadness.

Injury has ever been Wilshere’s nemesis, and his alarming stat of only making 119 Premier League starts in his entire career spells his problem out as clear as crystal.

His loan move to Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth is the chance for Wilshere to finally remind the critics that his talent makes him England’s most talented midfielder. 

It is still difficult to make sense of though. Wilshere, meant to be one of the more talented of our squad, spending a season on loan at minnows Bournemouth? 

Who’d have thought it? The issue though, is memory. 

It is merely memory that fuels the criticism that follows Jack, or lack of it. We have to hark back to 2013-14 for a season relatively unhindered by injury – and Wilshere reinforcing belief that he can be Arsenal and England’s future.

Jack will join up with former Gunner and childhood friend Benik Afobe and it cannot be dismissed how important this factor is. All new surroundings (Jack having been at Arsenal his whole career), setting up home for a year, and the problem of commuting back to Hertfordshire to see his family will cause slight problems, so a friend to aid them in the lonely difficult times may allow Jack to concentrate on matters on the pitch.

 There is the small matter of adapting to a different style and requirements of him. One thing is for sure, if he maintains fitness – something that has been beyond him – then the men who are his positional rivals cannot hope to match his burst of speed, vision and transitional capabilities. 

One major asset of his move to the South Coast team is the manager. Eddie Howe has forged a reputation as a boss who utilises new ideas, and gets his team to play their own football, rather than reacting to opposition tactics. It is daring, but Jack can learn more from Howe. More importantly, he will be used in the correct way.

It seemed as if Wilshere was off to Roma to join fellow loanee Szczesny, but due to bad blood between the sides thanks to transfer negotiations for Roma defender Manolas going awry, Arsenal have opted for the Cherries.

It is a good thing too. Roma have Strootman, De Rossi, Paredes and Nianggolan in central midfield – and the whole point of Wilshere being loaned out is to gain minutes on the pitch.

Jack adores our club, and we adore him. The fact we have had fleeting glimpses of the man with the errant tongue has made this loan deal so bittersweet.

It is obvious it is for his benefit, it is clear that it could make him a better player. We know he needs minutes. 

To just see him in a different jersey will seem alien, but he needs a regular opportunity to test those troublesome limbs. If he had stayed, then he would continue to get sporadic minutes. Santi Cazorla is ahead of him, and there may be a chance to get in the starting lineup through injury, but at Roma, he will be leaving with the promise of more minutes.

Jack must return to cement the potential of legendary status he possesses. If fitness was no issue, then the captains armband would be adorning his arm, but alas, it hasn’t materialised. 

Bournemouth  beckons, and perhaps a last chance to grab a future at Arsenal. 

Good luck  Jack. Gooners everywhere will be following your every move. 

Bournemouth 0-2 Arsenal – Back to Winning Ways – The Match Review

After four games without a win, Leicester opening up an eight point gap at the top of the table and worst of all for Gooners – tottenham overtaking us in the league – it was high time Arsene Wenger got his troops back to winning ways.

Mission accomplished was the epitome of this 2-0 performance, as the Gunners performed in fits and bursts but in the end did just enough to get back to London with three points and the focus now falls on next weekend as top of the table Foxes travel to The Emirates.

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