AFC Bournemouth 2-1 Arsenal
More bad news? Seems like it. It doesn’t rain, but it pours, seemingly…..
The starting line-up didn’t include Sanchez, amidst the speculation of him joining United (over City no less).
Iwobi, despite his recent antics, was in the team, with Lacazette and Welbeck up front. Mustafi, Chambers, and Holding resumed in defence.
In the first half, Arsenal passed the ball well, and had more clear-cut chances, with Maitland-Niles, Iwobi, Lacazette, and Welbeck, going close. We could have conceded a penalty, as Iwobi did appear to handle the ball.
Wilshere stood out here, and we looked to get behind their defence. It ended 0-0, but the second half was…..mixed….
We opened well with Bellerin, who got lucky from a bad goalkeeping error to open the scoring.
However, Cech and the defence made two major errors. The first led to their equaliser, as Chambers/Holding were confused, and Cech missed the ball whilst rushing out.
The second was due to bad tracking from Xhaka, Chambers, and Mustafi, and Jordan did well to capitalise on the loose ball.
We had a few half-chances after their second, but it was not enough. And they got their first ever win against us, in the end.
Jack impressed for me, again. He was our best player in my mind, and I feel guilty for saying we should have sold him in a past article. He surely must be in the England WC squad, or Mr. Southgate needs a talking to.
However, Lacazette was pretty isolated, and his poor form is based on a lack of support. Welbeck was himself, in that he offered energy and effort. Iwobi looked good on the ball, but overall our lack of clinical balls in the final third was not sufficient.
Moreover, the defence overall played well, bar the mistakes for their goals.
Overall, this was a poor performance, especially as we folded after their goals. It was the usual failings of poor finishing, lack of incisiveness, and a weak and unstable mentality.
I believe we held more than enough to win this game, even if it was “Alexis-less” or “Ozil-less”.
This has been said by many in recent weeks and months (or years…) We lack the coaching, discipline, and mentality, to proceed at the highest levels. Until this is rectified, we will not be a force.
Wenger 5 – Starting line-up was fine, though the same issues were apparent as they have been for years.
Man of the match
He shone again, and to re-iterate I’m sorry I doubted him. I loved being proved wrong, and England can do worse in Russia this summer.
Moreover, he was our major creative influence, and seemed reminiscent of Pirlo in his deep-lying creativity.
It looks like he’ll leave, and whilst I’m sorry, he is totally right to do so. He has been excellent in his time here, and in my view is an Arsenal legend.
Is that a comical point to make? Maybe, for some. But for me, legendary status is based on consistency and impact over a period. And who can say Alexis has not been consistent or impactful? His goal in the 2015 FA Cup final is one of the best ever scored in that setting. We would not have won the FA Cup in 2017 without his goals or cup final performance. And his energy, power, pace, and skill, are all telling of Henry, Wright, Berkgamp, or Pires.
These are all Arsenal legends, without question, and are so because of how they played and the style of their play.
Since Alexis still doesn’t speak much English, I will say “gracias por las memorias, Sr. Pero te no quiero unos goles contra nuestro equipo con City o United, por favor. No voy a estar feliz si haces.”
We’re stuck in a rut, self-evidently.
But there are some positives to take. If Jack can progress, fine. If we can beat Chelsea, and maybe City, fine. If we can win the Europa League, fine.
A final positive is that the only way is up now, and we know what we need to do as a club to progress.