AFC Bournemouth (1) 1 Arsenal (1) 2
Vitality Stadium, Dean Court, Bournemouth BH7 7AF
Sunday, 25th November 2018. Kick-off time: 1.30pm
(4-2-3-1) Leno: Mustafi, Sokratis, Holding, Bellerín; Torreira, Xhaka; Kolašinac, Mkhitaryan, Iwobi; Aubameyang
Substitutes: Cech, Elneny, Maitland-Niles, Özil, Guendouzi, Nketiah, Ramsey,
Scorers: Lerma (o.g.), Aubameyang
Yellow Cards: Sokratis
Referee: Craig Pawson
Back to the Vitality Stadium (Dean Court) for another heart-stopping match; in the last two games there, we drew 3-3 and lost 1-2, and in the forner, we wre 0-3 down before dragging a point out of what was seemingly a lost match. Today with a new manager and new players, we can surely hope for a victory on the south coast! Bearing in mind that Arsenal have drawn the last four matches, it became important for everyone associated with the club to chalk up a win today.
The atmosphere was electric in the stadium from both sets of supporters, and remained so, particularly when the home side had a goal ruled out for offside ten minutes into the game. Bournemouth remained on the ascendancy for the next twenty minutes when it appeared that they not only had several close chances, but controlled proceedings. All this went by the wayside when on just half an hour on the clock, they conceded what can only be explained as a bizarre own goal. Sead Kolašinac crossed from the left, and Jefferson Lerma stuck a leg out to block the cross, but only succeeded in firing the ball past the hapless goalkeeper. Although one down, this merely hardened Bournemouth’s resolve to equalise the score, and by half-time, it could be stated that it was truly anyone’s match to win. Sure enough, Bournemouth’s persistence paid off with a first-half injury time equaliser from Josh King that rejuvenated the home crowd.
Arsenal never gave up, and in the second half started to control the match with the close passing and firm tackling that we have come to expect of them this season. After several close misses, Arsenal found a way through the solid Bournemouth defence with nearly twenty minutes left on the clock. Alex Iwobi and Sead Kolašinac linked up very well on the left hand side, and with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang playing in the central striker’s role (in the absence of the injured Alexandre Lacazette) found the net with a sliding finish that left the home side deflated. Bournemouth came close a couple of times in the closing stages, but ultimately were unable to grab an equaliser; although Arsenal looked in trouble a few times throughout the match, they were able to soak up periods of intense pressure to thoroughly deserve their three points, which meant that not only this win extended their run to 17 games, but more importantly kept in touch with the top four, now being just a point behomd fourth place Chelsea.
This match today saw the players step up and although being under considerable pressure for large periods of the game, still managed to regroup and bring the match to the home side. Lucas Torreira and Sead Kolašinac were immense today, with their dynamic and assertive play constanatly inspiring their team-mates throughout the game. Thye decision by Mr. Emery to keep Mesut Özil on the bench was the correct one overall; there are some games that just don’t suit his style of play, and today’s was one of those. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is fastly becoming (what looks to be) the Premiership’s top striker with 23 goals in 26 league appearances (and the tenth this season across all competitions), and in today’s match he showed his class throughout. We are dogged, determined and looking hard to beat, and with the next two Premiership matches being a home match against Tottenham and Hotpsur and an away tie at Manchester United this win will give everyone the confidence that they desperately needed, Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as these early days are going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Victoria Concordia Crescit.
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