Match Report Bournemouth 1 Arsenal 1

AFC Bournemouth (1) 1 Arsenal (0) 1
Premier League
The Vitality Stadium (Dean Court), Bournemouth BH7 7AF
Thursday, 26th December 2019. Kick-off time: 3.00pm
(4-3-1-2) Bernd Leno; Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, David Luiz, Bukayo Saka; Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira, Reiss Nelson; Mesut Özil; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette.
Substitutes: Nicolas Pépé, Shkodran Mustafi, Emiliano Martínez, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Joe Willock, Mattéo Guendouzi, Emile Smith-Rowe.
Scorers: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (63 mins)
Yellow Cards: Lucas Torreira, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette.
Arsenal Possession Percentage: 61%
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Attendance: 10,324
More history in the making; today is the first occasion in which Amazon have bought the complete Boxing Day fixtures for the Premiership to be made only available to subscribers who are Prime account members. Also, more importantly, this match is the first one in which Mikel Arteta has taken charge of the team, so today is the start of the official Arteta era here at Arsenal Football Club. We genuinely wish him well.
Although the match started with chances for both teams, it was Arsenal who certainly made the best of the early action.
Alexandre Lacazette whacked a shot over the crossbar and high into the stands, whilst Mesut Özil, who has been creating chances for his team-mates and himself, had the nearest early attempt which was saved by Aaron Ramsdale, who tipped his shot over the bar. Most of the action was taking place in the home side’s half, and although they tried to stop Arsenal, it started to look as if this tide would wash completely over them, but unfortunately we got caught by a classic smash-and-grab movement by Bournemouth.
On the thirty-fourth minute, we lost the ball in our own half, a move that led to Dan Gosling getting the opening goal for the Cherries following a neat cut-back from Jack Stacey, which meant that despite all of our good work here at The Vitality Stadium, we got caught napping by a ridiculous move from the home team, who scored with their first shot on target today. We immediately came back at them, but it was obvious that the goal buoyed them up, and in doing so, it meant that every time we came forward, there was a Bournemouth man frustrating our forwards constantly. The goal really took the wind out of our sails somewhat, and we were most fortunate not to go two down when Joshua King’s shot was saved miraculously by Bernd Leno from close range just before the half-time break.
Mikel Arteta’s words of wisdom at half-time are appearing to bear considerable fruit. We certainly started the second half with some purpose, and it was not before long that our chances to equalise arrived. Despite the unfortunate Lucas Torreira receiving a booking from Stuart Attewell for a ridiculous challenge on Stuart Cook, we kept applying considerable pressure onto the home side’s goal. As far as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was concerned, it was a case of three shots on the Bournemouth goal within five minutes; the first two were complete and utter duds, but the third and final one hit the back of the Cherries’ net on the sixty-third minute, when a Reiss Nelson shot went awry, and our number one bandit was on hand to equalise the scores.
Now we have a game! Mikel Arteta substituted Mesut Özil for Joe Willock after 75 minutes (note: no glove histrionics today) and seven minutes later, Nicolas Pépé replaced a beleaguered Reiss Nelson and we smply ramped up the pressure on the home team. For the last five minutes or so of this game, we were looking more and more likely the team to grab a late winner, and Joe Willock nearly did, with just minutes left on the clock. But it was not to be, and Mikel Arteta’s first match in charge of The Gunners ended in a draw in the rain on the south coast on Boxing Day 2019.
Overall, we were by far the better team and should have won this game quite convincingly; we showed good heart and a desire to win, even when we were one down early on in the match. Mikel Arteta asked for commitment and overall, he got just that from this team of players. We have some big matches coming up and it would be nice to get maximum points from them; and why not? They certainly have the ability to do so; maybe all that they need is a little bit of lady luck coming their way at the right time, and hey, who knows what may happen?
Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: Chelsea at The Emirates on Sunday, 29th December at 2.00pm (Premier League). Be there, if you can. Victoria Concordia Crescit.

Steve

Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.

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