Cherries Outgunned at Emirates
9th September 2017, 3pm
As we got back to real football again after yet another turgid International break,we made the now familiar trip to the Emirates Stadium to play an Arsenal side that has been having its fair share of criticism in the media after some poor performances.
With Oxlade Chamberlain sold and Alexis Sanchez sulking his way onto the bench this was as good a time to play Arsenal as any,and this was the first time I was a little bit confident about playing them after our good performance against Manchester City.
Eddie Howe lined the Cherries up with almost the same personnel and team shape as City,the only change was Ryan Fraser coming in and Andrew Surman dropping to the bench for the first time in well.....ever.
Unfortunately it was Arsenal who came firing out of the blocks from the word go,with Bournemouth being pressed high(something we really struggle with ) and not getting into any sort of rhythm,you sensed it was going to be another one of those days against a top 6 side.
After a half hearted challenge by King halfway up the pitch,poor defending on our right side resulted in a cross from the overlapping Kolasinac and soft header for WELBECK to score on 6 minutes.
This got the Arsenal crowd going,and with Bournemouths strangely subdued travelling supporters almost silent it was the worst start possible.
Arsenal were playing some good football,slick passing ,pace,running off the ball,pressing us at every opportunity,us on the other hand,no pace,no creativity,no pressing ,passes going astray.
Eight or so minutes later Arsenal nearly grabbed a second,Begovic saving easily,and a few minutes later,Begovic made a great save from an Ozil free kick.
It was all Arsenal by this point ,Bournemouth looking really shaky,like they could capitulate.
Ryan Fraser was then brought down in what looked a fair challenge on 26 minutes,just before Arsenal got a deserved second,a neat one two just outside the box found LACAZETTE who curled a beautiful first time finish last Begovic.
On 37 minutes Arsenal were almost gifted a third,Mings passing back to Begovic,who seemed uncomfortable with the ball at his feet,closed down by Welbeck,the ball falling to Lacazette who should have scored but Begovic made himself twice his size to smother the ball and burst it in the process !
Fraser was replaced after feeling his earlier knock,Jordon Ibe being given the chance to impress.
Another Arsenal chance came before half time,a volley from Kolasinac being deflected wide by Cook.
Half Time ARSENAL 2 AFCB 0
At half time I expected Howe to give the team the hairdryer treatment but we came out exactly the same as the first half,no rhythm,pace or passion.
Tyrone Mings was sacrificed in what was I believe a tactical change,Simon Francis replacing him and Bournemouth reverting to a back four.
It was Bournemouth though who almost grabbed an unlikely goal,Ibe clipping a good cross in from the right,Jermaine Defoe with almost his first touch of the game planted a firm header past Cech but it hit the inside of the post,and he was just out of reach of the rebound .
If that chance had gone in then we were right back in the game,but minutes later Arsenal put the game out of our reach.
Dan Gosling ,who was having a stinker of a game,gave the ball away really poorly on half way,the impressive Aaron Ramsay slipping in WELBECK who finished well across Begovic.
From this point Arsenal took their foot off the gas a little and let Bournemouth have a little more of the ball,and with Ake now pushed up into midfield,Bournemouth were playing a bit further up and looking more like scoring.
Our best chance was a free kick just outside the box,Ibe getting it all wrong curling yards wide.
On 70 minutes we made our final sub,Mousset replacing a frustrated Defoe.
With Arsenal making a double sub,Sanchez and Giroud coming on,they were looking for a fourth,but there were no real chances for either side apart from a Sanchez shot parried away by Begovic.
So,where do we go from here?
Although we have strengthened the squad,Howe doesn't seem to know either his best 11 or his best formation.
Add to that,we aren't playing well,there are players playing out of position,the same problem as last season,Ake in defence means Cook looks uncomfortable on his wrong foot.
Our 17 goal striker from last season Josh King was played wide right to accommodate Defoe.
The inclusion of Ryan Fraser was a baffling one,now I am no means a fan of Andrew Surman but I thought he had his best game in ages v City ,with Gosling being poor in that game,I expected him to drop out for maybe Lewis Cook,who can't get a game for love nor money.
I don't want to say it this early in the season,but the signs are worrying,we have scored one goal in 4 games,a screamer by a defender,are still poor at the back and shaky from set pieces and have all the hallmarks at this point of relegation candidates.
Much to ponder for Howe this week as he looks to stop this slide,we have a number of players off form,lack creativity,and the passion and hard graft that we are known for has all but disappeared.
Brighton on Friday is now a must win game.
Begovic 8 Nearly gifted Arsenal a soft goal but made some good saves
Smith 4 Didn't get forward,poor passing,no aggression
Cook 4 Looks all at sea on his wrong side
Ake 6 Not his greatest game but looked better when moved into midfield
Daniels 5 Made a few good runs second half,anonymous in the first half
Mings 5 Didn't really do too much wrong,unlucky to be sacrificed
Fraser 4 Carried on his early season poor form and fell over a lot
Gosling 2 Just abysmal,not good enough against top 6 sides
Arter 3 No passion,no aggression,wasteful in possession,must be fearing for his place,very off form
King 5 Struggled out wide,was easily dispossessed a number of times,it's not his position or his fault
Defoe 6 No service whatsoever,almost bagged a goal with the one chance he did have.
Ibe 6 a mixed bag but he just looks the same as last season
Francis 6 added a bit of bite when he came on
Mousset 6 Tried hard but he is nowhere near the finished article
Report by bigfatolly