Cherries pitted at the Emirates
This was sexy football again. We had snippets vs. Southampton but we had more of this vs. Bournemouth.
The line-up featured our German maestro Mesut Ozil, and a recall for Guendouzi. Auba played up top by himself, but Jenkinson started a as a right-wing back. Monreal started as a centre-back in a back three, alongside Sokratis and Koscielny. Mkhitaryan was alongside Ozil, in what seemed like a 3421.
It was a strong start, in which Ozil scored, though Bournemouth had some chances via the counter-attack.
We made it two with some brilliant interplay between Ozil and Mkhi and the latter scored a wondrous strike to double the lead.
Though it was a defensive gaffe from Guendouzi and Leno, which contributed to Bournemouth getting one back. The ball was on the edge of the area, which Guendouzi miscontrolled. Cherries’ player Mousset popped in and slotted past Leno, and again our Achilles heel came to the fore.
It ended 2-1 at half-time, but readily after the restart, Koscielny scored a near bizarre goal, since it hit both the post and apparently Aubameyang. Auba then scored a wonderful fourth, following great player from Mkhi, and he utilised his great pace and finishing to put the game beyond any doubt.
Laca came on later in the game, and scored a tremendous free-kick to get a fifth, and our biggest win since Fulham (and joint highest in the Emery era).
Overall, this was the usual Arsenal of the here and now. Some great football, with high technical quality, mixed with the odd defensive calamity. We’re in fourth, and with our good friends at Wembley at the weekend, who knows? Maybe Spurs will be in a top-four battle very soon.
Our grand home form continued here, and I feel this is due to knowing our surroundings well, and few other teams having the technical capacity to match us.
Bournemouth offered us a few scares here, but then we comfortably put them down.
Ozil started, as aforementioned, and he was very credible. If he is being left out due to tactical reasons, then this doesn’t wash for me. Many believe it’s due to (to us fans) unknown reason, and it could well be. But then with the Scum game coming up soon, it’s telling that he had a good performance and has proven his value.
Mkhitaryan is a player who has been maligned, and rightly so in some quarters. But tonight, he was stellar. He not only got a great goal, but was an active attacking presence throughout. It could be that he has been misunderstood a little. He’s not an Ozil-esque player, in that he has immense technical skill and passing ability. He’s no technical slouch, but then his game is dribbling, moving the ball, and scoring, which are things that Ozil doesn’t do in the same manner. I think had Mkhi been playing in the 1990s, he’d have been a Cantona, Bergkamp, Zola, or Sheringham-type player. One who supported a main forward, but also could contribute with goals from a deeper position. Maybe his deployment is as a deeper-lying goalscorer, over a number 10. And tonight he has redeemed himself somewhat with a top performance in this game.
Jenkinson was solid, as were the defenders generally. And Guendouzi needs to improve his decision-making. He’s young, and this will come. But then his poor decision-making cost us a goal, and overall our mental attitude I feel costs us goals.
Auba and Laca had positive contributions, but concerning the former, he did get a goal. But then I feel he is lost on the wing, and the fact his is scoring goals is a great testament to his quality. Auba for me is a lethal finisher, and his game isn’t suited to wide play. He gets assists, and has good crossing ability, but then I suppose he is still contributing in the manner that counts if he’s scoring. Strikers need goals, and he still gets them – and how. Laca though, between the two, is the more complete player, and we should acknowledge we have two world-class strikers. Auba can score free-kicks too, but Laca proved (albeit for 30 minutes or so) that he has the better technical ability to drop deep and help create plays.
Accommodating both of them is tricky, and not an enviable task for Emery. But I’m glad we hold both of them in our ranks.
We can beat Spurs. They’ve lost to Chelsea, and whilst Tottenham is a decent side these days, we can do it.
Leno – 7
Sokratis – 7
Koscielny – 7
Monreal – 7
Kolasinac – 7
Jenkinson – 7
Torreira – 6
Guendouzi – 6
Ozil – 8
Mkhitaryan – 9
Aubameyang – 7
Lacazette – 8
Iwobi – 6
Suarez – 5
Man of the match
He’s slowly proving the doubters wrong.