Monthly Archives: December 2015
With Arsenal’s last encounter just a couple of days ago, it was expected that Arsene Wenger was going to introduce some fresh legs to the fray. In came Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gabriel Paulista and Calum Chambers.
Arsenal started brighter and pummeled Bournemouth with attack after attack but they got the breakthrough when Gabriel latched onto Ozil’s in-swinger to nod the ball past Artur Boruc in goal. Gabriel was a menace in the opposition box, winning header after header and flicking the ball to his teammates.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a lot of desire and energy in his play but as it has been for a couple of seasons, his end product has been found wanting. However, I’m a big fan of his directness but I’m hoping for some measure of improvement from the lad in the final third.
Arsenal extended their lead after some brilliant linkup play between Olivier Giroud and the red-hot Mesut Ozil. The German had created his 16th Premier League assist in the same match so it was nice seeing him getting on the score sheet himself.
After a couple of chances wasted, Arsenal did enough to see out the game and Petr Cech finally had his record 170 clean sheets. The win also puts the Gunners at the top, till we observe the proceedings this evening.
Till then, let’s enjoy our stay at the top. We began 2015 so well, it’s also befitting that we end it after the top of the Premier League
Here we are, licking the wounds of what was a terrible outing at St. Mary’s, but this time, AFC Bournemouth comes to town and they would take some confidence from the mere fact that they grabbed three points from Manchester United and Chelsea this season and one point from the Merseysiders.
Arsene Wenger’s men know that anything less than three points would be a massive disappointment and they have to respond from their debacle against Southampton. Maybe the manager could try to switch things around to give some of the first teamers breathers but the squad isn’t even big enough to accommodate any drastic changes. Yeah, maybe Kieran Gibbs can come in for Nacho Monreal and the likes of Gabriel Paulista coming in for either Per Mertesacker or Laurent Koscielny, but with Matt Debuchy not making the bench for two games in a row, it wonder what’s cooking there.
In midfield, Wenger’s options are down to bare minimums with Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Mat Flamini the only available players for selection. Calum Chambers offers a presence in holding midfield but I’m still impressed by his abilities in that role. There is some speculation linking FC Basel’s El Nenny and I hope it’s true. In attack, the only available option is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the lad has failed to impress me this season.
Playing at home would give the lads some confidence, because the Emirates has been like a fortress this season. Let’s hope they turn up the style and finish the game with three points.
History tells us that St. Mary’s is a difficult ground to visit judging from the team’s recent results there. However, with Southampton in poor form and the Gunners high in confidence after their win against Manchester City, I expected Arsene Wenger’s men to give a good account of themselves but what I witnessed was a shitefest.
The game’s opener was a wonder strike from some Curacao bloke called Martina Hingis or something, but the goal reminded me a lot of Michael Essien’s swerving shot that went past Jens Lehmann some years ago. Maybe Petr Cech’s vision was impaired by bodies in the box, but I’d take nothing away from a good goal when I see one.
So it’s 1-0 for the home side and I was waiting for the Gunners to respond but they were so flat. Nothing just worked for the lads and Southampton almost scored the second when James Ward-Prowse’s cross was Kouyated in by Virgil van Dijk. The offside flag spared Cech’s blushes but he was beaten by a defender yet again and received a knock in the process.
With Arsenal failing to create anything from an attacking perspective, Southampton continued to press on and Shane Long latched onto Sadio Mane’s pass that went through Per Mertesacker’s legs (smh!) to side-foot the ball past Cech. He tripped Laurent Koscielny in the build up to that goal and Arsenal tried to appeal but the ref was having none of it. The question would be how did the defenders allow Mane that much time to pick his spot and deliver the pass?
Injury was added to insult when Jose Fonte was unmarked in the six-yard box and he sent a bullet header past Cech to make it three. Late on, Long completed Arsenal’s misery with a shot that went through Cech’s legs to add some icing on the cake for the Saints.
So with high-flying Leicester finally subdued by Liverpool, all Arsenal needed was to pick up three points last night to stay on top of the table. There would have been talk of how they can really go all the way to clinch the Premier League but this morning, doubts are in the air yet again, that they’d bottle it as they’ve always done. It’s now looking like a case of raising the fan’s hopes and messing them up when it matters.
Arsene Wenger’s side was an absolute disgrace against Southampton. Let’s hope they can make amends against Bournemouth when they come to town on Monday night.