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Arsenal’s Terrible Away Form Continues with a Loss at Bournemouth

Image result for ibe goal arsenal

News of Alexis Sanchez’s potential move out of the club dominated the back pages but there was the business of football to handle on the pitch as the Gunners traveled to the south coast to play a Bournemouth side struggling to find any form. When I saw the lineup and read that Sanchez didn’t travel with the rest of the squad, it was evident that a move was imminent.

With Mesut Ozil still having niggling issues with his knee, Arsene Wenger more or less featured the same squad that earned a draw a draw against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup semifinal. The first half was a dour affair and we certainly hoped for a better second 45 minutes as the Gunners struggled to find any rhythm whatsoever but we thought it was going to be a better outing for the Gunners when Hector Bellerin crept in behind the defense and fired a shot straight at Asmir Begovic that passed through him and bounced into the goal. So the Gunners were ahead and all was well in the world, but as you’d expect from Arsenal, they found a way to cock things up in grand style.

The fans have been buzzing about the emergence of Ainsley Maitland-Niles at the left back, even to the point it cost Sead Kolasinac his place on the team, but it’s high time the boss ends that experiment, as AMN is no left back. He’s skillful on the ball and has decent technique but he has been culpable for a lot of chances created from the opposition as he lacks that positional awareness to play as a full back. It was no surprise when Ryan Fraser coasted past Maitland-Niles and swung in a cross into Arsenal’s danger area with the hope of a teammate latching onto the ball to do some damage. Yes, the cross was dangerous and there was some potential for a Bournemouth player to get it, but when Petr Cech dashed off his line to anticipate the ball, only to miss it to Callum Wilson, it showed how frail Arsenal’s defending was. To add insult to injury, Jordon Ibe, a player that had not scored a goal since he joined the club fired it past the Arsenal goalie to make it two.

Classic Arsenal, capitulating in grand style. The introductions of Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott did nothing to improve the Gunners’ attacking threat but at the end, it was another defeat to add to the Gunners terrible away form. It’s really sad to see how things are panning for the team and with Liverpool’s win over Manchester City, Arsenal is now eight points behind a Champions League place.

Without Sanchez and Ozil, this Arsenal side looks like a mid-table team at best, and it’s really shameful seeing the likes of Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck not doing anything to justify their places in the starting XI. I dunno whether it’s the 3-4-3 setup or not, but a massive shake up is needed at the club, and Arsene Wenger has to go. I mean, he’s the one that prepares the squad and their performances are the reflection of his ability.

Crystal Palace visit the Emirates before the Carabao Cup second leg, and I’m pretty sure that Sanchez will have new employers before then. Only the good Lord knows the replacements he will bring, but some injection of freshness, like Andrei Arshavin, is needed at the club.

Till then.


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Welbeck Shines as Gunners Return to Winning Ways

Arsenal 3-0 Bournemouth

Match ReportMatch HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

The two week break after the international window was very long and we couldn’t wait for the game to right all the wrongs of the last two defeats. The performances against Stoke and Liverpool were shameful to say the least and with the transfer window closed, it was time to focus on the football.

The biggest decision from a selection perspective was the manager’s decision to select Danny Welbeck ahead of Alexis Sanchez, with Alexandre Lacazette, but it was refreshing seeing Sead Kolasinac and Hector Bellerin playing in their preferred positions. In the wake of all that had happened in recent weeks, an early goal was required to settle the nerves and Arsenal got it when Kolasinac connected well with Aaron Ramsey on the left flank before lofting a cross that was guided into the net by Welbeck. I’d say ‘guided’ because Welbeck attempted to use his head but the ball somehow found its way to his shoulders before creeping into the net.

Even though the match opener was somewhat messy, the second goal of the game was a brilliant show of technique as Arsenal’s record signing, Lacazette, latched onto Welbeck’s pass before curling the ball past Asmir Begovic. The Gunners put the game beyond doubt early in the second half when Lacazette won the ball further up the pitch and Ramsey bore down on goal before teeing up Welbeck. As always, the Englishman couldn’t keep his feet on the ground but his finish was emphatic to say the least.

Bournemouth didn’t offer any real threat bar the Jermaine Defoe header that clipped the post with his follow through going wide. There was also a looped header that was tipped over the bar by Petr Cech.

Getting back to winning ways was a huge positive ahead of the next league clash against Chelsea which will be a test of these guys character. The only dark cloud was the hamstring injury suffered by Francis Coquelin, that was certainly one of the players that would have played against FC Cologne on Thursday.

The good times are back and only positive results on the pitch will go a long way to appease the fans.


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Gunners Return to Winning Ways as Title Race Twists Another Twist

Ozil Bournemouth

Bournemouth 0-2 Arsenal (Ozil 23′, Oxlade-Chamberlain 24′)

Match ReportMatch HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

To be honest, I didn’t see Leicester City walking away from the Etihad Stadium with all three points. That sent shock waves in the Premier League world, and for Arsenal fan, it made the game against Bournemouth an all-important fixtures. Before kickoff, Arsene Wenger’s men were eight points behind the league leaders so anything less than three points at the Vitality Stadium would have doused the title challenging flames.

As for the starting lineup, the boss retained Gabriel Paulista in center half ahead of Per Mertesacker but the Ox was favored ahead of Joel Campbell, as Theo Walcott continued from the dugout. The biggest surprise was seeing Mathieu Flamini retain his place ahead of Francis Coquelin and according to the manager, the elder Frenchman was in better form.

With minutes barely gone, Flamini was lucky to remain on the pitch when he execute a very rash challenge but the referee was in lenient mode, brandishing the yellow card for his troubles. It was end to end stuff as the Cherries tried a couple of half chances but Arsenal broke their goalscoring duck when Mesut Ozil responded quickly to blast in a loose ball with his right lace-less boots. Within seconds of the restart, Arsenal launched a swift counter attack with Aaron Ramsey providing the final ball to the Ox and he fired the ball towards the upright and it deflected in. For those that didn’t know, that was his first Premier League away goal in Arsenal colors.

After the two-goal salvo, the game more or less evened up with the Gunners taking their foot off the pedal. Bournemouth had some hunger in them but Arsenal had Petr Cech to thank for a flurry of saves to keep the clean sheet intact. With Tottenham managing to get a win over Watford, next weekend will be pivotal in the destination of the Premier League title, with Arsenal hosting Leicester and Manchester City welcoming Spurs to the Etihad.

Till then, it’s good to return back to winning ways after such a poor run of form.


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