Arsenal got back to winning ways in style on Saturday with a 3-0 win over a hapless Bournemouth side at the Emirates
Arsenal shrugged off the despondency of their pre-international break slump as they dispatched Bournemouth in a comfortable 3-0 win at Emirates on Saturday. Arriving into the match on the back of consecutive defeats, the Gunners made short work of the winless Cherries to show that all might not be lost, yet.
Arsene Wenger’s men made a bright start to the match as Danny Welbeck opened the scoring just six minutes in. Alexandre Lacazette then doubled the lead just before the half-hour mark, curling a long-range shot past Asmir Begovic as the Englishman turned the provider for Arsenal’s record signing.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) September 9, 2017
Welbeck scored another early goal, this time at the start of the second half thanks to a clever close range finish to round off a comfortable win for the hosts. Bournemouth, on the other hand, with just a solitary shot on target to show for their efforts as Petr Cech enjoyed a quiet afternoon.
Wenger would now be hoping for his side to build a winning momentum ahead of their Europa League bow against FC Koln, before a clutch tie at Chelsea next weekend. Before that though, The Hard Tackle takes a look at some of the major talking points that emerged from Saturday’s match.
Finding Form In The Comforts Of Home
Arsenal’s form coming into Saturday was nothing short of woeful, with back-to-back away defeats at Stoke City and Liverpool leaving them nearer the relegation zone than the Top 4, and without any momentum whatsoever.
However, their performance against Bournemouth went a long way in uplifting the sombre mood that has been attached to the club in recent weeks. At the back, the trio of Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi kept things so tight that the visitors could only manage a single shot on target.
Arsenal have now won 13 of their last 15 Premier League games at home.
A much needed win. pic.twitter.com/u2AGipu6ey
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 9, 2017
Up front, Alexandre Lacazette and Danny Welbeck seemed to have struck up a decent understanding to provide the visiting defenders several nervy moments. Meanwhile, Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil, who have been at the receiving end of widespread criticism controlled the game beautifully, while the wing-backs stuck to their tasks.
All in all, it was a clinical performance from Arsene Wenger’s men that went a long way in easing the growing concerns among the fans. Tougher tests await the Gunners in coming weeks, and the Arsenal boss would be hoping his side can kick-start an away run when they visit champions Chelsea next week.
A Double Delight From Danny Welbeck
Arsene Wenger has been constantly questioned since the start of the season for a number of decisions he had made in the first three games. One of the standouts was the Frenchman’s persistence with Danny Welbeck, who had done little to justify his manager’s faith in him thus far.
On Saturday, the Englishman was handed yet another opportunity to feature from the get-go for Arsenal. While it can be argued that he got another run in the starting eleven due to Alexis Sanchez lacking match fitness, Welbeck went a long way in staking claim for continued involvement as a starter.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) September 10, 2017
Indeed, the 26-year-old repaid his manager’s faith following a complete performance. His first goal was anything but noteworthy as his headed ball found its way into the net via his shoulder, but his second goal was nothing short of classy.
Collecting Aaron Ramsey’s pass at an acute angle, Welbeck did well to score a smart finish past Begovic in a crowded box. But, that wasn’t before he had provided an assist to strike partner Lacazette as well, and the England international was arguably Arsenal’s best player on Saturday.
Thus, Wenger has some food for thought, should Welbeck continue in a similar vein of form going forward. His pace and directness offering the Arsenal boss makes for a suitable way to break resolute defensive units, providing the Frenchman with some healthy depth in attack.
Summer Arrivals Prove A Point
Speaking of questionable decisions from Arsene Wenger, the Frenchman had inexplicably chosen to leave Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac out of his team to face Liverpool two weeks ago – something that was met with a lot of backlash from Arsenal fans.
Prior to his omission, Kolasinac was also played out of position in the back three, with new Liverpool man Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain being preferred as wing-back. On Saturday though, as Lacazette resumed his role as Wenger’s striker, the Bosnian was finally deployed as a left wing-back.
Finally played where he shines! Another assist for Kolasinac. pic.twitter.com/XxrQgZidaA
— ArsenalArena (@ArsenalArena) September 9, 2017
The Frenchman not only combined brilliantly with Welbeck, but also had a deserved goal to show for his efforts as his curling effort showed that he’s not just a poacher in the box, but also has classy goals like these in his locker.
Meanwhile, Kolasinac ran the show ran the show on the left flank in the most complete wing-back outing from an Arsenal man this season. Rampaging down the left side, he also grabbed an assist for himself with a wonderful cross. A solid performance that showed Wenger just what he had been missing in a wing-back.
Alexis Sanchez Has Some Fences To Mend
Alexis Sanchez is still an Arsenal player, but his silence over the course of the summer in the wake of a proposed move to Manchester City, coupled with his antics in the match against Liverpool have made the Chilean an unpopular figure among a section of the fanbase.
Arsene Wenger on Alexis Sanchez: “He will win the fans back, and win them back very quickly.” pic.twitter.com/57Fv8sOvpY
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) September 9, 2017
On Saturday, Sanchez was only fit to start on the bench after rejoining the squad late following Chile duty during the international break. When the long awaited moment of the 28-year-old’s return to the field in an Arsenal shirt finally came, he was greeted to a mix of cheers and jeers from fans at Emirates.
A fan favourite only months ago, Sanchez can return to his former pomp quickly if he is able to perform at the level that Arsenal fans have grown accustomed to in recent seasons. Additionally, if he is able to strike a formidable partnership with Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette, the Chilean can go a long way in winning the fans over.
Eddie Howe In Need Of A Quick Turnaround
After a top half finish in the Premier League last season, Eddie Howe would not have imagined that his side would kick off the 2017-18 season in such a disastrous fashion. Four losses in four with only a solitary goal to show for their efforts have left Bournemouth with only West Ham below them in the table.
Eddie Howe when I asked him if he was under pressure after today’s defeat “I’m under pressure from myself” pic.twitter.com/tPFE2Ha5Ig
— Ian Abrahams (Moose) (@BroadcastMoose) September 9, 2017
Howe would have hoped for his side to produce a performance similar to the one against Manchester City prior to the international break, when the Cherries had shown a lot of fight against a formidable side. But, what transpired at Emirates was nothing short of listless, much like their opening two fixtures.
Unorganised defending, with the personnel in the back-three looking clueless in terms of positioning, meant that the hosts had chances aplenty throughout the match. Up front, Jermain Defoe often cut an isolated figure, managing just one touch inside the Arsenal box.
Last season’s top scorer, Joshua King was restricted to Bournemouth’s only shot on target, which did not come until the 85th minute. The early season signs look highly worrying for Howe, whose squad seems to have taken a step backwards, despite investing in quality players in the market, and he is surely in need of a quick turnaround in fortunes.