Arsenal endured more away woes on Sunday as Bournemouth came back from a goal to down to win 2-1 and heap further misery on Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal started without star duo Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, with the latter’s future at the club getting increasingly uncertain. The pair’s absence was telling, with chances coming few and far between for the Gunners in the first half.
It wasn’t long before the deadlock was broken, with Hector Bellerin grabbing the lead – fortunately so – for the visitors after hitting a powerful shot at Asmir Begovic, whose save wasn’t enough to keep the ball out. But, they then went on to throw away the lead after playing lacklustre football for the final half hour.
Callum Wilson first equalised for Bournemouth by converting from Ryan Fraser’s curling cross before Jordon Ibe scored his first ever goal for the Cherries to seal all three points for Eddie Howe’s men. The result meant that Arsene Wenger’s men are still looking for their first win of 2018, falling eight points off a top four spot.
Here’s how the Arsenal stars fared against Bournemouth.
Petr Cech: 3.5/10
Was at fault for the first goal. He came out of his line to claim the Ryan Fraser’s cross, but he completely misjudged it and Wilson was on hand to nudge it into the net. For the second goal, Ibe struck straight at Cech, but the veteran goalkeeper could only put a hand on the ball and it went into the net as well. Poor goalkeeping overall.
Calum Chambers: 6/10
Average on the day. Chambers, since the Chelsea game has been progressing well, yet he’s been inconsistent. A bad performance against Nottingham Forest followed by a good one in the Carabao Cup did him good. On Sunday, he was the best of the Arsenal back-line, with just minor lapses of concentration here and there.
Shkodran Mustafi: 5/10
Mustafi had a passing accuracy of 60%, which is dreadful for a player who, from the heart of defence is thrust with building up play from the back. That coupled with a team like Arsenal who’s game is centred around possession and accurate passes, and one can safely say that Mustafi did badly.
Rob Holding: 5.5/10
Like Chambers, Holding has been inconsistent in his outings. Was partly at fault for Bournemouth’s second goal. But from another perspective, it will be a good lesson for a player his age. Holding was still better than Mustafi in certain areas and with further experience and coaching, he will flourish.
Hector Bellerin: 6/10
Arsenal’s scorer on the night and it was a good goal too. Bellerin made a fantastic, long run towards the box and picked Iwobi’s through-ball to score. Was otherwise average in the attack, although he did not receive much support to link up with a teammate. In defence, he was isolated and practically handled the right side on his own.
Granit Xhaka: 5/10
Since signing for Arsenal, Xhaka has been, time and again exposed for his defensive weaknesses. The player has not improved in that aspect of the game, but one must wonder why he’s picked in a system which exposes his lack of defensive awareness so much. Picked up a booking.
Jack Wilshere: 7/10
Wilshere was Arsenal’s best player on the pitch, trying to make something happen from midfield, while also making runs near the box whenever he got the chance. The recent knock on the ankle must be the reason why he ran out of steam after a point, especially following the second Bournemouth goal, after which the whole team looked demotivated.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 6/10
Still improving, and at this rate, he could become a regular. Had a shot which hit the post and was lively enough in the first period. Maitland-Niles disappeared in the second half though, and was very conservative and cautious with his passes. Still good for a player who’s been played out of position.
Danny Welbeck: 4/10
It is difficult to understand what Welbeck offers the team. The striker was wasteful with the ball on Sunday, often losing possession in areas where Sanchez, Ozil or Giroud would have certainly created something out. Had almost no chemistry with his partners up front.
Alex Iwobi: 6/10
Iwobi, like Wilshere, tried at times to create something, but he still lacks the killer pass inside the final third. His trickery and ball control was useful in bringing others into play but always tried to do something different than simple. Got the assist for the Arsenal goal after sending in a wonderful ball in the path of Bellerin.
Alexandre Lacazette: 6.5/10
Lacazette put in a lot of effort, trying to make something happen. For a central striker, he got very little support from midfield. Recently many have pointed a finger at his goalscoring form, but it’s understandable from the lack of service as to why he’s going through a barren run.
The lack of support and service is so appalling that the Frenchman had to drop deep into midfield ever so often in order to come into the game. Wilshere alone isn’t enough for a return to top form.
Aaron Ramsey – N/A
Hard to rate the player returning from a long injury. Ramsey’s contribution since coming on was close to nothing.
Theo Walcott: N/A
Would it have made a difference had Walcott played from the start? Hard to tell, but since he came on, the Englishman, like Ramsey, had a very minimal contribution towards finding that equaliser.