A second half strike from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang helped Arsenal salvage a 1-1 draw against Bournemouth in new manager Mikel Arteta’s first game in charge.
Arsenal came back from behind to secure a 1-1 draw against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Boxing Day, in what was Mikel Arteta’s first match at the helm.
Arsenal had been pegged back in the 35th minute, when Dan Gosling steered home a low cross from Jack Stacey from close range. The Gunners having squandered a number of opportunities, finally managed to level things a little after the hour mark, as captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang diverted home a deflected effort from Reiss Nelson.
Both teams pushed for a winner from thereon, but could not find the second goal and had to settle for a point. While it wasn’t the best display from Arsenal, there were positives for new boss Arteta to consider. Here’s how we rated the performances of the Gunners’ stars at the Vitality.
Bernd Leno: 7/10
Made a good save to deny Ryan Fraser very early in the game, but was left exposed by his defence for the goal. Otherwise, commanded his area well and did what was needed of him, making a couple of decent stops in the second period.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 5/10
Starting at right-back, the academy product had difficulties going up against Josh King and was booked for a rash challenge on the Norwegian in the second period. Failed to provide much of an outlet going forward, and while he did improve on that front a bit in the second half, he needs to do more.
Drafted into the lineup in place of the suspended Calum Chambers, the Greek centre-half did little wrong on the day. Made vital blocks, covered well for his partner and made a key clearance in the second period before a nasty head injury forced him off the field.
David Luiz: 6/10
The Brazilian was comfortable with the ball at his feet and helped Arsenal launch attacks from deep, including a fine through ball to create a chance for Alexandre Lacazette in the second half, which the Frenchman spurned. Defensively was composed and helped contain the threat of King and Callum Wilson.
Bukayo Saka: 5.5/10
Another game where the youngster started at left-back, Saka had a bit of a hit and miss evening against Bournemouth. Was generally stationed high up the pitch, which Bournemouth capitalized on for their goal. Involved in a number of Arsenal’s attacking moves, but the quality of his end product wasn’t consistent enough.
Granit Xhaka: 8/10
After an impressive performance against Everton, the former Arsenal captain stepped up once again on Thursday. Worked hard in the middle to keep the hosts at bay and started a number of attacks, creating chances with his razor-sharp distribution. Kickstarted the move for the equalizer, taking out five Bournemouth players with his pass.
Grant Xhaka v Bournemouth:
•90 Accurate Passes (94.7%!!!!)
•3 Key Passes
•11/12 Long Balls
•6 Duels Won
The Arteta-Xhaka begins in style👏 pic.twitter.com/IhTibArr8j
— now.arsenal (@now_arsenaI) December 26, 2019
Lucas Torreira: 6.5/10
A solid, energetic performance from the Uruguayan against Bournemouth. Pressed hard, broke up effectively in the centre of the park and used the ball well when in possession. Seemed to fade a bit towards the end, but nevertheless a positive performance. Booked.
Reiss Nelson: 6/10
The 20-year-old made a bright start to the game, as he got into dangerous positions but failed to make the most of a couple of decent chances that came his way. Did seem to fade a bit with time, but played a part in the equalizer as it was his deflected strike that fell to Aubameyang leading to the goal. Positive, but can do better.
Mesut Ozil: 7/10
Back into the starting lineup after missing the Everton game, the German started off well as he found spaces between the lines from where he fed the attackers with some nice passes. Should have had an assist in the first half, but Lacazette missed after being sent through. Created another chance for Aubameyang after the break. Encouraging signs.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 8/10
Another game, another saving act. It has become the norm this season for Aubameyang and Arsenal, and the Gunners’ skipper stepped up once again in the time of need to rescue a point for his team. Looked the most dangerous player for Arsenal on the day, put in a hard-working display, starting out on the left and made the most of the opportunity that fell to him.
Alexandre Lacazette: 4/10
A poor outing for the Frenchman, who struggled throughout. Seems to be severely lacking in confidence, which was evident in his performance. Bad touches, iffy decision-making and poor finishing meant he failed to make any sort of positive impact on the day. Missed quite a few promising opportunities, which will have dented his confidence further.
Joe Willock: 5/10
Replaced Ozil with fifteen minutes left on the clock. Had a great chance to win the game for Arsenal, but scuffed his effort from the edge of the Bournemouth box.
Shkodran Mustafi: N/A
Came on to replace the injured Sokratis in the 77th minute. Didn’t have much to do defensively, with Arsenal bossing possession towards the end of the game.
Nicolas Pepe: N/A
Thrown on in place of Nelson for the final ten minutes. Was at the receiving end of a crunching tackle soon after he came on and wasn’t quite able to shake it off.