Great strikers don’t need to have a great game to be the difference. The Thierry Henry’s, Alan Shearer’s and Sergio Aguero’s only need a millisecond to kill the opposition because they are hardwired to be in the right place at the right time. This was a tight game that needed one of those millisecond moments and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was on hand to provide. After being on the periphery of the game and working with an attacking lineup that failed to gel, he remained sharp and was in the right place to tap home the winner. With eight premiership goals this season and 18 since joining in January, the Gabon sharp shooter is cementing his status as our match winner.
Emery surprised us all lining up with a back three of Holding, Sokratis and Mustafi. As with the Fulham game, he demonstrated his willingness to drop Ozil in favour of a more defensively robust system. We have needed this pragmatism for years.
Bournemouth started well putting our new system under pressure. The home side thought they took the lead on 8’, but David Brook’s strike was ruled out for offside. We managed to respond well with Torreira hitting the post immediately after. After an eventful ten minutes, you knew this was going to be highly competitive.
We took the lead on 30’ when Jefferson Lerma converted Kolašinac’s in spectacular fashion. Surely one of the best own goals you’ll see. Foolishly I thought this was the lucky break we needed to break our abysmal first half hex. However, in true 18/19 fashion we conceded just before the break when Joshua King finished a swift Bournemouth counter attack. We have now conceded three times on the stroke of half time away from home. We naively overloaded the attack and left ourselves too vulnerable and exposed. We need to eradicate this habit quickly.
Half time: Bournemouth 1 – 1 Arsenal
In true Emery fashion we started the second half much better, quickly asserting our control on the game. We managed to get the winner on 67’ when Iwobi nippily released Kolašinac down the left who picked out Auba. In a game where we missed the creativity of Ozil and Mkhitaryan was misfiring, it was important to get the first goal after the break. At 1-1 the game had the feeling of “next goal wins”.
Bournemouth had chances to level and even hit the post on 85’ , but we managed to hold on to secure a much needed three points. It didn’t matter how we got them. Bournemouth are a good side and Eddie Howe deserves some sort of medal for the job he has done and continues to do.
Full time: Bournemouth 1 -2 Arsenal
Man of the match: Sokratis
Sead Kolašinac deserves praise for his two assists. It’s clear that he is much better as a wing-back. That being said I’m going to give my MoM to Sokratis. It wasn’t a pretty performance, but it’s super refreshing to see an Arsenal center back willing to employ the dark arts of defending to ensure victory. Rob Holding is progressing fantastically this season and playing with Sokratis will only help him.
Next up: Vorskla in Ukraine
With the most important fixture of the season next weekend we can’t afford any injuries, so Emery better leave the big guns at home. With a slim chance of qualification, we may face a spirited home team. However, the form is with us and despite the injuries, we still have a quality crop of youngsters who should have too much for the opposition.
Prediction: Vorskla 1 – 3 Arsenal