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Four things we learned: Arsenal 3-1 Bournemouth

Arsenal v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League

Looking for their first win of November in the Premier League, Arsenal hosted Bournemouth at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal started off brightly, much better than they did at Old Trafford, although, it couldn’t be much worse. Arsenal were rewarded for their good play when Steve Cook played an awful pass back to the keeper which Sanchez pounced on. Following the goal, however, Bournemouth grew into the game and were arguably the better team. The Cherries were awarded a contentious penalty but in fairness, a goal seemed to be on its way from the South coast team.  

Arsenal came out in the second-half much better and killed the game off with goals from Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott. The Gunners showed dominance, instability and then grit to claim all three points. Here are the four things we learned:

1. November Fortunes

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Arsenal recorded their first Premier League win of the dreaded month of November, and it came with several positive signs. The Gunners started on the front foot and showed determination and promise leading up to the error that handed them the lead and although at times Bourenmouth looked dangerous, the Gunners successfully killed the game off with a much improved second-half performance. Following three draws in three big games, the statement of beating a difficult side by a somewhat comfortable margin will aid the confidence of the manager and the players. Three points off the top of the table will have Wenger’s men hungry to keep defying the November dip with stability, goals and wins.

Following three draws in three big games, the statement of beating a difficult side by a somewhat comfortable margin will aid the confidence of the manager and the players. Three points off the top of the table will have Wenger’s men hungry to keep defying the November dip with stability, goals and wins going into the key Christams period. 

2. Gabriel impresses at right-back

Gabriel

Having been used at the heart of defence about as much as Mertesacker has since Mustafi’s arrival, Gabriel found an unlikely cameo at right back 15 minutes into the game after Debuchy’s injury. Questions were asked and eyebrows were raised, but the Brazilian put in a wonderful and surprisingly solid performance at right-back. His link up play clicked with Walcott then Sanchez and his clever clearances kept the back line calm and his determination was a welcome replacement to the infamous Debuchy.

Gabriel also managed to pop up further down the pitch, creating space while also looking for the chance to get in and make a difference in attack. With Bellerin, Jenko and now Debuchy all sidelined, this may be an unlikely pathway back into the first-team for the former La Liga defender.

3. Monreal Dilemma

monreal

The left-back battle has somewhat settled down in recent history, with Kieran Gibbs accepting his role on the bench behind Monreal. Though it has been an incredibly solid year and a half for Nacho, a number of weaknesses have begun to creep into his game and are being exposed. His lack of pace and poor positioning seem to be becoming a real issue for Arsenal. Bournemouth’s penalty was purely down to Monreal’s poor positioning and awareness, regardless of how contentious a decision it was. 

The Spaniard did redeem himself with a beautiful cross to Walcott for Arsenal’s second goal but Wenger may need to revert to Gibbs in the future. The Englishman just has mire energy going forward and seems to be making fewer mistakes than Monreal when he plays. 

4. Overconfident Arsenal

Arsenal v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League

Having come off the back of three consecutive draws, the question was whether or not Arsenal were up to the task of beating a very difficult “lesser” side. The home team dominated possession, attacked at will and recited training ground moves to their heart’s extent until Bournemouth fought back from Sanchez’s goal. The Gunners were running the game, imposing their football onto a minor opposition but once again managed to find a way to let their opponents back into contention. This is a very common occurrence, and one which has cost this team wins and points in recent games. However, it must be said, that the Arsenal players bounced back in the second-half and put the game to bed the way they should have done an hour earlier.

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