Arsenal welcomed Bournemouth at the Emirates, in the hunt to rediscover their form after a tough string of fixtures. Two consecutive draws in the Premier League meant that Arsenal had no margin for error and that the three points were vital for their title charge.
Arsene Wenger named Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka in midfield. The pacy English duo of Theo Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain took care of the wings, while Mathieu Debuchy was at right back to mark his first start and Alexis Sanchez started up front.
It was a vibrant start to the match with both sides looking to open up the respective defences with quick interplay and long balls for counter attacks. Arsenal opened the scoring when a loose pass from Steve Cook was gathered by Alexis Sanchez and was finished neatly. Callum Wilson then scored a penalty he earned from what seemed to be very little contact from Monreal. The second-half was all Arsenal from the start, when Walcott came on the end of a wonderfully worked team goal to make it 2-1, and then at stoppage time when Alexis’ tap in put the game to bed.
Let’s have a look at Arsenal’s best performers and pick our ‘Man of the Match’.
A) Granit Xhaka
It is understood that he is in the process of adapting to Premier League’s pace and power but he delivered a solid perfomance today. His awareness of his team mates makes him a vital part of Arsenal’s midfield, given that Arsenal are immensely missing Santi Cazorla’s precise passes and balls. He produced some good passes across the midfield area to find team mates and was seen settled and composed on the ball.
B) Alexis Sanchez
Alexis’ first goal defined how he gives Arsenal wonderful pace to and his work rate, which paid off when Steve Cook’s casual pass back to the keeper, was intercepted by Alexis and finished with composure. He looked to find red and white shirts from as far as possible and his quality on the ball allowed him to deliver some good balls to feed Arsenal’s attack. His second goal came in second-half stoppage time when he finished an Arsenal counter with a tap in off Giroud’s pass. A truly superb performance.
C) Mesut Ozil
The purpose in Ozil’s movement on and off the ball was significant in many ways. He constantly tried to link up with Alexis and produce something. Ozil had a hand in both of Arsenal’s second-half goals. First, when he twisted and turned inside the edge of Bournemouth’s penalty box before finding Monreal on the far side, whose cross across the face of goal found Walcott, who finished it with his head. For Alexis’ stoppage time goal, Ozil freed Giroud on an Arsenal counter, who tucked back for Alexis to tap in.
A good overall perfomance sees Arsenal close the gap to three points from first place Chelsea and Alexis’ brace means Arsenal get three precious points to keep their title charge going and it’s the man in question who will be named today’s ‘Man of the Match’ for Arsenal.
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