Arsenal travelled to the Vitality Stadium for their midweek fixture against AFC Bournemouth in their pursuit of three successive wins. Mesut Ozil remained sidelined due to illness, while Shkodran Mustafi made a return to the starting XI after being out for around three weeks.
A Charlie Daniels opener and a Callum Wilson penalty set Bournemouth 2-0 up at half time. Arsenal started the second half brightly but gave the third goal from Ryan Fraser before scoring two goals in the space of five minutes (70′, 75′) and the equaliser in the 92nd minute from the man of the moment, Olivier Giroud. The 3-3 comeback was ecstatic but Arsenal really needed to win the game to put the pressure on Chelsea.
In a match where only a few showed character to fight, let’s have a view on who the better performers and pick Arsenal’s ‘Man of the Match’.
A) Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez was one of the few Arsenal players who showed determination to fight for the ball and create valuable opportunities for his teammates. His quick footwork allows him to create that space to surge forward and initiate Arsenal’s attacks at will, something he did a lot during the game.
Sanchez scored the first goal of Arsenal’s comeback when Giroud’s nod arrived kindly into his path and a low diving header was enough to beat Boruc. Sanchez put in an applaudable performance today but his strong body language and character showed how determined he is to win.
B) Olivier Giroud
A below-par performance in the first-half was forgotten by Giroud as he was a vital part of Arsenal’s comeback. Giroud’s nod on from an Oxlade-Chamberlain cross made Sanchez’s goal for the first one, then five minutes later, Giroud’s flick found Lucas Perez who did the rest for Arsenal’s second. Giroud saved the last one for himself, rising above all to execute a wonderful downward header from Granit Xhaka’s cross to beat Boruc in the 92nd minute. The Frenchman has bailed Arsenal out a few times recently, let’s hope his form continues.
C) Lucas Perez
Lucas Perez came in as a second-half substitute in place of Alex Iwobi and scored Arsenal’s second goal from a beautiful volley from the left side of the penalty box. When the Spaniard came on, Arsenal’s game changed. All of a sudden the team was given a shot of energy and directness. Moreover, Perez is not scared to work hard off the ball. His goal alone was worth his inclusion on the list but among a group of poor performers, Perez showed true class.
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