Date: 28th February 2019 at 7:24am
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Written by Rodmorg

Looking at the team sheet even before kick-off showed how stretched Bournemouth was. The suspension of Lerma meant that Surman came in with the captaincy and no first-team midfielders on the bench. Lys Mousset came in for Dominic Solanke who was not included in the 18 selected due to (surprisingly) an injury. The Cherries had endured an 8 game losing streak away from home, and fans were hoping to salvage a point or even a shock win to end such a dire run of form.

But only four minutes after kick off the prospect of a win or draw were thrown out the window. OZIL gave the hosts the lead after new bloods Clyne and Mepham provided the German with plenty of space to dink over the onrushing Boruc; his touch couldn’t keep the ball from creeping in.

Eddie had to switch from his usual 4-4-2 if his team was to get anything out of the game – He decided to drift King wide and Fraser to support the middle two in a 4-3-3 formation. It nearly paid off as King’s excellent pass allowed Wee Man to force Leno into a good save, and Gosling’s effort from the parry was bravely blocked by the Arsenal defence.

The Cherries had looked the better side since the switch but all hope looked to be lost as Smith, under no pressure, provided a good cross for MKHITARYAN to one-two on the right and slide the ball into an empty net.

Eddie urged the team to press and it paid off as Gosling aggressively stole the ball off Guendouzi for him to lay it off to the isolate MOUSSET to tap in for his first of the season, and all to play for in the second half as the first half fizzled out with the score at 2-1.

Half Time Arsenal 2-1 Bournemouth

Bournemouth fans were perhaps hoping for more of the same pressing and intensity shown at the end of the first half but a goal from KOSCIELNY killed all early spirits. Not long after, Ozil came close to a fourth by hitting the post and Gosling came close to pulling one back with his 20-yard drive trimming the crossbar. Shortly after, AUBAMEYANG added his name to the scoreboard after another defence-splitting pass.

Eddie rolled the dice with the ineffective Ibe and the precarious Smith coming off for Rico and Daniels, as the manager switched to a 5-2-3, something he arguably should have done before the game.

That didn’t prevent more misery being piled on us; a free kick from LACAZETTE 20 yards out gave the Gunners a fifth, and Bournemouth responded by giving youth academy product Sam Surridge the astronomical task of scoring five to win; it never came but he looked impressive.

Full-Time Arsenal 5-1 Bournemouth

Team Ratings:

Artur Boruc – 3: A night to forget for him, certainly could have done better for the first and last goals.

Nathaniel Clyne – 4: Quite ineffective but made some good runs and partially at fault for the first goal. Far better when attacking, however.

Chris Mepham – 3: Nervous on the ball and never settled into the game… Not the best match for your second start, however.

Nathan Ake – 4: Largely ineffective but cleared the ball off the line.

Adam Smith – 3: He won’t want to look at the replays for his mistake for the second goal. Not his best of games tonight.

Jordon Ibe – 4: He tried but was outplayed most of the time.

Dan Gosling – 6: Closed down well, and his aggressiveness was the cause of Mousset’s goal. As per usual, had sloppy passing.

Andrew Surman – 6: Opposite of Gosling, made some smart passing to the flanks but lacked the touch of aggressiveness – should have played further up the pitch.

Ryan Fraser – 4: Similar to Ibe – Perhaps could have done better when we were a goal down.

Josh King – 5: Lung busting runs forward showed his determination and could have provided a good assist if Fraser had scored.

Lys Mousset – 6: Got the goal to halve the deficit but slowly faded away as the game progressed.

Subs:

Charlie Daniels (Jordon Ibe – 55) – 5: Tried his best and moved forward well but average.

Diego Rico (Adam Smith – 70) – 5: Nothing else but average.

Sam Surridge (Ryan Fraser – 80) – 6: Quite lively and surprisingly provided some energy to the team despite the score. Certainly an exciting prospect

MOTM: Tough between Surman and Gosling, but I’ll give it to Gosling considering his level of commitment, not without an honourable mention of Surridge though.

Verdict:

Another heavy defeat away, and perhaps at Eddie’s fault again. When up against a ruthless side in a big stadium that usually likes putting three or four past the opposition it is usually inadvisable to have a 4-4-2 formation, as seen against Spurs too. During the match, Eddie changed his formation twice which is unusual – a 4-3-3 provided some hope but a 5-2-3 (with Daniels at CB) undoubtedly should have been the starting formation at the very least. We have an attacking philosophy but we had five at the back against Chelsea last year and that gave us a 0-3 win.

The defence was nothing but poor and disorganised. Clyne tried but was largely ineffective, Mepham had to fill very large boots tonight, gave a go but his nervousness overcome him. I’m sure he’ll improve in the future. Without his usual defensive partner, it was no wonder that Ake was quiet; the lack of chemistry between Mepham and Ake was evident, especially in the fourth goal. Daniels should probably replace Smith for Saturday. The midfield two of ‘Gosman’ were surprisingly strong and resilient compared to others. The wingers were simply outplayed and this contributed to a lack of supply towards King and Mousset.

Conclusively, I’ll state the obvious first – the injuries didn’t help with the scoreline. Secondly, the formation Eddie picked is unquestionably confusing. Daniels should have been included in a back line of 5, at the cost of a winger. Hopefully, Eddie takes this into consideration for the game against Man City. Finally, Surridge had a good cameo for someone of his age against tough opposition, he certainly has justified his promise. I hope we see more of him. Next up is a home match against bogey-team Man City.

Your say…

paul49 wrote…

I think you’re a tad harsh on the lads with those marks.

Whilst Arsenal were superior in speed of movement, thought and passing it wasn’t a four-goal differential on the balance of play as shots amounted to 16 against 13 with 6 to five on target with both sides hitting the woodwork. Misplaced passing by Smith, Surman and Gosling gave three of the goals away.

I would go fives and sixes and I actually thought Boruc had a decent game. His kicking was ok and he made a couple of decent saves.

Our Achilles heel away from home regardless of the team we put out seems to be the level of concentration for the first ten minutes of each half. – Join the conversation, click here.

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