A much-needed win for Arsenal earned them three points, which meant they remain… fourth. Whatever the result, Arsenal couldn’t have moved up anyway but a win keeps Arséne Wenger’s side in contention for the title, being only two points behind Manchester City, and Liverpool.
Given that Arsenal’s title rivals all picked up maximum points over the weekend, a win here was vital. Arsenal took the lead when an ill-judged back pass by Steve Cook gifted Alexis Sanchez the initiative to calmly slot his effort into the back of the net. (Cue Danny Welbeck goading loanee Jack Wilshere.)
Arsenal could’ve had a penalty soon after when Alexis Sanchez looked to have been fouled in the area, but the referee wasn’t having any of it.
Mathieu Debuchy went off after only 15 minutes when he suffered a hamstring injury and was replaced by Gabriel. It was a shame for him to go off that early as he had worked his way back from injury, only to suffer again.
Bournemouth were given the chance to equalise from the spot when Nacho Monreal was adjudged to have fouled Callum Wilson. Wilson slotted the ball past Petr Cech to level for his side. Bournemouth then had chances to take the lead, they threatened when Adam Smith was left unmarked in the area and headed just over, Brad Smith also saw an effort saved. They were nearly punished for this profligacy but Sanchez saw his effort hit the bar towards the end of the first half.
Theo Walcott then got involved in proceedings. He latched onto a cross from Monreal to put his side back into the lead. The lead was nearly lost again when Bournemouth looked to have a decent case for a penalty but questionably the referee decided not to award it. The ball had appeared to strike Monreal after a shot from Simon Francis.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could’ve put his side 3-1 up when Sanchez fed the ball to him but Oxlade-Chamberlain squandered the chance. The match was tied up soon after though as Sanchez’s strike sealed the three important points for his side in added time when a cross from Olivier Giroud found him and slotted he in.
I thought Eddie Howe’s side were a little unfortunate to concede but the first goal they conceded was purely down to lack of awareness and a big mistake.
Going into this match, Arsenal hadn’t won a single league match this month, so a win here was very important. Arsenal couldn’t afford to drop any more points in a month where Arsenal’s season usually falters. My thoughts on this game are that Arsenal winning this match is a sigh of relief as they remain in the hunt for the title. I also thought that Sanchez did deserve the Man of the Match accolade as it was his two goals that helped his side to victory. Overall, there was little to complain about, but I would’ve preferred Gabriel to start (not because Debuchy got injured, but for precautionary reasons). Mathieu Debuchy coming off with only 15 minutes gone was unfortunate. Although he wasn’t bad in the opening quarter of an hour, I thought that him starting this match came too soon for him (its probably too late for me to say that, or is it?) What are your thoughts on Debuchy starting? Should he have started? Should Gabriel Paulista have started instead?
Speaking of starting, I would’ve thought that Carl Jenkinson would’ve started today, but I suppose he, or Francis Coquelin will probably start against Southampton in the League Cup in the week.
So, Arsenal register their first win in November. Where can they go from here?
Feature image credit: wonker