Match Report

Bournemouth 3 Arsenal 3 – back from the dead

They often say that if you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all. I would opt to say nothing but because I chose to write for TFF, I have to say something. I mentioned in my pre-match article that Bournemouth would always bring a “cup-tie” atmosphere with them and that’s exactly what they did again. However, Arsenal somehow salvaged a point after being 3-0 down.

The first half saw Bournemouth go 2-0 up with goals from Charlie Daniels and penalty dispatched by Callum Wilson. Bournemouth scored the first of these goals through Daniels after a sublime cross from Wilson. Hector Bellerin failed to do his job and he let Daniels pick up the ball and glide past him with ease because of the amount of space he left him, Daniels then cut inside him to finish off the move.

Bournemouth were awarded a penalty soon after when Granit Xhaka was adjudged to have fouled Ryan Fraser in the area. Initially, I thought it was the correct decision and having looked at replays, I stick with the decision to give a penalty. Xhaka did appear to clearly push Fraser in the back. Callum Wilson then stepped up took the penalty and sent Petr Cech the wrong way to double his side lead.

Things then went from bad to worse for Arsenal in the first half as Francis Coquelin was substituted following a suspected hamstring injury.

Into the second half, Eddie Howe’s side thought they had a third from Harry Arter’s deflected long range effort but his goal was rightly ruled out for a handball by Wilson.

Howe’s side did score a third when Fraser further dampened Arsenals title hopes by getting the better of Bellerin and cooly slotted the ball past Cech.

At that point, I even more dejected, there was no fight or hunger from the Arsenal players.

Arsenal, who looked out of it, then started to show how much much more fight and hunger. Having been pretty much out of the picture for 70 minutes, Arsenal started to turn up the heat when Alexis Sanchez headed in to get a goal back for his side. Olivier Giroud played a massive part in that goal by heading into the path of Sanchez.

Arsenal looked in the mood now as substitute Lucas Perez scored his first league goal for the club to put his side within a goal of the home side. A rather superb goal it was too. He watched the ball loop over to him excellently and he volleyed it into the far corner of the net.

Bournemouth had the chance to win the game in the 82nd miunte though as Dan Gosling was fed through but Gosling failed to finish as he scuffed his effort just wide of the mark. Had Gosling scored, I highly doubt Sky Sports would’ve gone to an unexpected ad break…

Soon after, Simon Francis saw red for a reckless challenge on Aaron Ramsey. With the man advantage, you knew Arsenal just had to take the initiative at that point.

Well, Arsenal did take advantage through Giroud and his header proved to be the equaliser after a cross from Xhaka. I was a little critical of Giroud celebrating like he scored the winner as I thought he should’ve picked the ball out from the net and placed it on the centre circle ready to go again to try and score a fourth.

Nevertheless, both side shared the spoils, as Arsenal earned a what I would call an undeserved point.

Whilst Wenger has said that his side showed that they were mentally strong, Howe went on to say that the game changed when Arsenal scored their first goal.

The draw leaves Arsenal looking over their shoulders as Tottenham entertain Chelsea. I still want the referee to win that fixture.

For both sides, they can breathe a sigh of relief but not for too long as they’re in FA Cup action over the weekend.

Feature image credit: Chris Downer



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