Arsenal were far from their best against AFC Bournemouth, but the result was a desperate one for the club and the fans who are on the verge of forcing themselves to believe that they are running out of gas.
The intense dissection of the Arsenal gameplay could reveal a disheartening fact to the fans- with such an attitude, Arsenal are not going to win the league. It is a sad fact, Arsenal lack the ruthless behaviour of Champions. Anyhow, three points gained and closer to top of the table.
Here are five talking points from the game.
- Mathieu Flamini don’t deserve a start.
The Frenchman had performed worse than any player in the pitch and this outing underlines the truth which the fans having shouting out but hadn’t reached Wenger- Flamini is not Arsenal material anymore.
Just seven minutes into the game, Flamini lounged himself into Bournemouth midfielder Arter, with a miscalculated two-foot challenge. He got a part of the ball, but the studs were raised and could have easily seen the red.
Even after that, we gave so many unnecessary tackles which did not were penalised, much to the irritation of the home fans.
His passing was as poor as that of his reading of the game, as he failed to cover the defence behind him. If Arsenal are to get back their title credentials, it is must for Wenger to keep him in bench, and start with Francis Coquelin.
- Arsenal are missing Cazorla-Coquelin partnership.
The basic element for Arsenal impressive form earlier this season was the formidable partnership of Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin, which safeguarded the Arsenal defence as well as sprayed balls to the frontrunners.
Analysing today’s game will end up in a unbelievable stat for the Gunners. They had lesser possession than Bournemouth, lesser number of key passes, lesser number of shots, and committed more number of fouls. It is rather stupid of Arsenal to play with such a stat in a Premier League match against a team which was a Championship team last February.
The Arsenal brain which fuels Sanchez and Ozil to step up to their best is undoubtedly the defensive midfielders. Since the duo has failed to appear together, Arsenal have looked the shadow of the team which were league toppers two months back.
- Oxlade-Chamberlain must kick-start his career.
His was in the peak of confidence after the Community Shield win over Chelsea, last August. He scored a sublime goal to give Arsene Wenger his first win over Jose Mourinho. Fast forward five months and there is no dejected figure in Arsenal dressing room as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He has failed to replicate his talents in his performance and will soon be an outcast if not kick-start his already fading career. As, he has gotten a lifeline today.
He scored with a neat finish to double the lead of Arsenal and he should build upon the performance. He lost the balls occasionally and was outplayed by Bournemouth players and he lacked the hunger to prove himself, apart from the goal.
Recently, Joel Campbell or Walcott has been playing instead of him, and the trend will continue if he doesn’t redeem himself of his worth to the team.
- Lack of prolificacy in Arsenal stars.
Three players have been out-of-form for a couple of games and it is definite to affect the campaign of Arsenal. They have given much to the team this season, but after the game today, it feels they are reeling back to ordinary.
Giroud was enjoying a great spell till the start of last month. He had scored 18 goals for the club across all competitions, including a heroic hat trick against Olympiacos in the UEFA Champions League which ensured the progression of Arsenal into knockout phase. But the Frenchman has failed to deliver since the brace against Liverpool, which continued today.
Alexis Sanchez has been back after an injury which sidelined him for two months. But in the games he featured, including today’s, it seems he is not the Sanchez everybody wants to see. Apart from a clear-cut chance he created, he didn’t match his previous performances for the London Club.
Laurent Koscielny looked shaky in the centre of the defence, as he has been in a few recent games. He failed to block a lethal shot in the dying moments, which would have been a goal- thanks to Petr Cech. Also was nervous in clearing, which gave the Bournemouth players to put more pressure on him.
- Arsenal should have kept Benik Afobe.
Benik Afobe, who parted with Arsenal after a 14-year association with the club, was one of the highlight of the match. Even though, the result was not in favour of him, his performance caught eye of many. With Arsenal struggling with injuries and lack of depth in squad, it must have felt for Wenger as well- Arsenal should have kept him.
He did not possess much goal threat, but was lively on the ball and attracted the opposition players unto him, providing space for other Bournemouth players.
His hold-up play was excellent and outpaced Gabriel a few times. At Arsenal, he could have had a promising career in future.