Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Cherries unable to stop Arsenal going top 2-0

Match Report

Arsenal 2 v 0 AFCB
28 December 2015
Attendance: 59,983

We arrive at the ground.
The Cherries visits to the capital had all been very profitable up until this game. Yet, taking on Arsenal at the Emirates was one hurdle too far. While the Cherries passed the 20 minute mark looking the better side, it was a simple corner that undid all the hard work with Gabriel given a free header to put the Gunners in control. From there on, Arsenal knew the Cherries' weakness and every Arsenal corner made the AFCB faithful hold their breath. It wasn't until the second half that the game was made safe though when Mesut Ozil played a slick one-two with Olivier Giroud and swept past the Cherries defence, before slotting the ball under Artur Boruc to make it 2-0.
View outside the club shop
Outside the Emirates.
It's almost time.

Arsenal fans Chris and James explain what this season has been like for the Gunners.

There are more pictures on Match Day Gallery.

The two changes AFCB made for this game saw Junior Stanislas moved to the bench along with Glenn Murray so that Marc Pugh could start on the left wing and Josh King would be the sole striker. Arsenal made four changes with Gabriel, Gibbs, Bellerin and Chambers coming into their side following their 4-0 defeat at Southampton.
Bournemouth players do their stretches.
The Arsenal players are also on the pitch.
We give a minutes applause for Don Howe a past Arsenal player and manager.
It was AFCB that started quickly winning the first corner after Josh King had made a run down the right wing, even if nothing came of it. There were good signs when Harry Arter made a driving run that allowed King to get a shot off that Cech caught easily high to his left. Arter was caught in a head incident on half way but soon recovered. Ozil played a good ball in for Walcott who could not get a touch and the ball fell through to Boruc.

The Cherries were enjoying their possession and it was not until 13 minutes had passed before Arsenal won a corner and Boruc caught that cleanly. The Cherries were getting more ambitious and Arter tried to latch onto a Ritchie cross with an attempted volley. Gosling and Ritchie were drawing fouls and with 20 minutes gone it had been a satisfactory start for AFCB. Pugh was overrunning the ball at times and Chambers was similarly hitting his crosses too strongly for Arsenal.

Oxlaide-Chamberlain was running hard at Charlie Daniels though and won a corner on 27 minutes, when Gabriel headed in unchallenged past Boruc's left hand to make it 1-0 to the Arsenal and very much against the run of play. Charlie Daniels had lost his man and Gabriel made the goal look very easy.

Aaron Ramsey picked up a yellow card as play continued with Arsenal making the odd foul to halt the Cherries' progress. Arsenal came close again though when Calum Chambers played Theo Walcott in and the striker failed to beat Artur Boruc at the near post. The corner saw Gabriel nod on from the front of the area and the ball came off the far post only for Per Mertesacker to see it come back at him, and he headed wide from one yard out! It was comical, but Mertesacker had no time to react.

Ozil then got Walcott in and Boruc made another good save. Another corner and Giroud headed over. The control that AFCB had on the game had totally disappeared. Every corner looked like it could be a goal for Arsenal. Bellerin might also have done better with an effort he hit over, but as half time came, Bournemouth fans were pleased that Eddie Howe might be able to get some organisation and order back into the Cherries game.
Half time games with the Arsenal mascot.
Second Half
Junior Stanislas replaced Marc Pugh who had not looked up to speed in the first half. Josh King made sure the Cherries were on the attack as he received a ball over the top from Surman but he could not quite get his shot away before Gabriel recovered to concede a corner. At the other end Boruc was called upon again as a low cross from Oxlaide-Chamberlain had him diving on the ball.

Adam Smith put in a similar cross into Arsenal's box but Cech caught it well. King won another corner on 51 minutes and Stanislas took it short with Ritchie, and when Chambers made a headed clearance from Stanislas' cross, Arter had a shot that Chambers blocked.

Arter was later fouled by Chambers who was yellow carded. The hour mark passed and Dan Gosling was subbed for Eunan O'Kane. Moments later, Daniels had given the ball away and Ozil was playing a one-two with Giroud's back heel, on the edge of Bournemouth's box, and finished underneath Boruc to make it 2-0 on 63 minutes. It hadn't been a great game for Daniels who was getting stranded fairly regularly high up the pitch now. 

Bellerin then made a strong run and released Walcott who shot low and right across the goal from the right wing. Giroud went close again when he shot from the edge of the box and Boruc spilled the shot. Luckily, Walcott following up was offside, even if he missed.

The flow of Arsenal attacks were stemmed for a moment when Arter and Stanislas linked up and Arter found Ritchie who shot from 25 yards out, but right at Petr Cech. Ozil was running the show now though and his pulled-back cross was met by Giroud on the penalty spot, who shot side to the right of goal!

Arsenal brought on Campbell for Giroud for the last 10 minutes. Glenn Murray replaced Josh King as well. Two minutes later Monreal also came on for Gibbs. Arsenal had another flowing move with Monreal, into Walcott and Oxlaide-Chamberlain turned and hit a right foot shot that was deflected off Steve Cook onto the post with Boruc beaten.

There was a final attempt by Bournemouth to get a goal in the added on time. Arter played a quick pass into Murray who turned in the box and hit a shot across goal that Cech got a touch to and saw it safely cleared by his defenders. The counter saw Ozil race up the left wing and cross to Walcott who did not control the ball that well and Boruc made himself big and made the save near his left post. The last sub of the game saw Alex Iwobi replace Oxlaide-Chamberlain.
A brave effort by the lads but no points.
Glenn Murray leads the applause after the game.
The Cherries still have much work to do on defending set plays when teams score as easily as Arsenal did in the first half with Charlie Daniels losing his man. It is also noticeable that when the Cherries are on top and enjoying a good spell of football they need to score and take full advantage by shooting when they can see a shot on. It was familiar problems that arose from this game but against a top team it is no surprise that AFCB's weaknesses were unmasked and while it shows that the team has further to improve there were long spells, especially in the first 25 minutes, when AFCB bossed the game, and they have to learn how to keep those sort of spells going for longer periods. As soon as Arsenal got a lead, the Cherries were on the ropes, yet they had been doing so well up until then.
It was a tough one for the boys.
On our way out of the stadium.
Cech, BellerΓ­n, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Gibbs (Monreal 82), Chambers, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Iwobi 93), Γ–zil, Walcott, Giroud (Campbell -80)

Arsenal Subs 
Debuchy, Koscielny, Ospina, Monreal, Campbell, Iwobi, Reine Adelaide

Boruc, Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels, Surman, Ritchie,  Gosling (O'Kane 61), Arter, 
Pugh (Stanislas 45), King (Murray 80)

Federici, Distin, Stanislas, Tomlin, Rantie, Murray

AFCB Ratings
Boruc 8, Smith 6, Francis 6, Cook 7, Daniels 5, Surman 6, Ritchie 6,  Gosling 6, Arter 7, 
Pugh 5, King 6

Ref Watch: Roger East 8/10 - no contentious decisions. A good flowing game.

My interview with Gunners Town is finally up.

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