Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Arsenal rob AFCB of all their Christmas presents to draw 3-3

Match Report
AFCB 3 v 3 Arsenal
Attendance 11,202

Some might have thought that it was AFCB that were heading for a top six finish rather than Arsenal after this game. The Cherries came out of the traps with devilish intent to wound Arsenal's away record, and they soon struck the fist blow with Charlie Daniels in acres of space, and he calmly beat the sleeping Bellerin, before putting AFCB 1-0 up. If that was dozy from Arsenal the foul on Ryan Fraser was just stupidity from Xhaka. Arsenal were 2-0 down and looking out of the title race. Ryan Fraser looked to have made it a great win when he put AFCB 3-0 up, and yet goal by goal back came Arsenal with Sanchez heading in, before Perez hit a scintillating volley past Boruc, and just as time was running out Olivier Giroud broke Bournemouth hearts with a late, late equaliser. It was like Santa never came.
Under the lights at Dean Court.
Eddie Howe made three changes form the team that won at Swansea as he looked to keep the team fresh. Dan Gosling, Josh King and Callum Wilson came into the starting line up and Andrew Surman dropped to the bench while Benik Afobe had not received international clearance from pulling out of the DR Congo squad and Jack Wilshere was barred from playing against his parent club.

Arsenal also made three changes. Shkodran Moustafi came into their back four, while midfield changes included Francis Coquelin and Aaron Ramsey.

Match Description
The opening minutes saw both teams get into the game without too much of a pattern emerging. Arsenal started to move the ball in front of AFCB's box and Bellerin put a good early cross in.

A long throw from Steve Cook was well cleared by Arsenal before Josh King had the first shot that went wide of Cech's left post. Callum Wilson was finding it harder to get into the game getting flagged offside in the seventh minute.

AFCB were starting to get forward more with Francis on the right and won the first corner of the game. A shot came in from long rage from Stanislas that was hit with swerve but fairly centrally for Cech to save.

Arsenal's first corner was easily cleared by Daniels as the 10th minute passed. King was certainly stretching Arsenal's back four when he could and, along with Stanislas, he was looking the most lively of AFCB's players. Fraser's deep cross then almost found Wilson, but Arsenal headed the ball away.

Cech then came out as Stanislas put Wilson in, and the keeper just got the ball first before Wilson went  down. No penalty was the decision. Bournemouth were starting to have the lion's share of the possession.

All Arsenal could do was play on the break and Ramsey was caught offside. The home crowd were enjoying this and getting behind the men in red and black. Daniels pulled off Bellerin on the left flank and was spotted with a great cross ball from Stanislas and, as Daniels cut inside, he found room to shoot and made it 1-0 beating Cech on his near post on 17 minutes. It had been coming.

On the break AFCB looked devastating and Wilson was past half way, picked out Fraser and he was unfairly pushed over carelessly by Xhaka. It all came from a free kick from Arsenal, but it ended up with a penalty to AFCbBand Wilson just strode up with purpose and put the ball straight down the middle to make it 2-0 to AFCB after 20 minutes.

AFCB had to keep calm now and they were making a few mistakes in giving away possession. The Cherries were able to play long balls for Stanislas and King as Arsenal pushed up. Coquelin was feeling his hamstring. He was having to go off.

Josh King was next to take a knock. In the meantime, Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain replaced Francis Coquelin on 28 minutes.

Ramsey found himself with his back to goal having been fouled by Sanchez, but he turned well and saw his shot deflect wide off of Daniels for a corner. It was a warning though that Arsenal were still in this.

AFCB were really battling hard as shown by King and Fraser who were putting in shifts. Another ball over the top for Wilson had Mostafi back tracking and just able to put the ball out for a corner ahead of Wilson getting in on goal. Great play on the left with Fraser and Daniels and Aké saw a good pull back for King and a lay-off for Arter who saw his shot skew wide of Arsenal's goal.

Arter has some attention but he is quickly back on the field. The possession is pretty even now but the danger is coming from Bournemouth. This is as dominant a performance as we have seen in a half from the Cherries in the Premier League and they are doing it against a top six side.

While Sanchez was putting crosses in they were not finding Arsenal players. At the other end Wilson was holding up the ball well and setting up attacks.

Just when Arsenal found some space Oxlaide-Chamberlain's cross found Iwobi around the penalty spot, but Francis did enough to put the Arsenal player off and the shot went wide. It was important to keep Arsenal out before half time.

Gosling made a good interception and AFCB were off again on the hunt for a third. Arsenal's players were looking at each other very bemused by what was happening. There were three minutes of added time. Fraser from the left put a pass into Stanislas and he took no time in trying a low curling shot that just sneaked past the right upright.

Ramsey now picks up a yellow card for pulling down Wilson. Stanislas hit the top of the wall and that was half time.

Half time stats
AFCB 45 possession, 6 shots,  3 shots on target, 2 corners, 6 fouls
Arsenal 55 possession, 3 shots, 0 shots on target, 2 corners, 5 fouls

King and Fraser were causing loads of problems for Arsenal

Second half

Arsenal came out very determined and yet could not get an early shot in. AFCB's crowd were doing their best to keep the noise levels up. It was just as well as Giroud came close to getting a header towards goal, but Steve Cook made it too difficult for him.

Arsenal were stepping things up and Bellerin won a corner off of Daniels, but the corner was poorly hit. Ramsey almost cleverly weaved his way in, but Cook got a last ditch tackle in as the Welshman showed great feet to pass Francis in the box.

Lucky for AFCB that Sanchez who is beating players often is out wide and not in the centre like he was up at the Emirates. As I say that Sanchez is popping up on the right side now. Arsenal are camped in AFCB's half, but they can't find a final ball.

AFCB relieve the pressure through King who wins a throw. The cross comes in from King and Cech punches it out only for Arter to hit a shot on the edge of the box off Wilson and into the net, but Wilson apparently had his hands out and the ball deflected off of them so it's disallowed.

Fraser cuts inside on the left though and he puts the ball through the legs of Cech it's 3-0. Fraser did the keeper with his eyes and puts AFCB in control.

Sanchez up the other end cuts in but AFCB get bodies in the way and it's just a corner. This game looks over with AFCB breaking looking for the fourth, but Moustafi fouls Wilson and is lucky not to get cautioned.

Stanislas beats the wall from the free-kick and pulls a save out of Cech. Subs now Surman comes on for King. Arsenal sub Iwobi for Perez. Gabriel limps off as well and is replaced by Gabriel.

Fraser now is in again and just brought down as he was about to shoot. Oxlaide-Chamberlain made a great tackle but Fraser is having to come off.

Sanchez puts in a cross but Ramsey's shot is blocked by Arter. Arsenal get a lifeline as Sanchez is picked out on the far post by Oxlaide-Chamberlain, after Giroud's header on and he heads it low past Boruc to make it 3-1.

There is 20 minutes to go. AFCB just need to take the sting out of the game now. But it's Arsenal on the ball. Arter is pushed off the ball and Giroud shoots straight at Boruc.

AFCB have used a lot of energy up and they could perhaps do with some more legs now. Sanchez battles with Francis, but it's a handball from Sanchez just as he was closing in on goal.

Arsenal still come forward. Lucas Perez hits a volley and he's hit it right in the far corner 3-2! Some shot that. Can AFCB hand on for 15 minutes? It was set up by Giroud and Boruc only saw it flash past him - a vicious dipping volley.

Monreal just runs out of room after Sanchez tries to play him down the line.  Arter plays a great ball to Wilson, but he can't keep hold of it.  Mustafi gets a yellow card with just 10 minutes to go.

Adam Smith now Wilson puts Gosling in with a great chance. He swivels and he's put it wide!

Francis has been red carded for a challenge on Ramsey. It was a scissor challenge but there didn't look any intent. It was just mistimed.

We have some eight minutes of normal time left plus whatever the ref adds on. Adam Smith has gone to right back. A scrappy corner from Arsenal is cleared. Bodies are flying in at the far post but AFCB keep it out.

AFCB are so deep now.  Sanchez in to Ramsey and his volley on the turn goes wide. Boruc is carded for time wasting. Arter is still chasing.

Moustafi robs Daniels and shouts of a hand ball are rejected.

There are six minutes of added time. Brad Smith replaces Callum Wilson.

Arsenal still going for this and Giroud has levelled it with a header late on 3-3. Koscielny put the ball in and Giroud got ahead of Cook to make it 3-3. Oh what a blow for AFCB - they've fought so hard.

Arter and Adam Smith now. It's going to be a throw. Stanislas and Arter brings a save out of Cech. That could have won it for AFCB.

This game will have taken a lot out of AFCB. They had it won at 3-0 and it will be devastating for the players to comprehend that comeback from Arsenal. Still it is a point gained that the Cherries would have been pleased with before a ball was kicked. The sending off of Simon Francis was a big blow that arguably cost the Cherries two points. Now he will get a ban as well. The fans should be pleased with how the Cherries took the game to Arsenal though. They will not win a harder point all season, and while it feels like a defeat, I know Eddie will have been proud of the players and will try and get them to take on board how they got 3-0 up, and how they need to protect such leads better. UTCIAD! 

Boruc, Francis, Cook, Aké, Daniels, Arter, Gosling, Stanislas, Fraser (A Smith 68), King (Surman 63), Wilson

Federici, B Smith, A Smith, Mings, Surman, Mousset, Ibe

AFCB Ratings
Boruc 6, Francis 5, Cook 8, Aké 8, Daniels 9, Arter 8, Gosling 6, Stanislas 8, Fraser 9, King 8, Wilson 7

Cech, Bellerín, Mustafi, Koscielny (Gabriel 64), Monreal, Coquelin (Oxlaide-Chamberlain 28), Xhaka, Ramsey, Sánchez, Iwobi (Perez 63), Giroud

Arsenal Subs

Maitland-Niles, Gabriel, Pérez, Ospina, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Holding, Reine-Adelaide

Referee watch: Michael Oliver - while I thought the red card was harsh Francis should have kept his challenge on the ground. The game was an epic for the neutral so the ref can't have spoilt it that much, even if it is not the result we wanted 6/10.  

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