AFC Bournemouth Vs Arsenal: 4 takeaways from Gunners' latest win
Bournemouth, under Eddie Howe, has done very well and have surprised a number with their high league position. Whilst they may not challenge for the top four, they can be confident of a Europa League placement - if they sustain their form. Eddie Howe has been touted for jobs at bigger clubs for a while, and he may well be primed for one should Bournemouth do well this season.
However, today, Arsenal possibly emerged as the rightful winner. Bournemouth started strongly, with a goal that was wrongly struck off as offside. They did put on a strong performance in the early 20 minutes or so, but after that, Arsenal upped their tempo, culminating in an opener for the Gunners.
Kolasinac proved a thorn in their side throughout the game, and his low cross was converted by Lerma, who had no choice really but to play the ball. It was unlucky on his part that the ball went in, but at that specific point in the game, Arsenal was on top.
Bournemouth equalized though, following Iwobi losing possession in the Bournemouth penalty area. They then counter-attacked, and King scored a curling effort in the Arsenal box to keep it at 1-1 at the break.
Arsenal increased their attacking play in the second half - Kolasinac, Aubameyang, and Mkhitaryan, all had chances. Bournemouth had opportunities via Stanislas and Lerma, but Arsenal took the lead following some good play between Iwobi and Kolasinac.
Despite some late pressure from the home side, Arsenal held on for another away win.
Arsenal is again unbeaten, and with their good "friends" Tottenham coming up very soon, a win here was welcome and needed.
Here are the 5 takeaways from the game:
Arsenal's Tactical flexibility
The formation from Emery surprised fans and pundits alike, as he opted for a back three featuring Sokratis, Holding, and Mustafi. This was opposed to a back four, featured in many games this season.
The idea was to not just handle Bournemouth's attack but to control the midfield and allow Bellerin and Kolasinac to get forward. Arsenal's attacking prowess won the game in the end, but the formation shift showed that Emery is willing to alter formations, and in some ways is being an "anti-latter Wenger". Whilst Arsene Wenger is rightly lauded and adulated for his exploits at the club, the final seasons under him showed both tactical and mental weaknesses.
Part of these critiques was that he didn't change formations often, and this allowed the team to be easily countered.
But the change in formation is interesting since it shows a reliability on various means to play, and it's something that Arsenal have needed for some years.
Whether the three at the back will persist is unknown - but it's still intriguing to see, and shows a tactical variety lacking in recent years.