AFC Bournemouth vs Arsenal: 3 tactical observations | Premier League 2018-19
It is no longer news that Arsenal defeated Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium last Sunday to record their fourth away win of the campaign, and in the process equaling the number of away wins they had under Arsene Wenger last season.
It was not a particularly vintage performance from The Gunners, however they got the victory, which is most important especially against a Bournemouth side who are one of the highest scorers in the league this season, so it was never going to be an easy game.
Tactically The Gunners are improving under Unai Emery, but there are still some things which needs to be perfected.
Here is a look at some tactical observations drawn from the game, both the negative and the positive.
#1 Positional awareness of the defenders
Arsenal defenders are not blessed with so much pace, coupled with the fact that they have been sometimes caught out of position this season.
Positional awareness is key to defending well in a football game. Opposition teams can very well sense when a team's defensive structure is lopsided, which is as a result of defenders not being aware of their positions on the field of play.
The game against Bournemouth brought this teething problem of The Gunners to the fore. In the first half, Bournemouth tried to capitalise on this by playing long balls over the defence, which often created a two-versus-three situation.
It took the intervention of Sokratis on a couple of occasions to out-muscle Callum Wilson when he was tested for pace.
Unai Emery needs to work on how the team drops off when an opposition player who has the ball in midfield is looking to thread a pass for the attackers to run at. Trying to keep the offside trap can be counter productive if they have not mastered the art like some top teams in Europe.
Hector Bellerin's positional play at times was questionable. He was found not too close to his man, which left the likes of Sokratis and Mustafi dragged out of position, although in the second half, they did seem to sort that out to a large extent.