Bournemouth 0-2 Arsenal: Player Ratings
Arsenal’s much-vaunted title tilt was in real danger of fading away from them all too fast as they travelled to the Vitality Stadium to face a re-vitalized Bournemouth who had strengthened with the acquisitions of Juan Iturbe and former Arsenal man Benik Afobe. Arsene Wenger’s men were winless in four, and had failed to find the back of the net in their last three league games. Trailing table-toppers Leicester City by 8 points albeit with a game in hand ahead of their crucial tie next week, the Gunners absolutely had to find their scoring touch again against Eddie Howe’s inspired young side, who have already notched memorable wins at Chelsea and Manchester United.
After a measured opening period, the Gunners scored two quick fire goals through Ozil and Chamberlain to seize a firm control of the match. However, Bournemouth were dangerous and had their fair share of chances. Ultimately, it was down to Bellerin and Cech as Arsenal kept a clean sheet and returned to within 5 points of Leicester. There was to be no statement from in-form former Gunner Benik Afobe, as the game wound down without any further surprises.
Artur Boruc – 5.5 – Bournemouth’s goalkeeper watched on helplessly as he conceded two goals in two minutes to hand Arsenal all three points.
Adam Smith – 6.5 – Eddie Howe’s right-back was engaged in a tough battle with the likes of Alexis and Giroud. It could be argued that the shares were spoiled in this interesting sub-plot, and Smith was a very potent threat going forward, having good chances o two separate occasions.
Simon Francis – 6 – Two minutes of cutting-edge from the Gunners took the game away from the Cherries, who did reasonably well with the other attacks.
Steve Cook – 6 – The centre-back made crucial tackles and interventions when he could, and should have earned Bournemouth a consolation in the dying embers of the game, but was denied by the brilliance of Cech.
Charlie Daniels – 6.5 – He should be culpable for Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goal, but was generally solid in defense, and combined well with the likes of Surman and Ritchie going forward.
Andrew Surman – 6.5 – He was once again deployed in the hole in midfield to counter the presence of Mesut Ozil. He put in a much more composed performance than he did in the reverse fixture, but could do little to prevent the result or help his team produce goals.
Matt Ritchie – 6 – A mediocre performance on the right wing, and he did try his luck with a few long range shots. He never looked like he would deliver the goods for Howe, and was replaced by Stanislas.
Dan Gosling – 6 – Had little impact on the game and was replaced by Joshua King.
Harry Arter – 6.5 – He was potent in attack and he really should have had two goals for his efforts, but this was not Bournemouth’s day as Petr Cech stood tall at the other end.
Marc Pugh – 6 – Pugh had one major chance as he sneaked past Gabriel, but was spectacularly denied by Bellerin who bailed out his team.
Benik Afobe – 6 – There was to be no impactful performance by the former Arsenal man against his old team. The young English striker did have a decent game but lacked the threat to punish Arsenal in a tangible way.
Junior Stanislas - 6 – The young pacy forward was instrumental in the fmous win over United, and offered a good threat after he was brought on.
Lewis Grabban – 5 – The English forward moved from Norwich in the winter window, and his only EPL goal came against Arsenal in their 1-1 draw away to Norwich. He had no meaningful impact on the game today.
Joshua King – 5 – The substitute had one good chance off a Stanislas cross, but failed to convert.
Petr Cech – 8 – The goalkeeper is proving John Terry’s prediction of winning Arsenal 15 points a season right, and is the reason Arsenal walked away with all three points.
Hector Bellerin – 7.5 – The Spanish speedster is all of 20 years old and is an indispensable part of Wenger’s first 11 with an amazing recovery from Gabriel’s mistake.
Gabriel – 7 – Having been given an extended run in place of Mertesacker, the Brazilian had a fine game bar one horrendous incident where he let Pugh through on goal.
Laurent Koscielny – 7.5 – The Frenchman was as solid as ever, and dealt with whatever threat the Bournemouth forward line had to offer.
Nacho Monreal – 7 – Much like Gabriel, he had a solid game bar one incident.
Mathieu Flamini – 6.5 – Things could have been very different had the referee decided to give a red instead of a yellow for his two-footed tackle. He has filled up for Coquelin as best he could, and it’s high time El-Neny (who was out of the squad for personal reasons) and Coquelin get runs in the midfield.
Aaron Ramsey – 8.5 – The Welshman is reportedly on Barcelona and Pep Guardiola’s radar, and had a great game where he provided the assist for the second goal. He should have had a goal for himself in the last moments of the game.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 7 – Wenger has re-imposed his faith on him in place of Walcott and Campbell, and he walked away with a goal to his name for his efforts.
Mesut Ozil – 7.5 – The assists may have dried up for Arsenal’s magician but he ended his team’s four match goal drought with a well taken goal.
Alexis Sanchez – 7 – The Gunner’s main man has not been at his very best, and put in a somewhat inconsistent performance. He will be hoping to be back to his best in time with a season deciding tie against Leicester next week.
Olivier Giroud – 7 – Wenger seems to have resorted back to Olivier Giroud after having experimented upfront with Walcott, and though he hasn’t scored for a while, he did provide the flick-on assist for Ozil.
Kieran Gibbs – N.A. – His place has been usurped by Monreal and was almost following Debuchy on his way out of the club on deadline day in the hope for more playing time before Euro 2016. He came on for a late cameo today.
Francis Coquelin – N.A. – Arsenal will be hoping their very own Jamie Vardy is back to his top level soon as the Gunners prepare for a tough title run in.
Theo Walcott – N.A – Came on to replace Giroud with seconds to go.