Gritty Arsenal overcome Bournemouth challenge
Gone are those days when travelling Arsenal fans were faced with the nightmare of seeing their beloved team struggle and go down to teams which were much lower in the Premier League standings. After 2 decades of Arsene Wenger’s reign, one statistic that the fans thought would improve under Unai Emery was their away win record.
And boy! The team didn't disappoint.
Even though it was not amongst the most emphatic of victories, what we did see was a resurgent Arsenal who fought till the end. From an experimental formation to even keeping Mesut Ozil on the bench for the entire game, the match had it all.
It was never believed to be an easy game. Bournemouth under manager Eddie Howe has risen to prominence and were capable of pulling off an upset on their best day.
Arsenal got the lead thanks to an own goal by Jefferson Lerma. Heading towards half-time and Arsenal confident of maintaining their lead for the first time this season, Bournemouth levelled the scores thanks to a fast counter-attack and a sublime finish by Joshua King.
Bournemouth looked confident of at least keeping the scores tied if not more. But they also knew it was going to be a tough ask as Arsenal were a team who had taken their game up in the second half of the match in this season.
As expected, Arsenal came out all guns blazing keeping most of the possession and trying to release the ball to Pierre Emerick Aubameyang whenever possible.
The tactical change of opting from a 4-2-3-1 to a 3-4-3 was starting to bear fruit. Sead Kolasinac, who prefers being a wing back started showing his offensive abilities combining with Alex Iwobi and causing all type of problems on the left flank of the Bournemouth defence. And one such move was when Iwobi stepped up and pulled off an 'Ozil', meeting Kolasanic's run who then found Aubameyang in front of an empty goal thereby giving Arsenal the lead.
Even though Arsenal were able to secure all the 3 points and extend their unbeaten streak to 17 games, the match did have its share of negatives.
Mkhitaryan was poor the whole game which even led to fans thinking as to who may have gotten the worse of the Sanchez-Mkhitaryan swap deal among the two clubs. Mustafi did keep the defence intact mostly throughout the game, but during the final moments of the game, he gave the fans a heart-attack by conceding a free kick by fouling Wilson on the edge of the box.
There are still a lot of improvements that needs to be made before Arsenal are considered Title Contenders, but what we can see is a positive frame of mind and a thirst to win and compete with the best of teams in the best of tournaments.
Arsenal look all set to continue their unbeaten run when they take on FC Vorskla in the Europe League on Thursday.