There’s a slight confusion in my mind. I’d prepared myself for quite a close game between Arsenal and Bournemouth but the South Coast side clearly had other ideas by being so unbelievably poor in the first 45 minutes.
After Arsenal put them to the sword around the 9th minute via a David Luiz bullet like header to open the scoring, Arsenal dominated without twisting the blade into the wound.
There was a great opportunity for Aubameyang and Arsenal early on (6) but sadly it was wide of the mark. Saka continued his impressive form, putting the fear of god into the Bournemouth defense every time he looked at ball, that fear multiplied by a thousand when he had it at his feet.
Arsenal would almost regret not going further ahead because in the second half Bournemouth sprang into life with renewed vigour and in the 50 minute, Calum Wilson cut loose, driving through Arsenal’s defence before rounding Leno but the other Calum, Chambers soaked up the danger by launching the ball skywards and away from the line.
The defender/holding midfielder that irritatingly hops in and out of the side, not by choice, reminded Emery of his worth again by preventing Fraser from scoring and even tried his hand up the other end from a Ceballos cross (36) he connected but the ball grew wings and flew wide.
Arsenal did their usual Jekyll and Hyde performance, flowing and solid to some degree in the first half, but desperately indifferent for periods in the second. If Bournemouth hadn’t been so lack lustre they may have got themselves a draw but they simply ran out of time.
It was noticeable that the gunners conceded too much space in the second spell and beckoned Bournemouth forward with a high defensive line. If The opposition had gone over the top with the odd long ball, they may have engineered a goal. Aubameyang nearly added to the goal tally in the dying seconds , only to be thwarted by an extremely robust goalpost.
Arsenal will be satisfied with a clean sheet and three points but it wasn’t comfortable to watch at times and was far from the Stella performance that supporters have been waiting for. If Bournemouth were in the Europa league, the gunners would no doubt have beat them by a handful of goals but the reality is that they just can’t find a complete 90 minutes without losing focus and intensity in the PL.
Pepe’s contribution was up a notch, with his corner giving Arsenal the lead and he nearly got one himself (19) after being put on his way by Saka. The crowd drew a breath as it fizzed past the post and if the collective will of the supporters could have buried the ball in the net for him then he’d have added to his lone penalty kick against Aston Villa.
There’s more to come from this guy, he’s only warming up to the premier league and there could be interesting times ahead. The big recurring problem appears to be Arsenal’s inability to control and seize the initiative or on occasion see the game out.
There is no dominant force and if the right pressure is applied, the middle folds and exposes the defense. Yet in the light of some bizarre results over the weekend, this result could have been a lot worse and on the upside, Arsenal are third in the table, one point behind s misfiring Manchester City and 9 points behind an extremely fortunate Liverpool.