Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Gabriel, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Chambers, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud
Subs: Ospina, Iwobi, Monreal, Debuchy, Koscielny, Campbell, The Jeff
Arsenal went top of the Premier League after goals from Gabriel and Mesut Ozil gave them a 2-0 win over Bournemouth at the Emirates Stadium this evening.
Arsene Wenger made four changes from the team that lost to Southampton with Kieran Gibbs and Gabriel replacing Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal in the back four; Calum Chambers coming into midfield in place of Mathieu Flamini; and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain handed a start in the wide positions ahead of Joel Campbell.
The first attempt on goal came from the visitors with King providing little more than catching practice for Petr Cech, and Aaron Ramsey had to defend well when a low cross from the Bournemouth left caused problems at our near post.
Bournemouth looked well up for it, Arsenal a bit careless on the ball and off the pace, but there was a great chance to go ahead in the 24th minute when Mesut Ozil’s brilliant pass found Theo Walcott’s run, but with just the keeper to beat and the ball dropping over his shoulder, he missed the ball completely.
The German has been the Gunners creative hub this season, so it was no surprise that he added another assist to his tally after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s strong running won a corner in the 27th minute. Ozil curled it in to a dangerous area and Gabriel got ahead of his marker and thumped a header into the top corner for his first ever Arsenal goal. 1-0.
Ramsey picked up a 31st minute yellow card for stopping a Bournemouth break despite the fact Harry Arter was not booked for the exact same kind of foul earlier in the game, giving rise to the belief – in my head anyway – that the referee was a baldy annoying prick.
The lead was almost doubled in the 34th minute from another corner. Again Ozil delivered, Gabriel flicked a header to the far post, it rebounded off the post, fell to Mertesacker and it bounced wide off his forehead from 2 yards out. Moments later Ozil was provider again, this time for Walcott but he saw his shot saved by Boruc.
Bournemouth continued to look shaky from corners and set-pieces with Ozil’s delivery dangerous throughout. There were shouts for a late penalty but the baldy prick was having none of it, as Arsenal finished the first period strongly and took the 1-0 lead with them as the referee blew the half-time whistle.
Bournemouth made a change at the break, bringing on Junior Stanislas for Mark Pugh, and there was early danger when King beat the offside trap but his low cross was blocked by Gabriel who had busted a gut to get back into the right area.
Eddie Howe’s enjoyed a bright spell in terms of possession with Arsenal forced to sit off and defend, but in the 63rd minute the lead was doubled and it was only fair that Ozil was the man to get the goal.
Arsenal drove down the right, Ozil picked it up, drove towards goal, played it to Giroud who flicked a beautiful first time pass back to him. He took a touch then finished with aplomb beyond the keeper. A truly awesome goal, from a truly awesome player. 2-0.
Giroud saw a shot saved by Boruc, Cech had make a stop from Ritchie, and Ozil set up Giroud for a good chance in he 80th minute but his effort on his right foot was tired. That was his last action as Arsene Wenger made his first change, bringing on Joel Campbell to replace the French international.
There was danger from O’Kane as the young Irishman curled a shot over the Arsenal bar, before Nacho Monreal came on to replace Gibbs who was suffering from cramp.
A fine counter-attacking move from the Gunners saw Oxlade-Chamberlain hit the post, agony for the England man who could really use a goal. At the other end Stanislas shot wide as Bournemouth looked for a way back, and there was late danger when Cech made a save.
There was also another chance created by Ozil as he set up Walcott with just Boruc to beat, but the England man’s touch was heavy and his shot easily stopped.
It didn’t matter though, we bounced back from the Southampton defeat to top the table, a nice place to be in, and the clean sheet meant a new record for Petr Cech.
A much better day than Saturday, that’s for sure. We play again in the new year.