Arsenal: Cech, Debuchy, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Elneny, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Alexis
Subs: Ospina, Gabriel, Gibbs, Coquelin, Ramsey, Iwobi, Giroud
Arsenal got their first Premier League win of November, as a double from Alexis Sanchez and a Theo Walcott strike gave them a 3-1 win over Bournemouth at the Emirates today.
Arsene Wenger made a seven changes to the team which drew 2-2 with PSG in midweek, as Petr Cech, Mathieu Debuchy, Nacho Monreal, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott all came into the starting XI.
There was an early sight of goal for Mesut Ozil when Oxlade-Chamberlain pulled back a nice ball from the left but the German’s shot was blocked. Bournemouth’s Steve Cook picked up a 4th minute yellow card for a foul on Alexis, and just three minutes captain Steve Francis followed him into the book for hacking down the Ox.
It was a bright start from Arsenal, but Bournemouth were guilty of a horrendous mistake to gift the Gunners the first goal.
Federici rolled the ball out to Cook, he tried to play it back to him but underhit it, played it straight to Alexis who picked it up on the edge of the box, took it on and rolled it beyond the stranded keeper into the net. 1-0.
The Chilean felt he should have had a penalty minutes later but his claims were waved away. Replays showed he was fouled, but the incident took place just outside the box.
Debuchy’s return to action, after so long out, only lasted 15 minutes. The French international picked up an injury and was replaced by Gabriel.
The visitors were then handed a way back into the game by referee Mike Jones who ignored a blatant foul on Ozil on the wing. As play went on the ball bounced into the Arsenal box, Wilson barged into Monreal and the man in black booked the Spaniard and pointed to the spot. Wilson picked himself up and rolled the ball into the net to make it 1-1.
It was almost worse a minute later when Smith headed over the bar from 10 yards as the visitors enjoyed a good spell. By the 30th minute they’d had seven attempts to Arsenal’s three.
Elneny shot over in the 37th minute when he intercepted just outside their box, before nice combination play between Alexis and Ozil saw the Chilean do likewise. Arsenal dominated the final stages of the opening period, and almost went back in front when Alexis smashed a fierce shot off the crossbar from a tight angle, but the game remained level at the break.
There were no changes by either manager at half-time, and Ozil’s free kick early in the second period drifted wide without an Arsenal head on it. It was an Arsenal head that them in front though.
The Gunners worked the ball down the left, Ozil held it in the box before crossing it to the back post. Monreal might have shot, but dinked a beautiful cross to the back post where the waiting Walcott headed home. 2-1 (video 2).
Alexis almost picked out Ozil but his pass was slightly overhit, and he was next into the referee’s book for a nasty foul on Harry Arter, catching the Irishman on the back of the Achilles with his studs.
Bournemouth sent on former Gunner Benik Afobe who replaced goalscorer Wilson in the 64th minute. Xhaka had a long distance pop in the 69th minute but Bournemouth were very much in the game. They made another change, with Jordan Ibe replacing Junior Stanislas.
There was another penalty shout for Bournemouth when the ball clearly struck Monreal’s hand in the box, but the referee deemed it ball to hand. Arter picked up a booking for his protests.
A wonderful Alexis pass almost saw Ozil clean through but the German was held up on the edge of the box and his backheel was just cut out before it reached Oxlade-Chamberlain.
It was the England man’s last involvement as he was replaced by Aaron Ramsey in the 75th minute while Walcott came off for Olivier Giroud at the same time.
Afobe almost made it 2-2 when a corner fell to him in the box, but Cech made an outstanding save with his legs to deny the former Arsenal man. It was a game of few chances, neither goalkeeper particularly overworked.
The Gunners had to defend well, with good work from Mustafi, Alexis, Gabriel and Xhaka helping to keep the lead secure. Giroud almost got on the end of a Ramsey cross and then returned the favour, chesting the ball down for the Welshman who couldn’t quite make the most of the chance.
As the game headed towards the final minute of normal time, substitute Mousset headed wide from a good position, and it proved a costly miss as Arsenal extended the lead just a minute later.
Mustafi slid in, as the Gunners broke from deep, Giroud played it to Ozil who returned it behind their defence. The Frenchman cut it back from the byline and Alexis was there to tap home from close range. 3-1.
Five minutes of injury time were added, in which Gabriel picked up a yellow card, but the Chilean’s second goal provided a nice cushion.
In the end a difficult enough day, but good to see the team back to winning ways as they now lie just three points behind the leaders.