Well that feels better doesn’t it, back to winning ways, the sweet smell of victory. When Arsenal win angels soar, birds sing and spuds groan, all the ingredients that make for a good start to any week.
I know it was only Bournemouth and I might be going a bit over the top but it feels like quite a while since I had this feeling and what with spuds losing their unbeaten status and us moving ahead of them in the league I think there is plenty to be happy about and I am going to milk it.
Three – one was about the right score, we made hard work of it as we are all too often prone to do against this kind of opposition even though collectively, talent wise, we are head and shoulders better and that is the way things appeared shortly after the game got under way. Oxlaide-Chamberlain getting sharper and sharper with every game was carving them open down the left flank but unfortunately his incisions came to nothing until in the spirit of the Christmas season Bournemouth handed us an early present by gifting the ball to Sanchez who calmly fired the ball low and hard past the helpless goalkeeper.
One – nil and all was going to plan, Bournemouth would be forced to come out in an attempt to score which would create the perfect situation for the speedy skills of Walcott on the right flank and Chamberlain on the left, what could go wrong? What went wrong was probably the most unexpected of scenarios: Debuchy got injured, well I don’t mean that was a surprise what was a surprise was how the simple addition of Gabriel seemed to completely knock us off our stride and shortly after with a reciprocal sense of seasonal giving we handed them a way back in the form of a clumsy challenge on one of their chaps which was deemed a penalty. It looked a fairly clear pen to me but I have read others who felt it was harsh; this hardly matters now as the fact is that it was converted to bring Bournemouth back on terms. Arsenal continued in this giving spirit handing them opportunity after opportunity but all were declined.
Half time came and went and although we started the second half better and the switch of Gabriel and Debuchy became an insignificance the problem was while the score remained 1-1 there was always that nagging worry that we may be looking at yet another November draw.
Both bad Theo and good Theo were on display today. The game was live on telly and everyone reading this saw the game. Walcott’s close control is poor to say the least, however, before people start running to his rescue he did, of course, score the all important second goal, what can I say; sigh, we are going to be stuck with him for even longer.
Going a goal behind sent Bournemouth out on the attack again and they had a few good chances but our defence stayed calm with Koscielny and Mustafi putting in a title winning shift before Wenger brought on Giroud and Ramsey and their fresh legs tipped the balance completely back in our favour with the French Lumber Sexual gaining a fantastic assist, allowing Sanchez to get his second and put the game to bed. Sanchez was man of the match, people worry about the accidental loss of Özil but the real doomsday scenario is the loss of Sanchez.
Back to Bournemouth and Eddie Howe, I have been watching how he has been handling Wilshere and his reintroduction from injury has been impressive, first 30 minutes as a sub then 45 from the start, then 50 then 60 until now he is able to play the full 90. Simple perhaps but you have to do it and you have to make it work and getting Wilshere to work could be the difference of that club staying up this season and not. It was quite a coup just getting him but to get him firing on all cylinders and remaining in the EPL will be an impressive achievement.
And on the subject of staying up let me ask a question: how many people think that Bournemouth will be able to stay in the league for the next three seasons? Or let me put it a different way, what are the chances of them staying up for the next three seasons? My answer would be very slim. Why ask about the number three, well there is a reason: Wenger is in the last year of his contract but all the smart money is on him extending another two years which means, including this one, he will be at the club for another three seasons. So what I wonder is: would there be the same clamour for Eddie Howe to come and join us at the home of football if he were the one in charge of a relegated team?
An LB offering.