Arsenal 5 Bournemouth 1 – Player Ratings

Contrary to the apparent opinion of many in the Arsenal blogosphere, this game  might be more important than any of the matches coming up in early March in the Premier League. In all actuality, each game has its own significance.

First Half

The game got off to a flyer, plenty of space and a goal for Mesut from Kola’s instant pass within the first 4 minutes. Perfect. Bournemouth made a tactical change and were suddenly right back in it. Their tails were up and then we scored the second to take the wind out of their sails after a sloppy pass across the back four. Micki found Mesut and his return pass was just sublime; the Armenian’s finish clinical.

Stuart MacFarlane

Surely that would kill Bournemouth’s fightback? Nope. Some more titting about playing out from the back gifted them a goal. Guendouzi caught on the ball, though he was also caught with the follow through of the challenge which I always thought was a foul. Anyway 2-1 and raised heartrates all round.

The remainder of the first half was spent searching for a working stream. Did anything happen?

Second Half

According to the commentary I had, Emery laid into the players at half time.  It showed. Ferguson hairdryer, Emery blowtorch – who cares if it produces the right reaction from the players.

Kos scored from a free-kick which looked like it was going nowhere but back to our own half. It ended up being a nicely constructed goal which created the space in the penalty area by virtue of the backwards passing.

The fourth from Auba was all down to Micki’s strength bringing the ball out from deep Who would’ve thought? Taking the ball round the keeper – how often does anyone get a chance to do that these days?

Andy Rain/EPA-EFE

Mesut hit the post before the coup de grace. Laca’s free kick really was the cherry on the cake. The ball travelled over the jumping wall and still came down six feet from the ground. Boruc got a touch but had little chance of keeping it out.


Excellent home win – something we’ve come to expect at THOF as out home form is that of title contenders. The first half definitely had some worrying periods, but overall it was a football match of which the manager should be proud.

Spuds losing meant that we’re only 4 points behind their title challenge. 🙂 The chavs and red mancs winning meant fourth to sixth position stay exactly as you were.


Leno – no chance with the goal – crucial save from Fraser in the first half … 7

Jenkinson – didn’t disgrace himself without adding too much. A true Gooner  … 6

Koscielny – deserved his goal – luckily his injury at the end looked an impact job rather than one which would affect the knee joint for any length of time – the studs into his knee were unnecessary  … 8

Sokratis – implacable, indefatigable, imperturbable … 7

Monreal – La Cabra produced his usual high energy committed performance … 7

Kolasinac – an assist for Mesut’s goal – his attacking prowess is one of the team’s strengths … 7

Torreira – fought manfully with little protection from the ref – still not sure he knows his role in the team – seemed lost in the first half … 7

Guendouzi – Matteo, what were you doing for the Bournemouth goal? – his usual all action performance aside from that though … 7

Ozil – a goal, a superb assist – will always make a significant contribution to our goals tally – is it enough? … 8

Mkhitaryan – involved in most of the meaningful attacking action – his assist for Auba’s goal was brilliant … 8

Aubameyang – finally got his goal after looking disappointed in the first half … 7


Iwobi – will play against the spuds for sure … 7

Lacazette – hungry for goals and scored from a peach of a free-kick … 7

Suarez – we finally saw what he might be capable of in some impressive glimpses … 7


Emery – can rest easy before the spud game that he overcame a team which briefly threatened to come back at us – if it’s true that he went at the players at half time, then we need more of that Unai … 8

Wagner – struggling with a depleted squad … 4

Please give your own ratings/match report in the comments.



44 Responses to Arsenal 5 Bournemouth 1 – Player Ratings

  1. LBG says:

    We missed you Bro and managed to start with eight pints in front of us!
    As I scribbled on my return last night. Ouzi FOULED, no contact with ball from Bournemouth player. Their defence was as non existent as a Spurs challenge for the title. But we still needed to score. Much joy! Knackered, but content.

  2. LBG says:

    Correction! Briefest contact with ball by Bournemouth player. Smith ” no hint of a foul”.

  3. mickydidit89 says:

    Thanks very much Chas

    At the time I blamed Leno rather than Guendouzi

    Just watched it again and again on youtube

    There was one second between Ouzi touching ball and being tackled

    That’s a hospital pass from Leno. So I still blame Leno 🙂

    Agree with all your other comments and especially your point about the rarity of the Auba goal

    With the exception of right back, our squad is looking very strong. I expect us to beat Spurs

  4. chas says:


    To me most of that passing out from the back shite seems like it contains hospital passes.

    I was taught not to pass to someone under pressure but look for the man in space.

    Passing out from the back always seems to involve passing to a man under pressure.

    We often seem to get further up the pitch with a good hoof and the midfielders waiting intelligently for the second ball.

  5. LB says:

    I think we all knew that there was that kind of school boy error in Guendouzi, having scored five I am quite glad that it came out when it did; he will learn from it and improve.

    In fact that is exactly what he did, his long range passing was awesome at times and he is now getting into the oppo’s box, all good stuff.

    Great entertainment, thanks for the read.

  6. mickydidit89 says:


    It’s simple risk management bollox. Play those Leno passes in and around the oppo. penalty area, not your own.

    Ouzi had less than one second and only one option which was an outside of right boot flick to Monreal.

    Last comment on this I promise.

    Is Licht expected to be fit for saturday?

  7. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Really enjoyable game – it usually is when we are two up in the first 20 minutes.

    I think Mhki must have read my comments after the S’ton game because last night was his best game for AFC.

  8. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. I guess that is the risk of playing out from the back and encouraging the opposition to press the defence. At least the tactic spreads the play and stops teams parking the bus.

  9. mickydidit89 says:


    That’s true, but last night’s left them three players clear on our goalie

    Of course it didn’t matter last night. Just hope it doesn’t when it does, because it will happen again

  10. chas says:

    It’s so bloody painful to watch

  11. mickydidit89 says:

    HA, I’ve sent an email with three screenshots. Leno’s fault 🙂

  12. mickydidit89 says:

    It’s not often I say this, but a draw on saturday may be enough to overtake Spuds, given they still have to visit both City and Pool

    I’m so excited this morning. Gap closing part of the season 🙂

  13. chas says:

    Micky’s screenshots

  14. mickydidit89 says:

    Nice work Chas

    See the second clock. One second from safe to 3 on 1.

    Must go.

  15. RA says:

    Morning All,

    Chas’ comment at 7:40, and Micky’s at 8:00 are both spot on.

    The GK and defence passing – after you Claude – has baffled me all season. It’s crap.

    The passing to a midfielder by a defender when he has 1, 2, or 3 opportunity players pressing him is also bowlocks. Also crap.

    But 5 : 1 makes up for it last night. 😁

  16. RA says:

    You know that —- opportunity = opposing —– what can I say??

  17. chas says:

  18. Rasp says:

    Morning all, thanks for the MR chas. I only saw the highlights on motd … but a 5:1 victory is considerably better than many had forecast so I for one am delighted.

    As for playing out from the back … this could be the theory … teams cannot operate a high press and park the bus at the same time. If we are good enough, our play from the back can draw the opposition towards us meaning that if we have the passing ability we can get the ball forward very quickly (to the wings) and be 3 on 3 with their defenders who are retreating at pace. This all makes for exciting football.

    Playing out from the back should not mean passing the ball endlessly between defenders and DM’s … that’s pointless.

    Leno made a mistake yesterday, he shouldn’t have put Ouzi under pressure like that, but he did make amends with a great save and is beginning to show signs of improvement.

    Big plusses are Mhiki’s recent performances and the passing and through balls from Guendouzi who improves and learns every game.

    Ozil was superb in attack (from what I saw) … it has occurred to me that it may be the players around him (who clearly want to play with Ozil) who need to understand his game when we are defending and plug the gaps … it is not unusual to see Laca and Auba running back past Ozil to defend.

  19. VP of Oz says:

    My favourite moments was Kos (I think it was Kos) pass from deep to the left wing which led to the 1st goal. Beautiful.
    and of course the sublime skills of Ozil, the trademark dink of a goal, the unselfish but classy assist, love him playing for us. The PEA one on one goal was great to watch.

    I say 85% today (uo from 65% last game) and ready for 120% on Sat.
    Don’t forget that the spuds have lost 8 games to our 6. Ive been predicting that they will finish below us for quite some time now. If it is so then it will be Pockets last season coaching them. In Pocchi’s whole illustrious career, no trophies and this is his 3rd team.


  20. RC78 says:

    I am very pleased for Mikhy and also not surprised. His last outings were encouraging – it seemed like he was missing fitness but his movement and his passing (always great on last pass before assist) had been good and he did put himself in a position to score before so I hope he can continue this way. Regarding Ozil, he has been playing closer to the box and running more so maybe the bench has done him some good in the end…

    Poor goal to concede indeed but it was a foul, no doubt and Leno messed up with his pass to Guendouzi, no doubt.

    Auba full of running but also too eager to score so that’s hampering him a bit. Lacazette on a roll…We now have 2 strikers in double digits in the EPL – when did that happen last?

    I thought Kos and Monreal were good and Sokratis was OK. Kolasinac was again impressive and Jenkinson was not bad. Torreira looked lost and Guendouzi was fine…Our subs did the job.

    So who do yu pick against Tottenham?
    Leno – Sok, Kos, Monreal – Lichten, Xhaka, LT, Guendouzi, Kola – Mikhy, Laca

    We will need impact so I am going for this team…Ramsey, Ozil, Iwobi, Auba providing good options up front and Mustafi, Jenkinson providing decent options for the back…

  21. PE says:

    It wasn’t Leno fault. Passing out of the back is hinged on high risk and high reward. Douzi under that kind of pressure should have responded with a one touch pass. Remember that the keeper is usually a free option.

    Left footed Xhaka would have given a one touch pass to Monreal and that would have been 3 Bournmouth players out of the game. For right footed Douzi he should have given a one touch back pass to Leno to say chip to now free Monreal to achieve same 3 Bounmouth players out of the game.

    There are costs to passing the ball out of the back but for a team that does it well the benefits are much more. That pattern of play is statistics driven.

  22. chas says:

    I’m looking forward to this high reward when it finally comes. 🙂

    There’s certainly high reward for the high press because most goals seem to be scored from winning possession back in the opposition’s half.

    I see what you’re saying and always think how many gaps there must be further up the pitch if the high press is taking up 6 players’ energies.

    But there rarely seems a time when the shortish passes across the back four plus GK create any space. It’s only a long diagonal that does that. More often than not there’s plenty of titting about before the keeper is forced to hoof down field anyway.

    Still don’t buy it – aside from the fact that it’s mind-numbing to watch.

  23. GunnerN5 says:

    Morning all,

    Fine summation Chas, ratings are spot on.

    PE, the infernal amount of back passing, especially in out back third always concerned me as I thought it was pointless, but you have convinced me that it is in fact very sensible – but it will still take time for me to get used it it – if ever.

    All in all a fine win and top four race stays unchanged, with us still holding the prime position, the next two PL games will tell us a whole lot about our squad and our real capability.

    Next up the N17 misfits.

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    That was a lot easier than anticipated. Well done the boys and great to see Ozil produce his magic – a player people come to stadiums for. Mkhi was also on fire and my MOTM.

    Playing out from the back comes at a risk. If you offer yourself deep then you have to expect to be passed the ball. I don’t think Leno or Guendouzi are too much to blame; shit happens now and again. What Xhaka does well is he looks around him when he is anticipating to get the ball, and Guendouzi has to learn this when defending full stop. But his forward play is what is exciting and he had a couple of quality throughballs last night.

    All set for Saturday. Can you imagine the gap between us and them could be reduced from 10 points to 1 point in just six calendar days?! Not expecting a win but it is definitely possible, and how sweet would that be? Hoping for bright and warm sunlight at Wembley. 🙂

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Oh and thanks for the fine report and player ratings, Chas.

  26. fred1266 says:

    What formation did we start of playing

  27. jjgsol says:

    It certainly seems that Bournemouth gave us a good game. They had only one less shot on target and 3 fewer ones off target.

    It is good to have a visiting team actually try to play, even though, io the end they suffered for it.

    What is annoying is when the so-called top 6 clubs sit back and invite us to attack, to catch us on the break, and they sometimes do that when they are at home as well.

  28. Aaron says:

    Have really enjoyed the pre-game write-ups and people contributing many insightful perspectives on different positions on the field.

    Enjoyed the win for sure-what bothers me is the amount of fouls that Xhaka, Tor and Guen have been getting. 3 of the highest in the league- when is an early yellow card going to come out? Like pups ($h*tTy) hard serial fouling to win the ball back up high, but their team is never truly penalized for such an obvious tactic.

    Seeing Mesut on the field makes me smile, I realize what he offers and hope Emery does too. Arsenal are starting to build some momentum and the spuds are starting to tail off.

    Could this weekend be the game that makes my whole year-beating a squad of potential nothings 2X in on year, and getting back to the proper place above them in the table, and just maybe a top 4?
    More importantly, a trophy in the Europa league.

    I better lay of the coffee for the rest of the day.

  29. PE says:

    Am excited because we made 6 changes and still retained the personality of the team that played against Southampton. There has been energy and a touch of swagger in their play. Looks like Emeryball has finally burst out. We are no longer playing ugly and winning lucky. Long may it last.

    RB is the only position that seems a weak point. I have to say though that Lichst did a good job there against Southampton and it also looks like Musti can be handy there.

  30. fred1266 says:

    PE left footed xhaka would have pass the monreal lol really, the same xhaka who turns the ball over even when not under pressure

  31. GunnerN5 says:

    Arsenal’s Europa League opponents Rennes have been handed a boost after the LFP agreed to postpone a Ligue 1 match to allow them to prepare for their last-16 clash.

    The Gunners will travel to France for the first leg of the second knockout round on March 7, having originally been drawn at home after Uefa switched the venues due to a clash with Chelsea.

    But their opponents will been given more time to recuperate after the League de Football Professionnel (LFP) decided to move their fixture with Nimes Olympique.

    The Ligue 1 outfit were scheduled to face Nimes on March 2, some five days before the Europa League match at Roazhon Park. However, that game will now take place at a future date.

    It means that Rennes, who are currently ninth in the Ligue 1 standings, will be able to enjoy a eight-day break between their Coupe de France fixture against Orleans and the home tie against Arsenal.

  32. Big Raddy says:

    We should be able to beat the 9th best team in France over 2 legs even if they have an 8 day break, shouldn’t we?

  33. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Must be time for a slider

  34. chas says:

    It’s too early

  35. chas says:

    Feb 1971 pub prices in London

  36. LBG says:

    Is it too early…
    How to turn a good season, Dick, into an exceptional one! Take a double victory over Totteringham ( a very rare double victory over an (almost) top six team) and get to within one point of them, with Manure on the horizon.

  37. LBG says:

    Now you’re talking, Chas. Liver sausage!

  38. mickydidit89 says:

    Motning all


    6th in League, and therefore behind Spuds, and EL Trophy


    4th in League with Spuds 5th

    (Option 2 comes with an enormously high ROLF factor)

  39. chas says:

    Option 2
    Not bothered about trophies.
    Apart from 4th place trophy and St Totteringhams.

  40. LBG says:

    First pint, two years earlier 1969, Harp lager, 1s 2d at Lord’s cricket Ground. God bless Dick Clegg for taking his U16 to the Middlesex v Lancashire game.
    ” Down’t want to see ya during the day lads! Back ere for 3!”

  41. LBG says:

    Option 3
    Third in the Premier League, Europa Cup winners. Totteringham sixth.

  42. chas says:

    Two old pence – Really?

  43. chas says:


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