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Arsenal Versus Bournemouth: Juggling and Balance

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So it’s nearly over. The colonists have celebrated their annual feast of thankfulness and the retail addicts have fought in the car park of the shopping mall. The dreaded dark month of November of which many were, just a few short weeks ago, so scared, has nearly passed.  The disastrous run of unbeaten games which everyone predicted has happened and we have only two fixtures left to get through before we can all sigh with relief and enjoy the downhill toboggan run that is December, January and February.

Sarcasm aside and trying to look at the thing objectively, we dropped two points at home to Spurs, otherwise nothing to be embarrassed about in the other results. A return to winning ways today and the start of another winning streak would of course be the perfect end to Black November and that’s exactly what I expect.

I do not say this from an emotional, hopeful perspective. I expect it because seldom do we go on a long run without a win. As Shotta will no doubt confirm very rarely do we play four games and not win at least one of them. We did once manage six draws on the trot – a club record in fact – but that was way back in 1961. We ended the sequence with an emphatic 4 – 2 defeat of Fulham and in case you were wondering Barnwell and Henderson both scored twice.

I don’t see our recent results as a problem because the squad isn’t suddenly altered in any way just because of a few drawn games. The players are precisely as talented and skilful as ever they were and the manager as wily and experienced as at the start of the season. If I have any sort of concern it would be more about the patchy nature of the performances. This must in some part be down to the ever changing make up our first eleven. Disruption to the line up is seldom ever conducive to consistent displays on the pitch. We have lacked a settled deputy for Santi and have seen several players tried next to Francis Coquelin. Aaron is the latest to attempt not to fill the Spaniard’s boots but to bring his own style to the position.

Like anyone else, and especially given his recent return from injury, he needs time before we can judge him. Personally I prefer to see him there rather than anyone else. He has the ability to tackle, the nous to keep the ball, a range of passes, can run with the ball and is deadly when he does get forward. Is it his best position? I don’t pretend to be sufficiently knowledgeable to answer that one.

We have also rotated on the flanks, at full back and up front. I entirely support the manager in this as only he has all the information on fitness levels, and only he knows his own long term plan for the season. To second guess him on why certain players are rested for certain games is an exercise in futility. You had just as well tell me I should have killed off a character in the first chapter of my book without knowing that he is pivotal to the plot in the final pages.

However I have eyes and they occasionally function reasonably well and I can clearly see that a game built around fast, instinctive, flowing football is disrupted and can stagnate into blunt predictable patterns when players don’t anticipate each other’s movements. I’ve always believed the game is about partnerships all over the pitch. Certain players bond better with some team mates than with others. Also there are some players who have the kind of influence on those around them that can change a game. Gerrard did it famously for Liverpool on many occasions, Vieira has done it for us and I would argue Aaron, when he hits form and confidence is that type of player.

Regardless of the formation or personnel around him he has the ability to take the game to the opposition, to open up space for others and to score important goals. If he gets a run alongside Francis I think we’ll see evidence of this and the weight of expectation on Mesut and Alexis will diminish as a result thus freeing their games to the benefit of everybody on the team.

Today we face Jack Wilshere’s Bournemouth. He has answered the question as to who he wants to win in the only way he could. His team mates would surely look askance at anybody in their own dressing room who publicly called for them to be defeated. Arsène brushed aside the attempt to squeeze some controversy from this and I believe we should do the same.

In any case Jack’s temporary allegiance to his rehabilitation team won’t be subjected to public scrutiny as he can’t play against us today. I might have been blissfully unaware of the ludicrous ‘head to head’ goal rule in the Champion’s League but I’m up to snuff on Premier League loan regulations. It’s section 7.2 of rule M.6 if you’d care to have a look yourself.

Bournemouth like to play the game in what we consider to be the right way. It must have been a factor in Jack’s choice to go there. They are finding it hard going though and while they haven’t endured the kind of Novemberus horribilis which so many were predicting for the Arsenal they did lose to Sunderland and that takes some doing. They sit a mere four points from the relegation zone but this simply illustrates why I care so little for league tables this side of the new year. Four points from the gallows they may be but they’re also only four from sixth place. Given the quality of the five teams above that position it must be the high water mark for every other side in the league.

I’d like to see a settled line up today, yes even the same team that duked it out on Wednesday night, but as I’ve said before I won’t carp whatever team sheet Arsène pins up because he is the only one with sufficient information to understand the decision. Our job isn’t to manage the team it’s to cheer them on. I’d have loved to have been there to do so in person today and thanks to splendid PA regular Steve, that nearly became a reality but circumstances conspired against me. I shall therefore be watching from the armchair and will see you here at a quarter past two. If, like Steve, you are at the match then why not sing a song for the folks back home? I’ll listen out for you.

About steww

Arsenal, books, photography, bass guitar, dog walking, mountain biking, being on the radio, writing, talking too much, failing, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

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143 comments on “Arsenal Versus Bournemouth: Juggling and Balance

  1. ‘EVEN WHEN ALEXIS LOOKS DEAD HE’S ALIVE’

    It has been some season so far for Alexis, and he continued his fine form with a brace as we secured a hard-fought victory against Bournemouth on Sunday.
    Arsène Wenger faced the media after the game and discussed the Chile international’s all-action display, Granit Xhaka and Theo Walcott.

    on Alexis…
    Even when he looks dead, he’s still alive and always finds the resources to do something special. He has that conditioning which allows him to always find an extra gear to be dangerous.

    on contract talks with Alexis…
    It is important. How important it is, I don’t know – we will not sort it tonight. We have some time in front of us.

    on Alexis putting a zero on with every performance…
    Well, you like us to spend money, so you should be happy!

    was he fortunate with the tackle on Arter…
    I don’t think it was a desire to hurt Arter. He hurt him, yes, because he was late but I don’t think it was with excessive force or violence, it was just too late to take the ball. He didn’t want to injure him.

    on Granit Xhaka…
    He became better as the game went on and in the second half I think he did very well. We are in November, he arrived in July. It’s normal adaptation and he gets better used to the pace of the game, to the positioning on the pitch and I think his passing through the lines has played a big part today.

    on Xhaka’s pass to Alexis for the penalty appeal…
    The strikers like to play with guys who play well through the lines and I think the strikers appreciate him.

    on Theo Walcott’s goal celebration…
    Two babies, two boys! He has to run for two now you know! He has to work double.

    on whether he was surprised by Bournemouth’s quality…
    Not really because they weren’t exactly the side I wanted to play after Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain. They are a tricky side who can keep the ball and, if you’re not well organised, you can be in trouble. On top of that, I felt we started well but when they equalised we were nervous and that’s where having three consecutive draws played a little bit on our minds. At half-time it was down to us to calm down and focus on the game we wanted to play. In the second half we created many dangerous situations but Bournemouth remained dangerous too because they can keep the ball well and attack very well. They’re one of the teams who can compare their possession with the top teams in the Premier League.

    on Gabriel…
    When I picked the squad I imagined that something could happen to Debuchy. I had Francis Coquelin ready to play right back as well because he can play there, but I went for Gabriel because he’s a defender and is very quick. He adapted well. I watched tapes of him playing full back at Villarreal. On two or three occasions he played at left back and I found just one tape of him playing at right back. He was playing in Brazil and I must say that it was not super convincing, but today he did well.

    on the penalty…
    My view is that we should have had a penalty for a foul on Alexis, and that the penalty which was given [against us] was a very soft one. It was a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge and I was really amazed that he gave a penalty.

    on it changing the dynamics of the game…
    From that moment on, we became nervous and they suddenly because more dynamic going forward. We lost some balls and put ourselves in trouble. We had to calm down at half-time and just focus on the game.

    on the strength of his bench…
    It’s as well the first time I made seven changes compared to Wednesday night. When you go in the Premier League, I think it’s a long time since I have done that, to change seven players, keeper included to go from a Champions League game into a Premier League game. That’s why I have top-quality players on the bench.

    on Walcott…
    Yeah, he got a kick but nothing major. The only worry we have is Giroud, he looked a little bit to touch his hamstring. We have to see how big the damage is.

    on Giroud being on the ground at the end…
    With the hamstring. In the first moment, he told me that he felt a twitch in the back of his hamstring and we will see. I hope it’s not too bad because he told me after that when he sprinted he didn’t feel anything.

    on Debuchy…
    He thinks it’s a severe one. Don’t go too far because I have to speak to medical people, but you can only assess it really after 48 hours. You have to let it bleed and after, usually they have an MRI 48 hours later to see how big the damage is.

    Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20161127/-even-when-alexis-looks-dead-he-s-alive-#P4wDE2p2ArHEmEWq.99

    Liked by 1 person

  2. wenger’s comments on xhaka is almost as if it takes a player a little bit of time to get used to a new league, and a new team and a new system. The arsenal uber bloggers don’t agree with any of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ha ha ha, man utd draw at home again, now 11pts off top, and 8pts off top 4.

    by the way anyone see that outrageous dive by pogba today, will the media call him a cheat, like hell the will.

    Like

  4. thanks to Steve for sneaking me in today and for a great laugh with all his mates and Ian stone in the Eaglet. Ian ashores us that wrighty is madly passionate about ARSENAL off camera but I did ask him if thats the case why is he always so negative when he on tv or radio.
    We played well today and it would of been a stroll had the ref not tried to make a game of it. When the game is at one-one and you see Aaron, Giroud and Iwobi warming up you know we have a fantastic squad.
    I also am not a betting man but Steve was having a bet so I had a go and put Theo to score and ARSENAL to win by two so i’ve got a few squid coming back.
    All in all three points off the top after black november aint bad so onwards and upwards COYG

    Liked by 3 people

  5. alexis’s two goals today brings him to 37 goals in 74+4 BPL games, and 52 goals in 104+7 in all competitions, now if only we had a one in two scorer.

    Walott got his 6th bpl goal of the season (12 games), he only got 5 goals in 15+13 bpl games last season.

    Like

  6. a_o_b well what answer did ian stone give for why ian wright is a negative ninny on air. by chance did he admit that he is under instruction from the bosses.

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  7. some big games next weeken

    man city v chelsea

    west ham v arsenal

    bournemouth v liverpool

    everton v man utd

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  8. well mourinho always claims he wants to be treated the same as Wenger, well he got it today, just like when wenger kicked a water bottle at OT and got sent to the stands, jose kicked a water bottle today and got sent to the stands. And what was jose upset about, pogba rightly getting booked for a diving.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. can someone tell niall quinn arsenal do not have a player called oatsil

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  10. I did not watch the southampton v everton game, but by all account the saint were very good, we play them in the EFLC on Wednesday and we are likely to make 10 or 11 changes from today’s starting 11, with Debuchy and Giroud picking up injures today it cuts our squad, Lucas is back in training but will he be ready to start the game

    we might see our team something like this

    Martinez
    Jenksinson Gabriel Holding Gibbs
    Coquelin Ramsey
    Reine-adelaide Iwobi Oxlade-Chamberlain
    Lucas
    subs Ospina, Bielik, Bola, Maitland-Niles, Zelalem, C Willock, Mavadidi

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  11. xhakas stats today

    how john cross rated him

    Xhaka 5 – Some good passes but he was a passenger in the game for long periods.

    Like

  12. Richard Martin ‏@Rich9908 1h1 hour ago
    Just realised Mourinho has as many sendings off at Old Trafford in the league as he does home wins.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. isn’t it so cute that Duncan Castles is Jose’s own pet journo. A bit of a shame that the Sunday Times allow it, would have expected better from them.

    Like

  14. Paddy ‏@VieiraPaddy 47m47 minutes ago
    Mourinho spent £150m and is already more than 10 points behind the team he nearly got relegated last season. Special once.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Premier League Zone ‏@ThePLZone 12m12 minutes ago
    Chelsea are 17 points better off than they were last season

    Manchester United are 7 points worse off

    Like

  16. FK³ ‏@fkhanage 1h1 hour ago
    After 13 games played, Manchester United are 9 points above the relegation zone and 11 points behind the league leaders. #MourinhoEffect

    Liked by 1 person

  17. the more i see of Thierry Henry the more I’m delighted that he has no role in our academy, the guy hasn’t got a clue. He is very similar to Paul Merson

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Jim Beglin ‏@jimbeglin 42m42 minutes ago
    Jose can’t learn from his mistakes because he feels he’s never made one.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Can I just say how delighted I am by how the results have gone since Saturday late afternoon? Practically perfect in every way.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. an excellent second half, though heads seemed to drop a bit for a while after another soft penalty. seems Kos only has to move towards a forward to be penalised. Maybe Kos needs to invoke his inner Vidic, Verthongen or Dier to stop such things happening.
    Bournemouth can play some decent football….as they did, not sure why they went so heavily on some of the dark arts at times today, other than perhaps they thought they could get away with it.
    But, a very decent and welcome 3 points
    Anyone know what was up with Jenkinson?

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Osman ‏@OsmanZtheGooner 3h3 hours ago
    4th consecutive home league draw for Man United. 1st time it has happened since 1980 #MourinhoRecordBreaker

    Like

  22. Le-Coq-qui canister ‏@double_canister 4h4 hours ago
    Hello @FA that’s the 3rd time this season the Man Utd. manager has brought the game into disrepute. As fines don’t work you must deduct pts.

    Like

  23. some of the CL teams to drop points this weeken

    Leicester City
    Spurs
    Barcelona
    Bayer Leverkusen
    Borussia Monchengladback
    Borussia Dortmund
    Juventus

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Jonny ‏@JonnyOneill 3h3 hours ago
    @DuncanCastles Duncan he’s never going to leave his wife for you. Live your life X

    Like

  25. Ed, you are right of course frustration will never be a reason to be so negative about your own club and wrighty should remember he was in a team that come twelfth.
    I think AMN will start at right back given that Jenks is our only fit right back at the moment.
    I’m going to the stiffs tomorrow so it will be interesting to see who’s missing from the line up. That will probably tell us who’s at least in the eighteen for Wednesday.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. A very good day, except for poor Debuchey.
    Football can be cruel.

    Good trio of goals for us. Some rust brushed off the gears.

    Like

  27. BBC MOTD are FEWMIN that Arsenal won the game.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Arsenal are 2 points better off after 13 games that we were this time last season.
    Jose has Man Utd. 2 points worse off than Van Gaal or Moyse had them after 12 games.

    Like

  29. 28 points from 13 games, keep on this trajectory and it’s over 80 for the season.
    Let Shotta do the maths.

    Like

  30. isnt it odd that match of the day had so much to say about the monreal ball to hand, but did not mention anything about the exact same sort of incident for west ham at utd.
    Martin Keown is a muppet too, its clear from his comments about Xhaka this morning on motd2 how he decided to view xhaka’s performance in todays game, he had already charged him, tried him and convicted him, and he hung him tonight. Just like TH14, I’m glad he never got a coaching job at the club.

    Liked by 3 people

  31. Le-Coq-qui canister ‏@double_canister 1h1 hour ago
    @MOTD celebrating C. Adams doing exactly what Mustafi did. I don’t approve of mustafi’s indiscipline, but please, show some balance on BBC.

    Like

  32. Ste Hoare ‏@stehoare 3h3 hours ago
    Big fan of The Express giving Alex Iwobi a 5 rating even though he didn’t play in the game.

    Like

  33. Arsenal ‏@Arsenalgorithms 9h9 hours ago
    Arsenal’s longest unbeaten runs during a season under Wenger:

    21 (2007/08)
    20 (2002/03, 2003/04)
    19 (2016/2017)
    18 (2001/02)

    Like

  34. what was all the fuss in the media over Arsenal in November

    Sky Sports Statto ‏@SkySportsStatto 9h9 hours ago
    Arsenal have gone unbeaten in the PL in the month of November for 1st time since 2011 & only 2nd time in last 9 seasons

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Arsenal HQ ‏@ArsenaIHQ 4h4 hours ago
    Granit Xhaka won 8 tackles vs. Bournemouth today; more than any other player in the PL this weekend. #afc

    Arsenal HQ ‏@ArsenaIHQ 3h3 hours ago
    Goals + Assists this season:

    Alexis Sanchez: 16 – (10G, 6A)
    Theo Walcott : 11 – (9G, 2A)
    Mesut Özil: 11 – (7G, 3A)

    Like

  36. We are not exactly a dirty team, yet have conceded penalties in three of our last four league games…..today, Spurs, Sunderland, and some very iffy penalties at that….with our boys being denied one or two as well.
    Not for a single moment…….saying anything is going on…..but can assure you the media would if the same happened to Chelsea, Utd, City, Liverpool or Spurs.
    But apparently the world and its mother and some of our own so called fans are outraged we won today, so expect more of the same, and if a ref makes an unfortunate mistake against us, there may not be such a media reaction……
    But ultimately, well done Wenger and co for remaining undefeated during this spell

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Iwobi with 5 despite not playing… I really did laugh at that….

    some of these reporters likely just set out to give all arsenal players 4 or 5 and ed up forgetting to check who is on the team first… such is the glee to proclaim it

    Like

  38. New post up

    Like

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