Arsenal got back to winning ways yesterday with a win over minnows Bournemouth, securing all three points with a comfortable, if inefficient, display at home. Apart from an early spell of dominance from the visitors, the Gunners looked rarely troubled and eventually coasted home on the back of yet another stunning display from Mesut Ozil. Although the result was not quite up to the standards the team has set this season, it was a decent comeback from the thrashing we received at Southampton, and the manager will be pleased with some of his fringe players for their performances yesterday.
The exclusions of Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny were somewhat unexpected; they have been our most consistent defenders this season, after all. But it was obvious that the manager was trying to keep things fresh and it paid off as Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista turned in a quality performance at centre back. Kieran Gibbs and Calum Chambers also had decent showings on the night.
Up front, it was the Ozil show once again, as the German playmaker cut through the opposition defence at will. If Walcott was a bit more precise with his finishing, we would have won by a much larger margin. Ultimately, the two goals we did score were good enough to see us through.
Here are our player ratings for the game:
Petr Cech – 7.0
Solid, assured display from the keeper. He did not have much to do for large portions of the game and dealt with the few threats that Bournemouth produced with ease. Well deserved clean sheet and it gives him the record for most clean sheets in the Premier League as well.
Hector Bellerin – 7.0
A much improved showing from the young Spaniard, as he was assured in defence and was a threat going forward as well. His crosses were not the best, but it is good to see him getting back into the groove once more.
Per Mertesacker – 6.0
A decent performance from the BFG. His vulnerability to pace is common knowledge now, and he was beaten on occasion by the opposing strikers. Luckily, his defensive partners were on hand to cover for him.
Gabriel Paulista – 8.0
Great display from the Brazilian defender, as he was full of energy and desire. He hardly put a foot wrong in defence all game, making several key tackles; and also managed to score his first goal for the Gunners via a corner.
Kieran Gibbs – 6.5
A good performance from the Englishman certainly, however it seems unlikely that he will be able to displace Nacho Monreal anytime soon.
Calum Chambers – 6.5
Deployed in the defensive midfield role, Chambers made a few mistakes early on but grew into the game as it progressed. While he still has a long way to go before he becomes a regular, it certainly seems possible that he could be a solution in the short term.
Aaron Ramsey – 7.0
Played more defensively than in the previous game, focusing on dominating the midfield. It worked well, and he was able to get forward on occasion too, which the manager will be pleased to see.
Mesut Ozil – 8.5
MotM. The German continues his dream run of form in the Premier League, as he picked up yet another assist and a goal as well. He was the main engine for our attack throughout the game, creating several opportunities that should have really been put away by the forwards. His goal was well deserved, and the build up play between Ozil and Giroud was sublime.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6.0
Lots of work, but no tangible end product from the Englishman. Ox ran around all game and was certainly enthusiastic, but he needs to start making more of an impact in games. As it stands right now, Campbell has supplanted him in the pecking order at the Emirates.
Theo Walcott – 6.5
A rather average display from Walcott. He made some beautiful runs and created space at will, but his finishing was very, very poor. He could have had at least a couple of goals, and this is something that he needs to work on.
Olivier Giroud – 6.5
Like Walcott, Giroud had a good team game but was lacking in the individual department. He seemed a bit off the pace as well, not making as many runs as he usually does. Perhaps a rest is in order for the French striker.
A good win to end the calendar year, let’s hope we can carry on this form in the second half of the season as well.