Arsenal had to overcome a determined Bournemouth side and an idiotic Mike Jones to claim all three points at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon.
The Gunners took the led just after ten minutes when Alexis latched onto an under-hit back-pass, but Mike Jones made sure Arsenal didn’t stay ahead for too long when he pointed to the spot, believing that Nacho Monreal had fouled Callum Wilson.
In fact, replays showed that the Bournemouth frontman was the one doing the fouling. He can be clearly seen making a move to ensure contact happened, barging Monreal, before throwing himself through the air as if he’d just stepped on a landmine.
The same player made no mistake from the spot.
To make matters worse, Jones had waved play on as Mesut Ozil was rugby tackled in the buildup to their penalty. It was a joke of a decision from a ref who has form when it comes to Arsenal matches and big decisions.
In a large part, Debuchy’s withdrawal due to injury and Gabriel’s introduction caused Arsenal the most problems and they took far too long to settle after the change and goal.
We are still a side that gets rattled when things go against us; a psychological failing that is the very opposite of the fabled ‘mental strength’ we’re meant to have because we keep coming from behind in games.
Arsenal finished the second half stronger than they played most of it, finally settling as the break approached. But it is still a concern.
The second half, as tends to be the case, was much better and I do often wonder what would happen if Arsene gave his half-time team talk before the game started.
Our lead was restored after 53 minutes when some great work from Mesut Ozil found Nacho Monreal. Making a Bournemouth defender dizzy, Ozil lifted a perfectly weighted ball to the Spaniard. While everyone expected Nacho to slash it goalwards, he played a deft, first time ball to Theo, who headed into an empty net and then went to rock his invisible baby.
Özil dislocating hips pic.twitter.com/slPJm99E03
— GoonerViews (@GoonerViews) November 27, 2016
— Arsène's Son (@hughwizzy) November 27, 2016
Bournemouth’s best chance came when a great save denied Benik Afobe a goal against his former side, but in truth he hit it straight at Cech. It was a warning that although Arsenal had dominated since the restart, the game was far from won with only a single goal lead.
More Arsenal chances came, but we seemed determined not to extend our lead. At no point, however, did I feel like Arsenal were going to Arsenal this up. I did have a slight concern that Jones would hand them something, but we did our best not to give him the opportunity.
Our third, with injury time already on the clock, was a nice little Alexis-shaped cherry tap-in. It was also an assist for Olivier Giroud as he continues to make a significant impact from the bench.
After three successive draws, it feels great to get back to winning ways. There will be much to discuss over the coming week regarding the style of the win, but, at this point, when we aren’t at our best, a win is a win is a win.
Plus, that makes it 19 undefeated now.