Arsenal halt slide with smooth victory

By Hilton Yip Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/11 22:08:40

Arsenal were deep in crisis before the international break, but a home win over Bournemouth was just what was needed to rectify the state of affairs.

While some people may have thought an upset was in the cards, Arsenal cruised to a straightforward 3-0 win, with Alexis Sanchez starting on the bench. The Gunners will need to maintain this form in Europe as Europa action begins Thursday with a home match against Cologne.

Having lost 4-0 to Liverpool in their previous league game, which followed a loss to Stoke, Arsenal desperately needed to make a statement at home. Arsene Wenger made sure not to repeat his baffling team selection against Liverpool by picking Alexander Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac in the starting 11. There was also no Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who had been sold to Liverpool in the previous week. More significantly, there was no Sanchez, who was said to be tired from international action, while ­Danny Welbeck kept his place.

Arsenal seemed more balanced and unlike against Liverpool, they were able to dominate midfield and prevent Bournemouth from ever settling in. The Cherries are of course a less talented team on paper, but it was still a complete performance from Arsenal. What helped was more clinical and on-target finishing from Welbeck who collected a fine brace, with Lacazette also scoring a fine goal. The game was virtually over after the third goal in the 50th minute, though Sanchez was given a run in the 75th minute.

Things won't always be so straightforward for Arsenal's forwards but it is a very positive sign that Lacazette has already scored two league goals. The key is whether Sanchez can be motivated enough to play hard for Arsenal, given that his move to Manchester City fell through at the last minute. Incidentally, he is also getting a lot of criticism from Chilean fans due to the poor form of the national team, so Sanchez may be in a very frustrated mood right now. One thing that Sanchez always brings to Arsenal is that he plays hard in every game, even in those where Arsenal are getting battered, and this is something his teammates don't seem to replicate.

One must spare a thought for the Ox, who was on the losing side of a 4-0 battering from Liverpool two weekends ago, then on Saturday was on the losing side of a 5-0 destruction from Manchester City. At least, things can only get better for him from now on with his new club.

This weekend Arsenal face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, in what will be their sternest test of the season. For Lacazette, it will be a great opportunity to win the hearts of Arsenal fans with a goal or two.

The author is a Hong Kong-based freelance writer. hcpyip@gmail.com

Posted in: SOCCER,EXTRA TIME

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