Arsenal fought back valiantly against Bournemouth last night, securing a 3-3 draw having trailed by three-goals in the second-half and snatching a point from the jaws of defeat.
Whilst the Gunners will naturally see this result as two points drop, as it opens the door for Chelsea to extend their advantage to 11 points or for Tottenham to leapfrog them into fourth this evening, credit needs to be directed towards Arsene Wenger’s side for his comeback.
It was definitely a match that will go down as a Premier League classic and we’ve taken our time to settle down after the match and cast an analytical eye back over the game, to identify the five crucial things we learned from this match.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the key points from the match. Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Struggling to get his foot in the match and being exposed defensively, conceding a penalty for Bournemouth to double their advantage in the first-half for an extremely clumsy challenge, Granit Xhaka has a lot of work to do.
It’s pretty clear that the Swiss ace is not the answer to Arsenal’s problems without Santi Cazorla, raising questions as to whether the Gunners need to invest in a replacement for the Spaniard. Xhaka doesn’t quite fit the system currently but, when you spend over £30m on a player, you have to make it work somehow.
After enjoying great success last season to retain their spot in the Premier League, finishing 16th, Bournemouth have done even better this season and currently sit ninth in the table. Having defeated Liverpool and drawn with Arsenal, it’s clear the Cherries are here to stay.
With a capable squad, passionate fans and a dedicated young manager, as well as plans for a new stadium in the works, Bournemouth have all the assets to be a Premier League side for years to come and, at this rate, they could even push for European football in the coming years.
Arsenal’s problems are usually a case of deja-vu, with the same issues surfacing year after year, and it certainly seemed to be the case this evening. With Mohamed Elneny jetting off to the African Cup of Nations, losing Francis Coquelin to injury couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Arguably worse was Laurent Koscielny’s departure in the second-half, which surely has to be down to an injury concern. With Shkodran Mustafi having only just returned, a potential absent for Koscielny could seriously derail Arsenal’s charge.
With two assists and the crucial equalising goal this evening, Olivier Giroud was the man of the moment and it continues the Frenchman’s fine recent run of form- as the striker has now scored in all three of his last Premier League starts.
The 30-year-old now boasts 63 Premier League goals in 148 appearances, a fine record for a player many have argued is not good enough. Whilst he may not be the definitive answer in the long-term, he’s definitely undroppable for the time being.
Storming into a three-nil lead with a superb attacking display, with Bournemouth being clinical with taking their chances as they came, Eddie Howe looks to be the perfect fit for Arsenal- especially as his defence then crumbled to throw away a lead.
In all seriousness, Howe is amongst the favourites to succeed Arsene Wenger for a reason and the young Englishman has a fine career ahead of him. Whether that will be in North London remains to be seen but he won’t be at Bournemouth forever.