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Arsenal v Bournemouth: the league match I never once dreamed I would see

By Tony Attwood

To the best of my knowledge Arsenal have only played Bournemouth twice before.  The first was on 26 October 1965 and we won 6-2 at Dean Court.

The Arsenal team was

Burns, Howe, Storey, McLintock, Neill, Simpson, Armstrong, Baldwin, Baker, Sammels, Eastham.

Howe, Baker and Eastham scored, and then John Radford came on and got a hattrick, and I was there with a few mates.  You’ll note that two future managers of the club were playing that night.

Living in and around Poole in Dorset (my family having inexcusably moved from north London) my fellow sixth formers and I were supposed to be at performance of Winters Tale (that’s yer actual Shakespeare), but bunked off to watch the game.  It possibly explains why although I managed to pass A Level English I didn’t exactly do so with flying colours.  Mind you my English teacher did write in my end of term report “What this boy does to the English language should be a criminal offence”, which possibly explains why I went on to become a professional writer with a degree in psychology.

Or maybe not.

The crowd for the game isn’t recorded and I can’t find the programme, and have no knowledge of why we played the game – I imagine it was a benefit game for a Bournemouth player – but it was one of eight friendly games played by Arsenal during the league season.

The reason for this activity was undoubtedly financial.  Arsenal had finished the previous season in 13th, and this season sank even lower to 14th and the crowds were sinking along with the team, often failing to pass the 30,000 mark.  Indeed on March 5 the Arsenal crowd is reported as 21,881.  One month later on April 5 it was 8,738 for the game against WBA, and one month after that on May 5 it was 4,554 to the third consecutive 0-3 defeat.  (Mind you there was a game on TV at the same time for that match).  (Also last time I mentioned that game more than 4554 people wrote in to say they were there, so maybe the figure is wrong).

The game against Bournemouth came in the midst of an awful run for Arsenal – the previous two games were a 3-5 defeat to Blackpool, and a 2-2 draw with Blackburn.  The next game was a 1-3 defeat to Leicester.  Arsenal ended the season, as I say, in 14th, having gone out of the FA Cup in the third round.  Manager Billy Wright went out the door for the last time soon after the final game of the season, and in came Bertie Mee.

The other match against Bournemouth was on October 27 1987 and we won 3-0 in the league cup in front of 26,050.  Mind you that was the year we played Luton in the final, and lost.

Bringing things up to date, there is a persistent rumour that we are going to sign the Basel and Egypt midfielder Mohamed Elneny.  He is 23-years-old, has played 91 times for Basel and is expected to sign as the January transfer window opens, according to those who make up such things.

SkySports tell us

Elneny is a deep-lying central midfielder who stands at 5ft 11in. He has the energy and pace to get up and down the pitch and he is as comfortable attacking as he is defending.

The 23-year-old has become known for his impressive range of passing at Basel and he also likes to shoot from distance, with a number of his recent goals coming from outside the box. Elneny is one of Basel’s favoured set-piece takers, and as well as being technically accomplished, he is physically strong and tough in the tackle.

Mind you, you have to be careful with these reporter johnnies.  Here’s what the Independent says this morning: “Arsène Wenger’s men must be suffering from a depressing sense of déjà vu. Their whole campaign has been a tale of dismal defeat following encouraging victory.”

The whole campaign?  The one in which we have lost four league games?

Mr W replied,  “We are used to being questioned and it’s normal when you lose. Overall, we are strong enough to deal with that, respond and show on Monday we can get over that kind of result. We are in a job where we have to respond to disappointments. Bournemouth have been very good since the start of the season, but I trust my players to respond in a very strong way.”

What the media are talking up is the possibility of changes in the line up, saying that  Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Calum Chambers, Alex Iwobi and Gabriel Paulista could all come in.  I’m not so sure since wholesale changes is not normally Arsène Wenger’s way.

There is also talk of dropping Theo, but although he didn’t actually make much happen at all against Southampton, my recollection is that he often has a problem playing for his ex-team, and if it were me (which of course it isn’t) I’d keep him in.

The funny thing about that game is that we had around 65% possession, and lost.  In games against Man C and Man U in the last year or so we’ve had a minority of possession and won.  That’s all that needs sorting out.

AFC Bournemouth (as they are now called, rather than Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic, although they still play in Boscombe at Dean Court) are unbeaten in six matches having beaten Chelsea and Manchester Untidy as well as the fast declining West Ham.

On the bright side we are unbeaten in seven home matches since that defeat to WHU who were then being tipped for the Champions League and had the aim to become the new Tottenham.  We’ve gone 21 games without defeat against promoted sides.

But we only score 42% of our goals at home – which has caused the journalists to go to Wikipedia in utter panic to find out what “%” means.  If you meet a journo please don’t tell.  It spoils the fun.

Here’s another.  We haven’t lost the last league game of the year since 2006 which was a long time ago.

But countering all this Bournemouth are unbeaten in six league games, and have taken seven points from nine away.  And they have actually won five of their last five games in London.

Here’s the team I’d pick.  I’ve told Mr W but he doesn’t always listen.

Cech

Bellerin Mert Kos Monreal

Flamini Ramsey

Oxlade Chamberlain Ozil Theo

Giroud

On the beach, glad that they are not playing for a northern team (as most of the north of England is under water because the government took all the flood defence budget and paid it to their advisers and they don’t have a single engineer in the cabinet, not that I am politically biased, not in the slightest, absolutely not), we might have

Gibbs, Ospina, Chambers, Gabriel, Iwobi, Reine-Adelaide, Campbell.

Or not as the case might be.

According to Who Scored, Bournemouth have but one strength, which is defined as “creating chances through individual skill”.

Arsenal’s strengths are attacking down the wings, creating chances using through balls, (that would be Ozil then), defending set pieces, creating long shot opportunities, creating scoring chances and counter attacks.   Which is pretty much most of it.

Their betting lists have 3-0 as the most likely outcome, followed by 2-0, followed by 3-1.

These days Who Scored also do a list of weaknesses of the teams, and Bournemouth have one “weak” element of “avoiding individual errors” and two “very weak” areas, which are “protecting the lead” and “defending against skillful players.”

I think we might have one or two of those “skillful players”.  But that explains how they beat Chelsea.

So there we have it.  I am about to leave in order to meet Blacksheep at the Swimmer, as per usual, and then on to the game.

I do hope our team play jolly well.

A couple more anniversaries

  • 28 December 2008: Arsenal 1 Portsmouth 0.  A poor game but the unbeaten run went on, and on (until May).  This was also the first of 8 consecutive home games without conceding a goal.  Gallas scored to start Arsenal’s run of three consecutive wins.
  • 28 December 2014: Francis Coquelin started his first match for Arsenal in 23 months.  It ended West Ham 1 Arsenal 2 and Coquelin kept his place thereafter, with negotiations being opened to give him a long-term contract at Arsenal.  Cazorla and Welbeck scored.

All today’s anniversaries, as usual, are on the home page.

You might also like the 12th instalment of Arsenal in the 70s Part 12: Jan to June 74. Farewell Bob, hello Liam.

 

 

35 comments to Arsenal v Bournemouth: the league match I never once dreamed I would see

  • Bleeding gums Murphy

    Big game today. Shame about Jack, he did say on Arsenal.com the lift signing Ozil gave everyone and think we went on 10 game unbeaten run. Let’s hope the boss spends some money in Jan what with our first choice middle both out long term. I know you have set yourself up Tony not to buy anyone and that’s a shame cos you write some great stuff. Maybe reflect on your extreme stance and a little open mindedness and away we go. Come on you gunners

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    The troubles with buying a senior player (or two) to go straight into the first team are principally
    1. The player has to fit into the 25 man squad limit, maintaining the minimum home grown limit as well.
    2. The player has to be a better long term prospect than the injured (or squad) player he is replacing
    3. The player has to be able to adapt to our style of play pretty much immediately
    4. The player has to be able to adapt to the extra pace of the Premier League if not already playing in it.

    From memory, I think we have either one or two senior places available for this season but would then have to release players at the end of the season. One player coming in is a possibility, two would almost certainly see someone leaving.

  • Al

    How is it that Arsenal and Southampton, the teams that were last to play on boxing day, play before the likes of Liverpool and City?? (Think Liverpool get 4 and a half days rest, while we get less than 48 hrs).

  • Gord

    Wellington was on the bench for Bolton. Bolton made no substitutions in their 1-0 win.

    Toral started for Birmingham. Akpom started for Hull, with Hayden still getting slivers in his butt. Zelalem on the bench for Rangers.

    Martinez not fit yet for Wolves.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    The vengeance seeking hot wroth Gunners must have learnt their lessons to guide against being caught on the counters or out paced by pacey attackers as was the case at Saints Mary’s last Saturday night when the Gunners were overwhelmed by the pace of the Saints attackers.

    A repeat of such ceneiro will be unacceptable again. Not only at the Ems this Monday night against AFC Bournemouth, but as well in all competitions throughout this season. Arsenal MUST not fall not only to a heavy defeat. But should not drop more than 6 points in their next 20 BPL games to get to the guaranteed 90 points needed to win the Premier League title this season by my own estimation.

    The Gunners MUST stop being 1 way dimensional in their games and thus become multi dimensional in their game. A situation where the Gunners will breathtakingly attacked but unable to score and beautiful to watch. But only latter to be pounced upon by the opponent team and scored against us has to be seriously looked into by the Boss. We were hammered away 3-0, 5-1 & 4-0 by Seff Wed, Bayern Munich and now Southampton. Why?

    The Gunners MUST start to, in the 2nd half of the season to be parking the bus when the going gets though enough for them to contain instead of to be attacking in such a fashion that will lead them to be conceding goals while they are unabled to reply, because it wasn’t their goals getters day to score. e.g. Giroud, Walcott and e.t.c had a goalscoring off day at Saints Mary’s and there weren’t the high quality substitutes on our bench from whom the Boss can make a substitutions to change the course of the game in favour of Arsenal. Thus Southampton just white washed us.

    I am not an advocate Gooner of sign sign sign. But I believe the Boss HAS to sign 2 new top quality players to strengthen or upgrade his DMf & striker positions for his top starting XI team.

    I believe the Boss knows more than I do that the 2nd half of this season will be difficult to get the points than it were in the 1st half which ends today. And Arsenal will according to my conviction beat Bournemouth by 4 goals to nil to top the table. And even remain a top after Leicester City either play a draw game with Man City or City run away with all the spoils at King Power stadium tomorrow night.

    I am delighted to learn that the Boss will be doing something to inject a top quality Midfielder into his midfield if media reports are to be believed. And I sincerely hope the Boss will be convinced that the lone Gunners’ striker, Olivier Giroud needs to be assisted with a top striker assistant signing who the Boss can use to sub Giroud when he’s having an off day in a match. As it is now, striker Welbeck is not available to complement Giroud’s effort. And if Walcott is moved to lead the line in a match in progress when Giroud is subed with most likely Oxlade, Oxlade is not a reliable top quality option the Boss can rely upon to deliver the goods. I am not saying the Boss shouldn’t use him. He can used him to improve his quality. But he is not yet that quality there when the Gunners are desperate to score goals to win a game.

    I think the Boss should consider signing Aleksandr Kokorin or any other striker he wants to do the job of Giroud’s striker assistant option for the Gunners.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    The vengeance seeking hot wroth Gunners must have learnt their lessons to guide against being caught on the counters or out paced by pacey attackers as was the case at Saints Mary’s last Saturday night when the Gunners were overwhelmed by the pace of the Saints attackers.

    A repeat of such ceneiro will be unacceptable again. Not only at the Ems this Monday night against AFC Bournemouth, but as well in all competitions throughout this season. Arsenal MUST not fall not only to a heavy defeat. But should not drop more than 6 points in their next 20 BPL games to get to the guaranteed 90 points needed to win the Premier League title this season by my own estimation.

    The Gunners MUST stop being 1 way dimensional play in their games and thus become multi dimensional in their game. A situation where the Gunners will breathtakingly attacked but unable to score and beautiful to watch. But only latter to be pounced upon by the opponent team and scored against us has to be seriously looked into by the Boss. We were hammered away 3-0, 5-1 & 4-0 by Seff Wed, Bayern Munich and now Southampton. Why?

    The Gunners MUST start to, in the 2nd half of the season to be parking the bus when the going gets though enough for them to contain instead of to be attacking in such a fashion that will lead them to be conceding goals while they are unabled to reply, because it wasn’t their goals getters day to score. e.g. Giroud, Walcott and e.t.c had a goalscoring off day at Saints Mary’s and there weren’t the high quality substitutes on our bench from whom the Boss can make a substitutions to change the course of the game in favour of Arsenal. Thus Southampton just white washed us.

    I am not an advocate Gooner of sign sign sign. But I believe the Boss HAS to sign 2 new top quality players to strengthen or upgrade his DMf & striker positions for his top starting XI team.

    I believe the Boss knows more than I do that the 2nd half of this season will be difficult to get the points than it were in the 1st half which ends today. And Arsenal will according to my conviction beat Bournemouth by 4 goals to nil to top the table. And even remain a top after Leicester City either play a draw game with Man City or City run away with all the spoils at King Power stadium tomorrow night.

    I am delighted to learn that the Boss will be doing something to inject a top quality Midfielder into his midfield if media reports are to be believed. And I sincerely hoped the Boss will be convinced that the lone Gunners’ striker, Olivier Giroud needs to be assisted with a top striker assistant signing who the Boss can use to sub Giroud whenever he’s having an off day in a match. As it is now, striker Welbeck is not available to complement Giroud’s effort. And if Walcott is moved to lead the line in a match in progress when Giroud is subed with most likely Oxlade, Oxlade is not a reliable top quality option who Boss can rely upon to deliver the goods. I am not saying the Boss shouldn’t use him. He can use him to improve his quality. But he is not yet that quality-wise there when the Gunners are desperate to score goals to win a game.

    I think the Boss should consider signing Aleksandr Kokorin or any other striker he wants, to do the job of Giroud’s striker assistant option for the Gunners.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Oooo…Theooooo

  • Gord

    Wonderful, 873 new managers all know more than Wenger. We should be down to 2nd division in no time.

    I have 4 commentaries running, all the medja twits seem bored. It seems that Carl Jenkinson scored on himself.

    COYG!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Oink!!!…Gabriel!!!….

    Yyyeeeeaaahhhhh.

    Another Ozil assist.!!!

  • Gord

    How to go Gabriel and Ozil!

    Thank you for being a fan, Arsenal 13!

    COYG!

  • Menace

    Viva Paolista!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Oops!!!!!…..Mertesacker knocked out by the ball!!!

  • Al

    Don’t think I’ve seen us being so dangerous at set-pieces in a looong time. Great deliveries from Ozil.

    Clean match so far, although I’d have expected one or two Bournemouth players to have been carded, especially on those fouls on The Ox. More of the same please, in the second half.

  • Al

    What a brilliant tackle by Gabriel!

  • ARSENAL 13

    No no no….it was an Ozil assist.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Ox silently having a brilliant game. Good to build up some confidence…

  • ARSENAL 13

    Ozil goall……

    Yyyeeeeaaahhhhh……

  • ARSENAL 13

    Ozgasm

  • Gord

    How to go Giroud and Ozil! Easy to comment today, it is Ozil and whoever has a G in their name. 🙂

    Guardian (another G) put up a picture of the Mertesacker heading incident. Great!

    COYG!

  • Al

    Ozil is pulling the strings… Hope we score more, need to reduce the deficit we suffered on Sat with regards to goal difference.

  • Gord

    Come on GWalcott! Got a goal in you GOx?

    COYG!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Theoooooooooooohhhhhkay..

    Offside..

  • ARSENAL 13

    If they saw Theo in offside position… Wonder how they missed Southampton offsides!!!!!.. And those chickens won today thanks to an offside goal!!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Ozhit!!!!…almost another assist.

    If we were efficient enough… Ozil would’ve broken the assists record today. Its just half way through!!! HALF WAY!!!!?.

    Nicking a living. Sic.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Theooooo!!!!!!!….noooooooo.

    Come on.

  • Al

    Top of the league! And Cech breaks the record, well done Arsenal 🙂

    Arsenal13
    Yep, Ozil could easily have had 4 or 5 assists!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Top of the league…
    Top of the league.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Match report on line

  • Gord

    How to go Gunners! Nice clean sheet Cech! How many is that now? Keep pounding in those goals and assists Mesut!

    Wait! What’s that noise?

    It’s the sound of 0 hands clapping (ManU-Chelsea at OldToilet).

  • ARSENAL 13

    Top of the league.
    Top of the league I say.
    Playing football the ARSENAL way.
    Top of the league.

  • para

    Well played lads. Top 🙂

  • Al

    Expecting to see congratulatory posts from some of the contributors observed posting multitudes of posts after the saints match on Sat….

  • para,

    *What a fair weather fan you are! (in Yoda voice)

    I knew you’ll be here celebrating, conveniently forgetting all your pant-crapping bullshit from less than 48 hours ago.

    On the other hand, the team probably read your rants and decided to not upset you like they did in the previous game. Oh, the power of online fans!

  • Menace

    Soooo many misses but then again 3 points is what we needed. Good game.

  • goonersince72

    Ozil again MOM but could also have been Gabriel. All the subs played well, I thought Chambers looked comfortable in the deep middle. Great squad depth and another 3 points. Good response.