By Walter Broeckx
No it isn’t my birthday this weekend. But my second oldest son is celebrating his birthday today. And as we were invited with the rest of the family I couldn’t do my match report. My family knows me of course and so they arranged that we would have our meal before the match and that the meal would finish just before kick off. And they put the TV on before we would carry on with the rest of the celebrations.
Before the match I saw an article on arsenal.com in which The Ox said that the whole 25 squad had to step up and do their job. And my boy he did live up to that himself. Against Bournemouth he played on the left flank from the start and caused all kinds of troubles to the opposition. Last week his legs went after some 60 minutes, now he has grown and delivered a complete match.
If there might have been any fear that the defeat in the League Cup might have given a scar on the players mind, this was absolutely gone after the opening 15 minutes. Arsenal in control from the start and a few dangerous attacks on the left flank saw a few chances but no end product. After a corner we missed the target just and a cut back towards Alexis was somehow scrambled away by the last defender. That would have been an easy tap in for Alexis otherwise.
You could feel that Arsenal would have to score at some point and they did after some 23 minutes. Coquelin blocked a pass in midfield and the ball fell between Alexis and the last State Aid defender. Alexis was first on the ball and went past the defender and was on his way to the keeper but then unselfishly laid the ball off in front of the on storming Özil who had an easy tap in. GOAL!!! 0-1 after 23 minutes.
A bit later Alexis passed a ball under pressure to The Ox who somehow seemed to lose his footing when he was about to pull the trigger and the effort sailed out for a throw in. That should have been the second Arsenal goal. Somehow State Aid got a foothold in the match towards the end of the first half but not really much real chances as the Arsenal defence was doing a good job.
A big scare however when 4th choice right back Gabriel landed badly after a cross and looked to be in some pain. After a bit of treatment he carried on but it looked doubtful he would be able to continue in the second half. Arsenal only 0-1 in front, it should have been more.
Arsenal continued their good play in the second half. A few chances were stopped by last ditch tackles from the State Aid players. An effort from Walcott was headed over after an Özil free kick and then his shot was blocked by a defender. The Ox and Theo having switched flanks at the start of the second half.
But to be fair State Aid United with a bit of Referee Aid United became a bit more dangerous. Fletcher had a shot that went wide. Theo missed a shot with his left foot that should have hit the target. After 66 minutes Walcott was taken off and Ramsey came on.
State Aid United keeper then had an amazing double save when he first denied Ramsey and the rebound from Özil. But you could feel that it was only a matter of time before we would score again. And how. Mustafi played the ball towards Alexis who spun around his defender and beat him for speed, took on another defender and when he seemed to have a bad angle to shoot he did just that and the ball went in at the far post behind the goalkeeper. GOAL!!! 0-2 for Arsenal after 72 minutes. Time for State Aid United to bring Carroll on.
But before Carroll could do anything it was time for Alexis to show what he can do. A ball hobbled around just outside the State Aid penalty area and Alexis made a movement that gave him enough room to shoot from just outside the area and his low shot went in again. GOAL!!!! 0-3 after 80 minutes. Game over?
Not really as the ref tried to give State Aid a bit of extra aid. A few soft fouls against Arsenal players were given and even a soft yellow card against Mustafi. Payet behind the ball and his effort came back of the crossbar and Carroll (who else) was on hand to head it over the goal line. 1-3 after 82 minutes. Arsenal in for a dodgy finish?
No way said The Ox. He got the ball from the left flank gave himself some room and curved the ball expertly in the far corner. GOAL !!!! 1-4 after 84 minutes. Now it was game over and Arsenal in complete control with West Ham (oops) only pretending to try to do anything at the score.
But Alexis had one last trick up his sleeve. The assistant kept his flag down when it looked offside to me and Alexis was going towards the goal. A late pull of a defender couldn’t stop his momentum and then he showed a brilliant piece of skill. He moved his leg around the ball as if he was going to take a shot and the keeper fell for it and then just lifted the ball over the keeper who was already half floored. GOAL!!!! 1-5 and what a way to score your hattrick.
A good and very strong performance from the whole team. All the players deserve all the credit they can get for the way they played this match. The score could have been higher but don’t let us score all our goals in one match. Let us keep a few for the next matches also.
Celebrating this win with the rest of my family made it even a nicer moment. You can imagine that it was a great evening from then on.