Arsenal looked a completely different side during Saturday’s encounter with Bournemouth in comparison to their weak performance against Liverpool before the international break.
Even with last season’s top scorer Alexis Sanchez left on the bench after his move to Manchester City fell through at the end of the transfer window. With Sanchez on the bench, Welbeck kept his place; however played on the left to allow new signing Lacazette to lead the front line.
It took just six minutes for Arsenal to go ahead. Aaron Ramsey, unrecognisable since his absentee performance versus Liverpool played a clean through ball to the overlapping Sead Kolasinac; who had been restored to left back. The powerful fullback then played the cross into Welbeck, who looped the ball past Asmir Begovic via his shoulder.
Welbeck, involved in all three goals, assisted £53 million signing Lacazette for the second, just before the half an hour mark. Nathan Ake moved out of position to collect a through ball from Mesut Ozil, however swiped and missed the ball. In the space he left behind him Welbeck put a clean one-two onto Lacazette; whose shot from just outside the box was too precise for Begovic.
Bournemouth hardly left their own half during the first half. Lacazette exploited spaces between their back three, and Arsenal’s front three interchanged, causing further problems Eddie Howe’s defence. Mustafi, returned to the Arsenal defence after his move to Inter Milan collapsed, dealt with Bournemouth’s few counters efficiently. According to Eddie Howe, Bournemouth were ‘Wasteful, negative and slow’ in possession.
The half time whistle seemed a blessing to Bournemouth, as Begovic saved attempts from Xhaka and Ozil, Xhaka put one over the bar and Kolasinac had an attempt blocked by Adam Smith.
A half time reshuffle for Bournemouth to 4-3-3, with Nathan Ake stepping back into the midfield appeared promising. An Arsenal wobble allowed Jordan Ibe to get a cross into Defoe; who put a header onto the post in the 48th minute. This was not enough to spook Arsenal however, just two minutes later Welbeck had his second goal. Bournemouth sloppiness once again allowed Arsenal to score. Dan Gosling waiting too long in possession whilst being hounded by Lacazette, allowing Ramsey to steal the ball. Ramsey pushed quickly into the visitors penalty area, and ushered in Welbeck who shot first time low across Begovic into the bottom corner.
Sanchez and Giroud came on in the 75th minute, and worked Begovic well. For now, the pressure is off Arsene Wenger, however a victory against Bournemouth will not silence even the least vocal Wenger out fans, and with Chelsea on the horizon, a lot remains to be seen for the Gunners season.
Written by Ed Martin.