Bournemouth holds Arsenal on rain-drenched Boxing Day
Arsenal was the more dangerous team on the day, but couldn’t find a second goal in a rain-drenched 1-1 with Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Boxing Day.
Dan Gosling scored for the second-straight game as the Cherries again gained a result against a traditional London power.
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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang poked home an equalizer, but Mikel Arteta only saw a single point from his Arsenal managerial debut.
Bournemouth now sits 16th with 20 points, four behind 11th place Arsenal.
Three things we learned
1. Cherries get another big point: Bournemouth’s season has been disappointing, but Thursday saw another surprise from Eddie Howe’s men. They were quite good versus Arsenal after beating Chelsea at the weekend, whereas the Cherries used to control the little guys and fail against the traditional powers.
Gosling is having a week, now with goals in a 1-0 win over Chelsea and 1-1 draw versus Arsenal.
2. Ozil suspect, and no Pepe, no party? Maybe Arsenal is trying to drive some sort of value into their German playmaker, but Mesut Ozil drew another start and was far from his best. He had played well in consecutive starts against bottom dwellers Saints and Norwich, but has struggled to impact the game since. Fair play on four key passes, but Ozil didn’t threaten the goal himself and failed in his only dribble attempt. He was replaced by Joe Willock in the 75th minute.
This leads us to another player he helped keep on the bench (until the 82nd minute). I can only imagine that one day we’ll learn that Nicolas Pepe hides all the toilet paper at the training ground and puts toothpaste in the salad dressing or something. Mikel Arteta has now joined Freddie Ljungberg and Unai Emery in keeping the dynamic playmaker out of the Starting XI.
3. Xhaka rewards faith of new boss: Mikel Arteta used his first pre-match presser as Arsenal boss to speak of his admiration for Granit Xhaka. Arteta said he wanted the midfielder at Man City, and the Swiss big man was strong in the center of the park. Xhaka completed 11 of 12 long balls and passed at 93 percent, paired with Lucas Torreira at the back of the midfield.
Man of the Match: Jack Stacey had a nice match at right back in the rain, just edging Xhaka.
There is no question Arsenal was the better side over the first half-hour, but the Gunners defense let them down again.
Stacey wound up deep in the Arsenal box and cut back into a sea of players, Gosling’s foot the first to the ball.
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Aubameyang found the equalizer in the 64th minute, starting and finishing a play after Reiss Nelson’s shot was deflected onto his path.
The rains grew heavier and Lacazette was deprived a goal from a nice David Luiz set-up.