Well, this rotation game is a funny old business, both Mesut Ozil & Carl Jenkinson featured on the same side at the same time.
The unwanted English right back and the unusable German were given the nod against Bournemouth but there was still no room for the unplayable ‘loan boy’ Denis Suarez, who can’t even buy a game.
Sead Kolasinac picked up where he left off against Southampton and appeared to be in a rush to get the job done. His fearsome demeanour, dripping with energy and purpose from the sound of the whistle.
To illustrate the point, after just 4 minutes, Kolasinac fed Ozil, who made space for himself even when there’s none on offer.
With an ocean of room at his disposal, the German, who was being willed on by the majority of Arsenal fans, saw Boruc drop early and he promptly lifted it over him, with one exquisite touch.
If a reminder were needed of Ozil’s class, this was it. Calm, assured and razor-sharp anticipation with the deftest touch. Emery celebrated but must be aware of the dilemma he has put himself in.
Then Kolasinac opened up the throttle. Whatever they are feeding him these days should become part of a much bigger group intake. It looked like this was going to be his night again and that he’d trouble me for another man of the match accolade because of his vital contribution.
The match was only in its infancy when Arsenal forced Bournemouth to change formation with a solitary striker and five in midfield but the difference in class became apparent and the Gunners began to dominate. Kolasinac continued to inspire and around the 10-minute mark, he found Mkhitaryan who took it from chest to foot, firing a rifle like volley, which was turned away for a corner.
Kolasinac is beginning to forge an understanding with the Armenian and for the second game in a row, he linked up with him to provide him with a chance. You felt at this stage, if another chance came along, the former United misfit would make sure he hit the net. As we said in the preview to this game, Mkhitaryan’s performances in an Arsenal shirt were starting to come together.
For Bournemouth, King had a couple of chances with Leno performing a brilliant save, flying low to his left. The shot-stopper obviously had his eye on another clean sheet and despite Arsenal’s kamikaze defending, he’d stop at nothing to secure it. After 27 minutes Ozil combined with Mkhitaryan playing a neat one-two, Ozil rounded the keeper and put it on a plate for his teammate. Beautiful football, so Mesut Ozil.
Three minutes later, Arsenal managed to undo all the good work when Guendouzi lost concentration. A short ball on the edge of the area found the Frenchman napping and an alert Gosling picked his pocket and squared it to the advancing Mousset. It was a moment of stupidity that allowed Bournemouth to get a toehold back in the game.
If anyone knows how to make a game out of a foregone conclusion, it’s Arsenal. Almost routinely giving the opposition chances by ignoring the easy options. A left foot hoof into row Z would have been preferred to dabbling around the fringe of their own area. It was an accident waiting to happen, that left the silent crowd pondering the prospects of Arsenal throwing more points away when there was no need.
In the second half, Ozil was starting to find his very best form, easing along the lines of the midfield and imperiously breezing forward. You sensed that the crowd were glad to see him and his creative genius reunited and there was almost unanimous approval.
Something was coming, it would never stay 2-1 for long and then on 47 minutes, from a short corner between Ozil and Jenkinson it arrived with Koscielny, who pulled the trigger. The ball ping-ponged between a defender and the post before crossing the line and it needed a replay or two before you could determine how and who but it crossed the Bournemouth line before Boruc attempted to scoop it out.
Then ten minutes later, a Gosling effort deflected off Monreal, beating Leno but not the bar, Arsenal nearly opened the door again. The edgy atmosphere calmed again when Aubameyang killed the game off. Henrikh Mkhitaryan picked up the ball in his own half and drove forward and the pitch opened up for him.
He noticed Aubameyang between the two defenders and as the ball found him, it was as good as a goal.
By now the Emirates was in party mood and ready to have an Ozil love in. He deserved it and his name rang out around the stadium. Secretly, he must have been inwardly thrilled having spent so much time wondering if he was going to be pushed toward the exit door.
In the 78th minute, Daniels had a nibble at Torreira and earned a yellow card in the process. Lacazette stepped up and curled it superbly into the Bournemouth net. There was one more gem left, Ozil, having played a game which would be remembered for some time, put the perfect ball over the top for the advancing Lacazette but sadly, the end product wasn’t there.
That really would have set the place alight but a scoreline of 5-1 was as much as anyone could have hoped for. Emery may find it exceptionally difficult to leave Ozil out of the North London Derby on Saturday but if he did and they lost, would he be able to offer up the “We win with him, we lose with him” excuse, because, without him, the chances of defeat seem more likely.
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