By Will Butcher
Football Insider analyses three talking points from Arsenal’s 3-1 Premier League victory against Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth on Sunday afternoon.
Arsenal miss Bellerin
Without the flying Spaniard bombing up and down the Gunners’ right flank, Arsenal look a lot less punchy going forward.
Injury-prone star Mathieu Debuchy started at right-back on his return from injury, but lasted just 14 minutes before Gabriel played on the right side of defence.
With Carl Jenkinson in the squad too, Arsene Wenger has plenty of cover at right-back. But none of his replacements match up to the quality of Spain international Hector Bellerin.
Despite playing in defence, Bellerin is one of Arsenal’s best attacking outlets but is able to cover ground quickly enough to return to his defensive duties when needed.
It was obvious that the Gunners were missing their academy product as Gabriel struggled to get to grips with the attacking side of the game.
European games take toll
The Gunners looked sluggish throughout the match, after playing against Paris Saint-Germain in the week.
At times, Arsenal were in a promising attacking position but with little movement up front, the ball was played all the way back to Petr Cech before being cleared to the frustration of manager Arsene Wenger.
Fans’ patience with their side was tested as a number of opportunities to break with Bournemouth players out of position failed to materialise into anything serious.
It meant that what should have been a comfortable win for the Gunners ended up being a very close affair that was won by the slightest of margins.
Arsenal look better with Giroud up front
Although effective as a centre-forward, Alexis Sanchez was well marshalled by the Bournemouth defence throughout the match as the Gunners struggled to find a breakthrough.
The Chilean tends to come deeper to receive the ball, leaving no one up front to target and mount an attack.
When Giroud came on, Arsenal were able to go more direct as the 30-year-old lead the line. Although they did not score when the Frenchman was on the field, they looked more balanced.
They were able to deliver crosses into the box, with Giroud almost getting on the end of them before Arsenal’s number 12 supplied a superb low cross for Sanchez’s second.
In other Arsenal news, Thierry Henry has named the Liverpool player he always wanted to play with.