Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain must kick on from his goal-scoring display and other things we learned from Bournemouth 0 Arsenal 2
By Editor Wayne Veysey
Ozil’s right foot is not bad, either
We are used to seeing Ozil make the difficult look ridiculously easy with his left foot. But with one magnificent swish of his right boot, the Arsenal playmaker demonstrated his weaker foot is also a useful weapon. When Olivier Giroud’s knock-down arrived in the path of the waiting Ozil there was still much to be done to dispatch the high bouncing ball. The German gave it such a whack into the roof of the net that the ball bounced back out again. For a player who usually creates rather than scores goals, his sixth strike of the season was further proof of his value.
Oxlade-Chamberlain regains Wenger trust
The sense is that the England midfielder’s career can go one two ways: be the outstanding all-round midfielder that he has most of the tools to be, or be perpetually on the verge of a big breakthrough like his squad-mate Theo Walcott. After a desperately disappointing 2015 and a place on the Gunners fringes at the start of 2016, Oxlade-Chamberlain was handed only his eighth league start of the season against Bournemouth. He responded with a fine display before being withdrawn at the 66-minute mark and ended his 16-month Premier League goal drought with an excellent finish across the keeper to put the visitors 2-0 up. For a player of such gifts, this should be the beginning of something rather than a major landmark.
Arsenal back in title hunt
After four league matches without a win and three without a goal, this was a much-needed victory for Arsene Wenger’s team. In tricky conditions and at a venue where some big clubs have come unstuck this season, Arsenal produced a solid display without ever quite hitting the heights. More importantly, they are back in the title hunt after climbing above Manchester City to go third in the table, level on points with second-placed Tottenham.
Ramsey should remain in the centre
Solid, controlled and creative, this was an excellent central midfield display from Aaron Ramsey. One positive outcome of Arsenal’s midfield injury crisis has been the opportunity for the Welshman to have an extended run in his favourite position. With Francis Coquelin back and Santi Cazorla also on the comeback trail, Wenger will have some tough decisions to make about the composition of his midfield in the final months of the season. The manager should resist the chance to make Ramsey a wide boy again.
Coquelin will not be rushed
Wenger appears to have learned his lesson from rushing players back into action too quickly in the past. Coquelin played 71 minutes of the win over Burnley in the FA Cup eight days ago after two-and-a-half months out with a knee injury but has not been in the starting line-up for Arsenal’s two subsequent league fixtures as Wenger stuck with Mathieu Flamini. With Arsenal 2-0 up, the Frenchman was brought on after 66 minutes to play alongside Flamini and bring more steel into the midfield. It is surely only a matter of time before he displaces his fellow Frenchman.