Five Factors Which Decided Arsenal’s Win Over Bournemouth

Arsenal's Win Over Bournemouth
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25: Arsenal manager Head coach Unai Emery during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal FC at Vitality Stadium on November 25, 2018 in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)

Arsenal’s win over Bournemouth was certainly not always pleasing on the eye, however, it continued the team’s unbeaten streak, now at 17 matches across all competitions.

Just how did Unai Emery’s men manage this feat? Here are five factors which decided the day.

Key Factors From Arsenal’s Win Over Bournemouth

Alex Iwobi‘s Influence

The young Nigerian came to prominence under Arsene Wenger, yet is finding new life with Unai Emery. Deployed on the left flank against the Cherries, Iwobi dictated play at times and was instrumental in nearly everything positive which came from Arsenal’s attack.

Bournemouth focused their attacking efforts on their right wing, presumably to try and force an error from Sead Kolasinac. An unintended consequence was leaving more space to exploit on that flank for Iwobi.

He used that space well and made himself available for a plethora of passes. In fact, he was the main instigator in both goals, playing Kolasinac in behind on both occasions.

Iwobi loves to cut inside from the left, and Bournemouth gave him too much time and space to do so on the day. The Nigerian’s play was one of the keys to Arsenal’s win over Bournemouth.

Lucas Torreira Growing

The Uruguayan has worked his way into favour with fans this season. He has done so with his stellar defensive play, breaking up opposition attacks and winning the ball back to start counter-attacks.

Against the Cherries, he did well without the ball but proved that he is more than just a defensive asset. Lucas Torreira completed 90.6% of his passes, took three shots and even completed one key pass.

What may be more impressive is that he won the ball back further upfield than fans have seen so far this season. This proactive approach allowed the midfielder to influence the match much more than usual.

While Torreira’s defensive duties will always come first, it is good to see he is capable of creating dangerous attacking play going forward.

Team Fitness Impresses Again

Unai Emery is the catalyst of a fitness revolution of sorts in north London. The team wasn’t covering as much ground as they should have under Wenger, however, that has changed under the Spaniard.

In Arsenal’s win over Bournemouth, the Gunners covered 121.6km, which is the third-most by a team in a Premier League fixture so far this season. This has been a consistent pattern under Emery and is also a key component of the club’s 17-match unbeaten run.

Arsenal are using this new-found fitness to put opponents under more pressure further upfield, leading to better results both with and without the ball. Despite them covering more ground today, likely most fans will recall the draw with Liverpool to illustrate this point.

Defensive Pressing

The back three deployed in Arsenal’s win over Bournemouth was a bit of a departure for Emery, who has only used this formation once before at the club. This unfamiliarity led to some less than stellar results on the pitch.

The primary issue was that the back line pressed too high at times, especially in the first half. Eddie Howe’s men kept playing balls over the top, allowing the likes of Joshua King and Callum Wilson to run in behind.

This forced a foot race of sorts which caused problems at times for the centre-backs. King’s goal was a good example of this tactic, although we saw the tactic play out time and again especially in the first half.

Matters were made worse when Shkodran Mustafi stepped up into midfield, leaving just Sokratis and Rob Holding to defend. This proves that while Arsenal are improving, they still have defensive issues to sort.

Adaptability

As the match progressed, the Gunners adapted well to Bournemouth’s efforts. Throughout the match, fans saw more play down the left flank, which is a bit unusual when Nacho Monreal is not fit.

The team usually prefers to attack on the right, where Hector Bellerin‘s pace can be put to use. However, Eddie Howe’s men defended resolutely on that wing, leaving more space on the left.

In fact, both goals came from attacks on that flank and from crosses made by Kolasinac.

In defence, the team also tightened up nicely after the interval with a few tactical tweaks by Emery. Most importantly was to allow his centre-backs to drop deeper to deal with balls over the top more effectively.

Instead of stubbornly sticking to the original game plan, the Gunners did well to adapt. Arsenal’s win over Bournemouth proves Emery’s pragmatism and his player’s ability to adapt.

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