Graham Pearcey

Graham Pearcey

Cherries 0 Arsenal 3

Date: 20 August 2022

When the fixture list came out it was obvious that we were in for a tough start to the season, and so it has proved as we’ve conceded seven goals in the last two games and scored none.

After the recent exceptionally hot weather there was a very pleasant breeze in the stadium today as I sat waiting for the match to begin. It was also interesting to notice that the stewards who’d worked so hard (and made themselves so unpopular) trying to keep fans away from the touchline before the Villa game, had now given up on that mission and were letting people stand wherever they wished today!

Once again we were playing with a back five, but now our new man Senesi was in the centre, so Lerma could move forward into midfield. Tavernier was playing deeper than expected, and Billing in a more advanced position, in a 5-3-2 system. But from the off we looked out of our depth, and within ten minutes we were 0-2 down. First some great work from Jesus on Arsenal’s left, beating several Bournemouth players, led to a shot which Travers could only palm out as far as Odegaard – who just had to tap in to score. Then a cross from Arsenal’s right also found Odegaard. His second goal needed checking for offside but VAR decided it stood.

I don’t think we had a single shot on goal in the first 45 minutes, and we rarely got the ball out of our half. Arsenal had two more excellent chances to score just before half time, so we were lucky to go into the break at 0-2 not 0-4.

Arsenal’s third goal came from Saliba on 55 minutes, an excellent strike. Arsenal attacked from the right, passed over to the left, and then back to Saliba in a central position. Bournemouth’s defence couldn’t cope with this, and Travers had no chance. Luckily for us a potential fourth goal, from Jesus, was ruled offside – resulting in the biggest cheer of the entire match from the home fans! Otherwise it had been all Arsenal fans singing (including “Down with United, you're going down with United”). I was also amused to see Arsenal fans with shirts reading “Jesus is Lord!”

We played better in the second half than the first, because we switched to 4-4-2. Christie and Cook had been warming up at half time and I correctly guessed they’d be coming on for Billing and Pearson respectively. What I didn’t foresee was Anthony making his Premier League debut by replacing Senesi. But though we improved we had few scoring chances, the best probably being a header from Moore late on, that was saved by Ramsdale but was in fact off target anyway. Speaking of Ramsdale, he got a good cheer when his name was announced before kick-off, and at the end of the match he went to applaud the North Stand and received an ovation from them in return. Meanwhile despite the 5:30 kick-off I was pleased to find the motorways quiet and to be home by 9:30.

The team lined up as follows at the start of the game:

Smith, Mepham, Senesi, Kelly, Zemura;
Tavernier, Lerma, Pearson;
Moore, Billing

By the end the line-up was:

Smith, Mepham, Kelly, Zemura;
Tavernier, Lerma, Cook, Anthony;
Moore, Christie

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