Arsenal Beat Bournemouth 2-0, Go Top Of Premier League

arsenalArsenal beat Bournemouth 2-0 at Emirates Stadium on Monday night to move to the top of the Premier League table.

However, their position is only secured going into the New Year if Leicester fail to win against Manchester City on Tuesday.

Gabriel’s header and Mesut Ozil’s strike sealed the points for the Gunners with Ozil adding to his assist tally for the defender’s goal.

Asides the 2-0 win pushing Arsenal to the top of the log, the win also meant a personal milestone for goalkeeper Petr Cech who broke the Premier League clean-sheet record.

The legendary goalkeeper secured his 170th shut-out to move past David James’ long-standing record.

Arsène Wenger described the win as a nervy one considering how badly they needed to recover from the humiliation at Southampton.

“It was nervy at the start because we had to swallow the 4-0 [at Southampton] and it didn’t go well and I think we were focused at the start not to concede a stupid goal and got slowly into the game.

“I changed a few players and put Calum Chambers at the centre of the park so it took us a while to get going but I think in the last 70 minutes we were in control of the game and did very well,” he said.

The manager believes his boys have moved on from the disappointment as the victory meant they responded well. “You can’t go from the start of the season to the end of the season without disappointment at some stage,” he said demanding more consistence from his players.

He also had kind words for midfield maestro, Mesut Ozil.

“Mesut was the focal point of our team because we had a new midfield today and he gives reassurance with his technical security and ability. When we had problems in the first part of the game it went always through him and it gives you confidence and security.

“I have seen a few good games from Ozil but what is important is that he convinces everybody that he is not only a talented player but a player that is always willing to work for the team and work hard. He has added scoring goals to his assists and overall he is a complete player.

Knockout: Southampton Humiliate Arsenal On Boxing Day

SouthamptonSouthampton humiliated Arsenal 4-0 on Boxing Day as the gunners missed a chance to go top of the English Premier League.

The title favourites had gone into the match needing a win to top the log, with Liverpool having defeated Leicester City 1-0 earlier in the day.

The Gunners, however, started badly with the saints ensuring that Wenger’s men were not allowed space for their style of football.

Southampton showed better coordination as they mounted pressure on Arsenal and deservedly went into half time leading 1-0.

Backup right back, Cuco Martina, chose the right match to show his quality with a spectacular low volley in the 19th minute.

The goal came after a long spell of pressure on a shaky Arsenal defence, marshaled by Laurent Koscielny and Par Matersacker.

In the second half, Southampton continued from where they left off and quickly put the ball in Arsenal’s net but was rightly ruled out for offside. They, however, made it 2-0 in the 50th minute through Shane Long to further darken Arsenal’s Christmas.

Wenger introduced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Joel Campbell in the 64th minute and it appeared the players suddenly realised what was at stake as they tried to get back in the game.

The night got worse instead. It was 3-0 in the 69th minute courtesy Jose Miguel Fonte and Shane Long completed a brace in the 90th minute as the hosts refused to be intimidated by Arsenal’s stars and pre-match rating.

The Saints held on for a famous 4-0 victory over the London giants as Arsene Wenger’s men missed a glorious chance to become league leaders after trailing Leicester for weeks.

Wenger Warns Arsenal Ahead of Southampton Trip

ArsenalArsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger has warned his players not to slip when they visit out-of-form Southampton in the Barclays Premier League on Boxing Day.

Wenger’s side travel to St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday looking for a fourth successive league victory as they look to keep pace with leaders Leicester City.

Arsenal trail Claudio Ranieri’s men by two points, but enjoy a four-point cushion to third-placed Manchester City.

To maintain that difference, they need to remain focused against Ronald Koeman’s side, who have just one point from their last five matches, a 1-1 home draw with bottom club Aston Villa.

“For us the most important thing is to focus on ourselves, and not to speculate too much on any weakness of Southampton,” Wenger said.

“When you look at their team they have the potential to be a very strong team. We have to convince ourselves that again we need a top-level performance.

“Football is pragmatic. No one can predict what will happen in the next 17 games. So we want to go in with same attitude, spirit, and earn the right to win the games.”

Santi Cazorla (knee), Alexis Sanchez (hamstring) and Jack Wilshere (calf), remain sidelined for Arsenal although Sanchez is closer to return than others.

Southampton also welcome their goalkeeper, Maarten Stekelenburg, back after missing two matches with a toe injury.

Facing Arsenal will be a daunting task for the hosts given the impressive recent displays by Wenger’s side, the visitors having beaten title rivals Manchester City 2-1 last time out.

“We know we’re in a difficult situation,” said Koeman, whose side won the fixture 2-0 last season. “We had a bad run last year, but not like this one.

“It is always difficult, it means maybe a lack in confidence and belief, but the best medicine is to win the game. The team is changing a bit, the team is doubting their qualities and not playing as they can, and that’s all about confidence.

“But they have to realise we can play good football, but we need to score when we have chances.”

Ozil Shines As Arsenal Beat Manchester City 2-1

ArsenalArsenal defeated Manchester City 2-1 on Monday night to secure second place in the English Premier League going into Christmas.

Theo Walcott opened scoring in the 33rd minute with a special goal. Feeding off a perfect pass from Mesut Ozil near the corner of the box on the left side, he cut in onto his favoured right foot and curled a shot into the bottom corner.

Olivier Giroud scored the second goal late to ensure the Gunners were comfortable going into the half time break.

Some great hustle by Walcott gave the Gunners an attack in the City half, and they wasted no time.

Ozil turned the provider again spraying another perfect pass down the left for Giroud. It looked like Otamenti was set to block the Frenchman, but he let the ball run across to his left foot and lashed a powerful finish between the keeper’s legs.

Man City turned on the heat in the second half and the Arsenal players stood firm but there appeared to be no danger in the 82nd minute when Toure picked up the ball on the edge of the box and lifted a magnificent first-time effort into the far corner, with Cech and everyone else rooted to the spot.

The Gunners held on nervously in the final minutes for a hard fought 2-1 victory to the relief of fans at the Emirates.

Arsenal Stars, Manager Confident After Norwich Draw

Arsenal Mesut Ozil had given the Gunners an early lead but Lewis Grabban swept past Petr Cech on the stroke of half-time to hold Arsène Wenger’s side to a point at Carrow Road on Sunday.

Arsenal’s UEFA Champions League exploits seemed to have taken their toll on their Premier League performance as they sometimes appeared tired.

Laurent Koscielny and Alexis both suffered injuries during a physical encounter, but the players and their manager are confident Arsenal have enough strength in depth to maintain their Premier League title challenge.

Arsene Wenger admitted after the match that it was a difficult game.

“We played against a Norwich side that was at the top level physically and focused. They were well organised and they played every time with 10 players in their own half, and we were not incisive enough.

“Maybe the turning point of the game was maybe we dropped a little bit after scoring straight away and allowed them back into the game. In the second half I felt we had to dig deep to get though as we were a bit jaded and we lost players.

“Cazorla played on one leg and of course we played Kosicelny at the start of the game so it was, I would say, a fair point for Norwich and it was on the injury front a bad afternoon for us.”

On moving forward after the disappointment, he said, “We have to go through that spell. We had a bad spell of a few games now with Tottenham, West Brom and today we only have taken two points but we are still not far and going through a bad spell and not being far. It is not enough but at least we had an opportunity to come back.”

Ready To Step Up

One of Arsenal’s most improved players in recent months, Hector Bellerin, insists Arsenal’s players are “ready to step up” after Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Norwich City.

“I have said it before, there is great depth in the team,” he told Arsenal Player. “There are a lot of young players in the team waiting to come through, and we have a lot of quality training with us every day.

“They are ready to step up so obviously every single player on the bench can do the same job as every single player in the starting 11. We don’t need to worry about (the injuries to Alexis and Koscielny). The only thing we need to do is go out onto the pitch with the right mentality, it does not matter who we play.

“The conditions weren’t the best but Norwich are a well-organised team who were very solid at the back and dangerous on the counter. We should have played our game better than we did.

“We made some mistakes that cost us the game and we need to look at ourselves and realise that this is not the way. We need to push ourselves a bit more and play better football if we want to be at the top. What happened on the pitch was not a great experience but we need to try and bounce back so we are ready for the next game.”

Good To Be Back 

In spite of the disappointing draw, Aaron Ramsey felt good to get more minutes under his belt.

The Wales midfielder had been sidelined since October, but returned as a substitute in the Gunners’ convincing midweek win against Dinamo Zagreb.

Sunday was Ramsey’s first start since making his comeback from injury, and the 24-year-old was delighted to secure another valuable 72 minutes against Norwich.

“It was good to be back out here and to get some minutes under my belt,” he said. “Hopefully I can get a few more games under my belt to get my fitness levels back up.

“It was obviously a bit disappointing to go a goal up and to concede that goal was a bit disappointing from our view, but to be fair they did well and they deserved to get a point out of the game. We just will have to up our game in our next match.

“They didn’t make it easy for us. They played a few long balls at times and it was difficult to get he ball down and get our pressing on but they did really well and probably a draw was a fair result.

“Every game is important at the moment, it is so tight so we don’t want to drop any points. We don’t want to have to play catch up but we will see at the end of the season and we will want to bounce back and get back to winning ways on Saturday.”

Carrick says Man. United must bounce back from last defeat

Michael Carrick has insisted that Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils must put behind last week’s shocking defeat at Carrow Road against Norwich City.

The 31-year-old argued that Manchester United has enjoyed a reasonably good start to the season and the Red Devils must continue in that line so as to clinch the EPL title.

The Red Devils got a shock of the season from Norwich last weekend when a second-half goal by Norwich City’s Anthony Pilkington delivered the game to the Canaries with a scoreline of 1-0 at Old Trafford and the loss to Norwich City forced Manchester United to relinquish the number one spot to Manchester City.

United host struggling QPR on Saturday and Carrick believes that, despite enjoying a good start to the season, the pressure is on to earn all three points at Old Trafford.

“We need to come back quickly and kick on. It’s been a reasonably good start so far, really. We’ve obviously had a couple of defeats but we’ve bounced back each time and now we’re in a good position, so we can be happy. But we’re not getting carried away. We have to be focused.”

The defeat to Norwich marked Carrick’s 400th league appearance but the England international had not even been aware of the milestone.