After already playing out three draws in Nasty November, Arsenal could easily have made it four yesterday and we would have had to change the name to Nervous November as Bournemouth managed to create many chances to get a second equaliser before Alexis Sanchez put the game to bed in the 90th minute.
Arsene Wenger described it after the game, when he was asked if he was surprised at how well the Cherries played. “Not really” he replied. “because they weren’t exactly the side I wanted to play after Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain. They are a tricky side who can keep the ball and, if you’re not well organised, you can be in trouble. On top of that, I felt we started well but when they equalised we were nervous and that’s where having three consecutive draws played a little bit on our minds.
“At half-time it was down to us to calm down and focus on the game we wanted to play. In the second half we created many dangerous situations but Bournemouth remained dangerous too because they can keep the ball well and attack very well. They’re one of the teams who can compare their possession with the top teams in the Premier League.”
Wenger said that it didn’t help that the referee turned down a penalty appeal from Sanchez before giving Bournemouth one which allowed them to draw level before the break. “My view is that we should have had a penalty for a foul on Alexis, and that the penalty which was given [against us] was a very soft one. It was a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge and I was really amazed that he gave a penalty.
“From that moment on, we became nervous and they suddenly because more dynamic going forward. We lost some balls and put ourselves in trouble. We had to calm down at half-time and just focus on the game.”
They were not really much calmer in the second half, and the nerves were only settled in the 90th minute, but the fact is that we have got back to winning ways, and November is not looking quite so nasty any more. Another win in midweek, against Southampton, will mean we are unbeaten for 20 games, and more importantly unbeaten in November!