The aim of yesterday was to get a win, by hook or by crook, so with that firmly front and centre within my own thoughts this morning you have to say that the team achieved its primary objective.

Secondary objectives of playing well, scoring loads of goals and ‘wowing’ everyone watching, were simple ‘nice to have’s. Which is just as well, because I think it’s fair to say that we didn’t quite achieve that on the South Coast.

However, sometimes you have to put things in context. Over five hours without a goal and four league games without a win is hardly going to breed the kind of confidence that will see us sweeping sides asunder with our free-flowing football. Arsenal have always been a confidence side; when it’s with us we can be breathtaking, but when we’re short of it, then it’s hard going at times.

That’s what yesterday’s game felt like to me: hard going. The game started with little tempo about it on either side. Arsenal were probably apprehensive of an early surge from Bournemouth, whilst The Cherries obviously respected their opponents for the afternoon, enough to halt a full-on surge at the Arsenal goal. In fact, it’s fair to say that up until Özil’s lashed in goal on 23 minutes, not a lot has happened other than Flamini getting away with what looked to me to be a red card. Most Arsenal fans didn’t want to see the Flamster on the pitch yesterday, but having been picked ahead of Coquelin, it’s fair to say that a red card would not have been what we all had in mind.

On the Coquelin absence, one can only assume that Arsène is easing the Frenchman in, which I understand, but what I don’t get is why he started against Burnley, only to be a sub against Southampton and Bournemouth. I’d have thought his move towards getting match fit would have involved 60 minutes yesterday at least. But there you go. Arsène has more information on the players than I do, so perhaps Coquelin’s not quite as ready as we have all been hoping, and lord knows we don’t need another ‘little bit setback’ right now.

If there’s one thing I love, it’s a quick second goal, so seeing The Ox place the ball in off the post was a joy to behold. There was inevitable questions about the defending that led to Ramsey’s ball to The Ox, but his finish had the marks of a confident man, which is interesting given a lot of us fans have questioned his form and confidence at times this season. He’s followed up his good display against Burnley with another tidy performance against Bournemouth and although there was a couple of times in which he gave away possession, I thought he did alright, justifying Arsène’s inclusion of him ahead of Joel. The two seem very well balanced in terms of their role in the team, which suggests that we might see a decent fight for that right wing slot, exactly what we need if we’re still clinging on to beliefs of a title challenge.

So what of that midfield pairing of Ramsey/Flamini? I listened to a few minutes of TalkSh*te yesterday and heard Stan Collymore say that he thought the midfield pair were joint men-of-the-match, but whilst Ramsey showed some good moments in both attack and defence, he still frustrates me at times. There were occasions yesterday when a better pass was on, but instead he opted to shoot, which led to nothing. When he is on form he is a fantastic player, but at the moment it just doesn’t feel like he’s 100% there yet. His decision making at times leads me to feeling frustrated and every time I see him attempting a pass more than 15-20 yards, I wince, because he just doesn’t have that long range radar at all. Having said that, he played the cross in for Giroud to knock down in to Özil’s path, as well as setting The Ox up for his goal. So he does get things right in each game.

But if I’m being a little unkind on Ramsey, I should probably be harsher on Giroud, because he had another poor game. He’s a form player and right now he seems to have lost his, so cut a frustrating figure all afternoon, never really get much of a sniff for himself. He picked up an assist for Özil’s goal, but that was pretty much his lot and whilst I understand that Theo’s form is nothing short of abysmal at the moment, more like that from Olivier, will have the manager wondering whether to bring Walcott in. For now I suspect Giroud will keep his place, because he’s a focal point in attack that Walcott will never be, but with Leicester on the horizon you do wonder if that kind of player to run in behind defenders like Huth might be an option to consider.

At the other end of the pitch, however, the concerns lessen, because Petr Cech was at it again. The guy is immense. Plucking crosses out of the air, making fantastic saves from Artur in the first half and I think it was Smith towards the end in the second, Cech has once again helped to be the difference between one point and three. His shaky start against West Ham at the beginning of the season is now a distant memory. He is calmness personified and everything from his kicking to his catching instead of punching, shows that whilst we didn’t do a lot last summer, we did at least do one piece of superb business. 

I also find it interesting that Gabriel has been preferred to Big Per in the last two games. Arsène is clearly trying to give him a run in the team at the moment and whilst he had a particularly shaky moment yesterday in the first half when Pugh got away from him, in the main he performed well. 

It wasn’t a pretty game, we looked a little shaky at times in both halves, but when your form has suffered you just need to pick up points. We did that and now there is a full week to prepare for what is going to be a decisive game against Leicester. The new favourites for the league…

Catch you tomorrow.