1) An up and down Christmas period for us I guess, what do you think the differences were between today's victory and our defeat at Saint Mary's?
@leouzzi - I feel we simply got it wrong at St. Mary's, mentally we looked knackered and failed to be measured with our approach. We seemed slow and nervous at the start of the game today, but we simply mastered our limits and never exposed ourselves.
@MJ_Boh_ - I think the main differences are down to how the opponents were set up to neutralize us, and perhaps the first goal as well. Southampton were much more effective in applying pressure on us, which we couldn't really deal with. Bournemouth couldn't do that as well - maybe due to fatigue, the quality of their players, or both. They didn't seem to have a coherent game plan, there was no evident plan to counter attack, to play long balls or anything like that. So we were able to play our game for the most of it.
Regarding the second point, I remember a couple of corner chances in the Soton match in which we could and definitely should have scored. Very similar ones to the Gabriel goal tonight. Maybe if we had capitalized on one of those chances, the game would've been different. But instead we didn't and that wonder-goal took the confidence out of us. This evening, however, we've done well to score the first goal and from there, all hesitance and previous issues were gone. We simply played them off the pitch afterwards.
@tolulopeayeni - Simply put, we decided to play today. We covered up spaces faster, generally looked sharper unlike the Southampton game that looked like we strolled in from the wine bar.
2) There is a theory going around that we bottled the chance to go top a couple of days ago. Do you believe that is true? If so why the change today?
@leouzzi - This is top flight football. Some days, you simply don't get it right and then you never get the right bounce of the ball. We have won today, let us take it a game at a time, win points and stay consistent till the end of the season.
@MJ_Boh_ - Well, obviously with Leicester dropping points and one of them or City (or both) dropping more points on Tuesday night, this could've been an opportunity to create some breathing space between us and the rest. But considering our schedule around the Christmas period, 6 points out of 9 is better than I predicted us to get, and we're still well up in the title race even if we 'bottled' a chance. There will be other chances, I'm sure of it.
@tolulopeayeni - well, sh*t happens...The Southampton was a bit too sh*tty tho...but I will like to see it as just another reset point like we had at the beginning of the season, to remind us that we haven't won anything yet.
3) Do you think the refreshing of the team helped with the performance and result today?
@leouzzi - No, that did not determine the result today. Whoever played today would have done so with the same goal. That being said, i think we needed to give some players a breather. Bellerin & Özil needed that too, but a lack of quality back-up negated that.
@MJ_Boh_ - I felt it was more of a necessary rotation rather than a refreshing move due to the St. Mary's debacle. But it went on better than I expected, with a makeshift central midfield I was slightly worried of, so hat off to the Manager for making those changes and succeeding in making them work.
@tolulopeayeni - Yes, the midfield looked out of place on Saturday, we looked too tired, playing chambers in the middle seemed to work, he impressed me.
4) Who was your Arsenal man of the match vs AFC Bournemouth and why?
@leouzzi - I usually don't go with the popular call, but Özil is the gift football got for being a great sport. You need to pay attention to see the very little things he does, to really appreciate how wonderful a footballer, he is.
@MJ_Boh_ - With a goal, an assist and 9 (!!) chances created on top of that, it's really hard to look at anyone beyond Mesut. It's a bit unfair really, because he's so good it takes the spotlight from other very formidable performances - Gabriel, Chambers and Ox put on a decent display too.
@tolulopeayeni - Özil MOTM, why? Today's game was a delicate mix of missed chances, misplaced passes and Özil's gloriousness. He could have 5 assists today, but Theo wouldn't let him.
5) Who do you think did not play at their best and why?
@leouzzi - Oxlade Chamberlain is looking less the player everyone at arsenal thinks he is. He did not show hunger, hardly called for the ball, barely made runs to be picked out by Özil or Ramsey and his decision making is a let down.
@MJ_Boh_ - Not that they were particularly bad, but Theo and Per didn't have the best of games. Slapstick miss of an open goal from Per, plus a few misplaced passes especially early in the first half, when we looked a bit shaken and lacking of confidence. Theo was offside for his entertaining moment, but still he should've done better on that and another couple of chances he had. With just 40 touches of the ball and 18 attempted passes, he was under-involved today, especially when you compare him to Mesut or even Oxlade-Chamberlain.
@tolulopeayeni - Theo, scuffed several chances, on his day could have had a hattrick tonight.
6) What did you make of Calum Chambers playing in midfield?
@leouzzi - I think he did okay. He wanted to be in the thick of things and put in tackles about the place. Technically, you would think he is not there yet, but a few more games on the bounce and we might have a really good player on our hands.
@MJ_Boh_ - It still is quite too little of a sample size to give a verdict on him, but he did play a lot better today than a number of instances, both in midfield and in defense, in the past. He looked calm, made some good tackles, and his distribution was quite impressive, shifting balls forward and to the flanks with decisiveness and efficacy. I doubt he will play there much, especially if a central midfielder is coming in the first few days of January, but he's certainly made a case for himself to be considered as an option.
@tolulopeayeni - Chambers was impressive, played with more confidence than he does playing RB/CB. Made some delightful forward passes too.
7) Will today's result wipe away the disappointment of the Southampton defeat for the players?
@leouzzi - I am sure most of the players have not had proper sleep since Saturday, tonight they will sleep well. A good win against Newcastle and the confidence will come back.
@MJ_Boh - I suppose it is, as cliché as it is, we needed to bounce back from a bad result and we did it better tonight than several times we've faced this challenge in the past 3-4 years.
@tolulopeayeni - I think so, we have learnt to cope with disappointments, we always come back stronger, sure they will let that motivate them to keep the fight for the second round.
8) Both playing at their very best, who is more important to this Arsenal team. Alexis Sanchez or Mesut Özil?
@leouzzi - Both players are so important for the team to win titles and even though in the absence of Alexis, Özil has carried the team so well. That being said, having Alexis in form, we are an unstoppable force.
@MJ_Boh_ - I might sound like a total fanboy (I am) but there's not even a debate, it's the German. Alexis is a great player, but in the last 15 months or so Mesut has cemented his orchestrator role in our squad, to the point I'm having a hard time imagining how we'll do without him. Everything seems to go through him, and Alexis benefits and will benefit from this greatly. However, if we shift our focus and become more 'Alexis-centered', I don't believe the team will have the same performances.
@tolulopeayeni - Özil, he dictates the game, especially with Santi out. Anyone can score with Özil on the pitch, and judging from the last few games, we miss Alexis but not so so much as I think we will miss Özil if out...GOD FORBID.
9) What are your expectations for the January transfer window?
@leouzzi - I like the look of Elneny in midfield (if that really is happening), one more top quality forward and a right-back (if Debuchy is leaving).
@MJ_Boh_ - If the rumours have any truth in them, this Elneny dude from Basel is all but set, which seems like a decent enough stop-gap signing for our dwindling midfield roster. The main thing I ask for is perhaps a certain degree of honesty, between the staff and themselves. If we keep building hopes that certain players will recover from injury, well, we all know how that went for us in the past. Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and Santi Cazorla are good players, great even, but if the staff thinks we can count only on them to perform superbly right after coming back from injury in February through May, then this is a costly mistake that can have severe implications on our title challenge. It will be unrealistic, disappointing and frankly dishonest in my opinion, and we should identify this and be proactive about it in this window. If we have to bring in a striker to cover for Welbeck's numerous setbacks, there are plenty of names out there who could do the job. Plus, it really wouldn't hurt to prepare in advance for the several contracts running out this summer in midfield.
@tolulopeayeni - A marquee signing will be nice...but won't happen, totally okay with a DM that can deputize for Coq in his absence, a deep lying playmaker type like Arteta will be great, El Neny looks like it....we wait.
10) Any other thoughts?
@leouzzi - We are at a good place and in a good position halfway through the campaign. A few payers in and returning from injury, we take it a game at a time, we can become champions........ Petr Cech deserves honorable mention for breaking the Clean Sheet Record ( He's one of ours).
@MJ_Boh_ - I think I've blabberd enough for one night. I very much enjoyed the match, congrats to Cech for his record, and thanks for letting me air my terrible opinions!
@tolulopeayeni - We will win the league, Spurs will choke and come 6th, Chelsea 10th...and we can call it a very great season.
Thanks as ever to the guys above for the great responses. If you would like to follow the guys above, just search the twitter handle and get following.