Emery went with a different formation and lineup for this game. Perhaps keeping Bournemouth’s attacking prowess in mind, the Spaniard went with 5 at the back - although with Kolasinac and Bellerin’s high position, this formation was almost a 3-4-3.
The match seemed geared toward a lightning quick start from the home side, something they’ve used well this season. Given our tendency to start slow - on more than one occasion the fact we have failed to earn a lead at the half time whistle was mentioned by the commentators - Bournemouth would have perhaps gone for the jugular.
Instead, the chances weren’t exactly free flowing. This wasn’t a war of attrition, more like a cagey start, but with both teams looking for the ideal opportunity.
The home side were the more industrious in the first half though. Sokratis was on hand to thwart Wilson early on, and Bournemouth - with Brooks in particular a threat - and it was the youngster who looked like he had given Bournemouth the lead.
Brooks was marginally offside however, and the score remained level. We weren’t to be undone though, and Torreira smacked the woodwork. It was lining up to be a tough half for us though, the Cherries were kicking things up a bit.
Josh King was looking dangerous and tested our lines, before Iwobi fluffed his lines from a good spot in the box, with Begovic making easy work of the save. Next up was Auba to go close, but he fired well over from a corner, just before Ryan Fraser’s free kick was well stopped by Leno.
Out of the blue though, we grabbed the lead - and it was a rather unique goal.
Kolasinac had been up and down the left flank and the Bosnian cut the ball back. Jefferson Lerma was running back to cover and he lunged to block the pass, but he only succeeded in volleying it past a startled Begovic. If one of our strikers had connected with it in the same way, we would be replaying it to enjoy the finish.
The home side were unlucky to be a goal down, but we had the next chance, with Iwobi testing Begovic. We were keeping our boot on the home side, but just before half time, Bournemouth broke from their own half, with our men looking a little lax in tracking back.
The ball found Brooks about twenty five yards from goal, with no one covering him. He had ample time to find the overlapping Josh King, who also had the freedom of the pitch to fire a first time effort into the far corner.
There was no time for anything else, but the second half brought about the inevitable improvement from us, tempo-wise, and we started the second forty-five really well, although clear-cut chances were tough to find. The Cherries had started to rouse themselves as well, but we went through the gears just in time to quell the uprising.
It was Kolasinac again who was in the thick of things, and he crossed for an onrushing Auba to slide home from close range.
We had deserved this. We had been resolute and stood up to a vibrant Bournemouth and we had got a reward - although there is plenty to work on.
Matteo Guendouzi came on for the hard-working Torreira, but with ten minutes to go, the fact we hadn’t won for three games started to tighten us up, and Bournemouth smelled a chance. Stanislas scuffed a close-range shot, Lerma nearly made up for his own goal horror with a thirty yard shot that clipped the post, before Stanislas broke through our lines but his cross deflected nicely off Sokratis into the hands of Leno.
There was time for one more hairy moment, after Mustafi stopped the home team’s last attack with a foul, but Stanislas put the resulting free kick over the bar, and that was that.
We had earned our fourth away win of the season, and we can be pleased with our efforts. there are of course many things to work on, but we won’t have much time to work on them - we have a Europa League game in midweek - followed by our North London derby game next weekend.
Onwards and upwards!!