Arsenal romp to victory against Bournemouth as Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan shine at the Emirates


LET’s hope that Eddie Howe isn’t planning a visit to Las Vegas any time soon.

Because if the Bournemouth boss tries his poker face in Caesar’s Palace he’ll lose a lot more than just his shirt.

Arsenal ace Mesut Ozil opened the scoring at the Emirates after just four minutes
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German playmaker celebrates his strike against Bournemouth after being recalled to the line-up

Howe’s ham-fisted attempt at mind games blew up in his face as Unai Emery called his pre-match bluff and took him to the cleaners.

Nice guy Eddie had declared on the eve of this game that he was delighted when Mesut Ozil was left out of the Arsenal line-up the last time these teams met in November.

But if he was hoping to convince Emery to leave Ozil on the bench again, his plan backfired spectacularly.

Ozil and Emery are still working on their fractious relationship after the German’s mental and physical strength were called into question by his boss.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan doubled the Gunners’ lead after being picked out by Ozil
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Mkhitaryan reacts with Ozil after getting on the score sheet for the second game running
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But the club’s highest-paid player is gradually working his way back into favour and his first Arsenal goal in more than four months has certainly done his cause no harm.

He struck after just four minutes, cashing in on Bournemouth’s sloppy marking to chip keeper Artur Boruc after being played in Sead Kolasinac.

Emery had left Ozil out at the Vitality earlier in the season because he feared that the match might be too physically intense for the delicate German.

But there was no danger of Bournemouth sticking the boot in without suspended enforcer Jefferson Lerma last night.

And Ozil took full advantage of the Colombian’s absence to set Arsenal on their way to their eighth straight Premier League win at the Emirates.

Only Manchester City have a better home record than the Gunners this season and Bournemouth were never going to ruin the night as Emery’s men strengthened their grip on the top four.

Lys Mousset pulled a goal back for the Cherries as the visitors robbed Matteo Guendouzi
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Laurent Koscielny restored Arsenal’s two goal lead just after the break
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Only Manchester City have a better home record than the Gunners this season and Bournemouth were never going to ruin the night as Emery’s men strengthened their grip on the top four.

With their powder blue shirts and powderpuff defence, the visitors were always heading for this ninth successive away defeat the moment they conceded so early on.

They fell further behind in the 28th minute when Adam Smith’s suicidal pass across his own area was picked off by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who exchanged passes with the selfless Ozil before side-footing past Boruc.

Yet nothing is completely straightforward with this Arsenal team and within two minutes of extending their lead they handed Bournemouth an unexpected lifeline.

Matteo Guendouzi was caught daydreaming on the edge of his area by Dan Gosling to leave Lys Mousset with a simple tap-in for his first goal of the season.

But that was to be as good as it got for Howe, whose hopes of a second-half comeback were dashed within two minutes of the restart when Laurent Koscielny scored with a deflection off Chris Mepham.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rounded Artur Boruc to make it 4-1
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Alexandre Lacazette came off the bench but got in on the act with a glorious free-kick

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the game to bed on the hour when he raced onto Mkhitaryan’s delicious through ball to go around the stranded Boruc.

It is no coincidence that Arsenal’s impressive recent form has come at the same time as Mkhitaryan’s return from injury.

The Armenian fully deserved the standing ovation he received from the crowd when he was subbed off with one eye on Saturday’s North London derby.

And there was still time for sub Alexandre Lacazette to become the first Arsenal player since Robin Van Persie to score in five consecutive home games with a 77th minute free-kick.

It has taken Emery longer than expected to impose his philosophy at the Emirates but there is little doubt that things are finally starting to fall into place.

And if the Gunners can avoid defeat at Wembley and in their next Premier League game at home to Manchester United, you would have to fancy them for a top four finish this season.



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