Gunners show grit and gumption
Sanchez and Walcott shine for Arsenal but question marks hang over defence
(Alexis Sanchez 12, 90, Theo Walcott 53)
(Callum Wilson 23-pen)
Just when another bleak mid-winter beckoned, Arsenal finally showed their true grit.
Enduring a winless November for a second successive season would have left Arsene Wenger's side with paper-thin credentials in their hopes of genuine contention for the EPL title.
Until Theo Walcott glanced home what had looked set to be the winning goal against Bournemouth before Alexis Sanchez's stoppage-time strike, Wenger appeared firmly destined to be condemned by his summer transfer failings.
The Gunners' elder statesman had attempted to exercise a well-rounded approach when addressing the imbalance of his current squad.
He signed a forward, a midfielder and two defenders.
Hindsight suggests that he should have invested far heavily in the latter after seeing his defence pulled apart during a first half which had left the Emirates Stadium feeling bitter.
Once considered the toast of English football, there was never a more fearsome nor astute back four than the one which previously resided in north London for over two decades.
Its transition became effortless, with the likes of Tony Adams and Nigel Winterburn passing the baton to an accomplished new breed that included Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole, among others.
Even in victory yesterday, those currently in situ - with the continued exception of Petr Cech - are still not fit to lace the boots of their illustrious and title-winning predecessors.
Steve Cook may have offered Sanchez the greatest of gifts with a poor backpass in the 12th minute, but Arsenal did not exactly demand that their visitors worked too hard to redress the balance.
Mathieu Debuchy lasted barely 15 minutes in his first appearance since November last year.
His fellow fullback did not do much better as Nacho Monreal needlessly conceded a penalty - the club's second in consecutive home games - which allowed the Cherries to equalise in the 23rd minute.
Personality deficiency is not the only symptom of Arsenal's defensive shortcomings - they lack the resolve to deal with teams willing to seize the initiative in front of goal.
Failing to keep a solitary clean sheet in their previous seven EPL games points to a worrying lack of discipline.
They had Cech to thank for sparing further blushes as Benik Afobe's goal-bound header threatened to draw Bournemouth level as the clock ticked down.
Last summer's largesse gamble on the veteran ex-Chelsea goalkeeper continues to garner extra points for Arsenal in spite of the leaky lieutenants directly in front of him.
Attack appears to be the only area where Wenger can currently rely on.
Sanchez is proving an invaluable asset as an unrelenting architect as much as he is also a devastating assassin.
Walcott, too, is enjoying the trappings of a front-line where he is recapturing past glories.
Recording a sixth EPL goal of the campaign heralded the England international's best return since a 14-goal haul during the 2013/14 campaign.
Right now, that is all Wenger can truly cling to.
Expecting a similar level of productivity from Olivier Giroud is a miracle that even a Christmas fairy tale would struggle to deliver.
He will just be happy that the wheels are finally in motion again.
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