AFC Bournemouth beat Arsenal 2-1 in a thrilling match at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday.
Cherries’ manager Eddie Howe made multiple changes to the side that played Wigan in the FA Cup on Wednesday, with Lewis Cook, Jordan Ibe and Callum Wilson in the starting eleven, while Arsenal started without injured Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, who is reportedly amid transfer talks with Manchester United.
The first big chance was created by the visiting side through a collaboration of Alexandre Lacazette and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Maitland-Niles shot the ball past Bournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic but it smashed against the crossbar. Arsenal’s domination in the first half was mainly due to the excellent work of the former-Bournemouth loanee Jack Wilshere, who showed off the growth in his confidence since returning to Arsenal.
The Gunners created another chance following a cross from Lacazette to Danny Welbeck, who’s shot was blocked by Begovic.
Just before the teams returned to the changing rooms for half-time, Jordan Ibe saw a chance to race past Arsenal’s defence and shoot the ball across to Ryan Fraser, who was blocked by Callum Chambers.
Within ten minutes of a lively second half, the visitors took the lead with Hector Bellerin dribbling the ball past Bournemouth’s defence and shooting past Begovic. Alex Iwobi provided the assist with a beautiful pass.
But Bournemouth didn’t give in and continued preventing Arsenal from walking over them. Their efforts were soon rewarded when Petr Cech failed to block a a cross from Fraser and Wilson used the opportunity to equalise.
Four minutes later, the match was completely flipped over, with Man of the Match Wilson playing Arsenal’s shaky defence and providing Ibe with an opportunity to fire the ball between the posts.
Shortly afterwards, Arsene Wenger brought on Theo Walcott in an attempt to save Arsenal from defeat, but it proved unsuccessful with AFC Bournemouth leaving the pitch as the victorious side.
An honest Gunner’s manager Wenger said in the post-match press conference: “It is very frustrating. Overall we have to look at it in a very objective and harsh way – we made mistakes we should not have made. We made many mistakes, and that is what we paid for.”
Cherries boss Eddie Howe praised his team, saying: “Our fitness levels were really good. We were very energetic with our performances. The changes made us look more effective from an attacking sense.”
AFC Bournemouth needed this win, as they steer clear from the relegation zone, with a leap from 17th place to 13th on the Premier League table. Arsenal, meanwhile, are falling short of Champions League qualification as they sit in 6th.
Bournemouth’s next game is an away trip to Wigan for a the replay of the FA Cup third round, while The Gunners host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday.