Bournemouth hit back to stun wasteful Arsenal
Bournemouth completed a miserable day for Arsenal after recovering from 1-0 behind to complete a 2-1 victory over the visitors at the Vitality Stadium.
Arsenal – without the dropped Alexis Sanchez as speculation mounts he could be set for Manchester United,
Manchester City or Liverpool this month – moved ahead on 52 minutes courtesy of an opener from Héctor Bellerín.
But the home team scored twice inside four minutes to take the three points with efforts from Callum Wilson (70′) and Jordon Ibe (74′) boosting their Premier League survival prospects.
Arsenal nearly broke the deadlock within 10 minutes, when Ashley Maitland-Niles found space in the box and struck a powerful shot across the bar.
Arsene Wenger then watched on from the stands as Danny Welbeck was gifted a one-on-one with Asmir Begovic. However, the English forward disappointingly poked his shot straight at the goalkeeper.
Bournemouth—who had failed to beat any ‘top six’ team this season before hosting Wenger’s side—created several chances, notably when Adam Smith was gifted space to shoot powerfully at Cech, who pushed it wide for a corner.
The Cherries had reason to feel aggrieved when the resulting corner clearly struck Alex Iwobi on the arm.
With a clear view, referee Kevin Friend did not signal for a penalty.
The Gunners broke the deadlock shortly after the break, when Alex Iwobi picked out a Hector Bellerin run with an incisive through-ball. The Spaniard scrambled a shot under Begovic for his second goal in as many games.
The Cherries levelled when Petr Cech failed to deal with a fierce Ryan Fraser cross, allowing Calum Wilson to poke the ball home with his first touch. Wilson has scored in all three of his appearances against Wenger’s side.
As Arsenal failed to find the creative outlets to close the game out, the home side took the lead when Rob Holding afforded Wilson plenty of space in the box to lay a shot on for Jordon Ibe.
The former Liverpool man duly converted his first Bournemouth goal in 52 games with an emphatic finish.
Bournemouth withstood late Arsenal pressure to earn a vital three points that lifted them to 13th place in the table. The Gunners, following, their first-ever loss to Bournemouth, now find themselves five points shy of the top four.
TALKING POINT: How strong are Arsenal without Alexis and Ozil?
Without their two star players, the Gunners looked remarkably average at Dean Court. How will life look after the Chilean departs? Are they a worthy top four contender if the German does not renew in the summer?
MAN OF THE MATCH: Jack Wilshere
Former Bournemouth loanee Wilshere proved to be the highlight of the first half of a scrappy affair, showing desire to win the ball and elegantly conducting Arsenal’s forward movements in the final third.