- Arsenal comeback from 2-0 down to defeat Bournemouth 3-2
- The results keep Arsenal on top with a five-point gap to City
With a thrilling 3-2 victory over Bournemouth at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal overcame a terrible start to stay on top of the Premier League table.
The Cherries were in dreamland in North London as Philip Billing and Marcos Senesi gave Gary O’Neil’s team a two-goal lead. Thomas Partey and Ben White then gave the Gunners the lead back, but Reiss Nelson’s incredible goal with seconds left gave the table-toppers yet another incredible comeback victory.
Bournemouth early start
Before the ball slid into the net, barely enough time had passed for both sets of supporters to find seats. Billing’s goal quieted the Emirates throng in just nine seconds.
Just after the opening kick, Bournemouth moved the ball to the right, where Dango Ouattara’s cross sailed under Gabriel Magalhaes’ boot and fell for Billing to lash home.
Billing snuck in and surprised William Saliba and Partey, but Shane Long still holds the record for the fastest Premier League goal with a shot against Watford in 2019 that took just 7.69 seconds.
Arsenal’s response to falling behind was customarily aggressive, but at the four-minute mark, Neto was in top form to save Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka in short succession.
After a tumultuous start that required an incredible stop from Aaron Ramsdale to prevent Ouattara from increasing Bournemouth’s lead in the 19th minute, the Gunners’ afternoon took a turn for the worse when Leandro Trossard was forced to leave the game due to injury and was replaced by Emile Smith Rowe.
The second half
In the second half, Mikel Arteta’s team came out firing, but Bournemouth’s valiant rearguard work was still winning out, and in the 57th minute, one of the Cherries’ backline members would throw the away end into even more commotion.
A left-handed corner swung in and found Senesi’s head, who gave Partey the slip and headed a low header into the goal in front of the Bournemouth supporters, giving an already dazed Arsenal an even greater mountain to climb.
it only took Arsenal five minutes to cut the deficit in half. Neto cleared a corner from Saka, but Smith Rowe headed the ball back into the area, and Partey smashed home at the back post to set up a tense last 30 minutes.
Only a few minutes later, Nelson strangely replaced Smith Rowe, possibly as a result of Smith Rowe’s ongoing fitness issues. Nonetheless, Nelson had an immediate impact from the bench to help Arsenal tie the game.
Despite their best efforts, Arsenal was unable to score the crucial third goal because VAR disallowed two additional apparent handball infractions against Senesi and Billing within a span of a few minutes.
After six minutes of extra time, Bournemouth appeared to hold on, but Arsenal’s impressive never-say-die mindset proved telling when the ball fell to Nelson from a corner, he shot straight a wonderful strike into the far corner to cause complete chaos inside the Emirates.
The results see Arsenal keep a five-point gap to Manchester City ahead of Thursday’s Europa League game against Sporting Lisbon.
Bournemouth remains 19th and they play Liverpool next.
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