AFC Bournemouth produced a fighting display at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon despite going down 3-1 to title contenders Arsenal.
A Callum Wilson penalty cancelled out Alexis Sanchez’s early goal, before Arsene Wenger’s side took advantage of their bright start to the second half through Theo Walcott who calmly headed home from close range to make it 2-1.
With minutes to go, Sanchez grabbed his second of the game to seal the three points for the Gunners despite a valiant display from Eddie Howe’s men.
Howe named two changes to the team that beat Stoke City, with Brad Smith making his Premier League debut for the Cherries in the place of the injured Charlie Daniels, while Adam Smith returned from last week’s suspension.
The first chance came within the opening two minutes of the game as Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain found space down the left before squaring to Mesut Ozil, whose close-range shot was well blocked by Nathan Ake.
Up the other end of the pitch, the Cherries were able to counter with Adam Smith, but his shot from just outside the area was fired wide of the post.
However, it wasn’t long before the hosts broke the deadline as Sanchez latched onto to a Steve Cook’s back-pass, leaving him one on one with Adam Federici and slotting home coolly on 10 minutes.
Nevertheless, it was Bournemouth who enjoyed spells of possession following the goal, with a string on corners applying the pressure.
And Howe’s side were soon rewarded for their efforts.
Wilson found himself through on goal before being knocked to the floor by Nacho Monreal, resulting in Mike Jones pointing straight to the spot.
It was the 24-year-old who stepped up and struck the ball away from Petr Cech, giving the Cherries a well-deserved equaliser.
The goal was Wilson’s ninth Premier League strike, making him the club’s all time leading goalscorer in the competition.
Moments later, the Cherries pressed forward again after a Junior Stanislas free-kick found the head of Ake, who squared the ball for Adam Smith 10-yards out, but he couldn’t direct his effort on target.
It was then Arsenal’s turn to attack, with Mohamed Elneny first firing over from range, before Sanchez failed to convert from a similar position.
As the half drew to a close, the Gunners tested the Cherries defence once more, with a Brad Smith block needed to deny Walcott at point-blank range, before the England international struck the post minutes later.
It was Wenger’s side that started the second half as they left off, bursting forward and creating a flurry of chances.
And it was soon after that one was converted as Monreal’s cut back found Walcott in space, allowing him to head home from close-range to give the Gunners the lead.
Wenger’s side nearly added as third as Granit Xhaka played a wonderful ball through to Sanchez, who was able to find Ozil in the box but nothing came of the move.
Up the other end of the pitch, the Cherries had a penalty shout waved away after Monreal appeared to handle Simon Francis’ ball, but Jones was unmoved.
With a little over 10 minutes to go, Bournemouth continued to press and created a glorious chance a Harry Arter corner fell to second half substitute Benik Afobe, but Cech was somehow able to palm away the ex-Arsenal striker’s effort from in the six-yard box.
However, as the Cherries piled numbers forward in the hunt for an equaliser, it allowed for Arsenal to break and seal the win, with substitute Olivier Giroud’s cross finding Sanchez in the middle, who scored his second of the game and a third for the Gunners.