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Match Report


Posted Tue 03 Jan 17 at 21:35 PM

Match report: AFC Bournemouth 3-3 Arsenal - Late heartbreak as ten-man Cherries can't hold on

AFC Bournemouth were denied a first ever win over Arsenal a last-gasp Olivier Giroud leveller made it 3-3, cancelling out the host's three-goal lead, and denying a famous result at Vitality Stadium.

A glorious first-half performance from the Cherries saw them leading by two goals at the break thanks to a Charlie Daniels strike and a Callum Wilson penalty.

The home fans were in dreamland after the break when Ryan Fraser scored a wonderful virtuous third. However, the Gunners hit back with goals from Alexis Sanchez and substitute Lucas Perez.

A late Simon Francis red card lead to a anxiety-filled ending to the match, and Giroud's injury-time header claimed the Gunners a point.

Eddie Howe made three changes to the starting 11 from the side that beat Swansea City on New Year's Eve. Dan Gosling, Joshua King and Wilson came into the side in place of Andrew Surman, Jack Wilshere and Benik Afobe.

Wilshere was ineligible to play against his parent club, while Afobe had not received international clearance from DR Congo in time to play.

Arsenal started the 90 minutes dominant in possession, but King had the game's first effort six minutes in after Gosling had nipped in and intercepted an Arsenal pass. The forward struck low from 26 yards but his effort passed wide of 'keeper Petr Cech's goal. 

The effort seemed to give the hosts confidence and after a good attacking move saw Charlie Daniels' cross blocked behind, the corner kick was worked to Junior Stanislas; the midfielder hitting with power from distance but too close to Cech, who saved.

The home fans were soon calling for a penalty as Stanislas' perfectly-weighted ball allowed Wilson to draw Cech from his line. The appeals were waved away with the 'keeper appearing to get the ball before the man.

The AFC Bournemouth pressure told after 15 minutes as they deservedly took the lead. Stanislas spotted Daniels' left-wing run and the full-back stepped inside his defender in the area to slot home neatly at the near post.

The Gunners pushed for a quick reply but were caught on the break as King, Wilson and Fraser broke clear. Dribbling into the left edge of the box, Fraser was fouled by Granit Xhaka, referee Michael Oliver pointing to the spot.

Wilson showed no sign of nerves from the 12 yards as he shot low and down the middle to double the Cherries' lead.

Wounded, Arsenal came close when Aaron Ramsey turned and struck a volley in the area, the effort taking a slight deflection as it whistled narrowly wide of Artur Boruc's post.

The visitors were putting on the pressure, but with the Cherries quick to break again Wilson was past the defence and bearing down on goal, only a fine recovering tackle from Laurent Koscielny preventing the striker from getting a shot away.

From the resulting corner a clearance was returned with interest by Harry Arter, his shot drifting wide of the target.

The home side were having to absorb pressure and with the half drawing to a close Alex Iwobi had a chance to reduce his side's arrears, but running onto a low centre Francis's covering challenge forced the Arsenal man to scuff wide.

To round off a stunning first half Stanislas beat Cech with a low curling strike, but the midfielder's effort was also a whisker wide of the post as the half ended with Bournemouth two goals to the good.

Wilson Insert 16

As expected, the Gunners began the second period on the front foot and Giroud should have done better when only able to weakly glance a header from substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's cross.

Despite the Arsenal pressure it was the Cherries who thought they had the game's third goal when Arter's strike from 20 yards deflected home via Wilson, but the referee judged the ball to have come off Wilson's arm.

The Cherries' third goal did come moments later however, as Fraser chased down a lost cause, out-muscled Hector Bellerin, cut inside and finished between Cech's legs at the near post to send Vitality Stadium into further delirium.

Sanchez soon saw a shot deflect just wide of the home goal, while at the other end Cech had to be alert to dive and palm away Stanislas' free kick.

With 20 minutes remaining, Arsenal got on the scoresheet through Sanchez when he was alive enough to head home from close range after Giroud had flicked on Oxlade-Chamberlain's centre.

The home side were having to defend stoutly and Boruc saved well from Giroud's powerful drive, the visitors growing in belief that a comeback was possible.

Four minutes after their first the Gunners had their second when Perez produced a dead-eye volley from a difficult angle after Giroud's delicate looping flick.

The pressure was building but Gosling could have eased the tension after a brilliant turn in the box, but his finish was a foot wide of the upright. 

Inside the final ten minutes and the Cherries' challenge to see the game out grew all the tougher as captain Francis was given a straight red card for a challenge on Ramsey.

The pressure was getting unbearable and as the click clicked past the 90 minute mark Xhaka's ball in was expertly flicked past Boruc by the head of Giroud.

Arter nearly stole the result back for the Cherries with a driven late shot saved by Cech, but the spoils were to be cruelly shared at the last.

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