Plucky Cherries lose out at Arsenal
- Martin Atkinson
AFC Bournemouth pushed Arsenal all the way but lost 1-0 at Emirate Stadium as they were unable to strike back and get the goal their play deserved.
David Luiz got the goalscoring started early as he found the net with a header inside ten minutes, Arsenal taking their lead into the break.
The Cherries carried a stronger threat after the restart, Callum Wilson going close after rounding the 'keeper but not being able to beat the tight angle, and while the visitors carved out a series of chances they couldn't register on the scoreboard as their unbeaten league run came to an end.
Bournemouth were unchanged for the third match running, looking to continue the recent run of historic wins, this time the aim a first road success over the Gunners. Summer signing Lloyd Kelly made the bench for the first time in the Premier League, the defender adding to an increasingly strong set of players in reserve.
The away side settled quickly but were soon almost undone inside six minutes when Bukayo Saka led a break which ended with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cutting inside and firing towards the far post, his effort just a whisker wide of a fine opener.
The first goal was not far away, however, and it came for Luiz and the home side.
A corner from the Gunners' left was drifted in and the Brazilian defender got a run on his marker and was able to head home easily across goal and past Aaron Ramsdale.
Nathan Ake went close to a quick leveler with his own header from a corner, the ball dropping just wide, Dominic Solanke similarly threatening aerially but diverting another Diego Rico set piece off target.
Bournemouth's backline was looking vulnerable to the pace of the home side's attacks, Saka forcing Ramsdale into action at the near post with a shot, while an audacious Calum Chambers volley sped well wide of the goalframe.
Closing in on the break and Jefferson Lerma picked up the ball after a promising break involving Joshua King, but with another goal-of-the-season on his mind he could only find the stand from 23 yards, the Cherries are goal down at the break.
Seconds after the restart and a slick move involving King and Callum Wilson saw the ball played back to Solanke, but unable to get the ball out of his feet the chance passed without a shot coming in.
Solanke pushed forwards again minutes later, feeding for Callum Wilson who wriggled past defenders and then round the 'keeper but with the angle tightening his pull back across the line found a defender and not King looking to pounce.
The Cherries were looking dangerous, Harry Wilson threading through for Jack Stacey, the right-back's centre nearly catching Bernd Leno out at the near post, the German 'keeper reacting well to tip the ball onto the roof of the net.
Philip Billing bent a shot wide from range, while just beyond the hour mark Ryan Fraser was introduced in place of Solanke.
Both sides looked capable of gaining the game's crucial second goal, Lerma again hitting the Arsenal fans and not the back of the net with a long-range strike; just ahead of Simon Francis and Arnaut Danjuma entering the play as Eddie Howe made a double change looking for a turnaround with just over ten minutes left on the clock.
Substitute Gabriel Martinelli shot off target for the Gunners, Danjuma at the other end volleying a spectacular 22-yard volley a yard wide.
Danjuma was in the thick of the action again as the clock ticked over into the five minutes of added time, his cutback cleared by Matteo Guendouzi with King battling to score. From the corner Steve Cook headed a yard over, the defender's head in his hands as he returned beyond the halfway line.
The home side came close to sealing the game when Aubameyang slid in and hit the post - seemingly from an offside position - while the the Cherries had a final chance when Callum Wilson hit a shot on the term from the edge of the box, the ball into Leno's grasp.
The last action of the game, the Cherries had to console themselves with a good second-half showing if no points to prove it.