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Gunners pick off the Cherries

Written By: Robert Halter

Arsenal had won all three of their previous meetings with Bournemouth. In the second minute, Nathan Ake made an important block for the Cherries, as Mesut Ozil struck the ball on the sweet spot from a cross on the left by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. But Bournemouth responded as Adam Smith broke clear, but from long range he struck the ball wide of the right post. Ake then made another block in the area to keep out Mohamed Elneny’s strike from an assist by Alexis Sanchez, following a free kick by Mesut Ozil as a result of a cynical foul by Cherries captain Simon Francis on Oxlade-Chamberlain. But disaster struck for Bournemouth in the twelfth minute, as Cherries keeper, Adam Federici rolled the ball out to Steve Cook, who carelessly sent the ball back into the path of Sanchez, who rounded Federici, to tuck the ball away into an empty net. Two minutes later, a Callum Wilson shot missed towards the left corner from a delivery by Francis. Arsenal then had an enforced change of Mathieu Debuchy with an injury blow which meant that Gabriel Paulista was brought on. But the Cherries were awarded a penalty by referee Mike Jones, midway through the first half, as Nacho Monreal was penalised for rolling over Wilson in the area, who acted revenge by sending Petr Cech, the wrong way with the spot kick. Another chance fell the Cherries way in the twenty fifth minute, as Ake knocked the ball onto Adam Smith, who headed over in range of the target, after Junior Stanislas’s free kick could not be cleared by Gunners captain, Laurent Koscielny, whose studded challenge on Harry Arter, had led to the free kick. Three minutes later, Joshua King created space on the left side of the box for Brad Smith, and it took a close range stop by Cech, to turn the ball away from his near post. On twenty nine minutes, Francis missed with a header following a corner by Stanislas. Another careless ball by Cook, gave a shooting chance for Elneny, but he fired his shot over the top, in the thirty seventh minute. Then within a minute, Sanchez played a one two with Ozil, before the Chilean struck his effort narrowly over the upright. Just before half time, a deep ball from Ozil fell to Sanchez, whose ferocious strike rattled against the crossbar. At the start of the second half, Ozil’s free kick was just too far over for Paulista, after Ake had hacked down Theo Walcott. But on fifty three minutes, Arsenal restored their lead as Ozil twisted and turned in the box, and his delivery was misplaced off the head of Ake, and from a cross by Monreal, the ball was nodded into the right area of the net by Walcott. In the fifty ninth minute, a threaded pass by Oxlade-Chamberlain from inside his own half, set Sanchez free down the left but his cross eluded Ozil, who was threatening by Federici’s near post. In the first Cherries change, Benik Afobe replaced Wilson, before an enforced substitution was made after Stanislas pulled up injured and Jordan Ibe took over. But Bournemouth were unlucky not to get a penalty, as the ball struck the hand of Monreal in the area from a chip by Francis in the seventy second minute. The Gunners then made a double change of Aaron Ramsey for Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud for Walcott. The Cherries then went close to equalising on seventy six minutes, as from Arter’s corner and a flick on by Francis, the ball landed with Afobe at close range, and his strike was kept out by the feet of Cech on his goal line. In the final throw of the dice, Eddie Howe decided to replace Brad Smith with Lys Mousset. In the eighty second minute, Giroud miss guided a header from a cross by Sanchez. Six minutes later, a soaring volley by Giroud, flew wide of the target from a pass by Ramsey and on ninety minutes, the Cherries responded as a Mousset header missed to the left from a cross by Adam Smith. But the game was sealed in stoppage time with intricate play by Ozil and a pull back from Giroud before the ball was put away by Sanchez to secure a 3-1 victory for Arsenal over Bournemouth at the Emirates end of November.