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Full-time: Bournemouth 0-2 Arsenal

  • Arsenal end three-match goal drought with a comfortable victory on the south coast
  • Two goals in 90 first-half seconds from Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain secure first top-flight win since 2 January
  • The Gunners leapfrog Manchester City and now sit level on points with Tottenham in third
  • Mathieu Flamini fortunate to avoid an early red card for a two-footed lunge on Dan Gosling
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored his first away Premier League goal for Arsenal at the Vitality Stadium Getty

That is it for this particular live blog, but stay with IBTimes UK and join my colleague Nick Howson here for live coverage of the heavyweight clash between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

So a relatively comfortable afternoon for Arsenal on the south coast. After ending their mini-goal drought, the Gunners move ahead of Manchester City and now sit behind second-place Tottenham only by virtue of an inferior goal difference.

They trail Leicester by five points and host the league leaders in a pivotal clash next Sunday.

As for Bournemouth, they showed plenty of spirit and endeavour at the start of the second half but consistently lacked a quality final ball and ultimately found the gulf in class just too difficult to bridge.

Howe's side remain 15th and five points above the relegation zone ahead of their meeting with Stoke on 13 February.


Bournemouth 0-2 Arsenal

The three minutes of added time are almost up as Wenger sends on Walcott in place of Giroud. You would be surprised if the England man even got a kick in the remaining few seconds.

A late flurry of action as Ramsey looks to seal a third goal for Arsenal after a defensive mistake but fails to pick out a teammate and Boruc saves his shot from a difficult angle.

The ever-reliable Cech then produces a fine double stop to deny Cook and Arter.

More half-hearted penalty claims go unheeded as King falls to the turf after a coming together with Gabriel.

The Brazilian then reacts well to prevent King from capitalising on Smith's cross.

Howe's side come forward once more but again a lack of quality in the final third proves their undoing as Arter unleashes a shot that is always rising.

Stanislas has certainly provided an outlet on this right flank since coming on and he produces arguably Bournemouth's best opportunity of the afternoon with a perfectly whipped cross that picks out King.

The striker is in between Koscielny and Gabriel, but fails to make any sort of meaningful contact and the chance is wasted. So frustrating.

After forcing a corner, Stanislas steps up to take but fails to find a red shirt. He gets a second bite at it but Simon Francis miscontrols a low pass and the move comes to nothing.

Sanchez's race is run and Kieran Gibbs comes on in his place. Wenger rightly confident that three points are now safely in the bag.

10 minutes plus injury time left to play. Arsenal look all set for a comfortable victory unless there is some late drama to come from the Cherries.

After another Bournemouth attack breaks down, Ramsey strides forward with the help of a neat flick from Giroud and tries to release Sanchez but his pass is overhit. The Chilean applauds the effort anyway.

One final throw of the dice from Bournemouth as the ineffectual Afobe is replaced by Grabban. No fourth consecutive scoring game for the striker against his former club.

Arsenal have been looking exceedingly comfortable in the last few minutes, but a deep cross from Daniels causes problems.

King collects the loose ball and finds fellow substitute Stanislas, whose low pass deflects off the uncertain Koscielny before being scooped up by Cech.

Arsenal break quickly through Ozil and Sanchez but options are limited and the Gunners are simply content to slow the game down and keep possession.

Afobe urges his teammates to push out and apply pressure.

Changes from both sides with 25 minutes remaining as Howe replaces Gosling and Ritchie with King and Stanislas.

Wenger responds by introducing Coquelin in place of goalscorer Oxlade-Chamberlain.

A quick free-kick from Bournemouth leaves Ritchie with acres of space to drive into. Deep in the Arsenal half and with the overlapping Smith making a run to his right, the former Swindon winger cuts inside but his powerful shot lacks direction and hurtles into row z.

Strong defending from Monreal to head clear Ritchie's quality delivery from a free-kick. Gosling then shoots well over.

Tricky feet from Sanchez as he gets in behind Smith and charges into the box, but there is nobody present to apply the finish touch to his low pass across goal and Surman can clear.

Very cynical from Giroud as he stops Bournemouth from pushing forward by treading on Smith's ankle. The Frenchman apologies and protests his innocence, but he is lucky to avoid a yellow card.

There is a greater pace to this game now as Boruc gets down low to his left to push Sanchez's low drive wide. Giroud then outmuscles marker Cook at the corner but his header is held by the goalkeeper.

Arsenal look to push forward but are almost hit on the counter as a crucial foot from Monreal deflects the ball back to Cech and prevents Gosling from completing a nifty one-two with Ritchie.

More encouraging attacking play from Bournemouth sees Ritchie, Gosling and Smith exchange swift, incisive passes before the latter finds space at the near post and easily beats Koscielny before firing a volley into the side netting.

Much better.

The hosts have started this half on the front foot and they appeal for a spot-kick when Gosling's return pass towards Afobe is blocked by the hand of Laurent Koscielny. It looked accidental at first glance and Friend is unmoved.

Ritchie then bends a left-footed shot over Cech's crossbar.

No changes from either Howe or Wenger at half-time. Bournemouth do have plenty of attacking options on the bench in the likes of King, Stanislas, Lewis Grabban and Roma loanee Juan Iturbe.

Bournemouth get the second half off and running. Can they mount any sort of a comeback, or will Arsenal strike again to secure all three points?

Things might have been different, of course, if referee Friend had produced a red card for Flamini's early two-footed lunge on Gosling. It certainly looked ugly.

An encouraging first 45 for Arsenal, who have successfully ended their scoring drought through two quick fire goals from Ozil and Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The Gunners have not created much else, but Bournemouth have struggled to pose a consistent attacking threat of their own in windy conditions. We have seen precious little of Afobe so far.


Bournemouth 0-2 Arsenal

An obvious lack of concentration from Monreal allows Smith to drift in behind and take a diagonal pass on his chest. As he looks to apply the finish touch, Cech comes off his line to make an important tackle.

Surman then gets a flick on Ritchie's corner to the near post, but Arsenal hack clear.

Two minutes of added time signalled by the fourth official.

Smith needs no second invitation to bomb forward down that right flank and his latest run ends with a dangerous lofted cross into the six-yard box that momentarily confuses Cech before trickling wide.

Pugh and Afobe combine to force a corner, but Ramsey is alert to clear.

Five minutes plus stoppage time remaining before the break. Wenger will be pleased with what he has seen from his team in this first half.

A purposeful run forward from Charlie Daniels, who picks up possession near the halfway line and storms past Oxlade-Chamberlain and the sluggish Flamini.

The ball is passed across the edge of the penalty area towards Ritchie, but the Scotland international fails to trouble Cech with a poor shot that flies over.

Bournemouth are persistently seeking to get Afobe involved in proceedings but their final ball thus far has left a lot to be desired. Comfortable for Arsenal at the moment.

Muted shouts for a penalty from the visitors as Monreal tumbles rather theatrically under pressure from Ritchie. Nothing given.

At the other end, Gabriel makes a complete hash of his attempts to thwart a long pass forward towards Pugh and the Bournemouth man races in on goal before seeing the ball knocked behind by a crucial late intervention from the speedy Hector Bellerin.

Bournemouth were certainly holding their own up until that double blow, but Arter continues undeterred and rifles a shot that Cech has to stretch to tip over the crossbar.

Wow. After more than five hours without a Premier League goal, Arsenal score two out of nothing in the space of just 90 seconds.

First, an unmarked Ozil lashes past Artur Boruc from close range after Giroud had knocked down Ramsey's searching cross.

The latter is then involved again as he capitalises on a sloppy pass from Cook to find Oxlade-Chamberlain, who hits a superb low shot that sneaks in at the far post.

Goal: Bournemouth 0-2 Arsenal (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain)

Goal: Bournemouth 0-1 Arsenal (Mesut Ozil)

20 minutes gone and both sides are yet to have create any meaningful chances. It's been a really scrappy opening.

Ritchie and Afobe apply pressure in Arsenal's final third, but Andrew Surman's ambitious long-range shot is blocked by Flamini.

Harry Arter then cops a painful blow during a strong but fair challenge from Ramsey and the ball is eventually cleared out of play for the 26-year-old midfielder to receive treatment.

A nervy moment for the hosts as Ramsey's chipped straight ball forward misses its intended target in Olivier Giroud but rolls through to Alexis Sanchez, who blasts over from a difficult angle.

Bournemouth win a free-kick in a dangerous position on the right-hand side after Monreal hauls down Afobe, but Ritchie's deep cross catches the strong wind and drifts harmlessly wide.

An early yellow card is awarded to Flamini after a nasty lunge on Dan Gosling. Bournemouth's players are furious and replays suggest that it could easily have been red.

The combative midfielder looks to have gotten away with one there.

Oxlade-Chamberlain looks to release Mesut Ozil with an enticing low pass, but Cook makes an excellent challenge to snuff out the danger. Impressive defending.

Steve Cook fires an impressive diagonal pass out to Matt Ritchie, who takes Nacho Monreal out of the game with a deft header towards the run of marauding right-back Adam Smith before the ball runs out of play for a goal kick.

Bournemouth then press their opponents hard in possession and a rogue pass from Aaron Ramsey to Gabriel ricochets off Marc Pugh. Petr Cech is out to collect possession, but he goes on an ill-advised surging run out of his penalty area before slicing it out for a throw-in.

Referee Kevin Friend gets the action underway. Arsenal need a victory here if they are to successfully revive their stuttering title push.

Here is what Wenger had to say about Afobe's failure to make the grade at Arsenal, according to The Mail...

We are used to facing these kind of strikers in the Premier League because in every single club there are top-quality strikers. He was very young, he had big competition in front of him.

We had Robin van Persie, players like that, so I gave him authorisation to go somewhere and play, which he did. Overall you educate people to influence their lives and give them success, that is what we do.

When they do not manage to play for us, if they do it somewhere else, we are, of course, very happy for them. We are used to facing these kind of strikers in the Premier League because in every single club there are top-quality strikers.

I believe Benik has done extremely well, even beyond expectations of many people and that's great; that's down to him and congratulations to him

Speaking to Bournemouth's official website ahead of the match, Howe revealed that his team are more confident now than they were in December but are still refusing to set any fixed points target in their bid for survival...

Every weekend is pivotal. Sunday represents a really good game for our football club, we're competitive and try to win.

We're conscious of people setting 40 points but we haven't set any targets. We're working towards goals, but it's very dangerous to set 40 points as it could be more this year.

I'd say we're more confident now than the last time we played against Arsenal, the run we've had and the importance of the fixtures we've been able to win has given us a renewed belief to compete against the very best sides.

They have a squad that when fully fit, is second to none. Their objectives are totally different to ours, we need to be at our very highest level against one of the best teams in the country.

To continue to produce teams with the scrutiny of being one of the biggest clubs in the country is remarkable. I managed to talk football with him [Wenger] after the game he's a very nice man and you can learn a lot from him

Just over 15 minutes remaining until kick-off on the south coast.

No prizes for guessing which player Bournemouth have chosen to incorporate on the front page of their matchday programme for this one.

Afobe never made a first-team appearance for Arsenal, instead spending time on loan at Huddersfield, Reading, Bolton, Sheffield Wednesday and MK Dons before a £2m permanent switch to Wolves last January.

How he would love to maintain his impressive goalscoring record today...


Bournemouth will be boosted by having both King and Stanislas available, but Max Gradel is unlikely to return before March after rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament against former employers Leicester in August.

Fellow summer signing Tyrone Mings, who was making his top-flight bow, is not expected back this season after suffering an awful injury in the same match.

Star striker Callum Wilson also ruptured his ACL at Stoke in September, although, like Gradel, he could make a timely return to fitness during the run-in.

New signing Mohamed Elneny made a positive impression on his debut against Burnley, although he is not involved today after his wife gave birth to a new baby last night.


Long-term casualty Danny Welbeck remains absent for Arsenal, although he did take another step closer to a first-team return on Friday with a 60-minute outing for the club's U21 side as they defeated Brighton 4-1 at London Colney. The 25-year-old has been missing for nine months with a persistent knee injury.

Jack Wilshere is said to finally be making good strides in his recovery from a fractured left fibula, while Santi Cazorla is not expected back until late March.

Experienced playmaker Tomas Rosicky, who is out of contract in June, may well have played his last game for the club after being ruled out for three months with a bad thigh strain sustained during the FA Cup fourth-round win over Burnley.

That tie represented the Czech Republic international's first senior appearance since undergoing surgery on a serious knee problem suffered back in May 2015.

Bournemouth's starting XI is unchanged after they inflicted a fifth consecutive Premier League defeat on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Junior Stanislas is fit enough to take his place on the bench after he suffered a knee injury during the 1-1 draw with Sunderland, with Glenn Murray relegated from the matchday squad altogether.

Josh King looks to have returned to full fitness following a hamstring issue.

Wenger has made just one solitary change to the side that failed to break down Southampton on Tuesday evening, with Joel Campbell dropping to the bench in favour of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Gabriel is again selected ahead of Per Mertesacker at centre-back and Francis Coquelin features among the substitutes once more.

Bournemouth: Boruc, Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels, Surman, Gosling, Arter, Ritchie, Pugh, Afobe

Substitutes: Federici, Distin, O'Kane, King, Grabban, Iturbe, Stanislas

Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud

Substitutes: Ospina, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Coquelin, Walcott, Iwobi, Campbell

Team news from both camps is expected to filter through very shortly...

If you are thinking that it does not seem too long ago that these sides first met, then you would be correct. The first competitive league clash between Arsenal and Bournemouth came at the Emirates Stadium back on 28 December 2015, with goals in either half from Gabriel and Mesut Ozil securing a 2-0 victory for the hosts.

Since then, Bournemouth have fared reasonably well, with three wins and no defeats from their last four matches in all competitions. Eddie Howe's men are currently five points clear of the bottom three in 15th, with £10m club-record January signing and former Arsenal academy graduate Benik Afobe scoring in consecutive matches against relegation rivals Norwich and Sunderland in addition to notching the winner in a 2-1 triumph at Crystal Palace in midweek.

Their poor home form remains a cause for concern, however. The Cherries have won just three matches on their own patch so far this term, with only rock-bottom Aston Villa possessing a worse record.

Despite the prevailing opinion that this unpredictable season represents by far Arsenal's best chance to win their first Premier League title in 12 years, Arsene Wenger's side have certainly not been immune from their traditional New Year's wobble in early 2016.

Top of the pile just a few short weeks ago, the Gunners have lost their way of late and currently sit fourth - two places behind rivals Tottenham - after draws with Liverpool and Stoke were followed by a frustrating but not altogether unsurprising home loss to Chelsea and a dismal stalemate against Southampton.

Without a goal in three consecutive top-flight outings, today they can leapfrog Manchester City into third, close the gap on surprise leaders Leicester to five points and trail Spurs only by virtue of goal difference with victory in their first competitive trip to Bournemouth.

Kick-off at Dean Court is slated for 13.30 GMT and we will bring you live updates throughout the 90 minutes as well as breaking team news and confirmed lineups.