Arsenal defeated Bournemouth 3-1 to keep pace with the leader board. The win gives the guys 28 points good enough for fourth place. My Gunners trail second place Liverpool 30 points and third place Man Shitty 30 points by two points. The guys are three points behind top dog Chelsea who has 31 big ones.
Alexis Sanchez led the way with the daily double 12th and 90th minute plus one. Theo Walcott tickled the twines in the 55th minute.
The Telegraphs Ben Bloom wrote: With the dark nights drawing in and more than a third of the season now played, the first glimpse of daylight has finally emerged at the top of the Premier League. Yes, this was another largely unconvincing performance but two goals from Alexis Sanchez winner has kept Arsenal within two points of leaders Chelsea and, perhaps just as important, opened what is now a four-point buffer to Tottenham in fifth.
Mauricio Pochettino and Jose Mourinho will expect still to contest the theory that the top four is becoming established but gaps are finally now beginning to open. Arsenal will also feel mightily relieved to get through what has been another difficult month of November without losing, despite a series of disjointed performances.
After wins on Saturday for the three teams above them in the Premier League table, Arsenal had started with real purpose and threatened even to put the game beyond Bournemouth in the opening 20 minutes.
Mohamed Elneny had an early shot charged down and the direct running of Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain prompted challenges by Steve Cook and Simon Francis that resulted in yellow cards. Sanchez was playing at a particularly high intensity and the impact of his constant willingness to press all the way across Bournemouth’s back four was rewarded when Cook became rushed in possession.
It resulted in a horribly under-hit pass back across the defence to Adam Federici that Sanchez intercepted and then gratefully rolled under the Bournemouth goalkeeper and into the goal. Only 12 minutes had elapsed but, with Arsenal looking in the mood to win comfortably, the sudden loss of Mathieu Debuchy had a strangely debilitating impact on the whole team.
Debuchy was starting his first Arsenal game for fully a year but hobbled off with a hamstring strain. He had replaced Carl Jenkinson in the starting team but Wenger had gambled on not including another specialist right-back on the bench and so Gabriel – a centre-back specialist – was asked to fill that role. He looked initially disorientated by the positional switch and the uncertainty soon spread through the Arsenal team.
Elneny and Granit Xhaka had been given a rare start together in central midfield and began ceding the initiative to Dan Gosling and Harry Arter as Bournemouth pinned Arsenal back. Their pressure told when Callum Wilson got across Nacho Monreal and was bundled to the ground. It was a relatively soft penalty but replays still supported Mike Jones’s award of a foul to Wilson and the Bournemouth striker duly got up to send Petr Cech the wrong way and put Bournemouth level.
It was the first goal that Bournemouth have ever scored at The Emirates and they should have added an immediate second. Gabriel had completely lost Nathan Ake and his header back across the six-yard box presented a wonderful chance that Adam Smith guided over. Brad Smith then also evaded Gabriel and forced a near-post save by Cech. The two teams were now trading chances. Sanchez and Mesut Ozil did just unlock the Bournemouth defence with a neat exchange of passing, only for Sanchez to shoot over.
Bournemouth might have had a penalty when Shokdran Mustafi tangled off the ball with Cook, while Sanchez also crashed a shot against Federici’s crossbar. It lifted Arsenal and they then enjoyed another sustained period of possession that was rewarded when Ozil’s cross-field pass was directed back into the penalty area by Monreal and bounced kindly for Walcott to head Arsenal back into the lead.
Walcott, whose wife Mel gave birth to their second child – a boy called Arlo – on Friday, celebrated by cradling and rocking his arms. Bournemouth, though, continued to threaten and might have had another penalty when Francis chipped the ball into Monreal’s free arm.
Benik Afobe, who is a product of the Arsenal academy, also forced another important save by Cech. The game had become stretched and Arsenal did then counter-attack to put the game beyond Bournemouth. Ozil had combined superbly with substitute Olivier Giroud and his pass back into the six-yard box was finished by Sanchez.