Mikel Arteta was forced to settle for a 1-1 draw in his first game in charge of Arsenal as Bournemouth held the Gunners at a soaking wet Vitality Stadium.
Dan Gosling opened the scoring for the Cherries on 35 minutes before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang levelled matters just past the hour mark.
Callum Wilson thought he had given Bournemouth all three points but VAR showed the England striker was offside in tapping home after Bernd Leno couldn’t hold Harry Wilson’s 81st minute strike.
The result means both sides remain in the bottom half of the Premier League table.
The pre-match focus was very much on whether there would be a significant Arsenal reaction with a new manager in the dugout. Could they arrest the abysmal run of form that had seen win just once since October?
Bournemouth were the first to threaten, however, when Ryan Fraser was denied by Leno who was quick off his line. Callum Wilson then volleyed over shortly after when the ball dropped invitingly on the edge of the area.
Arsenal began to come into the game with Lacazette denied bravely by Aaron Ramsdale. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired wildly over after being found by Mesut Ozil — a notable inclusion given frequent criticisms over his work rate in spite of his undoubted talents — on the edge of the area soon after.
Yet Bournemouth still looked the more likely of the two teams to score.
The opening goal duly arrived on 35 minutes when The Cherries won possession deep in Arsenal territory. Wilson found the overlapping Jack Stacey and his cut back was met by Gosling who poked the ball beyond Leno.
There was much for Arteta to chew over at halftime. Overplaying at the back had become a major criticism during former manager Unai Emery’s spell in charge of the Gunners. And the opener appeared to suggest that was a deficiency they have yet to eradicate.
Arsenal began the second period by securing greater possession and more control of the game.
Aubameyang got in behind the Bournemouth defence on the hour mark but couldn’t get the ball under control before being closed out by Ramsdale.
But with the pressure building, he wouldn’t have to wait long to find the scoresheet. Reiss Nelson’s shot deflected invitingly into the striker’s path in the 63rd minute and the Gabon international swiveled to fire low beyond Ramsdale.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 26, 2019
Arsenal had their tails up and Lacazette spurned a glorious opportunity to give his side the lead soon after the equalizer. A perfectly weighted pass from David Luiz put the Frenchman clean through but Ramsdale stood tall to keep the scores level.
Arsenal were almost made to pay on 81 minutes when Callum Wilson tapped home. But VAR confirmed the striker had been in an offside position when Leno parried Harry Wilson’s shot.
With the clock running down, Joe Willock had a chance to win it for Arsenal. But the young midfielder could only fire meekly at Ramsdale.
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