Bournemouth: Arsenal returned to third place in the Premier League after Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goals ended a four-game winless streak with a 2-0 victory at Bournemouth yesterday.
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil (LEFT) celebrates after scoring against Bournemouth in an EPL match at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, southern England yesterday. Pic/AFP
Arsenal arrived at Dean Court with their title challenge under threat after a poor run in January capped by a failure to score in their previous three league matches. But two goals in a minute midway through the first half were enough to move them back level on points with second-place Tottenham Hotspur, five points behind leaders Leicester City, who visit the Emirates Stadium in seven days’ time.
The progress of near neighbours Tottenham has only added to Arsenal’s frustration as they have struggled to rediscover the form that took them to the head of the table. But manager Arsene Wenger could be satisfied with the way his side showed signs of the form that took them to the league summit at the turn of the year, with Oxlade-Chamberlain’s first league goal of the season a welcome bonus.
Having withstood early pressure, Arsenal exposed Bournemouth’s defensive vulnerability twice in quick succession. Aaron Ramsey was the provider for the first goal, clipping a ball towards the far post for Olivier Giroud, whose headed knock-down enabled Ozil to finish smartly from 10 yards out in the 23rd minute.
Less than a minute later, the visitors added a second, with Ramsey again the architect. This time the midfielder picked up a loose ball after Alexis Sanchez’s forward run had been halted before releasing Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right side of the area, from where the winger finished well with an angled shot that went in off the left-hand post.