Arsenal scored twice in 88 first-half seconds to overwhelm Bournemouth and move level on points with second-placed Tottenham.
Mesut Ozil lashed the ball home from 12 yards for the Gunners’ opener, before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain drifted in from the right and scored with a low shot.
Bournemouth played some slick football at times and had more attempts at goal, but their finishing was poor.
Matt Ritchie was the chief culprit, with none of his five shots on target.
Gunners back on song
For Arsenal, who had not won in the league since 3 January, the relief was clear. They controlled the game with early possession before catching Bournemouth with a pair of swift strikes which rendered the contest a foregone conclusion.
Ozil set the Gunners on their way with a powerful shot after Olivier Giroud had headed Aaron Ramsey’s long pass into the German’s feet.
And Arsene Wenger’s pre-match assertion that Oxlade-Chamberlain was in form and would offer good balance on the right proved prophetic when the winger came inside and his low shot went in via the far post.
Again, Ramsey had a hand in the goal – the Welshman pulling the strings for the Gunners and giving Bournemouth a lesson in turning some eye-catching moves into ruthless attacks.
No finishing touch
Despite chasing the game in the second half, it took until stoppage time for Bournemouth to test Petr Cech, when the Arsenal keeper made a fine double save to deny Steve Cook and Harry Arter from low shots.
Until then, it had been a succession of wayward pops at goal and intricate, but not incisive, approach play.
Bournemouth should be applauded for their desire to pass the ball, create space and use the flanks but they lacked any presence up front.
Lone striker Benik Afobe, who was signed from Wolves for a fee of about £10m, had scored in his last three games for the Cherries but failed to register a single effort on goal against his former club, before he was substituted after 76 minutes.
Man of the match – Aaron Ramsey
What the managers said
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, speaking to BBC Sport: “We were slow out the blocks today, which is unlike us. If you give a team like Arsenal time on the ball they will punish you.
“We were much-improved in the second half without getting that goal to put them under pressure. We kept going, kept fighting, and if we had got that goal back with say 20 minutes to go, it would have made for an interesting finish. We got into some really good positions without the cutting edge we have had in recent weeks.”
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, speaking to BBC Sport: “We had a strong start, with good finishing and we controlled the game. We beat a good side, it was three difficult points but three very important points for us because we had not won for a while.
“We lost a bit of our urgency in the second half. We lost the killer instinct to get the third goal and on top of that Bournemouth are physically a strong team.”
Stats of the day
- Arsenal are unbeaten in 23 fixtures against newly-promoted sides, winning 19 and drawing four.
- Mesut Ozil has now scored in both Premier League matches versus Bournemouth this season with both goals having been assisted by Olivier Giroud.
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored his first Premier League goal in 38 appearances. It was his first goal involvement in 26 Premier League games.
Coming up next
Arsenal host fellow title challengers Leicester City on Sunday (12:00 GMT), while Bournemouth, who are five points above the drop zone, welcome Stoke City to Vitality Stadium on Saturday (15:00).
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.