Arsenal completed a dramatic comeback at Bournemouth as they rescued a point in injury time having fallen 3-0 behind. The Gunners looked destined for a third away league defeat in a row before a late rally that began with a diving Alexis Sanchez header and gathered momentum when a stunning Lucas Perez left-footed volley reduced the gap to a single goal. Bournemouth went down to 10 men when Simon Francis was sent off for a challenge on Aaron Ramsey and Arsenal capitalised as Olivier Giroud headed a 92nd-minute equaliser. The home side had overwhelmed the Gunners early on and taken the lead when Charlie Daniels cut inside Hector Bellerin and stroked a shot past on-rushing keeper Petr Cech.
Callum Wilson scored a penalty to extend Bournemouth’s lead and Ryan Fraser sent a shot through Cech’s legs for the Cherries’ third before the hour mark. But the hosts buckled under Arsenal’s late pressure as Arsene Wenger’s side moved eight points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea, who play Tottenham on Wednesday. Arsenal had produced a feeble display for 70 minutes and were second best in the face of Bournemouth’s energy and desire but that all changed when Sanchez headed in at the far post following Giroud’s flick-on. The momentum of the match changed and five minutes later Giroud clipped a lovely ball to substitute Perez and he sent an angled volley inside the far post. Francis’ sending-off helped Arsenal, although Cherries boss Eddie Howe felt it was a “harsh” decision by referee Michael Oliver. Giroud headed in from a Granit Xhaka cross as Bournemouth failed in their desperate attempts to hang on during six minutes of added time.
Arsenal have been accused of lacking the character to maintain a title challenge in recent seasons and they did little to change that perception before Sanchez’s goal. They were continually second best to the home side and frustrations rose to the surface in the first half. Sanchez and Ramsey exchanged angry words at 2-0 down, while Giroud showed his annoyance when Shkodran Mustafi failed to find him with a pass that went harmlessly out of play. That they regrouped in such thrilling manner was doubtless a relief but not one that entirely satisfied goalscorer Giroud. Even with the Arsenal comeback under way, Howe’s men had a chance to go 4-2 up when Dan Gosling turned superbly in the visitors’ area only to shoot well wide of Cech’s goal. A point keeps the Cherries ninth in the table.
Arsenal came back to draw a Premier League game from three goals down for the first time. Only Hull (nine) have conceded more Premier League penalties than Arsenal this season (six, level with Southampton). Charlie Daniels has provided more assists than any other Premier League defender since the start of last season (eight). Sanchez’s goal was Arsenal’s first shot on target in the match, in the 70th minute. Sanchez has now matched his Premier League goal tally from last season (13 in 20 games this season, compared with 13 in 30 games last season).