Mislintat Could Leave Arsenal

Arsenal are refusing to comment on reports their head of recruitment Sven Mislintat is set to leave the club. The Gunners are looking to appoint a technical director, for which Mislintat was expected to be a contender. But it is likely the German, 46, will be overlooked for the role and that is among the factors which could result in his departure. A number of potential scenarios are being discussed and no timescale has been placed on the process. However, sources believe that Mislintat will be the latest high-profile departure in a period of major upheaval for the club.

He joined the Gunners from Borussia Dortmund in November 2017, forming a key part of the of-field restructure overseen by then chief executive Ivan Gazidis. Mislintat was followed into Emirates Stadium by former Barcelona executive Raul Sanllehi, who was named head of football relations.Mislintat was involved in all eight of the signings Arsenal have made since then, most notably the club-record acquisition of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for £56m in January 2018. He also played a key part in the appointment of Unai Emery as head coach to succeed manager Arsene Wenger last summer.

Sanllehi stepped up to become head of football and Vinai Venkatesham switched from chief commercial officer to managing director. With Sanllehi and Venkatesham now in joint leadership – and no change of position for Mislintat – some felt the German could be on his way out. It is thought Sanllehi has been seeking a candidate who is either well known by Emery or has a connection to Arsenal, with ex-Gunners midfielder Edu among those linked. Although there has not been a major breakdown in relations with Mislintat, Arsenal’s lack of money to spend in the January transfer window has also caused issues.

Petr Cech To Retire By Season End

Arsenal keeper Petr Cech is to retire at the end of the season. The 36-year-old joined Arsenal in June 2015 from the club’s London rivals Chelsea, where he spent 11 years. “Having played 15 years in the Premier League and won every single trophy possible, I feel like I have achieved everything I set out to achieve,” said the ex-Czech Republic international. “I will continue to work hard at Arsenal to hopefully win one more trophy this season.” Cech’s career was in doubt in October 2006 when he required surgery for a skull fracture after a collision with Reading’s Stephen Hunt.

The keeper was out for three months and has since worn a protective headguard during games. He added: “This is my 20th season as a professional player and it has been 20 years since I signed my first professional contract, so it feels like the right time to announce that I will retire. “I am looking forward to seeing what life holds for me off the pitch.” Cech arrived in England when he was signed by Chelsea from French club Rennes in July 2004.

He went on to win 13 trophies with the Stamford Bridge club, including one Champions League and four Premier League titles. He also set a club record of 228 clean sheets in all competitions, beating the previous mark of 208 set by former England international Peter Bonetti between 1960 and 1979. Cech eventually lost his place to Belgian Thibaut Courtois before joining Arsenal and helping the Gunners win the FA Cup in 2017.

West Ham 1 Arsenal 0

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini believes Declan Rice is becoming a “complete player” after the 19-year-old gave the Hammers victory over Arsenal. Rice’s superb finish – his first Premier League strike – was the only goal at London Stadium, denting Arsenal’s top-four ambitions. Rice beat Bernd Leno with a first-time shot after a good lay-off by Samir Nasri, who was making his first top-flight appearance in England since August 2016. The maiden top-flight goal comes two weeks after Rice signed a new contract that will keep him with the Hammers until 2024.

Before that, the international future of Rice, who can play at centre-back or in centre midfield, had been in the headlines. He has earned three caps for the Republic of Ireland, all in friendlies, and the London-born man could yet decide to declare for England. In a highly-competitive London derby, Alexandre Lacazette was denied by an excellent save from Lukasz Fabianski as Arsenal failed to score in the league for the first time since the opening day of the season. West Ham were full value for their win, with Marko Arnautovic, Rice, Nasri and Felipe Anderson all going close when the game was goalless.

While West Ham move up to eighth in the table after a sixth win in nine league games, Arsenal remain fifth. The Gunners are three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who entertain Newcastle at 17:30 GMT. Arsenal are now without a win in five league games away from the Emirates Stadium and are playing catch-up in the race for a Champions League place. Only leaders Liverpool and Manchester City have found the net more than the Gunners, but against West Ham they failed to score in the league for only the second time this season – and have not kept a clean sheet since 8 December.

Ramsey To Join Juventus

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey has agreed to join Juventus in the summer, Sky Sports News understands. Ramsey will leave Arsenal on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of the season – and we reported last week that a move to Juventus was his preferred choice.

The Wales international will undergo a medical with Juventus on Sunday, and the deal is expected to be finalised after their Italian Super Cup game against AC Milan next Wednesday.Since January 1, he has been able to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with any club outside England, having been unable to agree a new deal with the Gunners. Ramsey joined Arsenal from Cardiff in 2008 and has scored 52 goals in his 252 Premier League games.

The 28-year-old midfielder’s deal with the Serie A club will reportedly net him around £140,000 a week, which would put him ahead of established stars such as Paulo Dybala and Giorgio Chiellini but still some way behind Juve’s best paid player, Cristiano Ronaldo. A three-time FA Cup winner with the Gunners, Ramsey scored the winning goals in the finals against Hull (2014) and Chelsea (2017). He is now poised to join Cristiano Ronaldo at one of Europe’s most powerful clubs – Juve are nine points clear at the top of Serie A as they chase an eighth successive title.

Blackpool 0 Arsenal 3

Arsenal cruised through to the FA Cup fourth round with teenager Joe Willock scoring twice at Blackpool. The 19-year-old striker headed in after Aaron Ramsey’s free-kick hit the post and tapped in another before half-time. League One Blackpool struggled to keep pace with the Gunners, whose arrival at Bloomfield Road was delayed when a protestor sat on top of their bus. But after Armand Gnanduillet went close, they improved after the break before Alex Iwobi’s late finish.

The hosts had run Arsenal close during their fourth round Carabao Cup tie earlier in the season, which ended 2-1 to the Gunners. But despite six changes to the Arsenal team, there was still a gulf in class from the start as Willock became the first Gunners teenager to score in the FA Cup since Ramsey – who ran the show here – in 2010. Another teenage forward, Eddie Nketiah, could have had a hat-trick before the interval. Any hope of creating a hostile atmosphere for the visitors was impossible amid ongoing protests about the way the owners run the club, which has seen fans stay away from games.

With 3,777 home fans present, added to Arsenal’s 5,218, Bloomfield Road was half-empty as Unai Emery’s side easily moved a step closer to adding to their record 13 FA Cup trophies. A warm-up injury to skipper Laurent Koscielny threatened to throw Arsenal off course. But Ramsey, who is set to leave the Gunners at the end of the season, played in a deeper role and offered guile and experience to keep the visitors on track. The 28-year-old was the subject of several chants from the visiting fans, including “we want you to stay”.

Ramsey Set To Join Juventus

Arsenal star Aaron Ramsey has come to an agreement with Juventus on a five-year deal, it’s claimed. The Wales international is set to leave Arsenal after a new contract offer was withdrawn by the club, with Ramsey’s current deal expiring at the end of the season. The 28-year-old has been linked with a stream of top European clubs including Juventus and Bayern Munich. And now reports by Italian news outlet Mediaset say a five-year del worth around £6million a year has been agreed.

They add the deal is ’practically done’ and that an announcement could come in February, when Juventus are allowed to officially confirm it. Emery said after the Fulham game that he believes Ramsey will stay until the summer rather than be sold during the January window, and he again called on the midfielder to remain focused. “I want his focus every day with us on training and thinking for the next match, which is against Blackpool,” Emery said. “I am looking at him and he’s very concentrated with us now. On Tuesday, he scored when he played 15 minutes, and he gave a good performance. “I want that from him, and also he needs to look at his future. But I want him in the present with us. At the end of the season is the moment he can go to one team or another team.”

Sky Sports reporter Dharmesh Sheth believes Emery will keep picking Aaron Ramsey for Arsenal – despite him being on the way out. Sheth said: “The structure that’s in place at Arsenal – there’s people at Arsenal above Unai Emery who deal with all the contracts and who deals with the players. “Emery sees it as a 25-man squad and sees it as ‘right, this is the squad I have available for this game, what is the best team I can pick for this game?’ “He doesn’t think about a contract situation. The only time that a contract situation over Aaron Ramsey would come about is if Ramsey is actually being affected by all the talk and whether he’s going to leave or not. “Every time I see him score he doesn’t look like a player who is unhappy.”

Arsenal 4 Fulham 1

Goals from Granit Xhaka, Alexandre Lacazette, Aaron Ramsey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang helped the Gunners to only their second win in six games as Arsenal won 4-1 at home against Fulham. After Ryan Sessegnon had missed two good chances for Fulham, Xhaka put the hosts ahead, finishing past Sergio Rico after a good cross from the impressive Alex Iwobi. Lacazette doubled the lead when he finished off Sead Kolasinac’s pull-back following a fine Arsenal passing move. Kamara pulled one back from close range, but Ramsey scored the Gunners’ third after Aubameyang had hit the post. Aubameyang’s deflected shot gave Arsenal their fourth and a deserved three points.

Unai Emery defended his decision to substitute goalscorer Lacazette as Arsenal bounced back from their thrashing by Liverpool to beat Fulham 4-1. The French striker grabbed the Gunners’ second goal in the second half, but was replaced by midfielder Aaron Ramsey with the score at 2-1, soon after the Cottagers’ Aboubakar Kamara reduced the deficit in the 69th minute. The decision was met by a negative reaction from a large number of home fans. It had been a poor festive season for Arsenal as they only managed a 1-1 draw at Brighton on 26 December before their thrashing at Anfield.

The Gunners were again without Mesut Ozil, with the German still sidelined with the knee injury that kept him out of the Liverpool match, while Ramsey, out of contract in the summer and a transfer target for Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, Juventus, Paris St-Germain and Real Madrid, was only among the substitutes. Nevertheless, the hosts took a 25th-minute lead when Xhaka finished from Iwobi’s cross and they ended the first half strongly with chances for Matteo Guendouzi, Xhaka and Aubameyang. A wonderful passing move down the left wing after 10 minutes of the second half, involving Iwobi, Kolasinac and Lacazette, led to the Gunners’ second as the Frenchman scored his seventh Premier League goal of the campaign. Arsenal started the game with three centre-halves – Laurent Koscielny, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi – but were lucky not to fall behind as Sessegnon twice missed good chances when it was goalless.

Liverpool 5 Arsenal 1

Liverpool extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to an imposing nine points with a devastating attacking dismissal of Arsenal at Anfield – with hat-trick hero Roberto Firmino the inspiration. Arsenal took the lead after only 11 minutes when Ainsley Maitland-Niles slid in at the far post to score from Alex Iwobi’s cross – but it was a false dawn for Unai Emery’s side. Liverpool, lifted after title rivals Tottenham’s home defeat by Wolves earlier, responded with an explosive display that saw them 4-1 up by the interval and on their way to extending their unbeaten league run to 20 games.

Firmino took advantage of Arsenal’s defensive confusion to quickly equalise then slalom past a posse of defenders to put Liverpool in front after Lucas Torreira lost possession, all in the space of two minutes. Sadio Mane extended Liverpool’s lead after 32 minutes when Andrew Robertson’s long cross exposed Arsenal after they needlessly conceded a corner. Mohamed Salah then effectively ended the contest from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time, having been fouled by Sokratis.

Liverpool cruised to close out the win in the second half, Firmino completing his hat-trick from the spot after 65 minutes following Sead Kolasinac’s push on Dejan Lovren. Manchester City, 10 points adrift, will attempt to close the gap at Southampton on Sunday before they meet Liverpool in a pivotal encounter at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday, 3 January.

Arsenal Jan ’19 Transfer Rumours

Arsenal continue to be linked with various wingers, with Lille’s Nicolas Pepe and Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele reported to be of interest to the Gunners, but they may now need to strengthen at centre back with Rob Holding’s serious injury ruling him out for the rest of the season. And what of Aaron Ramsey’s Arsenal future? Could Unai Emery’s side cash in on the Welshman before the summer? According to journalist Martin Arevalo, Boca Juniors have got in touch with Ever Banega and his camp to gauge their interest but were told that Arsenal have already tabled a concrete offer for the Sevilla midfielder.

Former Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo says that signing Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey would be a great deal for the Serie A leaders. The Gunners star is out of contract in the summer, and has been linked to a number of clubs including Milan, Bayern Munich and most recently PSG. But Pirlo told Sky Sport Italia via Football Italia that Juve are now preparing an offer for the 28-year-old. Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega’s agent is in London, according to La Sexta, and may be negotiating a move for the 30-year-old. The Gunners have been linked with a January move for the player, who has a release clause of €20m. Banega is currently on holiday in Buenos Aires, but a move could be in the works.

Arsenal have been linked with Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas, and are apparently willing to pay €16m for him. According to Sport via Sport Witness, Navas is considering where to go after deciding to leave the Spanish capital, as he has not featured at all since new manager Santiago Solari joined the club. It’s a bit of an odd rumour given the Gunners’ purchase of Bernd Leno in the summer for £22.5m. Nevertheless, they are said to be facing competition from Juventus to sign Navas, though apparently Real don’t want to let him go.

Brighton Hove Albion 1 Arsenal 1

Brighton ended a run of three consecutive defeats by holding a disjointed Arsenal to a draw at the Amex Stadium. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang curled in the opening goal following fine work from Alexandre Lacazette after just seven minutes. The Gunners dominated the opening half hour and the Seagulls required two superb saves from goalkeeper Mat Ryan on Aubameyang to stay in the game. Arsenal right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner then made a poor mistake, heading a long ball into the path of Brighton striker Jurgen Locadia, who rounded Bernd Leno to equalise on 35 minutes.

Mesut Ozil was replaced at half-time but the visitors failed to regain their early composure and rarely tested Brighton’s defence. The hosts pressed for a winner, catching out a ragged Arsenal on the counter-attack, but Locadia and Solly March both missed promising chances. Arsenal remain fifth in the table, but are now two points behind Chelsea, who beat Watford 2-1 on Wednesday night.

Arsenal boss Unai Emery and Ozil have had a curious relationship this season and the decision to substitute the midfielder for Alex Iwobi at half-time will only add to that intrigue. Emery recently insisted Ozil has a future at the club and the former Germany international responded with an inspirational performance in victory over Burnley but could not exert the same influence here.

Arsenal 3 Burnley 1

Burnley manager Sean Dyche criticised the officials after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s double ensured Arsenal maintained pressure on the top four and left the Clarets in the Premier League bottom three at Christmas. Ashley Barnes responded for the visitors in a fiery contest that saw seven yellow cards, but Alex Iwobi’s late goal sealed victory for the Gunners. And after the game Dyche, whose side have now gone 61 Premier League games without a penalty, reeled off a list of decisions that he felt went against his side.

Mesut Ozil – making a first start in six league matches – produced a sublime defence-splitting pass to Sead Kolasinac for Arsenal’s opener, with the defender picking out Aubameyang for his 11th league goal of the season. Remarkably, after 18 top-flight games, Arsenal led at the interval for the first time this season and it took the Gunners fewer than three second-half minutes to double the advantage, Aubameyang’s powerful finish completing a quick counter-attack. Burnley kept to their task though and Ashley Barnes brought the Clarets back into the contest on 63 minutes with a low finish after the home side failed to clear.

The home fans grew increasingly nervous as Burnley pushed for an equaliser but Iwobi scored from close range in stoppage-time to ensure the Gunners moved level with fourth-placed Chelsea, who lost at home to Leicester. After their impressive 22-game unbeaten run was ended by a revitalised Southampton last weekend, Arsenal exited the Carabao Cup to north London rivals Tottenham in midweek and needed to produce a response at Emirates Stadium – if only to keep in touch with the top four.

Arsenal 0 Tottenham Hotspurs 2

Goals from Son Heung-min and Dele Alli gave Tottenham victory over bitter rivals Arsenal and secured a two-legged Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea. Son pounced on Alli’s smart ball over the top to put Spurs in front after just 20 minutes at the Emirates. Alli then coolly chipped it over keeper Petr Cech with the outside of his boot in the second half to make it 2-0. The England midfielder was then hit on the head by a plastic bottle thrown from the crowd shortly after that goal.

It was a heated atmosphere at what was the second north London derby in 18 days; victory ensured Spurs made the last four for the first time since 2014-15. Back then, they went on to the final and were beaten by Chelsea – their semi-final opponents this time around. Tottenham keeper Paulo Gazzaniga made two good saves in the first half of Wednesday’s quarter-final – denying Henrikh Mkhitaryan from close range and later tipping Aaron Ramsey’s volley on to the post.

In the second half, Alexandre Lacazette hit the post and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s cross curled onto the top of the crossbar before Christian Eriksen’s fizzing shot was saved by Cech. Arsenal had not lost back-to-back matches prior to this defeat since they were beaten by Manchester City and Chelsea in the Premier League back in August.

Southampton 3 Arsenal 2

The Saints ended Arsenal’s 22-match unbeaten run and won their first home league game since April thanks to Charlie Austin’s 85th-minute header with Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl running on to the pitch to celebrate with his players on the final whistle. In a see-sawing encounter, the hosts took the lead after 20 minutes as Danny Ings muscled home a header from Matt Targett’s cross. Henrikh Mkhitaryan nodded in shortly after for Arsenal, following good work by Alex Iwobi and Nacho Monreal – but Ings struck again just before the break.

Nathan Redmond’s floated cross was precise and Ings cushioned a looping effort into the far corner. Arsenal turned the screw in the second half and restored parity as Mkhitaryan’s shot deflected in off Jannik Vestergaard. The Gunners had their chances with Alex McCarthy impressing in the home goal, but Southampton were dangerous on the break and Shane Long had a goal rightly ruled offside before providing a teasing cross for Austin’s winner.

The victory takes Southampton out of the relegation zone and up to 17th. At the final whistle, Austrian Hasenhuttl – nicknamed the ‘Klopp of the Alps’ during his spell at previous club RB Leipzig – joined his players’ on-pitch huddle before whipping up more decibels from the home support. With rivals Chelsea winning away at Brighton, Arsenal are now three points adrift of the top four.

January Transfer Window : Arsenal Rumours

We have the January transfer window coming up in a couple of weeks or so and I’m looking at what Arsenal need to strengthen the team. Defense surely? Arsenal’s worst fears were confirmed on Friday as Rob Holding was ruled out for the rest of the season after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Considering Holding’s form, it is also a huge blow for Unai Emery who now has only two fully fit specialist centre-backs available in Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopolous.

Even though Laurent Koscienly has come back from injury and can play, the Gunners have been linked with a few defenders both in England & Europe. Nathan Ake (Bournemouth), Eric Bailly (Manchester United), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Mario Hermoso (Espanyol) & Manuel Akanji (Borussia Dortmund) are all looked at as possible shoring up for the leaky defense.

What about strikers? With Danny Welbeck out injured and his contract up at the end of the season, it has come out that Arsenal will not be extending his contract and that he will be free to join any club that wants him in July for free. Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele could be heading to Arsenal in the January transfer window. He has been linked with a move away from the Nou Camp amid concerns over his attitude and application. And bookmaker Coral have revealed that a flurry of bets has been placed in the last 24 hours on Dembele joining Arsenal. Coral spokesman John Hill told Starsport: “Punters think Unai Emery is going to strengthen his squad further in January with the acquisition of Ousmane Dembele from Barcelona as we have been knocked over with bets on the Frenchman to sign for the Gunners.”

Manchester United 2 Arsenal 2

Manchester United had to twice come from behind to earn a draw against Arsenal, said manager Jose Mourinho. Mourinho dropped high-profile duo Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku after recent disappointing performances which have brought only three points from the past 12 available – and, while quality was lacking, no-one could doubt his side’s endeavour and character. Goalkeeper David de Gea made an uncharacteristic error as he failed to deal with Shkodran Mustafi’s tame 26th-minute header, which Ander Herrera could not clear before it crossed the line.

United were swiftly level through Anthony Martial after Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno could only half-clear a free-kick to set up an exciting second half. Substitute Alexandre Lacazette scrambled Arsenal back in front after 68 minutes but United were on terms once more within seconds as Jesse Lingard pounced on Sead Kolasinac’s attempted backpass. De Gea redeemed himself with a succession of fine saves as both sides had to content themselves with a point, with United now eighth in the Premier League and Arsenal, who extended their unbeaten run this season to 20 games, dropping to fifth.

Mourinho will be pleased at the manner in which United responded to Arsenal’s goals, helped by the Gunners’ sloppiness, and these were players who were undoubtedly putting in the work for their manager. Arsenal will, ultimately, probably be happy with a point at a ground where their recent record is miserable, and against opponents who were attempting to put down a marker after recent criticism. Gunners boss Unai Emery, however, will feel disappointment that they did not leave with all three points after twice holding the advantage only to concede it quickly.

Arsenal 4 Tottenham Hotspurs 2

Arsenal produced a relentless attacking performance to overpower Tottenham and deservedly win a pulsating north London derby at Emirates Stadium. Unai Emery’s side extended their unbeaten run to 19 matches ,moving above Spurs into the top four, with a display that reflected the outstanding work the Spaniard has done since succeeding Arsene Wenger. Arsenal’s fast start drew early reward when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put them ahead from the spot after Jan Vertonghen’s handball. Yet Spurs, against the run of play, were ahead before the break. Eric Dier glanced home Christian Eriksen’s free-kick to equalise, sparking a melee involving players from both sides with his celebrations in front of Arsenal’s fans, before Harry Kane scored from the spot after Rob Holding was penalised for a challenge on Son Heung-min.

Emery introduced Alexandre Lacazette and Aaron Ramsey at the start of the second half to dramatic effect. The Welshman set up Aubameyang’s magnificent finish and the France striker’s deflected shot beat goalkeeper Hugo Lloris from the edge of the area to put Arsenal ahead with 16 minutes left. The outstanding Lucas Torreira ran clear to wrap up Arsenal’s win and Spurs’ misery was complete when Vertonghen was sent off for a foul on Lacazette. The manner in which Arsenal pressed and powered Spurs into submission here was remarkable but further evidence of their transformation under Emery.

The former Sevilla and Paris St-Germain manager has galvanised the club on and off the pitch after the stale end to the Wenger era. He was a constant blur of movement in his technical area almost guiding every move by hand. Emery has, crucially, made an instant connection with Arsenal’s fans, regularly urging them to turn up the volume at moments when the stadium threatened to go quiet. Arsenal simply refused to give an inch to Spurs and Emery was bold when Spurs led at half-time, sending on Lacazette and Ramsey. His side had not played well in the first half, but the changes gave them a turbo-charge. It was said the true test of Emery’s work would come when they faced their closest rivals. This was an examination they passed with flying colours.

Vorskla Poltava 0 Arsenal 3

A youthful Arsenal side scored three first-half goals to cruise past Vorskla Poltava in Kiev and secure top spot in Europa League Group E. The match had initially been in doubt because of security concerns in Poltava, but Uefa intervened and moved the tie to Ukraine’s capital. Teenage forward Emile Smith Rowe scored his second goal in as many European starts, before Aaron Ramsey converted his first penalty for the club. Nineteen-year-old Joe Willock claimed his first senior goal four minutes from half-time in below freezing conditions. With qualification already certain before kick-off, Unai Emery’s men knew three points would clinch top spot because of a better head-to-head record with second-placed Sporting Lisbon.

Arsenal will now avoid the four best-placed teams teams dropping down from the Champions League in the last 32. Emery decided to promote several youngsters to the first team, after making 10 changes to the side that beat Bournemouth in the Premier League last weekend, with only centre-back Rob Holding retaining his place. Smith Rowe, 18, and Willock were deployed either side of 19-year-old Eddie Nketiah in a front three, and it did not take long for the academy graduates to make an impact. Arsenal took the lead in the 10th minute when the ball fell kindly to Smith Rowe inside the area following a deflection from a Vorskla defender. The talented forward showed poise and composure to tuck the ball into the net, before Ramsey – in his final season for the club – dusted himself off after being bundled over inside the area to roll the ball past Bohdan Shust from the spot.

The Londoners continued to dominate the match, enjoying just under 60% of possession and limiting the hosts to only two shots on target – Petr Cech’s only real involvement in the bitter cold. Willock added the gloss to an impressive first-half performance minutes before the interval with a finish of which club legend Thierry Henry would have been proud. After being sprung clear by Mohamed Elneny’s through ball, Willock opened his body to bend the ball into the far corner. Smith Rowe had the ball in the net for a second time, only for the goal to be disallowed for a dubious offside decision, but victory for the Gunners saw them extend their unbeaten run to 18 matches in all competitions.

Bournemouth 1 Arsenal 2

Arsenal manager Unai Emery said he still expects more from his team despite extending their unbeaten run in all competitions to 17 games with victory at Bournemouth. After embarking on a 10-game winning run earlier in the season, Arsenal had drawn four of their past five games going into Sunday’s match at the Vitality Stadium. But Jefferson Lerma’s own goal and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s eighth strike of the season secured their fourth Premier League away win of the campaign – equalling their tally for the whole of last season – and moved them to within one point of the top four.

After beginning the weekend in sixth, Bournemouth drop two places to eighth and have now lost their past three league matches. Cherries boss Eddie Howe felt key moments went against his side, particularly when David Brooks saw his early strike disallowed for offside and Lerma hit the post late on. That run of dropping points in four of their past five games had reduced some of the excitement generated during the early weeks of manager Emery’s reign. But this impressive performance, against a side which began the day just four points behind the Gunners, will raise hopes among supporters that they can sustain a top-four challenge this season. With Alexandre Lacazette ruled out with a groin injury, Emery switched formation to a back three, with Aubameyang the lone striker.

The Gabon international responded by netting again and moving to the top of the Premier League scoring charts alongside Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero. To further highlight his importance to the side, Aubameyang has now been directly involved in 23 goals in 26 league appearances since joining Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in January. The 29-year-old was ably supported on this occasion by Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with 14 of the Gunners’ 20 shots at goal coming from those three players.