Arsenal kept their title charge on track in spectacular fashion in an astonishing 3-2 comeback victory against Bournemouth.
The pressure was on Mikel Arteta’s Gunners to keep their five-point cushion at the summit of the Premier League table after rivals Manchester City beat Newcastle 2-0 earlier in the day.
And Arsenal, playing on home soil against the relegation-battling Cherries, got off to the worst possible start. Philip Billing put the visitors ahead after less than 10 seconds.
From there Arsenal dominated but were left frustrated by a well-organised low block from the visitors. The hosts had all the possession and territory but went into half-time behind after struggling to break down the opposition.
Things went bad from worse for Arsenal when Marco Senesi’s header doubled Bournemouth’s lead in the opening stages of the second half.
Thomas Partey, left unattended at the far post, got Arsenal back into the contest just after the hour mark. Then half-time substitute Ben White got the Gunners back on level terms as his effort squirmed beyond goalkeeper Neto and just over the goal-line.
It looked as though Arsenal would have to settle for two points dropped when the clock ticked past the allotted six minutes of injury time, but up stepped super-sub Reiss Nelson – who had assisted White – with a brilliantly-struck effort after finding himself with time and space to shoot after a Bournemouth clearance from a corner.
“When the ball came out to me I was thinking ‘please give me one chance’. I’m buzzing, really happy. I controlled it with my right foot and it came onto my left,” match-winner Nelson told BBC Sport after the final whistle.
“We need moments like this if we want to go all the way. We’re not looking at any other team at the minute. We are focusing on ourselves. We will keep going day-by-day, game-by-game. As an Arsenal fan, I’m just delighted with the result.”
Here are 10 amazing statistics behind Arsenal’s massive comeback victory over Bournemouth:
– Arsenal went behind at 00:09 and only went ahead at 96:59.
– The goal Arsenal conceded was the second-fastest in Premier League history. Only Shane Long (7.6 seconds – Southampton vs Watford, April 2019) was scored quicker than Philip Billing’s on 9.1 seconds.
– This was the first time since Arsene Wenger retired that Arsenal fielded an entire starting XI of players that never played under the legendary French coach. The last time Arsenal fielded a team not to make a competitive appearance under Wenger was January 1986 against Aston Villa in the League Cup – via @HarveyDownes92.
– Arsenal have recovered more points from losing positions (15) than any other team in the Premier League this season.
– Arteta’s side registered 81% possession on the day. That’s eight percentage points more than the next-most – 4-0 against Everton earlier in the week (73%) possession.
Just a boyhood Gooner scoring the winner ❤️ pic.twitter.com/LBGTipnffG
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) March 4, 2023
– The victory was reflective of the balance of chances. Arsenal registered 2.5xG to Bournemouth’s 1.3xG.
– The hosts registered 30 shots, and nine on target. By contrast, Bournemouth had just four shots, although each of those were on target.
– Reiss Nelson registered a goal and an assist in his 21-minute cameo. The Hale End graduate has made just three Premier League appearances this season and has notched three goals and two assists in total, averaging a direct contribution every 17 minutes.
– Oleksandr Zinchenko, Thomas Partey, Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka all registered 100 or more touches. Bournemouth’s Billing registered the most touches (42) for Bournemouth.
– William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes completed 168 accurate passes between them. Bournemouth completed 103 accurate passes collectively.