Premier League: Arsenal grinds out a narrow victory
David Luiz scored the only goal as Arsenal edged past Bournemouth at Emirates Stadium to move up to third in the Premier League.
The Gunners move above Leicester, Burnley, and Crystal Palace with the win while Bournemouth manages the 10th position.
Luiz glanced home Nicolas Pepe’s ninth-minute corner for his first goal since his summer arrival from Chelsea.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang went close in the opening stages and hit the post late on. However, these opportunities bookended a game of few chances.
Bournemouth offered little as an attacking threat. But with Arsenal unable to kill the game off, they were able to apply some pressure in the closing stages.
Only a last-ditch tackle from Matteo Guendouzi prevented Joshua King from converting a low cross by Callum Wilson, who also fired straight at Leno in stoppage time.
Arsenal grabbing their chances
Though the Gunners were far from their best, a fourth-best win of the season means the club goes into the international break in the Champions League places having lost just once in eight league games.
Consequently, Unai Emery must be pleased with the way his side battled to the win.
Arsenal began brightly and went close inside the opening five minutes. Aubameyang fired wide from the edge of the penalty area after the good work by Dani Ceballos and Bukayo Saka.
They did not have to wait much longer to open the scoring. However, with Pepe’s corner from the right finding Luiz at the near post, and his flicked header went beyond Aaron Ramsdale into the far corner.
The Gunners thought they had decent claims for a penalty when Pepe went down under a challenge by Diego Rico. But Martin Atkinson waved away the appeals with his decision upheld following the VAR check.
The Gunners then faded badly in the second half. Though Emery cannot blame fatigue. His side showed 10 changes from the 4-0 Europa League victory over Standard Liege on Thursday.
Emery responded by bringing on 18-year-old Gabriel Martinelli for Pepe who was just one goal in 10 appearances since his club-record £72m signing move from Lille in the summer.
Martinelli, who scored two goals in Thursday’s win over Standard, showed flashes of quality and fired a curling effort over from just inside the area. But this was an attritional victory rather than one built on attacking flair.