Arsenal overcame a resilient Bournemouth and an incompetent refereeing performance from Mike Jones to end a run of three straight draws, beating Bournemouth 3-1. Alexis Sánchez got a brace, and Theo Walcott scored the decisive goal.
Arsenal started excellently, and thoroughly deserved the opening goal, albeit a complete gift from Bournemouth’s Steve Cook, whose slack backpass was intercepted by Alexis, who rolled the ball into the net past Adam Federeci. A key component of Arsenal’s fast start was surprisingly Mathieu Debuchy, starting for the first time for Arsenal in more than a year. Debuchy, though, picked up a hamstring problem and had to be forced off after 15 minutes, being replaced by Gabriel, who is decidedly not a right back. Bournemouth pounced on Arsenal’s disorganization, and equalized 8 minutes later. Slack clearing from Arsenal following a corner meant Bournemouth were able to play the ball back in, and when Calum Wilson threw himself at Nacho Monreal, the referee inexplicably gave a penalty, which Wilson scored.
Minutes later it should’ve been 2-1. A well worked free kick saw Adam Smith head over from 5 yards in acres of space, and then the left back, Brad Smith, was played in past a standstill Gabriel, and shot at Cech’s near post rather than crossing for Wilson.
Arsenal began to regain control, though, and on the stroke of half time, Alexis hit the bar from a narrow angle, after collecting a gorgeous Mesut Özil pass.
Arsenal kept up the dominance to open the second half, and went ahead on 53 minutes. Özil toyed with Brad Smith, then saw his cross find its way to Nacho Monreal, who crossed back across the 6-yard box for Walcott to head home. Walcott, a father for the second time this week, did the baby celebration.
Arsenal had chances on the counter to wrap it up, with one set up by a beautiful Granit Xhaka pass, but the play between Özil and Alexis was just off. The match was finally sealed on 90 minutes, with Giroud linking with Özil before cutting the ball back for the on-rushing Alexis to tap in. Bournemouth will feel aggrieved, as Benik Afobe had a shot saved on the line by Cech, and they were denied a penalty for a handball off Monreal, but 3 very welcome points end November, with Arsenal in 4th and 3 points off the leaders, Chelsea.