Football: Gunners restore a bit of pride

Striker Alexandre Lacazette scoring Arsenal's second goal in the 27th minute with a fine strike from the edge of the box. They will now turn their attention to the Europa League with a home game against Cologne on Thursday.
Striker Alexandre Lacazette scoring Arsenal's second goal in the 27th minute with a fine strike from the edge of the box. They will now turn their attention to the Europa League with a home game against Cologne on Thursday.PHOTO: REUTERS

Sanchez comes off bench to a mixed response as Arsenal bounce back after 2 straight defeats

LONDON • There was good news for Arsenal fans yesterday, after seeing Alexis Sanchez come on in the last 15 minutes of their 3-0 English Premier League victory over Bournemouth in competitive spirit.

The Chilean, who almost moved to Manchester City on transfer deadline day, linked up well with fellow substitute Olivier Giroud and had a low shot well blocked during the short period he was on the field.

What was more significant though, was that the Gunners successfully bounced back from successive league defeats with Danny Welbeck's brace clinching a comfortable win against a Bournemouth side yet to pick up a point.

Following defeats by Stoke and Liverpool, the English striker scored either side of a goal by Frenchman Alexandre Lacazette to seal all three points for Arsene Wenger.

The under-fire Arsenal manager was delighted with his players. He also reserved praise for Sanchez, who received a standing ovation when he entered the game.

But there were certainly boos as well from some fans, who remained angry at how he had wanted to leave the club before the transfer deadline.

"It was a serious performance, we played well all over the pitch," the 67-year-old Frenchman said.

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"Alexis Sanchez will win the fans back, and win them back very quickly.

"We want to do well in Europe and we will put out a team that can win the (Europa League) game (against Cologne) on Thursday."

Arsenal finished with 10 men, after another of their substitutes, Francis Coquelin, limped off with a muscular injury and Wenger had made all his changes by then.

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe had spoken about the importance of a good start, but the visitors were behind after just six minutes following the failure of their three-man defence to track the movement of Welbeck.

Howe said that his side were "disappointing from start to finish".

"That was not very good. I've got to be honest. I can't hide it. We've got a lot to work to do," he added.

"If you dip in levels, you will get punished in the Premier League. We were not good. We have no points, we have to dig deep and find some character and show what we are made of.

"I don't think complacency can be the problem for us. We can't allow that. I take responsibility and I will put it right. I didn't see what I wanted to see today."

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 10, 2017, with the headline 'Gunners restore a bit of pride'. Print Edition | Subscribe