ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
LONDON • At the end of a week in which Unai Emery stated his desire to lead Arsenal back into the Champions League, a hard-fought victory at Dean Court yesterday pushed them closer towards that objective at the first time of asking.
The win over the Cherries puts Arsenal just one point behind fourth-placed Chelsea and extends their unbeaten run to an impressive 17 games in all competitions.
These remain early days and much more will be known about Arsenal's ability to not only get into the Champions League qualifying places but stay there after their next two games - Sunday's visit of Tottenham followed by a trip to Manchester United.
But this was an undoubtedly encouraging encounter for Emery's men, who were not at their fluent best but showed character against the spirited hosts.
Having lost a lead, which was granted through a fortuitous own goal by Jefferson Lerma right at the end of the first half, with Joshua King equalising, the Gunners did not buckle after the break.
Although Arsenal were shorn of Mesut Ozil, who stayed glued to the bench, and Alexandre Lacazette, who missed the trip after suffering a groin injury, they still had Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up front and the Gabon striker grabbed his 10th goal of the season in all competitions.
Afterwards, the 29-year-old told Sky Sports that the players' heads did not drop despite conceding just before half-time, saying: "The goal (by King) was bad for us. We spoke and knew that we had to come back with intensity and do better.
"We are following the process and are continuing this way. Of course, we knew that it would be a tough game, but it's good to win and go back home with the points."
For eighth-placed Bournemouth, this was a third league defeat in row. But Eddie Howe and his players can take encouragement from their battling display, with Lerma coming closest to making amends after hitting the post late on.