Arsenal 2 Bournemouth 0
( Gabriel 27, Ozil 63 )

Arsenal claimed the Premier League top spot with a win courtesy of a goal in either half against a spirited Bournemouth at the Emirates stadium. Gabriel headed the Gunners into a 27th minute lead with Mesut Ozil crowning his own man of the match performance with the goal of the match midway through the second half. The result was just the tonic for Arsene Wenger’s side, and coming on the back of their 4-0 mauling at Southampton 48 hours earlier, demonstrated real belief. Özil’s corner for Gabriel’s opener was his 16th assist of the season and the German is now just four away from Thierry Henry’s record. Speaking of records, Petr Cech’s clean sheet was a record 170 for the Arsenal keeper, and with a late save from substitute Glenn Murray’s late shot was well deserved.

Wenger made four changes from the side which lost at St Mary’s with Gabriel, Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers all starting. The pre match atmosphere seemed subdued outside the Emirates stadium, and it wasn’t evidently clear whether that was due to the usual post Christmas blues, or that south coast Boxing Day stuffing.

Whatever it was, on the pitch, Wenger would later admit that the loss to Southampton was still on the players minds. The only way that is addressed is to play well and win in the next game, and against more south coast opponents, Arsenal did the latter and may have managed to eventually do the former.

After 23 minutes, Özil’s cross, tested the Bournemouth defence, however, Theo Walcott may have gotten in Giroud’s way, as the ball went behind for a goal kick.

The Arsenal opener however was soon in the making, and via a route that Cherries boss Eddie Howe admitted his side hadn’t accounted for.

Özil’s deep corner found a powerful header from Gabriel to beat Artur Boruc for the games’ opener. The goal sent a sense of relief around the Emirates stadium, especially given that the visitors had enjoyed a bright opening.

Aaron Ramsey had been partnered with Calum Chambers as Mathieu Flamini recovers from a knock picked up at Southampton.

Ramsey was shown a first half yellow card for impeding Dan Gosling and that would keep the Wales midfielder mindful of further challenges as the game progressed.

Arsenal should have doubled their advantage through Walcott who was twice thwarted by Boruc. Firstly from a clever Özil’s pass which Boruc got down to keep out, and then from another Özil corner.

It was almost a back to the future type of flick on by Gabriel in the manner which Steve Bould would once dominate. Here, the Brazilian’s flick on clipped Boruc’s upright and into a startled Per Merterscker, whose own reflex header went wide of the target.

Arsenal finished the half strongly with another Walcott chance which Boruc denied from Ramsey’s through ball. Özil’s next involvement, and another Gabriel headed flick on, which Ramsey couldn’t guide onto the target, but Arsenal went into the break a goal to the good.

Bournemouth had a good chance to level when Joshua King beat the offside trap, but was denied by Gabriel’s last gasp block.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was having an indifferent game, with the type of unsure play which suggests that Joel Campbell may yet start more games. Getting to grips with the demands of his role, Oxlade-Chamberlain gained momentum. He won the ball in his half to find Özil. The German played a swift one-two with Giroud, and the France striker’s outside of his left foot return for Ozil allowed the Arsenal number 11 to slide pass in with left foot through the legs of Boruc for a 2-0 scoreline.

Arsenal now seemed a side transformed. Kieran Gibbs won the ball and played it to Oxlade-Chamberlain, who in turn fed Hector Bellerin on his right. Walcott then struck a shot which was just off target.

Under sustained pressure, Bournemouth’s defensive panic let in Giroud who latched onto a defensive lapse with s low shot which Boruc palmed away. Walcott was in an offside position with his follow up.

With time ticking away and a 2-0 scoreline, Murray almost halved the deficit and deny Cech his clean sheet record, but the Czech Republic keeper was alert to palm the ball away.

Substitute Nacho Monreal turned the move into attack with a swift ball, out to Ozil. His first time switch to Campbell almost got Arsenal a third goal, but again Boruc was on hand to tidy up.

A good win and good follow up response from Saturday’s shock loss and it is now the Gunners who now sit at the Premier League summit.