Arsenal 3 Bournemouth 1
Alexis 12, 90, Walcott 54, Wilson 22 pen

If the ends justify the means, then Arsenal will consider it as job done following their 3-1 win over Bournemouth in Sunday’s clash at the Emirates stadium. Two goals from Alexis either side of that rarity of a Theo Walcott header registered the Gunners’ treble, but Callum Wilson’s controversial first half leveller to make the scores 1-1 summed up the determination of the South Coast side who will feel they should have gotten something from this game. With Petr Cech’s goal under continual threat, that assertion would be well founded, but then one has to give credit to this Arsenal side who having lost Mathiu Debuchy after just 14 minutes through another leg injury, were forced to play Gabriel as an emergency right back. The Cherries sensed the unease of Gabriel in this position and proceeded to launch wave after wave of attack in that area. Having survived however, Arsenal then thrived with two goals to finally see off Eddie Howe’s side.

Arsenal made seven changes from the side which were held to the midweek 2-2 Champions League draw against PSG. The early showing didn’t detract from any quality, but the surprise inclusion of Debuchy had many searching for his last outing in the Gunners’ red and white. For the record it was a year ago in the the 3-0 Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb, however the defender would last just 14 minutes here, having pulled up with a calf injury. By then, Arsenal were a goal up courtesy of a Steve Cook gift of a back pass, which was never going to reach his ‘ keeper Adam Federici.

Pushing a high line as always, Alexis sensed the opportunity, and latched onto the loose ball before stroking past the desperate dive of the Cherries’ keeper for the game’s opener. Ozil had seen an earlier effort blocked by Nathan Ake, with the visitors seeing Adam Smith’s effort fly just past Cech’s upright. A rehearsed free kick routine enabled Mohamed Elneny a shot which was blocked as the Gunners began to fire back.

Walcott worked a neat one two with Alexis, but saw the return fly too high to be profitable. So the opening goal was just reward for the Gunners’ endeavours, the lively Alexis was denied a penalty when he appeared to be sandwiched between Ake and Ben Smith.

It would come as no surprise that Bournemouth would push their attack towards Gabriel’s right back position. Arsene Wenger revealed that he had previously played in that position, however his early play suggested that that must have been a few years ago. At times Arsenal now had a back three through necessity and not plan, with Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi and Gabriel standing tall as now Walcott and Nacho Monreal provided the width.

Their bright play suggested that Bournemouth were up for a game and soon they would draw level in controversial circumstances. Alexis was fouled in the build up, but play was waived on as Wilson and Monreal had a coming together in the area. It was nothing more than a show of strength, but referee Mike Jones saw a Cherries penalty.

Wilson himself, stepped up to send Cech the wrong way and the leveller gave the visitors the momentum to mount further attacks.

Adam Smith headed over from Ake’s head back after 25 minutes, and Cech was forced to make a save from Ben Smith four minutes later. Arsenal suddenly seemed nervous on the ball and struggled to get going with any move of note. With a move breaking down, Elneny was alert to pick it up again with an effort which he struck high over the bar. The quick thinking of Alexis then created a clever one two with Özil but the Chilean shot high over the target.

In first half time added on, Ozil picked out Alexis, and although he caught the ball with power, he saw his shot strike Federici’s bar and away from danger.

Nine minutes after the restart, Arsenal retook the lead. Pressure on the Bournemouth left and Ozil put over a cross which was deflected to Monreal to then cross back in. Walcott was all alone to head in from close in for a 2-1 lead.

Undeterred, Bournemouth continued to pass and prod the Gunners’ defence, but despite Gabriel in as a makeshift right back, Arsenal held firm.

On the hour mark, Granit Xhaka slipped in an excellent ball to Alexis. He held it up for Ozil and put in an inviting pass, but the German couldn’t apply the final touch.

Another Arsenal break, and Alexis found Oxlade-Chamberlain. The England man struck his shot which took two Cherries defenders to block.

After 73 minutes and with the Cherries continuing to surge forward, Oxlade-Chamberlain won a header to win back possession in a busy midfield. The Arsenal number 15 raced away, to put in Alexis again. His return to Oxlade-Chamberlain was promising, but Oxlade-Chamberlain couldn’t get the final touch.

After 74 minutes, Oxlade-Chamberlain made way for Aaron Ramsey, with Walcott replaced by Olivier Giroud.

Former Arsenal player Benik Afobe almost drew Bournemouth level with a header which Cech cleared off the line following a former.

The game was far from over. With four minutes remaining. Giroud’s presence gave the Gunners a new attacking dimension. Ramsey crossed for Giroud, but under pressure from Ake, the France striker was unable to guide his header in.

Five minutes of time added on were signalled, however in the first of those five minutes, Arsenal grabbed a third goal.

Ozil was released by Giroud, who then returned to Giroud as he raced away to the byeline. With the Cherries defence stretched, Giroud squared back to in Alexis for a tap in and a hard won 3-1 scoreline. With a series of tough fixtures on the horizon, Arsenal’s first Premier League win in November bodes well for the challenges which lie ahead.