In one of the most thrilling comebacks of the 2022/23 Premier League season, Arsenal overcame a 2-0 deficit at home to relegation-threatened Bournemouth and emerged winners 3-2 on a goal deep in stoppage time. The Gunners’ lead is now five points with 12 matches remaining in the season.
Bournemouth made history by scoring the second-fastest goal from the start of a Premier League match, taking the kickoff down to the Arsenal box and scoring after just nine seconds through Philip Billing. The visitors absorbed the subsequent Arsenal attacks, thanks in part to a big double save by Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto, and even threatened to score a second.
That second goal eventually came on a second-half corner kick by Marcos Senesi, and down 2-0, it looked like Arsenal might be staring at just their fourth defeat of the season. However, Arsenal fought back with two goals in an eight-minute span. First, Thomas Partey put home a shot following a rare moment of poor defensive play from Bournemouth. Then two substitutes combined with Reiss Nelson delivering a cross that Ben White blasted on goal with the referee confirming that the ball crossed the line.
With 20 minutes left, it looked like it’d only be a matter of time before Arsenal would win it, but the Gunners’ attack seemed to fizzle out in the final minutes. However, there was time for one last flashpoint, as the final corner kick of the match bounced out to Nelson, who blasted a sweet strike to win the game for the Gunners.
“My eyes lit up,” Nelson said postgame. “It’s been a rough couple months for me just coming back from injury [thigh]. Everyone knows how hard I worked in the background. So when that ball went in, that was a great moment for me.”
The win is a massive boost for Arsenal, who are still in the hunt for a top-four spot in the league. It was also a fitting tribute to former manager Arsene Wenger, who celebrated his 73rd birthday on the day of the match. Wenger, who managed Arsenal for 22 years and won three Premier League titles, was in attendance for the match.
“I think it was a very emotional day for him,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said of Wenger. “I spoke with him before the game, and he wished us good luck. It’s great to have him here, and I think the players wanted to do well for him today.”
The result also continues Bournemouth’s recent struggles, as they have now lost six of their last seven league matches. Despite taking the lead within seconds of the kickoff, they were unable to hold on for a crucial point in their fight to avoid relegation.
“We’re gutted, really gutted,” Bournemouth manager Scott Parker said after the match. “We’re in a fight, and we’ve got to dust ourselves down and go again. We’re capable of getting the points we need, and we’ll keep fighting until the end.”
Arsenal will look to build on their momentum in their next match against Burnley, while Bournemouth will take on fellow relegation strugglers Norwich City.
Updated Premier League table
|1.||Arsenal||63||26||59||+34||@ FUL, March 12|
|2.||Man City||58||26||66||+41||@ CRY, March 11|
|3.||Man United||49||24||41||+13||@ LIV, March 5|
Arsenal vs Bournemouth final score
BOU — Philip Billing (Dango Ouattara) — 1st min.
BOU — Marcos Senesi (Joe Rothwell) — 57th min.
ARS — Thomas Partey (Smith Rowe) — 62nd min.
ARS — Ben White (Reiss Nelson) — 70th min.
ARS — Reiss Nelson — 98th+ min.
Arsenal (4-3-3, right to left): 1-Ramsdale (GK) — 18-Tomiyasu (4-White, 46′), 12-Saliba, 6-Gabriel, 35-Zinchenko — 8-Odegaard, 5-Partey, 21-Vieira (34-Xhaka, 84′) — 7-Saka, 19-Trossard (10-Smith Rowe, 22′; 24-Nelson, 69′), 11-Martinelli
Bournemouth (5-4-1, right to left): 13-Neto (GK) — 15-A. Smith, 6-Mepham, 3-Stephens, 25-Senesi, 33-Zemura (2-Fredericks, 65′) — 11-Ouattara (10-Christie, 82′), 14-Rothwell (4-Cook, 70′), 29-Billing, 24-Semenyo (32-Anthony, 65′) — 9-Solanke
Arsenal vs Bournemouth live updates, highlights from Premier League
Final: Arsenal 3-2 Bournemouth
Ian Wright’s reaction sums up the day for Arsenal fans:
98th min.: Goal Arsenal! Reiss Nelson does it! A corner kick was cleared out to him at the top of the box and he takes a quick control and fires a beauty of a shot to win it for Arsenal.
90th min.: Six minutes of stoppage time. Arsenal’s attack has seemingly lost some of its bite in recent minutes.
84th min.: SUB Arsenal. Granit Xhaka is on for Fabio Vieira for a final push for a winner.
82nd min.: SUB Bournemouth. Dango Ouattara is off and Ryan Christie replaces him.
80th min.: Why not? One more Arsenal penalty shout. Philip Billing is trying his best to put his arms in a safe place, but the ball looks to still make contact. VAR says no review.
79th min.: Another Arsenal penalty appeal. Martin Odegaard’s shot looks to be blocked by Marco Senesi’s arm, but it’s from close range and the VAR check says no review.
74th min.: Chance Arsenal! Gabriel Martinelli with a solo run into the box from the right, but he skies it over the bar.
72nd min.: Arsenal hit the post! A Bukayo Saka cross from the right end line is deflected off a defender’s arm (Jack Stephens) and onto the post. VAR had a look at it, but no penalty.
70th min.: SUB Bournemouth. Lewis Cook comes on after missing five straight matches. He replaces Joe Rothwell.
70th min.: Goal Arsenal! The two second-half subs make an impact. Reiss Nelson with the immediate cross from the left side and Ben White fires a first-time volley on the far post. Neto blocks it, but the ball crossed the line. It’s 2-2!
69th min.: SUB Arsenal. It’s the substitute Emile Smith Rowe coming out with Reiss Nelson taking his spot.
65th min.: SUBS Bournemouth. Double change with Jaidon Anthony and Ryan Fredericks in for Antoine Semenyo and Jordan Zemura.
64th min.: Chance Bournemouth! Joe Rothwell chips the ball ahead to forward Dominic Solanke, who takes the ball off his chest, and from a tight angle he fires at goal. Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale has to come up with the stop.
62nd min.: Goal Arsenal! Poor punch out by Neto on a corner kick, and the ball gets headed back toward goal where a wide open Thomas Partey touches home. Arsenal are back in it.
57th min.: Bournemouth goal! The Cherries go 2-0 up on a corner kick header by Marcos Senesi. Arsenal’s Thomas Partey couldn’t stay with him.
55th min.: Neto with a big stop! But he comes way off his line to stop Gabriel Martinelli. Had Martinelli got a touch on that ball and got it past Neto, he would’ve been alone in on goal.
51st min.: Nothing meaningfully different about the start of this second half. Arsenal won a couple of corners, and then there was a cross into the box easily nabbed in the air by Bournemouth’s Neto. Later, an Odegaard shot from the top of the box was also held by the Brazilian ‘keeper.
46th min.: We’re back underway. Mikel Arteta brings on Ben White for Takehiro Tomiyasu.
Halftime: Arsenal 0-1 Bournemouth
Halftime: The second fastest goal scored from the start of a match in Premier League history (9 seconds and 11 milliseconds!) on a designed play has Arsenal scrambling to figure out how to find a way through Bournemouth’s defensive 5-4-1 formation. An injury to Leandro Trossard hasn’t helped the league leaders.
Outside of an early double save by Bournemouth ‘keeper Neto, Arsenal were only able to muster a series of set pieces (including nine corners), and two penalty shouts. It feels we might have a couple more of those VAR episodes in the second half with the crowd of players and the action concentrated in the Bournemouth box.
But the visitors are showing that through forward Dominic Solanke, winger Dango Ouattara and midfielder Philip Billing, who’s having a monster game, injury-ravaged Bournemouth are threatening to score a second. If not for Aaron Ramsdale, they could’ve been 2-0 up.
44th min.: Bournemouth chance! It’s another break led by Dominic Solanke but he doesn’t have a good touch by the time he gets into the box and the cross misses his countering teammate Dango Ouattara.
40th min.: This is how Bournemouth were lined up at kickoff. It’s the formation from which the goal came. The Cherries overloaded one side and the cross came from the attacking right.
35th min.: Arsenal penalty appeal! The VAR checks a ball that fell on the arm of Bournemouth defender Chris Mepham who mistimed his header in the box and watched the ball hit his arm. But the officials did not deem it a punishable offence.
33rd min.: It’s Gabriel Martinelli operating as the centre-forward now for Arsenal. Emile Smith Rowe has gone wide left, where Martinelli typically works his magic. That might make things more difficult for the Gunners, since Martinelli is better at beating defenders at pace 1-on-1.
30th min.: Arsenal are having a hard time getting around the five-man backline that Bournemouth has set up. And they’re definitely not able to go through it. The Gunners might need to find their way through a set piece, although the Cherries have defended those well, too.
22nd min.: SUB Arsenal. Arsenal forward Leandro Trossard picks up an injury and has to come out with Emile Smith Rowe replacing him. We’ll see who plays as the central striker. Reminder: Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Jesus are not in the squad due to injury.
20th min.: Bournemouth chance! What a stop by Arsenal ‘keeper Aaron Ramsdale! The visitors with a clinical breakaway led by Philip Billing and Dominic Solanke. The cross into the box is to a wide open Dango Ouattara, but Ramsdale closes the angle on the point-blank shot.
16th min.: Bournemouth have absorbed whatever Arsenal have thrown at them since the Neto double save. And more interestingly, Bournemouth look like they can hurt Arsenal in transition when they get on the ball.
4th min.: Arsenal chance! The response from the Gunners is swift with a double Neto save needed against Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka on the follow-up.
1st min.: Goal Bournemouth! Bournemouth score after just 11 seconds! Bournemouth kick if off and Dango Ouattara brings up the right side, and his cross makes it through a maze of Arsenal legs. Philip Billing made the ghosting run into the box and finished all alone for a shock lead!
5 mins from kickoff: We’re just about ready to go. The pressure is on Arsenal to respond to Manchester City’s home victory against Newcastle.
45 mins from kickoff: Lineups are in. Three new starters are brought in for Arsenal, while Eddie Nketiah is not in the squad due to injury. In addition to their six injuries, Bournemouth are further debilitated without starters Jefferson Lerma and Hamed Traore in their squad.
75 mins from kickoff: The fan bustle outside the stadium with a bit over an hour to go until kickoff.
115 mins from kickoff: A stroll down memory lane for Arsenal fans for Bukayo Saka’s first goal at the senior level:
120 mins from kickoff: The Cherries are in the relegation zone thanks to their 1W-8L-2D record in all competitions since the World Cup break ended. That included ousters in both the FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
The many injuries haven’t helped, and neither has the schedule: They’ve had to face Manchester City and Arsenal in consecutive weeks, with Liverpool up next.