LONDON (AP) — Mesut Ozil inspired Arsenal to a 2–0 victory over Bournemouth on Monday as it provisionally moved to the top of the English Premier League.
Ozil set up the opener for Gabriel who scored his first Arsenal goal before the German stroked home the second.
It was the first league meeting between the teams and victory moves Arsenal a point above leader Leicester, which plays Manchester City on Tuesday.
“Ozil convinces everyone he is a talented player that works very hard,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. “He is a complete player. He was the focal point of our team today. He gives us security and confidence ... We were focused from the start. It took us a while to get going but we were in control of the game and did very well.”
Not only was Arsenal dominant in attack but by not conceding a goal, goalkeeper Petr Cech (photo above) set a new Premier League record of 170 clean sheets.
“He can be very proud of that as it is a remarkable achievement,” said Wenger. “He is a gifted goalkeeper.”
Arsenal could have gone top of the league with victory on Boxing Day but it was shocked by a 4–0 defeat against Southampton.
Bournemouth had the better of the early play Monday but it could not create any real chances and Arsenal went ahead after 27 minutes.
Ozil whipped in a corner which was met by defender Gabriel who put the Gunners ahead.
He almost got a second soon after when his header hit the post with the ball falling for Per Mertesacker only for the defender to hit it wide from in front of goal.
Arsenal was dominant and Bournemouth goalkeeper Artur Boruc had to save Theo Walcott’s low shot.
The hosts got the second goal after 63 minutes when Ozil played a one-two with Olivier Giroud who flicked the ball to the German and he slotted it into the net.
Walcott, Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all went close to getting a third while Eunan O'Kane shot over the bar for Bournemouth after finding space in the penalty area.