Arsenal saw off a plucky Bournemouth side to win 2-1 in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
Against the run of play, the Gunners took the lead in the 29th minute, as Jefferson Lerma had the misfortune of scoring a spectacular own-goal - sliding on to Sead Kolašinac's hopeful through-ball and rocketing it past Asmir Begović from inside the penalty area.
On the brink of half-time, the Cherries drew level as Joshua King bent a stunning finish into the top corner after a textbook counterattacking move from his side. The Gunners regained the lead midway through the second half, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sent the travelling supporters into raptures with a close-range finish.
Despite a couple of late scares, the Gunners held on to claim a hard-earned three points.
Key Talking Point
The Cherries have often been criticised for - much like most of Michael Bolton's back catalogue - starting at such a high level of intensity that they can't maintain the same levels of energy throughout the match. As expected, Eddie Howe's side launched out the traps at the Gunners as their supporters roared them on - but yet again they went flat.
Controlling the game now. Bournemouth seem to have run out of steam, all that pressing in the first half mean tired legs now.— Manas (@ozilshmozil) November 25, 2018
As soon as Arsenal regained the lead in the second half, both the Bournemouth players and supporters seemed to lose faith in their ability to claw their way back into the game. There's no doubting that the south coast side are thrilling to watch, but they need to pace themselves better if they're going to harbour hopes of challenging for Europa League qualification.
Player Ratings: Begović (7); Francis (6) Cook (8) Aké (7) Daniels (6); Brooks (8) Gosling (7) Lerma (5) Fraser (6); Wilson (6) King (7).
Substitutes: Stanislas (6) L. Cook (6)
Star Man - David Brooks
The Wales international is coming on leaps and bounds under Eddie Howe, whose bravery in putting his faith in the relatively inexperienced youngster is starting to pay off. The 21-year-old was unlucky to stray offside when he netted in the first half, and his perfectly weighted assist for Josh King's goal showed his impressive composure when under pressure.
Here's how the former Sheffield United man's performance went down on social media:
David Brooks is class— Mamun Choudhury (@Mamuniho) November 25, 2018
Loving the fact David Brooks is Welsh cracking player— 🏴Dionne🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🏴 (@Dionne1892) November 25, 2018
David Brooks is easily a top 6 player— Jake (@JB7071) November 25, 2018
David Brooks is a MASSIVE talent man what a player— Un Prophète (@mediocentr0) November 25, 2018
Worst Player - Jefferson Lerma
Having already scored a mesmerising own-goal in the first half, Lerma nearly gifted Arsenal a another goal midway through the second half after a wild back pass. He then gave away a cheap free kick from which the Gunners scored the winner. A day to forget for the Colombian, whose rash decision making cost his side dearly.
Key Talking Point
Arsenal experimented with a back-three for the first time under Unai Emery, and this looked like a disaster in the making early on, as Hector Bellerín and Kolašinac's reluctance to perform their defensive duties saw them torn apart on several occasions. However, as the game progressed they began to look increasingly comfortable in the formation.
Emery is clearly determined to play out from the back, and having an extra man in the backline certainly makes this more manageable. Leno is clearly a better distributor of the ball than Petr Čech, and his ability to pick out a pass will prove invaluable to his side as they look to continue their promising start in the post-Wenger era.
Player Ratings: Leno (6); Sokratis (8) Mustafi (7) Holding (7); Bellerín (7) Kolašinac (7) Torreira (8) Xhaka (7); Mkhitaryan (6) Iwobi (5) Aubameyang (7)
Substitutes: Guendouzi (6) Ramsey (6) Nketiah (N/A)
Star Man - Sokratis
Arsenal's Greek giant had a tough task ahead of him against the Cherries, but he stood up to their dynamic style of attacking play admirably. The former Borussia Dortmund man succeeded in keeping goal machine Callum Wilson quiet for the duration of the match - giving him no space on the ball and matching his strength with a similarly combative style of play.
Here's how his performance went down on social media:
Sokratis coming into his own in the final few minutes, throwing himself at everything that comes his way. Mustafi also coming into his own, doing the exact same thing but completely wrong.— James Benge (@jamesbenge) November 25, 2018
Sokratis has got to be a top 5 cb in the premier league. What a bargain— Muhammad Ahmed (@DohukyMD3) November 25, 2018
Sokratis has to start the NLD, he'd bully Kane 😨😨— U̶N̶R̶U̶L̶Y̶ (@7Unrulyy) November 25, 2018
Nice to see Sokratis back and performing well he's been brilliant in an Arsenal shirt so far— auSAMeyang COYG (@smeagol_11) November 25, 2018
Sokratis shows great strength to see the ball run out for a goal-kick, then celebrates with Mustafi and Holding. Love that about him. Proper defender.— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) November 25, 2018
Worst Player - Alex Iwobi
The Nigerian winger endured a frustrating Sunday afternoon, continually failing to produce a satisfactory end-product. Much like his predecessor Theo Walcott, Iwobi seemed to make all the right moves before stuttering and faltering at the final hurdle. With just one Premier League goal this season, the 22-year-old needs to start working on his endgame.
The Cherries will look to bounce back next weekend when they face the daunting task of taking on Pep Guardiola's merciless Manchester City side. The Citizens have looked red hot of late, and Eddie Howe will need to come up with a masterplan if his side are to thwart the Premier League champions.
Emery's men are in Europa League action next week against FC Vorskla Poltava, before their attentions turn to their north London derby clash against fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs will be in buoyant mood after thrashing Chelsea on Saturday, but the Gunners' home advantage could prove the deciding factor in the highly anticipated contest.