Mesut Ozil masterclass inspires Arsenal to 2-0 victory over Bournemouth and top spot
Mesut Ozil provided the key moments of class as Arsenal went back to the top of the Premier League table, with a 2-0 win over Bournemouth at the Emirates Stadium tonight.
The Gunners stay at the top of the table may be a brief one.
Leicester City will resume top spot with a win over Manchester City tomorrow night
Arsenal made four changes to the team thrashed 4-0 at Southampton on Boxing Day.
Gabriel, Kieran Gibbs, Calum Chambers and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced Laurent Koscielny, Nach Monreal, Mathieu Flamini and Joel Campbell.
Bournemouth made a bright start to the match. Enjoying plenty of possession and testing the Arsenal defence with their neat approach play.
But Arsenal made the breakthrough in the 27th minute when Gabriel rose unmarked to head past Artur Boruc into the roof of the net from a Mesut Ozil corner.
It was Gabriel’s first Arsenal goal and the 16th Premier League assist by Ozil this season.
The same twosome combined again shortly afterwards to nearly double the Gunners lead.
This time Gabriel headed Ozil’s corner against the post.
The ball rebounded to Per Mertesacker, but he somehow headed the ball wide from a yard with the goal gaping.
Ozil then set up Theo Walcott twice, but he failed to control the first chance and Boruc blocked the second with his legs.
Bournemouth continued to enjoy plenty of possession at the start of the second half but were unable to create a clear opening to test Petr Cech.
Arsenal always looked threatening on the counter-attack and doubled their lead in the 63rd minute.
Ozil broke into space pursued by a gaggle of Cherries defenders, before playing a one-two with Giroud and then stroking the ball into the net under the body of Boruc.
The Gunners wasted a number of chances to increase their lead further.
Walcott shot wide, and from another Ozil cross Giroud also turned the ball wide of the post.
Bournemouth substitute Eunan O’Kane went close to pulling one back when he curled a shot over Petr Cech’s crossbar.
Cech’s shut-out tonight took his Premier League clean-sheet tally to a record 170.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain nearly added a third but his shot was deflected behind for a corner, with Walcott then kept out by Boruc in injury-time having been once more set-up by Ozil.
Bournemouth slip to 16th in the table and remain only three points from danger as their six-match unbeaten run came to an end.
Arsenal: Cech 6, Belerin 7, Gabriel 8, Mertesacker 6, Gibbs 6 (Monreal 82), Chambers 7, Ramsey 6, Oxlade-Chamberlain 7 (Iwobi 90) , Ozil 9, Walcott 6, Giroud 6 (Campbell 81)