The lead up to the game had been dominated by the news that Sánchez was left out of the Arsenal squad. With both Manchester clubs targetting the Chilean and United seemingly emerging as the player’s most likely choice, Wenger admitted prior to the match that he expected a resolution “imminently”.
Four minutes later Bournemouth had a second. Cook’s floated pass found Wilson, who had so much time and space in the Arsenal area – Rob Holding had pushed up looking for offside – that he was able to take a couple of touches before the ball fell to Ibe to drill a low shot past Cech.
Jordon Ibe of Bournemouth celebrates with his team-mates after scoring the winning goal against Arsenal on Sunday.
Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Jordon Ibe finally breaks his Bournemouth duck to sink Arsenal
Alexis Sánchez was nowhere to be seen but this was the same old Arsenal in many other respects. A game that was totally in their control with just over 20 minutes remaining, as they led through Héctor Bellerín’s second-half goal, inexplicably slipped from their grasp as Bournemouth scored twice in the blink of an eye to pile more misery onto Arsène Wenger.
Sánchez’s absence meant that the onus was on Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck to provide some craft and guile behind Alexandre Lacazette, as was the case against Chelsea in midweek, yet Arsenal created little in a flat opening 45 minutes during which Jack Wilshere was the only player to catch the eye for the visitors.
Once again Arsenal were their own worst enemy as Wilson, afforded far too much space in the penalty area, teed up Ibe for his first Bournemouth goal on his 46th Premier League appearance for the club. Wenger, serving the final game of his touchline ban, could only look on from the stand with despair. Bournemouth, in contrast, were jubilant, with this first ever victory over Arsenal lifting Eddie Howe’s side up four places to 13th.
Making his seventh successive league start after recovering from the ankle injury that forced him off in the second half at Stamford Bridge, Wilshere used the ball intelligently and dictated the game for much of the first half and plenty of the second period, too. One lovely flick set Ainsley Maitland-Niles free on the Arsenal left but the wing-back ended up running the ball out of the play and that rather summed up the first half.
Arsenal were the better team, enjoying much more possession, but they only seriously threatened the Bournemouth goal on a few occasions. Welbeck, running onto Lacazette’s through ball, was denied by Asmir Begovic, who also repelled Iwobi’s deflected shot. The closest Arsenal came to scoring in that period was in the eighth minute when Maitland-Niles turned Simon Francis one way and then the other before curling a shot from just inside the area against the crossbar.