By Cyrus Bengo
Reiss Nelson’s 97th-minute strike completed a remarkable comeback for Arsenal in a 3-2 win against Bournemouth.
Phillip Billing scored the second-fastest goal in Premier League history to hand the Cherries a shock lead, with Marcos Senesi doubling the advantage in the second half.
Thomas Partey and Ben White struck in quick succession to bring Arsenal level, though it seemed the Gunners would remain on course to drop crucial points in the title race.
Substitute Nelson had other ideas though, firing in from just inside the boxin the dying moments to restore a five-point advantage over Manchester City.
Bournemouth scored straight from kick-off, Dango Ouattara playing a dangerous low cross into the box that found Billing in space,and he comfortably steered past Aaron Ramsdale with just nine seconds played.
The Gunners pushed back immediately, Neto saving from Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka in quick succession, while Ramsdale was required at the other end to deny Ouattara after a swift counter-attack.
Arsenal thought they had a penalty 12 minutes before the break after the ball appeared to hit the arm of Chris Mepham after he missed a header,but a VAR review dismissedtheir appeals.
Bournemouth doubled their lead in the 57th minute, Joe Rothwell’s cornermet by the head of Senesi to put the visitors in dreamland.
Six minutes later, Arsenal gave themselves hope as Emile Smith Rowe glanced a header to the far post where Partey was on hand to tuck home.
A minute after his introduction, Nelson provided the assist for Arsenal’s equaliser as his cross foundWhite in space, with Neto unable to claw his volley back off the line.
It seemed it would not be Arsenal’s day, Jack Stephens deflecting Saka’s cross onto his own post and the hosts seeing another VAR review for a handball call on Billing not go their way.
Nelson was a surprise hero, though, with a strike from around 15 yards resulting in pandemonium for the home fans.
What does it mean? Remarkable comeback complete
Trailing 2-0 in the second half and appearing to have nothing go their way, Arsenal’s response to even draw level in the game was impressive – but there was more to come.
Nelson’s late winner capped off a remarkable comeback, marking the first time the Gunners have secured a Premier League win after trailing by two goals since a 5-2 victory against Tottenham in February 2012.
That is the sort of grit and determination required for any side to win the Premier League.
A new era
Arsene Wenger’s departure from Arsenal may have now been almost five years ago,but his impression upon the Gunners is still being felt to this day.
However, Granit Xhaka’s absence from the starting line-up marked the first time since January 1986 that Arsenal named a side without a player who made a competitive appearance under the Frenchman.
Making it count
Bournemouth’s two goals against the Gunners came despite having just seven touches inside the opposition box, compared to 77 for the hosts.
Yet it was still the visitors who had the better opportunities throughout, per Opta data, with three ‘big chances’ compared to Arsenal’s two.
Arsenal turn their attention to Thursday’s UEFA Europa League trip to face Sporting CP, while Bournemouth host Liverpool in the Premier League next Saturday.