Ben STANSALL / AFP
Oli SCARFF / AFP
Arsenal closed the gap on Premier League leaders, Chelsea, as Alexis Sanchez bragged a brace in a 3-1 win over Bournemouth yesterday, reports AFP.
Arsene Wenger’s side are within three points of top spot after Chile forward Sanchez struck in each half at the Emirates Stadium to take his goal tally for the season to 10.
Sanchez gave Arsenal an early lead before Callum Wilson equalised with a penalty before the interval.
Theo Walcott headed Arsenal back in front just 24 hours after the birth of his second child and Sanchez wrapped up the points.
After drawing three of their last four league games to fall six points behind Chelsea, this was a timely victory for fourth-placed Arsenal, who are now unbeaten in their last 19 matches in all competitions and firmly in the title race.
On-loan Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere was ineligible to play for Bournemouth against his parent club, but his absence didn’t stop the visitors sticking to manager Eddie Howe’s philosophy of playing out from the back. It proved a fatal indulgence in the 12th minute.
Bournemouth goalkeeper, Adam Federici, rolled the ball out to Steve Cook on the left and instead of knocking it long under pressure, the defender tried a back-pass that was intercepted by Sanchez, who gleefully slotted into the empty net.
Jones gave Bournemouth a penalty in the 23rd minute for Nacho Monreal’s collision with Wilson, who picked himself up to slot home his club’s first ever goal against the Gunners.
Arsenal regained the lead in the 53rd minute.
Mesut Ozil’s cross was deflected on by Ake to Monreal, who scooped a cross back towards Walcott and the Arsenal winger nodded home from close-range before marking the birth of son Arlo with a ‘rock the baby’ celebration.
Sanchez eased Arsenal’s nerves in the 90th minute when he tapped in from Giroud’s cross.
Elsewhere, Stoke City capitalised on an unlucky own goal by Heurelho Gomes to beat Watford 1-0 with an assured display that moved them clear of the Premier League relegation zone.
But it was a night to forget for Manchester United Manager, who was dismissed for misconduct and had to watch from the stands as his wards wasted so many scoring chances in their 1-1 draw with West Ham.