Digital Football Journalist @ronnabe
Arsenal 5-1 Bournemouth: Mesut Ozil stars in Gunners' biggest home win of season
Report and highlights as Alexandre Lacazette scores fine free-kick
Last Updated: 27/02/19 11:49pm
Mesut Ozil was the star as Arsenal demolished Bournemouth 5-1 in their biggest home win of the season.
Ozil, making his first league start in a month, took advantage of a fast start from the hosts to fire them ahead with less than four minutes on the clock before Henrikh Mkhitaryan doubled the lead from the German's cutback just before the half-hour (27).
Bournemouth did look dangerous on the break but when they scored a comeback goal it owed everything to Matteo Guendouzi, who was caught in possession by Dan Gosling on the edge of his own box. The Bournemouth midfielder then fed Lys Mousset, who slotted beyond Bernd Leno to half the deficit (30).
After half-time, Arsenal turned on the style and restored their two-goal advantage when Laurent Koscielny turned Mkhitaryan's cross after a quickly taken free-kick beyond Artur Boruc (47). Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang then added a fourth with a goal straight from the vintage Arsene Wenger era, racing through from the halfway line before rounding the stranded goalkeeper (59).
Arsenal: Leno (7), Jenkinson (6), Sokratis (7), Koscielny (7), Monreal (6), Torreira (6), Guendouzi (7), Mkhitaryan (8), Ozil (8), Kolasinac (8), Aubameyang (8).
Subs: Iwobi (7), Lacazette (8), Suarez (6).
Bournemouth: Boruc (7), Clyne (5), Ake (6), Mepham (5), Smith (3), Fraser (6), Gosling (6), Surman (5), Ibe (4), King (6), Mousset (6).
Subs: Daniels (5), Rico (6), Surridge (n/a)
Man of the match: Mesut Ozil
There was still half an hour to go and the hosts did not let up, adding a fifth with 12 minutes remaining when substitute Alexandre Lacazette curled in a free-kick from 20 yards to cap a perfect night for Unai Emery, whose side kept their place in the top four with ease ahead of Saturday's north London derby with Tottenham.
Arsenal had made a habit of early goals at home, having scored inside the first seven minutes of their previous two, and it took just four for Sead Kolasinac to win back possession high up the pitch before feeding Ozil, who lifted the ball over Boruc's dive.
Bournemouth looked like they might not recover from the hosts' lightning start but once they had woken up, they nearly got themselves level when Ryan Fraser was set away by Josh King and forced a full-length dive out of Leno.
But they gifted Arsenal a second when Adam Smith's ball across defence was cut out by Mkhitaryan, and after he found Ozil on the right the favour was returned for him to slot into an empty net.
If that was bad, Guendouzi's error to allow Bournemouth back into the match was on another level. He received a short pass from Leno with no idea Gosling was closing him down, and after making a robust tackle it left the Bournemouth player the simple task of squaring for Mousset to crown his first league start of the season and finish well.
The next goal would be crucial, and within 90 seconds of the restart Arsenal had it. A quickly taken free-kick from Ozil put Mkhitaryan clear on the right and his low cross was fired in via the post by Koscielny.
Playing their third game in six days, Arsenal rested six players who had started Sunday’s win over Southampton, giving Mesut Ozil a first league start in a month and Carl Jenkinson his first since November 2016.
Bournemouth’s two changes were both enforced, with Jefferson Lerma suspended and Dominic Solanke injured, and Lys Mousset and Andrew Surman replaced them.
Both sides hit the woodwork as Bournemouth wrestled for a way back into the game, but it was put beyond doubt in fine style when Mkhitaryan spotted Aubameyang on the shoulder of the last man, and he sprinted from the halfway line before rounding Boruc for a fourth.
Emery had said his side could not keep up their intensity during an underwhelming win over Southampton on Sunday but they kept pushing against Bournemouth, and got their reward as substitute Lacazette scored a fifth with a fine free-kick which Boruc should have dealt better with.
The result sets up Saturday's derby perfectly for Arsenal, who can move a point behind Spurs with victory, while Bournemouth are on their worst league run on the road since 1934 on the back of a ninth consecutive away defeat.
- Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 14 Premier League home games (W12 D2), winning each of the last eight in a row.
- Bournemouth's goal was the 1000th Arsenal have conceded in Premier League history, becoming the eighth team to have shipped that many in the competition.
- Bournemouth have lost their last nine Premier League away games, conceding at least two goals each time.
- Arsenal scored five goals in a Premier League home game for the first time since May 2018 (5-0 vs Burnley) in what was Arsene Wenger's final home match in charge of the club.
- Mesut Ozil's opener for Arsenal was his 50th goal involvement in 85 Premier League appearances at the Emirates Stadium (now 19 goals, 32 assists).
- Henrikh Mkhitaryan became the first Arsenal player to both score and assist a goal in consecutive Premier League appearances since Santi Cazorla in February 2015.
- Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored his 26th Premier League goal - only Mohamed Salah (30) has scored more than him since his debut.
- Alexandre Lacazette is the fifth different player to score in 5+ consecutive home Premier League games for Arsenal, and the first since Robin van Persie in March 2012.
Unai Emery: "It was a good performance, we can be proud of every player, there have been a lot of matches and we wanted to show a complete performance, with a good result and as many goals as we could.
"Today we did that, but this match is three points like Saturday, and we are happy now but the most important thing is we are playing with different players but the good performance is still continuing."
Eddie Howe: "We felt we were well in the game at half-time and had created some good chances despite not playing well.
"We were a goal threat but to concede at the beginning of the second half was hugely disappointing and made it difficult from there-on in. We created opportunities, and it was a strange game in that respect."
Man of the match - Mesut Ozil
If Ozil wanted to show Emery what he has been missing over the last month, he could not have done much more than his performance.
A goal, an assist and four key passes put him head and shoulders above anyone on the pitch bar Mkhitaryan, and if he does not start Saturday's north London derby, there will be a few eyebrows raised on the back of this performance.
Of course, whether Ozil can carry these kind of performances into big games is still something that worries Emery, but it was his intensity as much as his quality which impressed here - only Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira covered more ground on the night for Arsenal.
Arsenal face Tottenham in the early kick-off on Saturday at Wembley, with kick-off at 12.30pm. Bournemouth will be glad to be back at home, although they host Manchester City at 3pm on Saturday.