Alexis Sanchez Brace Helps Arsenal Edge Past Bournemouth

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Alexis Sanchez scored a brace as Arsenal claimed a hard-fought 3-1 victory at home to Bournemouth to keep pace with the leading pack in the Premier League.
Arsenal remain fourth in the table after the win — which was secured by Sanchez’s strikes and a Theo Walcott header — but they are now two points off Liverpool and Manchester City and three off leaders Chelsea.
It was a lively start to the Emirates Stadium clash with both sides creating openings in the first few minutes — Arsenal saw a Mesut Ozil goalbound strike well blocked by Nathan Ake, while Bournemouth’s Adam Smith struck wide down the other end moments later.
Arsenal did not have to wait too long before finding a breakthrough, however, when Sanchez pounced on a poor Steve Cook backpass in the 12th minute before slotting past Adam Federici.
It was bad news for the Gunners shortly after the opener, with Mathieu Debuchy, making his first Premier League appearance in 385 days, forced off injured and replaced by Gabriel Paulista.
Bournemouth levelled proceedings in the 23rd minute when Wilson slotted home a penalty after being bundled over by Nacho Monreal, scoring the Cherries’ first ever goal against Arsenal in the process.
And the visitors could have gone ahead two minutes later, only for Adam Smith to head over from close range after Ake had nodded the ball across goal and into his path.
Bournemouth, in the ascendancy at this point, soon created another chance but Petr Cech was on hand to deny Brad Smith at his near post with a good save.

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Arsenal, who had been on the ropes since conceding, picked up as the half began to draw to a close with Mohamed Elneny and Sanchez both firing over the bar in quick succession.
Sanchez was involved again on the stroke of half-time and came inches away from grabbing his second, only to see his effort cannon back off the crossbar.
Arsenal did not have to wait too long before restoring their lead after the break, with Walcott finding the back of the net in the 53rd minute, heading home at the far post following a cross from Monreal.
The Gunners, who were seeing most of the possession by now, went in search of a third to kill the game off but Bournemouth were able to hold strong.
One move from the home side saw Sanchez break clear of the Cherries defence but Ozil was just unable to connect with the Chile international’s delivery at the near post.
Bournemouth still occasionally looked dangerous on the counterattack as they threatened to pull level once more and had a second penalty turned down despite the ball appearing to strike Monreal on the arm inside the box.
Eddie Howe’s side looked like they might have found the equaliser when the ball fell to Benik Afobe from a corner, but the former Arsenal man was unable to score against his old side as Cech pulled off a vital stop to deny him from close range.
However, Arsenal made sure of the result at the death when second-half substitute Olivier Giroud teed up Sanchez to fire into the back of the net, helping to end the hosts’ run of three games without a win.

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