REISS NELSON was the hero as the winger came on to grab an assist and the winning goal in his first appearance since November.
The Englishman fired in an incredible winning goal with essentially the last kick of the game, having earlier provided Ben White with his first Arsenal goal with his first touch.
It meant Arsenal, who had been two goals down, maintained their five-point lead at the top of the table.
Having seen City beat Newcastle in the early game to close the gap, Arsenal got off to the worst possible start at the Emirates – Philip Billing scoring the second-quickest Premier League goal ever to stun the crowd.
As the Gunners piled forward for a leveller they continually left huge gaps at the back and Bournemouth looked dangerous throughout.
The Cherries then did have a second with slack marking from Thomas Partey at a corner allowing Marcos Senesi to power in a second.
PREM’S QUICKEST FIVE ALL-TIME GOALS
1) 7.69s – Shane Long (Southampton) v Watford Apr 23, 2019
2) 9.11s – Philip Billing (Bournemouth) v Arsenal Mar 4, 2023
3) 9.82s – Ledley King (Tottenham) v Bradford Dec 9, 2000
4) 10.52s – Alan Shearer (Newcastle) v Man City Jan 18, 2003
6) 10.54s – Christian Eriksen (Tottenham) v Man Utd Jan 31, 2018
Left with a mountain to climb, Arsenal continued to pour on the pressure and Partey made amends five minutes later, turning in a volley from Emile Smith Rowe after a half-cleared corner.
It was game on and Mikel Arteta went deep into his bench, throwing on Nelson for his first appearance since November 12.
It had the desired effect with Nelson’s first touch taking him inside the box and his second a cross to the back stick for White to volley in.
Arsenal continued to throw men forward but it looked like they would have to settle for a draw.
That was until the ball dropped to Nelson on the edge of the box and he fired in a beautiful left-footed strike for his first goal since October 30.
Here’s how Tom Sheen rated the Gunners in their 3-2 win against Bournemouth.
Aaron Ramsdale – 8/10
Made an incredible one-on-one save in the first half from Dango Ouattara as Bournemouth and another good stop early in the second.
The Cherries may have been out of sight if it wasn’t for the keeper who, for a time, looked like the only man defending the Arsenal goal.
Takehiro Tomiyasu – 4
Bombed on down the right throughout the first half but his final ball was really poor – with one particular piece of poor control, following an earlier bad cross, brought a huge groan.
Replaced by Ben White at half-time.
William Saliba – 4
He was totally asleep for Billing’s opener as he watched the ball drift by him after Gabriel failed to clear.
Showed some good pace to make a couple of recovery interceptions and blocks, but was caught out of position once too often.
Gabriel Magalhaes – 4
Struggled like his centre-back partner, although was not afforded a great deal of help by his full-backs and midfielders.
Arsenal did well to claw the game back but Bournemouth looked dangerous all afternoon.
Oleksandr Zinchenko – 4
Looked tired at times, especially when he was caught high up the pitch and Bournemouth countered.
His usual incisive passing and runs were mooted as well and he was often sloppy in possession.
Thomas Partey – 6
Clearly not quite back to his pre-injury best when he could claim to be the best midfielder in the Premier League.
However, Partey was at the centre of everything Arsenal did and he scored a vital goal to set the Gunners on the comeback trail.
Martin Odegaard – 6
Like the rest of his midfield, appeared unwilling – or unable – to really make those recovery runs when his team needed him.
His passing wasn’t quite so sharp as it has been in recent games, but he was always a threat and always looking for a dangerous ball.
Fabio Vieira – 6
Given his lack of Premier League football it was clear Vieira was desperate to impress and he certainly looked a lot more lively and energetic than a number of his team-mates.
However, his quality was a bit lacking occasionally, but it wasn’t a bad performance in only his second Premier League start.
Bukayo Saka – 6
Saka is so often the man Arsenal look to when they need some magic but he was found wanting today.
Bournemouth left-back Jordan Zemura was relishing his battle with Saka and when he went off, Ryan Fredericks also proved he was up to the task.
Gabriel Martinelli – 7
He looked the most likely of any Arsenal player to score but, for once, he left his shooting boots at home.
Made a number of penetrating runs and had a couple of decent chances – but failed to find the target.
Leandro Trossard – N/A
Lasted just 20 minutes before succumbing to an injury – huge blow for Arteta especially with Eddie Nketiah also injured this week.
Emile Smith Rowe (for Trossard, 21) – 5
Came on for the injured Trossard only to last around 45 minutes himself – not clear if he was injured or just on a minutes restriction.
Provided the goal for Partey’s opener with a lofted ball back into the box, but looked well off the pace and his best.
Ben White (for Tomiyasu, half-time) – 8
More content to sit back than Tomiyasu had been, giving the Gunners a bit more stability at the back.
When he did pick his moment to go forward, made the absolute most of it, volleying in his first goal for the club to equalise.
Reiss Nelson (for Smith Rowe, 68) – 9
Talk about instant impact – his first touch was to get it out of his feet inside the box and his second was to fire it across for White to volley in.
His introduction and direct running style really allowed Arsenal to pile forward in the latter stages and he was the hero as he fired home a brilliant winning goal with essentially the last kick of the game.
Granit Xhaka (for Vieira, 84) – N/A
Came on late to try and inject a bit of quality into the midfield.
Subs not used: Matt Turner, Kieran Tierney, Ben White, Jakub Kiwior, Rob Holding, Jorginho.