Arsenal come from behind to secure 3-3 draw against Bournemouth

Bournemouth (England), Jan 4 (IANS) Arsenal fought back after falling three goals behind to earn a 3-3 draw against Bournemouth in an English Premier League (EPL) football match at the Dean Court stadium here.

Charlie Daniels (16th minute) and Callum Wilson (20th) ensured that the London club on Tuesday fell 0-2 behind. Ryan Fraser made it 3-0 for the hosts in the 58th minute.

But Arsene Wenger-coached Arsenal refused to surrender and Alexis Sanchez (70th), Lucas Perez (75th) and Olivier Giroud (90+) ensured they secure a point.

Following this draw, Arsenal remained on the fourth spot with 41 points from 20 matches and will drop to the fifth spot if Tottenham Hotspur beat table-toppers Chelsea on Wednesday.

The draw made Bournemouth jump to the ninth spot with 25 points from 20 games.

But the home club head coach Eddie Howe would have been ruing the draw, especially the way his team performed in the first half.

They went ahead when Daniels controlled a sweeping pass in the Arsenal box and beat Petr Cech with a calm finish.

Things soon got even worse for the visitors when Granit Xhaka tangled with Fraser to the left of the area, and Wilson slotted home the resulting penalty.

Arsenal upped the ante after the interval but with the momentum seemingly shifting in the game, Fraser looked to have killed it off when he raced into the box and slotted the ball home.

But the visitors refused to give up, and Chilean forward Sanchez provided some hope when he reacted first to a deflected cross and headed in at the far post, according to Arsenal’s website.

There was another twist when 15 minutes later substitute Perez met a flick from Giroud to the left of the Bournemouth box and volleyed it sweetly into the bottom corner.

Simon Francis was soon sent off for a tackle on Aaron Ramsey, before Giroud — the hero on Boxing Day with an 87th-minute goal — was at it again when he rose in the area in stoppage time to glance in the equaliser.

It was a grandstand finish, and Cech had to be alert to beat away a Dan Gosling strike, but there were to be no further goals from a thrilling six-goal game.

After the match, Arsenal coach Wenger hailed the character shown by his team. “I felt that it was a mental test for us to fight back. We have shown an outstanding fighting spirit to come back and it shows great resilience and a refusal to lose the game — that is quite positive,” Wenger told arsenal.com.

He also cited the reasons for the disastrous start. “I thought we suffered defensively. They looked sharper than us at the start. It took us a while to get into the game and you could see they had better recovered than us — that was predictable,” Wenger said.

“It’s difficult to say (whether it was down to tiredness). I could see we were not at our usual level. I believe that we were not on even ground with our opponents, that is for sure, in the preparation of the game.”

–IANS

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