Mesut Ozil produced a phenomenal display to fire Arsenal back to the top of the Premier League as the Gunners ran out 2-0 winners over Bournemouth at the Emirates on Monday evening.
- Arsenal 2 Bournemouth 0
- Gabriel breaks Arsenal duck
- Mertesacker misses open goal
- Ozil scores sublime second
- King limps off with hamstring issue
The visitors perhaps acclimatised to their surroundings better than their hosts but it was Arsene Wenger's side who opened the scoring through defender Gabriel, who grabbed his first goal for the Gunners just before the half-hour mark.
Arsenal then doubled their lead on 63 minutes after some phenomenal play between Ozil and Olivier Giroud fed the German in to slot home from close range, and that was enough to see the Gunners overhaul Leicester City and reclaim top spot in the Premier League.
Bournemouth began on the front foot, winning the first corner of the game before fit-again striker Josh King stung the hands of Petr Cech in the Arsenal goal.
The hosts struggled to get to grips with the pace of the match, but managed to produce a counter attack as Aaron Ramsey snatched a loose ball in midfield. It was fed out wide to the left but Giroud couldn't find Ozil before it was cleared to safety by the Bournemouth defence.
Harry Arter then threatened to find King in the Gunners box but the forward was smothered before being able to work a shot on goal for the visitors.
The game continued to be devoid of any real quality as both sides looked visibly tired from their Boxing Day exploits.
It was the Gunners, though, who broke the deadlock with a set-piece as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain won a corner just before the half-hour mark and defender Gabriel duly obliged to nod home a beautifully whipped delivery from Ozil.
Arsenal then started to dominate proceedings and Theo Walcott squandering a wonderful opportunity to double the lead after a ball in from the right from Ozil found the England man, before defender Per Mertesacker headed wide from just two-yards out after Bournemouth keeper Artur Boruc palmed a Gabriel shot onto the post.
After the visitors' strong start the Cherries ended the first period camped inside their own half, with Arsenal passing the ball around the Emirates' slick surface with ease as referee Roger East brought the half to a close.
The visitors again started the better of the two sides in the early exchanges of the second half, and the Cherries posed a real threat to the Gunners' clean sheet as King fired across goal in an attempt to find substitute Junior Stanislas but Gabriel was on hand to clear the danger away.
It was the Gunners, though, who doubled their lead against the run of play after some magical football between Ozil and Giroud. The Frenchman, with his back to goal, provided a cute flick back to Ozil, who casually slotted home from close range as the Cherries defence could only watch on mesmerised by the German's ability.
Oxlade-Chamberlain came the closest to adding a third in the dying stages of the game as he cut inside the Bournemouth box and saw his deflected effort fly inches wide of the post with Boruc rooted to the spot, and that's the way it finished as Arsenal cruised to an easy victory to fire themselves back to the top of the Premier League.