Aubameyang rescues a point as Arteta’s Arsenal reign begins
Arsenal’s disappointing run goes on – they have won just one of their past 14 matches
Mikel Arteta watches his Arsenal team take on Bournemouth at Vitality Stadium. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Bournemouth 1 Arsenal 1
Mikel Arteta had asked for aggression and, while a point at Bournemouth was not quite the way would have he wanted his Arsenal reign to begin, his players dug in and rallied to garner a point in his first game in charge. Arsenal’s disappointing run goes on – they have won just one of their past 14 matches – but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cancelled out Dan Gosling’s opener to get the new era under way on a dank day on the south coast.
After watching Saturday’s draw at Everton from the stands, Arteta lived and breathed every kick from the technical area here. Before kick-off a throng of photographers waited for the Spaniard to take his seat in the away dugout and the cameras were trained on his every move but they had a hard job keeping up with him. An animated Arteta spent the majority of the match hugging the touchline, in effect pinballing around his technical area and arching his back in frustration until Aubameyang’s scruffy second-half equaliser. At one point Arteta – his black jacket soaked through from the rain – skipped along in tandem with Bukayo Saka, urging Arsenal upfield.
Arsenal never had things their own way, with Joshua King going close to doubling Bournemouth’s lead on the brink of half-time.
Eddie Howe’s side operated with a dynamic three-pronged attack in King, Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser, and played with an intensity and zip that made life uncomfortable for Arsenal, particularly their pair of unorthodox full-backs, Saka and Maitland-Niles.
When Bournemouth struck 10 minutes before the interval, it was Gosling who started and finished an incisive move. Saka ran into trouble down the left flank in the shape of the Bournemouth midfielder, who seized possession before freeing Jack Stacey to rush to the byline. Gosling did not relent and his endeavour was rewarded when he poked in at the front post ahead of Lucas Torreira after bursting into the box to meet Stacey’s low cross.
As Leno’s goal rippled, Arteta turned to his freshly assembled backroom staff and puffed his cheeks. It was a cheap goal from an Arsenal perspective but one that epitomised how Bournemouth managed to hurt the visitors.
Arsenal’s response was encouraging, with Aubameyang curling an effort wide of the far post before the captain tried to pick out the returning Mesut Özil but the pair were on a different wavelength. Bournemouth were began to retreat and eventually Arsenal found a way through, Aubameyang again the catalyst. His surging caused panic in the Bournemouth box and the forward applied the finishing touch after Nelson’s pass deflected into his path. They all count. Arsenal pushed for a winner, with Alexandre Lacazette and the substitute Joe Willock going close, but Bournemouth held on for a point.