Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 10th goal of the season made the difference as we moved to within a point of the top four with our first win in four games.
Alex Iwobi’s fabulous pass set up Sead Kolasinac for a low cross that Aubameyang converted from close range to clinch a hard-fought win.
Bournemouth, in Unai Emery’s words, have “played with joy” this season and they were certainly the livelier side in the early stages.
David Brooks had a goal ruled out for offside and we were indebted to Sokratis for a couple of timely interventions - the Greece defender back in side as a part of a back three.
Lucas Torreira seized on a careless pass to advance and fire a shot against the post, but we were mostly up against it until an eye-catching own goal gave us the lead.
Kolasinac got forward on the left and clipped a pass towards Aubameyang inside the box. It never reached him - Jefferson Lerma got there first and inadvertently
slammed the ball past Asmir Begovic.
That prompted a spell of dominance for us, and Iwobi tested Begovic with a curler. But Bournemouth - aggrieved to be behind after their strong start - equalised against the run of play on the stroke of half-time.
It was hugely frustrating for us. One moment we were camped in the Bournemouth box, the next Josh King was sweeping a shot past Bernd Leno.
That first half-time lead of the season remains elusive but, not for the first time, we did the business in the second half.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan set up a decent chance for Aubameyang with a precise pass through the centre, but the Gabon striker leant back as he shot and cleared the crossbar.
Our top scorer persevered - and he took his next chance.
This time Iwobi dissected the Bournemouth defence and Kolasinac’s low cross was perfectly weighted for Aubameyang to poke the ball into the net.
Mkhitaryan could have sealed the points when he was set up by Aubameyang on the break, and we were almost pegged back when Lerma smashed a late shot against the post.
Fortunately for us, his first-half finish was just a bit more accurate.
HOW IT HAPPENED
WHAT IT MEANS
THREE AT THE BACK
Unai Emery changed our formation for our first game since the international break.
Sokratis came back into the side but, instead of replacing Rob Holding or Shkodran Mustafi, the Greece defender was the central man in a back three.
That gave Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac more freedom to get forward on the flanks, and it meant Mesut Ozil had to settle for a place on the bench.
Alex Lacazette was left out as a precaution with a tight groin, so Aubameyang started up front.
It’s back to the Europa League on Thursday with a trip to Ukraine to face Vorskla Poltava.
Then it’s the big one - the north London derby against Tottenham at Emirates Stadium.
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