David Luiz’s first goal for Arsenal was enough to seal a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth and lift Unai Emery’s side up to third in the Premier League.
The Gunners have a good recent record against their south-coast opponents and looked on course for another comfortable win when Luiz headed home with only nine minutes gone.
But that proved to be the only goal of a contest which lacked both chances and quality as the Cherries managed to keep in-form Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the periphery.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 6, 2019
While the win may have not been emphatic, it means Arsenal have still lost just once this season and they now sit just one point behind reigning champions Manchester City.
Aubameyang, crucial to Arsenal so far this season, was kept quiet and the players selected to offer support – 18-year-old Bukayo Saka and club-record signing Nicolas Pepe – also drifted in and out of the game.
In fact, it was more of an afternoon for the Arsenal defence to celebrate as they registered just a second Premier League clean sheet from their last 13 outings.
For Eddie Howe, his Bournemouth side could have drawn level on points with fourth-placed Leicester with a win at the Emirates Stadium but they lacked a cutting edge in attack despite some good moments early in the second half.
Unsurprisingly, it was Aubameyang who almost opened the scoring with less than six minutes on the clock but the 30-year-old could only bend a curling effort wide of Aaron Ramsdale’s post.
What was more of a surprise was the identity of the man who did put Arsenal in front soon after, Luiz heading in his first goal for the club as he glanced home Nicolas Pepe’s corner.
With the hosts on top, Bournemouth had a great chance to equalise against the run of play but Dominic Solanke could only head wide when picked out from a free-kick.
Pepe came close to doubling the Arsenal lead but he saw a bending strike go the wrong side of the post, before the Ivory Coast international saw a penalty claim turned down by official Martin Atkinson and the video assistant referee after going doing under a challenge from Diego Rico.
Bournemouth came out after the interval seemingly much more up for the fight and came close to levelling as Callum Wilson showed neat footwork before squaring across an open goal, only for Calum Chambers to clear away under pressure.
Jack Stacey forced Bernd Leno into his first meaningful action of the afternoon as the Germany goalkeeper had to tip a cross-cum-shot behind for a corner.
Emery turned to youngsters Gabriel Martinelli and Joe Willock to add some much-needed impetus into his attack but it was Luiz’s maiden goal following his summer move from Chelsea that would ultimately settle the game.