LONDON (Reuters) – Bournemouth 0 Arsenal 2
Arsenal re-established themselves as serious contenders for their first Premier League title since 2004 with a comfortable victory at lowly Bournemouth on Sunday.
A first win in four games took them level on points with second-placed Tottenham Hotspur, their bitter local rivals who have a superior goal difference.
After more than five hours without a league goal, Arsenal scored two in little more than a minute midway through the first half by Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Arsene Wenger’s team are still five points behind leaders Leicester City but play at home to them next Sunday.
It was their first league win since Jan 2, since when they had played two goalless draws and lost 1-0 to Chelsea.
“It was a must-win game for us today,” Wenger told BBC Sport.
“Leicester have made a big impression in the last week after their results. They suddenly become the favourite in the Premier League and it makes our game (next week) a big game.”
Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey was heavily involved in both goals.
In the 23rd minute he crossed for Olivier Giroud to head down and give Ozil the opportunity to score.
Bournemouth had not recovered before Ramsey sent Oxlade-Chamberlain through to score his first league goal since September 2014 — and first away from home — with an angled drive.
Former Arsenal youth team striker Benik Afobe could make no impression against his old club and was substituted before two late saves from Petr Cech preserved the visitors’ clean sheet.
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe felt Arsenal should have had midfielder Mathieu Flamini sent off early in the game for a tackle on Dan Gosling that brought only a yellow card.
“I thought it was a red card,” he told Sky Sports.
“I haven’t seen it again but it looked two-footed and potentially off the floor. It wasn’t a difficult decision.”
Bournemouth, playing their first season in the Premier league, remain 15th, five points above the relegation places.
(Reporting by Steve Tongue, editing by Alan Baldwin)