LONDON: Arsenal’s bid for the English Premier League title was not derailed despite giving up a goal after only nine seconds and falling behind 2-0 in the second half.


Arsenal came back to beat Bournemouth 3-2 on Saturday and keep their five-point lead at the top of the league thanks to a goal scored in injury time by substitute Reiss Nelson’s fierce volley.

After being blindsided on the opening kickoff, the Gunners had to dig deep to pull off the victory.

The stunned crowd at Emirates Stadium was stunned when the visitors took the lead after only nine seconds, thanks to Philip Billing. In the 57th minute, things got even worse when Marcos Senesi scored a second goal for Bournemouth by heading home a corner.

The comeback was started by Thomas Partey in the 62nd minute, and it was completed by Ben White, who scored his first goal for Arsenal in the 70th.

Nelson’s goal in the seventh minute of stoppage time was the latest in a string of late victories for Arsenal. The winger, who had previously assisted on White’s equalizer, took a corner kick, controlled it on his chest, and then volleyed it into the far corner.

This time, another player from Arsenal’s youth system came through in a crucial moment.

Prior to his injury troubles and loan moves, Nelson was considered one of the best prospects to emerge from the London club’s Hale End academy. However, he has since been overshadowed by Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, and Eddie Nketiah. His assist on White’s equalizer was the biggest goal of his Arsenal career, and it came in only his third league appearance of the season.

“That’s incredible. I took a good look at the ball when it was served to me. “When it went in, everyone went absolutely nuts,” Nelson said. “This is a very happy time in my life. It means a lot to me because I have lived here my whole life.

In an unusual attempt at rotation, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta made three changes to his starting lineup. For the first time in a league game this season, Granit Xhaka was on the substitutes’ bench. This marked the first time in the Premier League since Arsene Wenger’s departure in 2018 that Arsenal started a lineup in which no player had played for the club while Wenger was in charge.

However, they were quickly caught off guard.

Billing scored easily after Dango Ouattara’s cross into the box from the right side after receiving the ball from Joe Rothwell’s kickoff. According to Opta, the goal was the second fastest in the league this season, behind only Shane Long’s 8-second goal for Southampton against Watford.
In the fourth minute, Arsenal nearly tied the game, but Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto made a diving save on a shot from Martin Odegaard and a quick recovery to prevent a goal from Saka.

Despite having the ball for the majority of the first half, Arsenal failed to create any real scoring chances, and the crowd was beginning to get restless even before Senesi scored off a corner kick after being left unmarked.

Though it didn’t take long for Arsenal to begin their comeback, they eventually lost.

Smith Rowe’s header from a corner kick that Neto punched out found its way back toward the net, and Partey pounced on the loose ball to smash it home. After more pressure from the home side, Nelson sent in a cross from the left side that found White on the other side of the penalty area. The defender’s first-time volley beat Neto’s outstretched hand and trickled over the line.

In a game where it appeared Arsenal would have to settle for a draw, Nelson’s goal sparked the loudest celebrations Emirates Stadium has heard all season.

“It was just crazy,” Arteta remarked. One of those times when you’re so happy you can’t stop smiling. This was a very unique path, and it was only accessible at the very last second. They have earned my utmost admiration and respect. They kept going even after initial setbacks. When you’re with your people, nothing beats the joy of a special moment. Congratulations, (Nelson)!