Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal reign began with a draw as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 12th Premier League goal of the season earned the Gunners a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth.
Former Arsenal midfielder Arteta was in the dugout for the first time since being appointed Unai Emery’s successor.
Having opted to recall Mesut Ozil to his starting line-up in one of three changes, Arteta saw his side fall behind to Dan Gosling’s goal 10 minutes before half-time.
However, Aubameyang tucked in a second-half leveller to ensure Arteta gained a point in his debut as a head coach.
Arsenal almost fell behind within five minutes as Bernd Leno’s right foot denied Ryan Fraser following good work from Lewis Cook and Callum Wilson.
England international Wilson then fired a volley over following a one-two with Fraser as the Cherries continued to press down Arsenal’s left.
It was from that flank that the opening goal arrived, an overlapping Jack Stacey sliding the ball across for Gosling to poke home a first-time finish at the near post.
The Gunners were fortunate not to be 2-0 behind at the break too, with Leno having to claw Joshua King’s effort behind after the Norwegian had beaten two Arsenal defenders.
Aubameyang had been virtually anonymous in the first period but he fired over early in the second half and almost collected a brilliant threaded pass from Ozil.
However, in the 63rd minute, the striker was in the right place to sweep home after Reiss Nelson’s shot deflected into his path.
Alexandre Lacazette, another of those brought into the XI by Arteta, then bore down on goal following a David Luiz throughball but Chris Mepham’s fine last-ditch intervention forced a corner.
Bournemouth thought they had a winner nine minutes from time when Callum Wilson turned home after Leno had spilled Harry Wilson’s shot into his path.
Yet the flag was correctly raised for offside against the Bournemouth forward, meaning Arteta avoided a losing start.
What does it mean? Work to do for Arteta
Arsenal’s new boss will have been encouraged by the final possession stats – the Gunners seeing 61 per cent of the ball – having become used to such figures from his time on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City staff.
Yet Arteta will know he has a largely unbalanced side in desperate need of belief and some reinforcements. Fortunately, though, he can rely on Aubameyang while knowing the transfer window reopens next week.
Aubameyang a man to count on
Few in the Gunners squad should feel confident about their futures at the start of a new regime, but Aubameyang is indispensable to Arteta, whatever he decides to do with his personnel moving forward.
This season he has scored 73 per cent of their away goals (eight out of 11) and has netted more in the Premier League (44) than anyone since his debut in February 2018.
While Aubameyang is consistently proving his worth, it has been some time since Lacazette looked like the main man.
Arteta recalled the Frenchman to his starting line-up but he failed to repay his new boss, scooping well over in the first half and then seeing Mepham thwart a one-on-one opportunity late on.
Key Opta facts
– Arsenal have won 11 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season – no side has won more. Indeed, it is just one fewer than the Gunners won from behind in the entire 2018-19 season.
– Bournemouth have scored just three goals in their last six Premier League home games.
– Arsenal had more shots in this game (17) than they did in their previous two Premier League games combined (12 – six each against Everton and Manchester City).
– Dan Gosling has scored two goals in six Premier League appearances this season, as many as he netted in 25 games in the competition last term.
– Jefferson Lerma has been booked 20 times since the start of last season, more than any other player in the Premier League.
Arsenal welcome Chelsea to Emirates Stadium on Sunday for Arteta’s first home game in charge, the day after Bournemouth visit Brighton and Hove Albion.
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