Premier League: Arsenal hammer Bournemouth, Manchester United also win
Substitute Alexandre Lacazette completed the rout by scoring from a free kick 12 minutes from the end to hand Bournemouth their fourth defeat in their last five league games.Updated: Feb 28, 2019 08:51 IST
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil marked his first Premier League start of 2019 with a goal and an assist as his side hammered Bournemouth 5-1 while Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku rediscovered his finishing touch in fine fashion, scoring a superb goal in each half to help them to a 3-1 win.
The German attacking midfielder had not started a game for Arsenal since their 1-1 draw away to Brighton & Hove Albion on December 26 due to a knee problem, but showed no ring rust as he rattled home the first goal in the fourth minute.
He then turned provider for the home side in the 27th minute, drawing out Bournemouth goalkeeper Artur Boruc before playing a simple pass to allow Henrikh Mkhitaryan to fire into an empty net.
Midfielder Matteo Guendouzi threw Bournemouth a lifeline shortly afterwards as he lost the ball on the edge of his own box to Dan Gosling, who squared it to Lys Moussett for a simple finish to make it 2-1.
However, the revival was short-lived as Laurent Koscielny put Arsenal 3-1 up just after the break and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made it four just before the hour mark, finishing a counter-attack by rounding Boruc and slotting the ball home.
Substitute Alexandre Lacazette completed the rout by scoring from a free kick 12 minutes from the end to hand Bournemouth their fourth defeat in their last five league games.
Meanwhile, Manchester United’s victory stretched United caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s unbeaten league run to 11 games and boosted the Norwegian’s hopes of landing the job on a permanent basis after taking over from Jose Mourinho in December.
It left United fifth on 55 points from 28 games, one behind fourth-placed Arsenal and two ahead of sixth-placed Chelsea, who have a game in hand, as the three-way race for a berth in next season’s Champions League intensified.
The club’s former striker Solskjaer singled out Lukaku and left back Luke Shaw for praise as United won their eighth successive away game in all competitions and extended their unbeaten Premier League record against Palace to 20 matches.
“I was always wary of this game after the tough run of games we have had but we started really well which is always vital at Selhurst Park,” Solskjaer told the BBC.
“Luke Shaw is in a good vein of form at the moment, he’s hard to stop and it was a great drive for the first goal.
“Lukaku has been putting a shift in for the team, doing loads more running than he normally does but he was a number nine again today and he got two goals. Fantastic.”
Lukaku fired United into a 33rd-minute lead with a deft finish from the edge of the penalty area after a dazzling solo run by Shaw, who beat three Palace defenders before he laid the ball off to the striker.
The Belgium international made it 2-0 in the 52nd with a well-taken volley from a tight angle after Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof nodded an Ashley Young corner into his path.
Defender Joel Ward pulled one back for Palace midway through the second half with a diving header which gave United keeper David De Gea no chance after Jeffrey Schlupp whipped in a fine cross from the left.
With Palace pressing forward, United broke away in the closing stages as Paul Pogba released Ashley Young with a delightful pass and the right back raced clear to drill in an unstoppable low shot which sealed United’s victory.
Young conceded he was at fault for the Palace goal but was happy to have redeemed himself with a scorching finish.
“I hold my hands up for their goal, I should have cleared it but I made up for it with a goal,” he said.
“We have injuries, they haven’t helped but we have a fantastic squad. Everyone has to be ready and we were today.”
First Published: Feb 28, 2019 08:45 IST