Arsene Wenger said he would review Arsenal’s defeat in a “harsh way” as goals by Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson and Jordon Ibe dented the Gunners’ pursuit of a top-four place.
Wenger’s men are now without a win in five games in all competitions, and five points adrift of fourth place in the Premier League, after Bournemouth came from behind to extend their unbeaten run to four games and move further away from the bottom three.
Defender Hector Bellerin had given the visitors – playing without forward Alexis Sanchez – the lead when he latched on to a defence-splitting Alex Iwobi pass to squeeze the ball past Asmir Begovic.
But Wilson took advantage of Petr Cech’s indecision as he got to Ryan Fraser’s low cross before the Arsenal keeper and poked it past him.
The 25-year-old then turned provider, bringing down Lewis Cook’s cross for Ibe to rifle home.
“We were 1-0 up and suddenly we lost two goals and we don’t know where they came from,” said Wenger.
“It is very frustrating. Overall we have to look at it in a very objective and harsh way – we made mistakes we should not have made.
“The team that fights against relegation will fight and you cannot afford any concentration mistake.
“One-all was not good enough for us. We had to win the game. I think if you look again at the second goal we made many mistakes and that is what we paid for.”
Eddie Howe’s side savoured a first ever Premier League victory over Arsenal, at the seventh attempt, the victory moving them up to 13th place and four points away from danger.
But for Wenger, who was completing his three-game touchline ban for verbally abusing an official, it was further disappointment as speculation mounts that Sanchez’s departure is imminent.
A strong first-half Gunners performance, in which 20-year-old Ainsley Maitland-Niles rattled the crossbar, was undone in less than five calamitous second-half minutes.
Wilshere runs midfield but Gunners attack blunted
An Alexis Sanchez header triggered Arsenal’s fightback in last season’s 3-3 draw at the Vitality Stadium, but without him this time around they looked to a 26-year-old ‘veteran’ for inspiration.
Wenger named his youngest starting line-up in the Premier League since November 2012, and asked Jack Wilshere, one of his senior outfield players for the afternoon, to lead the fight at the club where he spent last season on loan.
For 45 minutes it looked like Wilshere would be the difference as he ran the midfield. In total he played more passes (74) and had more touches (98) than any other player on the pitch.
But for all his commanding presence, and the delicate probing of Iwobi on the right of midfield, it was in attack that Arsenal fell down, managing only three shots on target all game.
Alexandre Lacazette led the line, contributing to two good goalscoring opportunities when Maitland-Niles hit the bar and Begovic saved from Danny Welbeck, but the £46.5m striker did not manage a single shot himself.
Welbeck behind him could contribute only the effort that Begovic smothered.
Wenger, who is being linked with Bordeaux’s Brazilian forward Malcom, will know he must replace Sanchez this month once his departure is confirmed.
Howe’s men show their mettle
Sometimes considered a disciple of possession football who only knows one way to play, Eddie Howe continues to suggest there is more subtlety to him.
By selecting a back three and two wing-backs, with captain Simon Francis returning in the middle of the defence, the Cherries boss gave his team a robust shape and largely nullified the visitors.
Former Chelsea player Nathan Ake continues to impress, with four tackles and eight clearances, more than any other defender, and Francis weighed in with six clearances.
Francis – for whom the attacker Benik Afobe made way in the starting line-up – had a big influence, winning 70% of his duels and more…