Games don’t come crazier than the one that played out at Emirates Stadium this afternoon as Arsenal fought back from two goals down to snatch a dramatic 3-2 win against Bournemouth at the death.
In theory, the Gunners should have made light work of a home match against a relegation-threatened side but after conceding inside 10 seconds and then again just before the hour mark, they, and the capacity crowd at the Emirates, were put through the wringer.
A tough task was made all the more tense given title rivals Manchester City had beaten Newcastle in the early kick off to close the gap at the top to two points. Somehow though, Arsenal found a way.
First, Thomas Partey converted from close range as Emile Smith Rowe kept a corner alive, and then Ben White scored his first goal for the club with a bouncing effort that needed to be confirmed by goalline technology.
At that point, the Gunners still had 20 minutes to find a winner. It felt inevitable that it would happen. Until it didn’t. But just when all hope seemed to have faded, substitute Reiss Nelson produced a stunning half-volley finish from the edge of the box that sent the home fans, players and staff into raptures.
The ball actually hit the net 59 seconds after the six minutes of allotted stoppage had been played; somewhat awkward for the visitors who paid the ultimate price for their deliberate timewasting.
In his post-game press conference, manager Mikel Arteta was asked if he believes in fate. He responded, “I do, yes. Why? It was an extraordinary day, a beautiful experience at the end. Very dramatic, but worth living it because it was a great end.”
Living it was easier said than done. Heart rates were racing everywhere. He was quizzed on whether his had settled down.
“It’s crazy – you lose sight of where you are. I started to run and didn’t really know what I was running to. Just looking at the faces of everybody – the staff, the players, our supporters with those smiles and that joy in their eyes. It’s just great to live.
He added: “Probably the loudest and the most emotional moment we have lived together [at the Emirates]. The journey we have been on togethe…how the supporters and the team are together, added to that moment we had today. It was really special.”
For Reiss Nelson, an Arsenal player since he was nine years old, this was a special day. The winger hadn’t been in the last two matchday squads but, in the absence of Eddie Nketiah, was included today. He entered the fray on 69 minutes as a replacement for the tiring Emile Smith Rowe, himself a substitute after Leandro Trossard was injury, and made an impact inside 60 seconds, crossing for White’s equaliser.
To then score such a dramatic winner was worthy of a Hollywood script. Nelson will be out of contract in the summer and has made it clear he’s keen to stay at the club. Having also made a match-winning contribution against Nottingham Forest earlier in the season, he’s staking a claim for a new deal.
“I always saw the potential, the talent and the desire for him to do it but I think he’s at a different level right now,” said Arteta.
“I think emotionally, the experiences he’s had has helped him. Football-wise, it was my decision not to put him in the squad in the last two games because we had other options.
“But he’s knocking on the door. He’s been training really well and it’s a good lesson for me and the coaches that we need him and that he can really be important in the team.”
Asked whether he was willing Nelson to shoot when the ball fell to the winger from the final play, he added: “I don’t know. In training, if we told him 50 times to put it there, I don’t know if he would score but he did it in the perfect moment for the team, for himself. He fully deserves that moment, the kid.”
Arsenal’s challenge is to maintain the momentum they’ve built since losing to Manchester City in February. 12 games remain and there’s the added complication of European football being thrown into the mix.
“That’s four in a row – winning four games in a row in the Premier League is very difficult,” said Arteta.
“We’ve won three in a week, which is even harder, and we’ve done it in various ways. That should generate more belief.
“Today, a lot of things went against the team. Our fault for the first one, then the fact we weren’t scoring, the situation with Leo, the set play they had when they scored. The team still found a way to win the game and that’s really positive.”
I had the TV remote in my hand.. As the ball flew in and I celebrated, it slipped and went flying towards the TV. Thankfully it fell short of the TV. That added to the emotion for me https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/14.0.0/svg/1f602.svg
Why has my phone emoji created a link…., lol sorry blogs
Your phone knew a small emoji wasn’t enough. It just wanted to capture the moment.
I don’t remember any other last minute goal of this significance or magnitude in the last 17 years since we moved to Emirates. Danny Welbeck against Leicester at probably come at a distant second. To be honest though that season I believed we had an outside chance to win the title but that team did not convince me. But this season I truly believe we can win it and this team is something special. So happy for Nelson! Words failing me but no one could see that coming, absolutely no one. The despair I felt when the ball went for… Read more »
The recent United game with Eddie striking in added time was pretty significant.
Stunning, why we all love Arsenal and especially this version!
Nelson is on the boat.
Our academy genius will turn into a late bloomer in the PL. He already won a game for us with two goals at the end of October.
3 goals and 2 assists in 84 mins on the pitch in the prem this season . Fookin outstanding. Reiss-Nelson I believe!!!!
Four thumbs for that! Woohoo!!!!!
Honestly that sort of performance is invaluable not just because it won us the game, but imagine the sort of belief and inspiration this gives to every squad player, that no matter how far you think you are from the first team and playing regularly, or how injured you’ve been until just a week ago, you still might have MASSIVE role to play this season. So keep fighting and keey doing every single thing you can to be ready for it
Lord Admiral Nelson to us!
Never in doubt
The spirit of PWH looking over us!
Just want to comment that I am very happy right now and the Arsenal are a significant contributory factor to the extremely groovy vibes I am feeling. Happy flowers and large love fellow gooners!
To quote the late, great Freddie Mercury:
‘ . . and we’ll go on fighting to the end’
Now I’m just looking for the lyric that precedes this one.
This team is A Kind Of Magic, and winning today Another One Bites The Dust, but even though we are Under Pressure, The Show Must Go On as These Are The Days Of Our Lives.
Oh well done! I like that!
Don’t Stop Me Now!
Couldn’t figure out a way to work in Fat Bottomed Girls.
It’s not over till the fat bottomed girls sing?
You Can’t Always Get What You Want (You Get What You Need).
Very well but that’s not Queen I’m afraid
No time for S**rs
Don’t stop me now, because I want it all (yes even the Europa league)
I’ve re-watched the winner 10 more times, each time focusing on a different player to watch how they celebrate.
Odegaard just collapses. Saliba doesn’t know what to do. Xhaka sprints after Nelson like a dog walker whos leash has slipped out of his hand.
I managed to get a ticket at 10am this morning, and didn’t even know who’s scared the winner until I was sitting down outside the stadium having a few big deep breaths.
It was Bournemouth, but that’s the most I think I’ve ever felt about football.
Who scared Reiss Nelson? How? And why?
*scored. I’m still so drunk it’s lucky any of that was legible. Hope you’ve had a fun night Fats
Fantastic character shown by the our players and an incredible afternoon’s entertainment. But… If we defend like that over the remaining 12 Premier League games then we can kiss the title goodbye. We were Asleep for Bournemouth’s opening goal and then we allowed them a free header for the second. Pathetic, amateurish defending that would have cost us all three points against a better side. I hope on Monday, after all the euphoria has dissipated, Arteta and the players take a cold hard look at that game and decide that something must be done about the quality of defending at… Read more »
Just enjoy the game mate, our defending has been at times top drawer this season, we just need to keep putting the wins away.
I suppose you’re right: let’s just ignore the defensive problems and hope they go away.
Why try to be a better side?
Love the assumptions you throw about as if the squad and coaches just go sit in their homes to twiddle their thumbs until its time to get off the couch for the next match. But at least you’re on top of it Fats! If not you then who, right?
You seem to speak like that AKB; this bloke has just put fwd his opinion. You may disagree all you like though.
Right, but unless you haven’t noticed his opinion is deliberately contrary regardless of topic
Win 1-0 – shit attacking
Win 3-2 – shit defending
Win 4-0 – didn’t break them down for 40 minutes.
Must be a soulless existence to never find the positives in anything.
Too many bad memories I think, for Fats to simply luxuriate in the win. Remember the 20 game unbeaten streak with Unai? Ugh.
I get both sides here. I enjoy the wins and worry about the, let’s call them, developing issues. Fats is not wrong, he’s just an aggressive worrier who is running into a wall of relief at Nelson’s spike.
Let’s not go AKB v. WO again. Hmm? A little empathy might go a long way.
With this attitude, we could win the league on the last day of the season with a similar kind of match, and instead of celebrating the title you’d be moaning about how we’ll not win the champions league next season if we don’t improve our defence.
The point is, you need to learn to live in the moment and enjoy the good times along the way. Like come on!!
If you can’t enjoy today (or even just the first 24 hours after this match) without the usual dose of negativity, then truly there is no redemption for you.
Fat’s has been long gone for awhile. The hardest thing for humans to do is live in the moment, this is why we love football. The rest of the world is blocked out and you live through the game, and storybook endings like this one amplifies the pleasure we receive from living in the now. We all can do better living in the now, but if your pointing out the team deficiencies, after such a victory and ending, you have some work to do. COYG!!!!
Fans posting on the internet will fix that problem! Just think what might happen if we didn’t post about it? This bunch would never “try to be a better side” without our internet comments spurring them on!
So you think they’re NOT trying to defend well?
Like they need to talk and say “ok guys, what if we don’t let the other team score?” Truly brilliant analysis lol
City have had moments of shocking defending. Indeed every title winning side of recent times has done. But to focus on that on a day like today shows quite an excess of bile and spleen!
I agree with this sentiment. Our defending was appalling for that first goal.
I agree, we can’t hope to always win games when we give away 2 goals.
Yes agree our defending has been amateurish focus on the defence otherwise forget the premier league title we need Jesus back as soon as possible he lifts the team 😎🙏
I hope and pray we go on to win the title from here. That would be a fitting climax for what is shaping up to be the most dramatic title chase ever for Arsenal in the EPL era. United, Villa and now this!
I would say chasing down a massive deficit to overhaul Man Utd in ’98 was probably more dramatic than leading from the front, but I’ll definitely take it this way if we can get it!
Yea, that year actually crossed my mind as I wrote the post, but I think the league is more competitive now than then. We are having less straightforward games now than then: there are more teams that can cause you problems. That is what shaded it for me.
That was pure magic.
Sooo pleased we won in the end, beating both the team on the pitch & the VAR oaf. Denied 2 nailed on pens!
You lot need to see the Twitter threads with all the celebrations.
Amazing!! One of our own to win game in added added time was so immensely enjoyable in a crazy game, credit to miki, its a big call to sub your sub even when he had an assist for our equalizer, so buzzing and much to the surprise of my mrs & friends i gave a £20 intoxicated tip at my local Indian…
I was at the game yesterday accompanied by my 11 year old step-son. To state the obvious, it was a rollercoaster for more than one reason for us. Here’s why… We arrived inside the stadium, around 15 minutes before kick-off, both desperate for the mens toilet before the game. The queue for the urinals was longer than the queue to get into the ground. After finally relieving himself, my stepson was waiting for me in the corner of the busy room near the exit (as he always does whenever we need to go). After washing my hands, I glanced in… Read more »
Reiss as the new striker.
Seems to me his shots are hot cleaner and crisper than before. His crosses are really fizzed in. He brings something different from our other wide players. And his shooting is different type of quality than our other attackers. The sort that keepers would spill