Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, hailed Alexis Sanchez's 'gut' following his match-winning display in the victory over Bournemouth on Sunday.
The Chile international capitalised on a misplaced back pass to open the scoring in a 3-1 home win at the Emirates, before adding the third in stoppage time to secure the three points.
Sanchez was also booked in the second half for a late and dangerous tackle on Bournemouth’s Harry Arter, but Wenger had words of praise rather than reproach for his forward.
“Even when he looks dead he's still alive,” Wenger said. “He finds always the resources to do something special. He has that' 'gut' conditioning that when the ball comes to him again, he finds always that extra gear to be dangerous.”
“I don't think there was a desire to hurt Arter,” he added, referring to the tackle which earned Sanchez a caution.
“He hurt him yes, because it was late, but I don't think it was with excessive force or violence, he was just too late to take the ball. He did not want to injure Arter.”
Arsenal vs Bournemouth player ratings
Arsenal vs Bournemouth player ratings
1/22 Petr Cech - 6/10
Aside from the penalty, he was required to do very little throughout but he stepped up when he was needed.
2/22 Mathieu Debuchy - 5
It was a shame to see him leave the pitch with an injury so early into the game after such an anticipated return to the side.
3/22 Shkodran Mustafi - 6
His work rate was exceptional today and his speed at the back kept his side in it at times.
4/22 Laurent Koscielny - 7
Despite being clumsy in a few challenges, it was a classic Koscielny performance. He led his line well and defended hard.
5/22 Nacho Monreal - 6
He gave away the penalty in the first half, but aside from this he worked well up and down the pitch throughout.
6/22 Mohamed Elneny - 7
Linked up very well with the Gunners strikers and showed his ability in the defensive third.
7/22 Granit Xhaka - 6
His work rate was unquestionable, but he didn’t see enough of the ball. His shooting could also do with some work.
8/22 Theo Walcott - 6
He was a key element to the Arsenal counter attacks and his pace caused the Bournemouth defence issues. His efforts were rewarded with a last minute goal.
9/22 Mesut Ozil - 7
It was a classic Ozil performance today. Set pieces, assists, through balls and his passing were all very impressive.
10/22 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - 6
His pace caused Bournemouth a number of issues, which won his side a number of free kicks. Defensively he looked strong too.
11/22 Alexis Sanchez - 8
Fully deserved his goals today. Tracked back and led attacks in a disciplined performance.
12/22 Adam Federici - 5
He lacked any real presence in between the sticks, and appeared to lack confidence.
13/22 Simon Francis - 5
Made a number of clumsy challenges and let his temper get the better of him at times.
14/22 Steve Cook - 5
A dismal defensive mistake gave away the first goal, but following that, he did his job.
15/22 Nathan Ake - 7
His defending was brave and he took no chances in his defensive third. Showed glimpses of brilliance.
16/22 Brad Smith - 6
Impressed going forward, but defensively there’s room for improvement.
17/22 Dan Gosling - 6
Exceptional work rate and made his presence known throughout.
18/22 Harry Arter - 7
He was a key outlet for the Bournemouth side. He created chances, made space and defended well.
19/22 Adam Smith - 6
It was a safe performance from Smith. He played his role well and stopped a number of Arsenal attacks.
20/22 Joshua King - 5
He didn’t see enough of the ball throughout for a player of such ability. If he had more involvement, he could have done some serious damage.
21/22 Junior Stanislas - 6
His first half was impressive, but he appeared to go off the boil in the second. Deliveries into the box were good.
22/22 Callum Wilson - 7
Did his job today and his efforts were rewarded with a well-deserved goal.
Wenger also revealed that Olivier Giroud may face a spell on the sidelines, after appearing to tweak in hamstring in the final stages of the game.
Earlier, Mathieu Debuchy, making his first appearance of the season, had been forced to leave the field after just fifteen minutes.
On Giroud, Wenger said: “He felt a twitch at the back of his hamstring and I hope it's not too bad, but he told me after when he sprinted he didn't feel anything.
“Debuchy, he thinks its a severe one. I have to speak to medical people. You can only assess it after 48 hours.
Eddie Howe, the Bournemouth manager, did not see Sanchez’s challenge on Arter as malicious either, but claimed that his player was still not happy with the tackle after the final whistle.
“It didn't spring to my mind but I'm only going off my first look,” Howe said. “I know Harry wasn't happy when I saw him in the dressing room, but we'll wait and see to review that.
“I thought we were very good today. It's very difficult when you go 1-0 down in a game, especially in the manner that we conceded, an individual mistake.
“The group's playing very well. It was easy then to go under, but we didn't. We grew into the game, had some very good spells on the ball, created a number of chances. There was very little in the end between the two teams.”Reuse content