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Arteta happy to see character of Gunners as they make a point

Bournemouth 1 Arsenal 1

On target: Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates scoring the equalister against Bournemouth
On target: Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates scoring the equalister against Bournemouth

By Mark Bryans

Mikel Arteta hailed the attitude of his Arsenal players as "spot on" after they fought back to salvage a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth on his managerial debut.

Arteta, who was appointed as the permanent successor to Unai Emery last week, received a swift reminder of the job facing him in north London following Dan Gosling's first-half opener.

But Gunners captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang prevented the visitors suffering a sixth Premier League defeat of a dismal season with a deserved 63rd-minute leveller.

Former Manchester City assistant coach Arteta admits he feared what would happen should his new side fall behind at the Vitality Stadium and was pleasantly surprised by their positive response.

"I'm very pleased with some of the things I've seen in terms of attitude, character, the passion we showed, and the fight and the spirit the team showed," said Arteta.

"(It was) spot on, probably better than I expected over 90 minutes.

"I was worried what would have happened if we conceded a goal, and we did, and I was very pleased with the character they showed, how they came in at half-time, their faces, their reactions, how much they wanted it."

Arsenal, with Arteta constantly prowling his technical area and passing on instructions, dominated possession on the rain-soaked south coast without carving out many clear chances.

Both sides scored with their first attempts on target.

Gosling poked home Jack Stacey's 35th-minute cross after Buyako Saka conceded possession, before Aubameyang swept in his 14th goal of the campaign following Reiss Nelson's tame deflected shot.

Aside from a win at West Ham under interim manager Freddie Ljungberg, the Gunners had endured a miserable 10 top-flight fixtures since beating the Cherries at the Emirates Stadium in October, taking only eight points from the last 30 on offer ahead of kick-off.

Arteta is tasked with arresting that wretched run of form, which left the 13-time English champions languishing in the bottom half of the table at Christmas for the first time since 1983.

The Spaniard felt a maiden win, which Alexandre Lacazette and substitute Joe Willock each had opportunities to snatch, would have provided a timely confidence boost, although he acknowledges he has taken on a long-term project.

Injury-ravaged Bournemouth were once again without a host of first-team players and Cherries boss Eddie Howe admitted Arsenal were an unknown quantity following their change of management, and was content to see his side secure a point.

"I thought the players gave everything to win the match," said Howe.

BOURNEMOUTH: Ramsdale, Stacey, S Cook, Mepham, Simpson, Fraser, L Cook, Lerma, Gosling (Billing, 70 mins), King (H Wilson, 66 mins), C Wilson. Not used: Boruc, Surman, Solanke, Stanislas, Kilkenny.

Arsenal: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Papastathopoulos (Mustafi, 77 mins), Luiz, Saka, Torreira, Xhaka, Nelson (Pepe, 82 mins), Ozil (Willock, 75 mins), Aubameyang, Lacazette. Not used: Martinez, Mavropanos, Guendouzi, Smith Rowe.

Man of the match: S Cook (Bournemouth)

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Stuart Attwell

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