The first goal could barely have come earlier.
The winning goal couldn’t have been scored any later.
Arsenal went through a roller coaster of emotions when pulling off a stirring second-half recovery to beat Bournemouth 3-2 and stay in control of the English Premier League title race on Saturday.
Rocked by conceding after 9.11 seconds for the second-fastest recorded goal in Premier League history, Arsenal completed its comeback when substitute Reiss Nelson smashed home a left-foot shot from the edge of the area in the seventh minute of stoppage time with virtually the last kick of the game.
“It was madness from the first second,” said Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, whose team maintained its five-point lead over Manchester City with 12 games left for each team in a back-and-forth title race.
City did its part in Saturday’s early game, beating Newcastle 2-0 at home through goals by Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva to keep the pressure on Arsenal.
The response by Arteta’s team ended up being extraordinary, with Arsenal’s three goals – from Thomas Partey, Ben White and, in thrilling fashion, Nelson – coming from the 62nd minute just when it looked like relegation-threatened Bournemouth was going to pull off the most unlikely of victories.
“Lots of things are going to happen,” City manager Pep Guardiola said of the final 2 1/2 months of his team’s title defense.
PRESSURE OFF POTTER
Just as big a goal came at Stamford Bridge, where Wesley Fofana headed in off a corner to earn Chelsea a 1-0 win over Leeds and ease some of the pressure that has been building on manager Graham Potter.
It was only a second win in the last 11 games in all competitions for Chelsea, which is languishing in mid-table despite spending $630 million over the last two transfer windows.
That has left Potter clinging to his job but he has some respite, at least until Tuesday when Chelsea looks to come back from 1-0 down to Borussia Dortmund in the second leg of their last-16 matchup in the Champions League.
“We’ve had to suffer. It’s been a challenging period,” Potter said. “We were the team who had something to lose so it was great character from the players. They cared and showed togetherness in the team. It gives us something to build on.”
PRESSURE ON MOYES
West Ham manager David Moyes felt the ire of his own fans after an alarming 4-0 loss at Brighton.
“You don’t know what you’re doing” and “Sacked in the morning” were some of the chants coming Moyes’ way in the second half as West Ham’s winless away run in the league extended to 11 matches after a feeble display.
The team is in 16th place in the 20-team league, two points above the relegation zone
“There was anger from everybody – anger from the supporters, anger from the manager, the players are angry,” Moyes said.
Brighton overwhelmed West Ham and scored through a penalty from Alexis Mac Allister, tap-ins by Joel Veltman and Kaoru Mitoma, and a late strike from Danny Welbeck.
“Credit to Brighton, they played us off the pitch,” West Ham midfielder Declan Rice said. “It was demoralizing . . . I never want to feel like that again on a football pitch.”
TOTTENHAM’S BAD WEEK
A bad week for Tottenham got worse with a 1-0 loss at Wolverhampton that kept the race for Champions League qualification wide open.
Three days after a defeat at second-tier Sheffield United in the FA Cup, Tottenham put in a meek performance at Molineux against a team fighting relegation. Adama Traore scored the 82nd-minute winner.
Tottenham stayed in fourth place but gave the teams below hope in the race for Champions League qualification. Newcastle in fifth and Liverpool in sixth place both have two games in hand.
“It’s been tough, a really disappointing week,” Tottenham striker Harry Kane said.
OFF THE BOTTOM
The battle to avoid relegation couldn’t be much closer after Southampton beat Leicester 1-0 to climb off the bottom of the standings on goal difference.
Southampton moved to next-to-last place, above Bournemouth and below Everton. All three teams are on 21 points. Leeds, West Ham and Leicester are the next three teams, and the bottom six are separated by just three points.
In the day’s other game, Aston Villa won at home to Crystal Palace 1-0 thanks to an own-goal by Joachim Andersen.
INFANTINO AT MILLWALL
FIFA President Gianni Infantino made a surprise visit to a match in the second-tier Championship while in England for the annual IFAB meeting in London.
Infantino was spotted at The Den, the home of London club Millwall, which was playing Norwich. He left the game at halftime when the score was 1-1, and Norwich went on to win 3-2.
“I don’t know the reason he came,” Millwall manager Gary Rowett said of Infantino. “Maybe he has heard about the atmosphere here.”
Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80
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