Arsenal came back from 3-0 down with 20 minutes remaining to earn a 3-3 draw in a thrilling encounter at Bournemouth on Tuesday.
The Gunners were seemingly down and out in the 70th minute, before Alexis Sanchez’s header and substitute Lucas Perez’s stunning volley brought the visitors to within touching distance of an unlikely point.
After Bournemouth went down to 10 men following Simon Francis’ high tackle on Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud popped up in stoppage time to bring Arsenal level with a guided header.
The first hour had been a different story, with Bournemouth socring twice in the space of five minutes to take a 2-0 lead in the first half; Charlie Daniels slotted under Petr Cech before Callum Wilson netted a penalty following Granit Xhaka’s clumsy foul on Ryan Fraser.
Fraser made it 3-0 on 58 minutes from an acute angle after more poor defending, before Arsenal’s dramatic comeback.
The result means Arsenal are in fourth, eight points behind leaders Chelsea, who could open up an 11-point gap on them with a win at Spurs on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports. Bournemouth are ninth.
Arsene Wenger re-introduced Aaron Ramsey, Francis Coquelin and Shkodran Mustafi for the clash on the south coast, while Arsenal loanee Jack Wilshere was ineligible for Bournemouth.
But Eddie Howe’s side didn’t need him early on, coming out of the blocks with far more tempo than their opponents.
Bournemouth were ahead on 16 minutes through Daniels, who was found in acres of space on the left by Junior Stanislas’ fine pass, before taking a touch beyond Hector Bellerin and sticking the ball under Cech from 10 yards.
It was 2-0 minutes later as Xhaka needlessly pushed Fraser as the Bournemouth man was moving away from goal on the corner of the penalty area, allowing Wilson to roll the ball past Cech from the spot.
Ramsey saw a half-volley on the swivel deflected just wide by Daniels after half an hour, while the injured Coquelin was replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as Wenger’s men looked anxious and frustrated with their performance.
Alex Iwobi poked the ball just wide from 15 yards under pressure from Simon Francis, before Stanislas flashed the ball just wide in first-half stoppage time.
Bournemouth continued to press in the second half and were 3-0 up through the impressive Fraser, who latched onto Daniels’ ball down the channel, nudged Bellerin aside and finished under Cech from an angle.
Arsenal got one back on 70 minutes through Sanchez, who headed home at the far post from Giroud’s flick on after Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross.
It was 3-2 five minutes later in stunning fashion, as Perez superbly volleyed home from an acute angle 12 yards out as Giroud again flicked on Xhaka’s central pass.
Dan Gosling should have wrapped up the points for Bournemouth with seven minutes remaining, curling over the bar in acres of space in the area after Bellerin had played him onside.
Bournemouth were reduced to 10 men moments later after Francis went over the ball and caught Ramsey in midfield, and the equaliser soon followed.
With six minutes added on, Giroud headed home in the second of those, glancing the ball off the far post from Xhaka’s deft ball into the box.
Despite the comeback, both sides seemed disheartened with the result at full-time, and Giroud himself admitted to Sky Sports it felt like two points dropped.
Bournemouth: Boruc (6), Francis (5), Steve Cook (6), Ake (6), Daniels (7), Arter (7), Gosling (6), Stanislas (7), King (6), Fraser (8), Callum Wilson (7).
Subs: Surman (6), Adam Smith (6), Brad Smith (NA)
Arsenal: Cech (6), Bellerin (4), Mustafi (3), Koscielny (5), Monreal (5), Coquelin (5), Xhaka (5), Ramsey (6), Iwobi (4), Sanchez (6), Giroud (8)
Subs: Gabriel (6), Oxlade-Chamberlain (6), Lucas (7)
Man of the match: Olivier Giroud