'I'm buzzing, really happy': Reiss Nelson's last-gasp stunner continues Arsenal title charge
Reiss Nelson was the hero for Arsenal against Bournemouth on Saturday, scoring the vital winner as the Gunners secured a crucial 3-2 win at the Emirates.
It didn't start off well at all for the Gunners though, with Phillip Billing giving the visitors the lead after just 9.11 seconds, the second-fastest goal in Premier League history, only beaten by Shane Long's goal for Southampton against Watford in 2019 (7.69 seconds).
It got even worse at the start of the second half, as Marcos Senesi headed Bournemouth into a two-goal lead after he was left completely unmarked from a corner.
However, Arsenal quickly responded, with Thomas Partey scoring midway through the second 45 minutes, before Ben White quickly equalised after coming on at the break, following a brilliant ball from fellow substitute Nelson.
It was looking as if Arsenal were on course to drop two huge points in their quest for the title, but right at the death, Nelson received the ball at the edge of the box, and smashed a half-volley into the net past Neto, to give the Gunners all three points in the 97th minute.
It proved to be an important goal for Arsenal, as they restored their five-point lead at the top of the table, after Manchester City's 2-0 win against Newcastle United earlier.
"It dropped onto my right," Nelson said after the game. "I wanted to hit it with my laces on my right,but I saw the defender coming out, so I decided to shift it onto my left and then just had to hit through it, aim for the top bins, something like that," he added.
"I'm just happy it went in, I'm delighted with it. When the ball came out to me I was thinking 'please give me one chance'. I'm buzzing, really happy. I controlled it with my right foot and it came onto my left," he continued.
"We need moments like this if we want to go all the way. We're not looking at any other team at the minute. We are focusing on ourselves. We will keep going day-by-day, game-by-game," he said.
"As an Arsenal fan, I'm just delighted with the result," Nelson concluded.
Prior to this game, Nelson had only featured in two Premier League games for the Gunners this season, one being in the 5-0 win vs Nottingham Forest in October, where he bagged a brace and got an assist, and another being a one-minute cameo vs Wolves in November. The English winger has been on the fringes of the Arsenal squad for a while, and last summer opted to stay and try his luck at making it into the squad after a mixed season out on loan at Feyenoord.
Nelson has been a part of the club ever since he was eight, yet since he made his debut back in 2017/18, he has failed to nail down a regular spot in the team. However, in an Arsenal side that is thriving under Mikel Arteta this season, he seems determined to push for a spot, and against Bournemouth he showed that he is capable of making a difference.
Speaking after the game, Arteta said that he is "incredibly happy", before adding that "it was just mad". "Those feelings of happiness and joy. It was a really special way and it took until the last second to earn it. I am really proud of them [the players]," he continued.
"They never gave up. There is nothing like sharing those great moments with your people. I'm so happy for him [Nelson]. It's just another game, another three points," the Arsenal boss said.
Up next for Arsenal is the first-leg of the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 tie against Sporting CP, which will then be followed by an away trip to Fulham, as they look to maintain their charge towards silverware.
The question is, has Nelson done enough to push for a starting spot? We'll just have to wait and see.