Howe laments uncharacteristically slow start

Highlights – Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs 1. FSV Mainz 05

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe was left to lament a sluggish start in his side's 2-0 defeat to Arsenal at Dean Court on Sunday.

Two quick-fire goals from Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 23rd and 24th minutes saw the Gunners take the lead, and the Cherries were unable to fight their way back into the match.

"We were slow out the blocks today," Howe said. "That's unlike us, and when you give players of their quality that time on the ball they will punish you.

"The quality of the goals, especially the second one from a tight angle, made it difficult for us. After that we were unable to find a goal that would get us back into it and put them under pressure."

Despite this latest defeat keeping the Cherries just five points above the relegation zone, Howe was encouraged by their improved second-half showing.

"It was a much improved second half performance," he added. "So credit to our lads – they kept going and kept fighting and working hard.

"On another day, had we got that goal back with 20 minutes to go, it would have made a very interesting finish. We got into some really good positions and it could have come, but we just didn't find that cutting edge."