CHERRIES’ wait for a Premier League victory on Boxing Day continued as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s second-half leveller earned Arsenal a 1-1 draw at Vitality Stadium.

Dan Gosling, a former team-mate of new Gunners boss Mikel Arteta, had put Eddie Howe’s men in front after 35 minutes.

But Aubameyang ensured the visitors left with a point – steering in from close range three minutes past the hour mark.

Cherries made three changes from the side that was beaten 1-0 at home by Burnley last time out.

Academy graduate Jack Simpson made his first Premier League start since May, Steve Cook overcame a fractured wrist to return from a four-game absence. Frontman Callum Wilson also returned to the starting XI.

Philip Billing dropped to the bench, Diego Rico was suspended and Simon Francis was ruled out of the squad with a knock to his knee.

Having not had a shot on target last time out, Cherries fashioned a chance within six minutes against the Gunners.

Neat build-up allowed Callum Wilson to lay the ball off to Ryan Fraser, whose low drive was charged down by a sliding Sokratis Papastathopoulos inside the box.

Fraser then returned the favour, crossing on the half-volley for England international Wilson to blaze over.

Defender Simpson, in as an emergency left-back, then endured a nervy moment with 13 minutes on the clock. His mishit pass fell straight to Alexandre Lacazette.

But after tussling with Chris Mepham – the Frenchman’s chances of breaking the deadlock were thwarted as Cherries keeper Aaron Ramsdale raced off his line to snuff out the danger.

Arsenal then began to threaten. Defenders Jack Stacey and Cook threw themselves in the way of strikes from Reiss Nelson and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Nelson’s cutback found Lacazette but a Jefferson Lerma block diverted the ball to safety.

Despite soaking up pressure, Cherries took the lead with 35 minutes on the clock.

After Gosling won the ball from Bukayo Saka, his late run into the box paid dividends – steering in Stacey’s centre past Leno to make it 1-0.

Three minutes before the interval, Cherries almost had a second.

Joshua King raced down the left flank, evading challenges from Nelson and Papastathopoulos before working Leno at his near post from close range.

Arsenal came close to levelling in the opening exchanges of the second half. Ozil’s measured ball found Aubameyang in space but the Gabon international curled wide of the far post.

Stacey then found a crucial challenge to prevent Aubameyang with Ramsdale diving on the follow-up.

But the Gunners skipper was not to be denied, as he drew the visitors level on 64 minutes.

Nelson’s shot deflected off Gosling into the path of the former Dortmund star, who had space to convert from close range.

Arteta’s side then searched for a winner, Lacazette was denied by a crucial challenge from Mepham when he looked to be through on goal.

At the other end, Stacey had surged forward from right-back in a bid to win it for the hosts. He struck a fierce effort just wide after a neat cushion header from substitute Harry Wilson.

Callum Wilson had the ball in the net for Cherries with eight minutes remaining but, he was judged offside following a VAR check.

Cherries: Ramsdale, Stacey, S Cook, Mepham, Simpson; Fraser, Lerma, Gosling (Billing, 70), L Cook, King (H Wilson, 66); C Wilson.

Unused subs: Surman, Solanke, Stanislas, Kilkenny, Boruc (g/k).

Booked: Lerma, L Cook, Mepham.

Arsenal: Leno; Maitland-Niles, Luiz, Papastathopoulos (Mustafi, 77), Saka; Torreira, Xhaka; Aubameyang, Ozil (Willock, 75), Nelson (Pepe, 82); Lacazette.

Unused subs: Mavropanos, Guendouzi, Smith Rowe, Martinez (g/k).

Booked: Torreira, Maitland-Niles, Aubameyang, Lacazette.

Referee: Stuart Attwell.