Bournemouth came into the game without a win from their opening six league games, but played with a confidence that belied their lowly position in the opening exchanges. Dominic Solanke latched onto a searching pass and got goalside of our defence, but William Saliba perfectly timed his sliding tackle to deny the striker.

Just as the hosts were beginning to get on top, we took the lead. Martin Odegaard’s clipped pass found Gabriel Jesus at the far post. His header hit the post, which wrong footed Neto and the Bournemouth defence, allowing Saka to nod into the empty net.

It’s only the second headed goal of the winger’s senior career to date. The goal settled us down, and all of a sudden we seemed to have a bit more time in possession.

Odegaard nearly took full advantage of the space afforded to him outside the box with a wonderful threaded pass through to Jesus on the left flank. The Brazilian’s cross was turned away for a corner, and from the set piece Alex Zinchenko fired a 20-yeard shot goalwards, but Neto palmed it away to safety.

Odegaard on the spot

We continued to dominate possession and a moment of incisiveness led to our second goal. Zinchenko and Nketiah exchanged passes into the area, and the striker was brought down by Max Aaron’s sliding challenge. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot.

Saka handed the ball to his skipper, and Odegaard calmly stroked his effort low into the corner, sending Neto the wrong way. We were good value for the two-goal lead, without ever being spectacular in the opening half.

Gabriel slid in well to deny Phillip Billing when he pulled the trigger inside the area, and Ryan Christie forced David Raya into his first save of the afternoon in first-half injury time.

But we were largely on top and Odegaard looked to pick up in the second half where he left off before the break. His threaded throughball looked destined for Saka, but Neto was out quickly to smother.

Havertz off the mark

The third goal gave us a bit of extra breathing room. Odegaard once again picked up possession inside the area, and this time was crudely brought down by Ryan Christie. It was an easy decision to award the penalty by referee Michael Salisbury, who was well positioned to see the offence.

Once again regular taker Saka handed the ball to a teammate, this time Havertz stepped up and confidently struck his first goal in Arsenal colours. No sooner had the ball hit the net than the German was mobbed by his teammates, who took him over to celebrate in front of the travelling Arsenal supporters.

Havertz nearly created a goal for Nketiah moments later, but his low cross was just cut out, preventing a tap in. The hard-working Nketiah then fired a shot just wide after doing well to fashion the chance himself on the left.

Saka was withdrawn in the final 20 minutes, after being clattered by Milos Kerkez. Jesus shot wide on our next attack, and we were in total control during the closing stages, enabling Mikel Arteta to make a few more changes, perhaps with half an eye on the games coming up this week.

Emile Smith Rowe was one of those subs, and he nearly crowned the win late on, but his low shot was just turned round the post by a full-stretch Neto.

We did get a fourth in injury-time time however, when White rose highest to head in Odegaard’s inswinging free-kick.

Post a Comment