Post-Match Report

Report: Arsenal 3-0 Bournemouth

Bukayo Saka scores against Bournemouth

Bournemouth -

Emirates Stadium
Premier League
Premier League
                  Saka (44 pen)
                   Trossard (69)
                   Rice (90 + 6)
Saka (44 pen)
Trossard (69)
Rice (90 + 6)
3 - 0

We continued to heap pressure on Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table by beating Bournemouth to move four points clear.

After bossing the first half, we finally broke the deadlock on 44 minutes when Bukayo Saka netted his 20th goal of the campaign via the penalty spot after Kai Havertz was felled by Mark Travers, and after the break Leandro Trossard doubled our advantage to put us firmly in control.

VAR was kept busy throughout, and would disallow further efforts from Antoine Semenyo and Gabriel, before Declan Rice added a late third to seal a fourth consecutive victory.

Another clean sheet saw David Raya claim outright possession of the Golden Glove for the season, but most importantly we remain right in the championship hunt with two games to play.

Persistence pays off

We had won all seven of our previous home meetings with Bournemouth, and if the opening 25 minutes was anything to go, we were destined to maintain that 100 per cent record.

We constantly probed around the Bournemouth box but their goal lived a charmed life early on. Defenders threw their bodies in the way of efforts from Trossard and Martin Odegaard to keep their side level, before Havertz flashed a volley goalwards which was saved.

Then moments after making an excellent tackle to prevent Dominic Solanke from pulling the trigger, 60 seconds later William Saliba found himself at the other end cutting inside a defender and shooting at Travers - something Saka repeated soon after.

The chances kept piling up. Takehiro Tomiyasu connected with a Saka corner but saw his downward header cleared away, Thomas Parety blazed over and in the 37th minute, the best chance presented itself to Declan Rice when the ball was nodded down into his path but his half-volley from 10 yards out flew fractions wide.

But just as it looked like we would be forced to head into the interval level, we found a way to get in front a minute before half-time. A fine pass from Odegaard slipped Havertz in behind the defence to go one-on-one with Travers, who tripped the German striker as he attempted to round him.

After a lengthy VAR check, the penalty was upheld and Saka kept his cool to calmly roll the spot-kick into the net with our 16th attempt of the half, and give us something to show for all our superiority.

Trossard makes it two

Four minutes after the restart Saka could, and should, have made it 2-0 when Havertz won possession on the edge of the area and slipped it to the England international in space, but his tame first-time effort was right at Travers, who was then called into action again within a minute when Havertz sent a shot on the turn towards the bottom corner but the Cherries custodian was equal to it.

Bournemouth had shown very little by this point, but Andoni Iraola’s side began to show glimpses of why they were one of the in-form teams in the division.  Raya was called into action for the first time on 53 minutes when the visitors sprang a counter after winning the ball in midfield but our shot-stopper kept out a Solanke effort with his legs, and then Justin Kluivert thumped one wide before whipping a free-kick onto the top of the net.

But just as they were building up a head of steam, we managed to double our lead. Saka found Odegaard in space, but his pass was deflected away from its intended target and fell for Rice. He got into the area and a brilliant piece of skill saw him spin away and tee up Trossard, who placed an instinctive shot past Travers to score his fourth league goal in his last six outings, and put us firmly in control.

Rice seals it

But that two-goal advantage was nearly swiftly reduced when, under pressure from Solanke, Raya saw an awkward punch fall to Ryan Christie who crashed a volley off the bar, and the rebound fell to Semenyo who put it into the net. However, a foul was given on our keeper, with VAR backing up the on-field officials’ verdict.

As the game entered the final five minutes, we were next to have the ball in the net but for VAR to rule against us when Gabriel powered a brilliant shot into the top corner, but the goal was ruled out.

A third goal did arrive late in stoppage time though when Gabriel Jesus buzzed around the edge of the box and played a neat reverse pass to Rice, and he fired into the bottom corner to score our 88th Premier League goal of the campaign - our joining best-ever return, and ensure Manchester City have to also keep winning if they’re to deny us to the title.

Facts and stats

We have won 14 of our 16 Premier League games in 2024 (D1 L1), scoring 51 goals and conceding just eight in reply. We have won the most points in the competition since the turn of the year (43).

With two games to spare, we have equalled our Premier League win tally from last season (26). Indeed, only in 1930/31 (28) and 1970/71 (29) have the Gunners won more games in a single top-flight campaign.

Bournemouth have lost all 11 of their games against sides starting the day top of the table, the worst 100 per cent loss rate against such opposition in the competition’s history.

Bukayo Saka became the first player to score 20 goals for Arsenal in a season (all competitions) since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in 2019/20 (29 goals) and the first Englishman to do so for the club since Theo Walcott in 2012/13 (21 goals).

David Raya has kept 15 clean sheets in the Premier League this season, with only Petr Cech (16 in 2015/16) keeping more shutouts in his debut Premier League campaign for the Gunners (David Seaman in 1992/93 & Jens Lehmann in 2003/04 both also 15 clean sheets each).

We have gone on to win all 17 of our Premier League games this season when they’ve been ahead at half-time, the only side to do so in 2023/24.

We have scored 10 penalties in the league this season, with only Chelsea netting more (11). Indeed, this is the joint-most penalties we have scored in a single Premier League campaign, along with 2006/07.

All 10 of our outfield starters attempted at least one shot in this game, the first time this has happened in a Premier League game for us since January 2022 against Burnley.

What's next

Next weekend sees us head to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on Sunday, May 12, before we complete our season with home game against Everton a week later. 

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