Arsenal 3-0 Bournemouth: Player ratings as Gunners ramp up title pressur

  • Arsenal beat Bournemouth 3-0 in the Premier League on Saturday
  • Goals from Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard and Declan Rice moved them four points clear in first place
  • The Cherries felt aggrieved with several refereeing decisions at the Emirates
Arsenal secured a crucial win at the Emirates

Arsenal moved four points clear at the top of the Premier League table with an important 3-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday lunchtime.

Mikel Arteta’s men could have been out of sight at half-time but they did take a one-goal lead into the break after Bukayo Saka calmly converted from the penalty spot in the 45th minute.

Leandro Trossard doubled Arsenal’s advantage after the break and, despite some VAR controversy, Declan Rice added a third for the Gunners in stoppage time as the hosts earned three crucial points in the title race.

How the game unfolded

Arsenal were in desperate need of another victory to keep the pressure firmly on reigning champions Manchester City in the title race, and the hosts started quickly at the Emirates Stadium despite not turning their dominance into an early opener thanks to some fantastic Bournemouth blocks

It wasn’t until the 13th minute that Arsenal eventually tested Mark Travers through the in-form Kai Havertz. The German latched on to a ball in behind the Bournemouth defence and rifled a left-footed effort towards goal that was rebuffed by the Irish stopper.

William Saliba and Saka were next to sting Travers’ palms with close range efforts, while Takehiro Tomiyasu also came close from a corner as Arsenal pushed desperately for what seemed an inevitable first goal of the game.

Having seen Rice inexplicably fire wide from ten yards out, it seemed as if Arsenal would have no reward for their impressive first-half display. But Saka made sure that they did have a narrow lead at the break, converting from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time after Travers made contact with Havertz’s trailing leg in the box.

The early stages of the second half followed much the same patterns as the first, with Arsenal controlling proceedings with little fuss. Saka and Havertz made Travers work yet again just after the restart, with Dominic Solanke forcing David Raya into a rare save at the other end.

Bournemouth started to flex their attacking muscles as the second half progressed but the Gunners killed the game with 20 minutes to play. Rice’s neat flick on the edge of the area set up Trossard and the Belgian produced a typically calm side-footed effort to double Arsenal’s lead.

The Cherries thought they had reduced the deficit shortly after Trossard’s strike when Antoine Semenyo turned home following a ricochet off Arsenal’s crossbar. However, referee David Coote disallowed the goal for a foul on Raya in the build-up, with Andoni Iraola left incensed on the sidelines as he felt Philip Billing was fouled in the area.

Arsenal’s Gabriel thought he had added the icing on the cake with an absolutely outstanding volley with five minutes to play, but the offside flag denied him the greatest goal of his career.

However, it mattered little as Arsenal did eventually secure a third in stoppage time, with Rice slamming home a powerful drive beyond Travers to pile the pressure on Man City ahead of their clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers later in the day.

Arsenal player ratings (4-3-3)

Kai Havertz, Mark Travers
Havertz won Arsenal’s first-half penalty / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

GK: David Raya – 6/10 – A spectator for much of the game and was perhaps slightly fortunate to earn a foul in the build-up to Bournemouth’s non-goal in the second half.

RB: Ben White – 7/10 – Some great runs beyond the Bournemouth defence and poor Dango Ouatarra couldn’t deal with his powerful sprints.

CB: William Saliba – 7/10 – Matched Solanke for much of the game and was largely calm in the heart of the Arsenal defence.

CB: Gabriel – 5/10 – Almost punished by Solanke for a slack moment early in the game, but his centre-back partner bailed him out. Made some rash decisions when duelling with the Bournemouth forward.

LB: Takehiro Tomiyasu – 7/10 – A tireless display from the Japan international, who regularly charged up and down the left flank.

CM: Martin Odegaard – 7/10 – The skipper’s playmaking efforts helped Arsenal dominate in the final third and he carved out plenty of chances for teammates.

CM: Thomas Partey – 6/10 – Not his sharpest display but he still helped Arsenal control the midfield and got a full 90 minutes under his belt.

CM: Declan Rice – 9/10 – Spurned one glorious chance before half-time but he was imperious during the remainder of the match. Set up the crucial second goal with a great pass and netted late on to add some gloss to the scoreline.

RW: Bukayo Saka – 7/10 – Took his high-pressure penalty with unbelievable composure, rolling the ball past Travers. His influence waned in the second half.

ST: Kai Havertz – 8/10 – Won the penalty before the break and was a constant menace, with his positioning and neat link-up play proving too much for the Cherries at times. Continued his brilliant run of form.

LW: Leandro Trossard – 7/10 – A generally quiet display from Trossard up until his goal, but he took his strike wonderfully to finish the game off.

Substitutes

SUB: Gabriel Martinelli (81′ for Trossard) – 6/10

SUB: Gabriel Jesus (85′ for Saka) – N/A

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