Arsenal keep pressure on Man City as Bukayo Saka secures Bournemouth win – 5 talking points

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 4: Bukayo Saka of Arsenal celebrates their first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and AFC Bournemouth at Emirates Stadium on May 4, 2024 in London, England.(Photo by Mark Leech/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

ARSENAL 3-0 BOURNEMOUTH: Goals from Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard and Declan Rice handed the Gunners all three points against Bournemouth as they moved four points clear of Manchester City

Arsenal ensured they kept the pressure on Manchester City in the title race by beating Bournemouth on Saturday lunchtime.

Bukayo Saka opened the scoring with a first-half penalty, with the Gunners totally dominant for much of the game. They had an astonishing 16 shots in the first-half alone, with the Cherries managing just one and even that was not on target.

Saka’s penalty came on the stroke of half-time after Kai Havertz trailed his leg to ensure he was brought down by Bournemouth keeper Mark Travers. While the Cherries were resurgent after the break, they struggled to create clear-cut chances.

Arsenal keeper David Raya barely had a save to make, with Leandro Trossard wrapping up the three points when he swept the ball past Travers with 20 minutes to go before Declan Rice topped the win off with an injury-time goal. Here, Mirror Football looks at the biggest talking points from Arsenal’s win.

Pressure on City

Arsenal are continuing to do their job in the title race, with this win moving them four points clear of Manchester City. The reigning champions play Wolves on Saturday evening, with their other game in hand coming a week on Tuesday.

The Gunners have a superior goal difference over their title rivals, which means City have to win both of their games in hand to overtake them. Mikel Arteta’s side have just two games left, against Manchester United and Everton.

That appears to be a slightly more difficult run-in compared to City, who after playing Wolves will face Fulham, Tottenham and West Ham. It means Arsenal appear to be relying on their bitter rivals Spurs to help them win the title.

Arsenal’s biggest transfer need clearer than ever

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 04: Mark Travers of AFC Bournemouth makes a save whilst under pressure from Declan Rice of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and AFC Bournemouth at Emirates Stadium on May 04, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

It was honestly a mystery how Bukayo Saka’s penalty was the only difference between the teams come half-time. Arsenal had an astonishing 16 shots in the opening 45 minutes as they also dominated possession.

But as has happened so often this season, the Gunners struggled to convert that dominance into clear-cut chances. Just five of their shots were on target, highlighting what is likely to be Arsenal’s biggest focus in the transfer window.

Boss Arteta looks likely to target a new striker in the summer, with Kai Havertz playing through the middle against the Cherries. A proven goalscorer will be at the top of his list, given his side’s struggles to convert their chances.

Saka steps up

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 04: Bukayo Saka of Arsenal scores his team's first goal from a penalty kick during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and AFC Bournemouth at Emirates Stadium on May 04, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Saka stepped up to score his sixth penalty of the season 

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Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Bukayo Saka has now scored six penalties this season, his highest-ever total from the spot in one campaign. In fact, the last time he missed a penalty was over a year ago, with his last four spot-kicks coming in wins for his side.

Saka is now clearly in second in the Premier League scoring charts for penalties, a good sign for England ahead of Euro 2024. His style against Bournemouth keeper Mark Travers was typically cool and confident.

After waiting for several seconds following the referee’s whistle, Saka stuttered his run-up to allow Travers to dive before rolling the ball into the opposite corner. Saka is now clearly Arsenal’s man from the spot.

Bournemouth ready for their holiday

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 04: Lewis Cook and Marcos Senesi of Bournemouth after Bukayo Saka of Arsenal scores a goal to make it 1-0 from the spot during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and AFC Bournemouth at Emirates Stadium on May 04, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Robin Jones - AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images)

Bournemouth have been safe of relegation for some time and it showed in their trip to Arsenal. The visitors struggled to make much of an impact on the game in the first-half, with the Cherries failing to have any chances of note.

They were better after the break and were perhaps unlucky not to be awarded a penalty or a goal in the second period. But with the Cherries now 22 points clear of the relegation zone, this was a typical end of season performance from a side ready for their holidays.

Three minutes after Trossard scored Arsenal’s second, Bournemouth had the ball in the back of the net themselves. But referee David Coote ruled it out for foul on David Raya, though replays suggested the Arsenal keeper was barely touched.

Instead, it looked like the Cherries should have been awarded a penalty for a shirt pull, though VAR Peter Bankes ultimately sided with Coote. That decision allowed Raya to keep hold of his clean sheet, one which ensured has won the golden glove award.

 

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