Bournemouth 1-2 Arsenal – a comfortable away win for Arsenal

Arsenal stroll into the FA Cup fifth round with a comfortable 2-1 win over Bournemouth

The first half was as dominant a display we have seen from Arsenal in quite some time. Yes, Bournemouth was lacklustre but that had a lot to do with Arsenal making the Cherries look poor.

Arsenal was on the attack from word go and within the first few minutes went one up through a thunderous effort from young Bukayo Saka.

The goal was a combination of three young Gunners. Joe Willock carried the ball to the edge of the area before laying off to Gabriel Martinelli who slipped the ball to Saka who smashed it into the net from a tight angle.

The Gunners continued to dominate and it was always going to be a matter of time before a second goal came. It duly did on the 25th minute from yet another youngster, this time Eddie Nketiah following a pass from Willock.

Nicolas Pepe had a chance a few minutes later but unfortunately hit it wide. Bournemouth was fortunate to be just 2-0 down at this point.

Eddie’s Howe men never really had a look in until the last 5-10 minutes and even then it was all a little half-hearted, much to the annoyance of the home fans.

Bournemouth did come out with more purpose in the second half and a pattern did start to develop with Arsenal sitting back comfortably and breaking at will.

Shkodran Mustafi came off around the 60th minute with an injury and Bournemouth did step up the pressure, as I said a pattern had developed.

Arsenal still looked dangerous on the break and Pepe was a little bit unlucky with a bobbling ball on one such breakaway.

Dani Ceballos replaced Pepe just before the 70th minute which was more about preserving him as opposed to anything to do with his performance.

Bournemouth found a consolation goal in injury time through some sloppy defending from Arsenal. The scoreline was not a fair reflection of the game as a whole and does not really detract from the overall performance.

Truth be told this was a very comfortable win for Arsenal, a thoroughly deserved win and an overall good performance from the team.

The lads pressed high from the kick-off and their transition play was some of the best I have seen from them in a long time.

The crowd was quietened down almost immediately and for large parts of the game, you could have been forgiven for thinking this was a home game for Arsenal.

This Arsenal team is unrecognisable from the team we saw at the back end of the Unai Emery reign. There is an enjoyment to the Arsenal play and confidence levels are a lot higher as a result.

This was not necessarily a performance that one should get carried away with but the progress continues under Arteta, it was a very professional display, especially from the youngsters.

It does appear the dark days are behind us and while there is still a long way to go, it is a pleasure these days to watch the lads in action and that feeling of impending doom that was once there is starting to recede and fast.

An away game awaits at Portsmouth in the next round.


  1. Bournemouth were totally shocking in the first half, as if they were a League One team. If Eddie Howe instructed his boys to give Arsenal that much space, he has to be fired tomorrow:

    – Nketiah: Quick and showed good work ethic. He benefited from the Bournemouth CBs’ lack of quality

    – Willock: He was surprising with his physicality and work rate. He played well as no 10 once then subsequently getting worse, so I hope this energetic performance is not just a fluke

    – Pepe: Couldn’t use his right leg to go to the byline and couldn’t cut inside effectively either, as usual. The worst player in our team, because he almost did not contribute anything

    – Martinelli: Showed high energy display as usual. Had some good runs and willingness to press hard

    – Guendouzi: Made a lot of interceptions, but this boy really needs to cool his head off

    – Xhaka: Defended well, but made many misplaced passes. Unfortunately he is the only left-footed DM in the squad, so Arteta has to keep using him in 4-2-3-1

    – Saka: Was excellent again as an attacking LB with one goal and one assist. My MOTM

    – Bellerin: Did a decent job, but he obviously needs more matches to be fit again

    – Mustafi: Controlled the game from the back and distributed the ball very well. Hopefully he is okay, otherwise Arsenal have to get a new CB

    – Sokratis: Didn’t have much challenge from Bournemouth’s attackers

    – Martinez: Didn’t have too much to do, since Bournemouth were really lousy

    1. Bruv drop the crap about Pepe’s inability to use his right leg.
      You can analyze his game and contributions but please drop that crap about his leg… I see someone asked you If Robben made use of his right leg or Ronaldinho made use of his left leg… Héll I’m adding if Bale uses his right leg or even Neymar uses his left leg.
      Stop your obsession with all these left leg right leg stuff, it’s becoming unreasonable TBH

    2. Couldn’t use his right leg to go to the byline and couldn’t cut inside effectively either.

      All you do is complain?.. His right leg is better than both your legs and arms… Some Arsenal fans can complain

    3. Stop with that left footed dm, right footed dm…if arteta choose xhaka is not because of his strong foot..the dominant foot is not relevant to a dm…
      Motm should be between Saka, willock or guendouzi to me…mustafi has a really good game too
      i just hope we could start to play an entire game with intensity and the will to overpass the rival…i tought today was at last the day we would win 5-0 or 5-1, like we have not done in a very long time…but again, we were 2-0 and players think they are winning the world cup…arteta should try yo import the will of Man city yo kill the rival…4-0 and they are looking for the 5…same as liverpool

    4. Pepe’s right leg is as good and used as much as Robben’s or Bernardo Silva’s so that’s not an issue. In fact he went to his right once yesterday and put a decent cross in. Not great but decent.

      His reading of the game is more of an issue as well as decision making but those can still improve under a good coach. I mean look at Ilicic – at 32 he’s become one of top 5 players in Serie A while at 25 he wasn’t even in the top 20.

  2. Quick recovery Mustafi. He was having a good game..

    Some players have really improved under Arteta especially Saka. Well done kid. Man of the match.

    Good win….

  3. Guendouzi was our phenomenal tonight, the Commander of the middle, I love the guy energy, I think is time we give up on pepe, the guy offer nothing. The team really play well tonight.

    1. What’s with all the “…give up on Pepe” crap? Arsenal fans are just something else, really need to sit, rest your head and try to be honest with yourself. Does Pepe offer nothing to the team?

  4. Defensive lapses will be our ending. Something needs to be done urgently, the team has been conceding some of the silliest goals in top flight fotball. When will this madness stop?

  5. So, Mustafi is now injured and could be unavailable for a number matches. I’m sure all those who have been abusing him and calling him all manner of unprintable names are now in cloud nine.

  6. One the best games I’ve seen them play in a while, the energy and technical ability shown in the first half was really good. You could see the inevitable drop off in the second half as we were really comfortable.

    Btw some great forward passes by Mustafi

  7. The MOTM for me was SAKA
    nketiah had a very good game.
    Guendouzi and xhaka need to work on being disciplined.
    Bellerin was quite average today so was pepe.
    Martinelli did ok.
    And for the 1st goal rob holding was at fault(imagine if it was mustafi…)

    Overall i wont call it a comfortable win but a good performance from almost everyone.

    The thing that worries me is why didnt ceballos start,he is experienced enough to use the space given by bournemouth midfield and willock was not very good as a 10.Ceballos played more like in a CM role but still he created some good chances.

    So happyyyyy

    1. “Imagine if it was Mustafi”, the whole comments section would’ve gone into meltdown with words like dross, liability, useless, etc. But (un)fortunately, it’s our beloved Holding, so we ignore and just focus on the positives of the win.

      1. Holding has not been playing well but some people may be cutting him slack as he was injured for a long time. Mustafi on the other hand has consistently played poorly and you have to remember he is supposed to be a senior player now.
        He did play well today but this seems like the exception rather than the rule these days.

    2. And i am not sure if it was an offside because even if it was a dummy,that affects tge play right?You dont have to touch the ball everytime.Surridge was in an offside position when the dummy was played by the bournemouth player.

  8. Pleasantly surprised by Mustaphi,that was a great game from him and I was worried when he got injured.How I wish he could do this consistently.
    The young lads put in a memorable performance although they don’t have the stamina to last 90minutes.
    If willock can be playing at that level even for 70 minutes then he should replace ozil in the starting 11.
    Pepe has surely earned his place on the bench,I don’t think he should start ahead of Saka,Martinelli,Auba or even Eddy.

  9. Good game and good result. I agree with most of gotanidea’s comments above and I think Pepé is so one footed he should be played as a traditional left footed left winger. Martinelli is talented and he can play anywhere across the front four.

  10. Good positive display from the lads especially the youngsters. Pepe was poor, thinks too much of himself and felt too big to put in an effort to support the younger players. Never once did he raise an apologetic hand for blazing shots into the side netting or over hitting attempted crosses. Very poor team player skills.
    Guendozi great in possession, okay without it but always looks a liability when making challenges. Looks to have picked Xhaka as his role model in that respect.
    Martinelli, great work ethic, although tried a bit too hard to force the issue. Supported Saka very well.
    Saka, MOTM. Enough said.
    Xhaka, solid nothing spectacular, no rash challenges, kept us ticking and had good positional awareness to plug in for Saka’s numerous forays forward.
    Bellerin was solid and could have been a very good attacking outlet if Pepe was’nt so poor in front of him.
    Willock had a good game but tired later. Seems he has been hitting the gym.
    Nketiah, east tap in, good positional sense, good work rate but lacks the physique to trouble defenders and hold up the ball for his teammates.
    Martinez calm, did well when called upon. Was lucky a couple of blunders didn’t result in goals.
    Mustafi would have vied for the man of the match with Saka if not for his unfortunate injury. We saw him at his best today, hopefully he recovers fully and we receive a late bid from a suitor that watched him today and didn’t see him in the Chelsea match.
    Holding, still passing to the opposition and lost his man for the goal.
    Despite Mustafi’s obvious flaws, he is still better than Rob Holding

    1. That’s a good start Sue, hope long may it continue n if we can convert those draws into wins most of the time that will be cheery on the cake.

  11. It has got to be said and it probably has been, we have some really good young players to take this club forwards, Saka, Gouendouzi, Martinelli, Willock are probably ahead of promising Nketiah, smith rowe and john joules. But the foundations are there for a special crop for Arteta to work with and mould into what he wants. Obviously the young centre back from France Saliba or whatever is name is, throw in the promising Pepe, Amn, torreira, chambers and holding we have a core to add experience too.

  12. Thank you!!
    Or *He(Pepe) should be given a chance in midfield role..
    *Pepe should even be considered in replacing Ozil in the so No10 role.
    *Pepe should be played as the traditional Left Wing role for he ain’t good yet with 1.Shooting 2.Crossing; he should be considered creating roles.
    *Nketiah lacking the physiques for troubling defenders and hold up play. Says it all for those who wants Lacazette benched! He got the two things Nketiah’ lacks for the main time. So I think we should utilize more of Lacazette’ well ’til he starts scoring.
    Despite Mustafi errors and today’s glory, credit given.. He ain’t good for AFC still.
    *Guendouzi surprised! me.
    Till Tierney returns ion wonna see SAKA in LB if not LWF.

    Morale High! COYG!

    1. There was no Aubameyang and yet we scored 2. Something we’ve not managed to do in a long while. There was no Torreira, Luiz, etc yet we still won. So, what’s your point?

  13. Actually THIS season Mustafi has been better than Holding. Yes, I know, it’s unfair because of Rob’s long injury, but that’s how it was.
    My worry is that Holding only showed promise last season — not before and not after — so time will tell it he’s good enough for Arsenal – another year perhaps…

  14. Great performance. Saka, Willock, Guendouzi and nketiah were great. So also Martinelli and Mustafi. The only thing is that Guendouzi should maintain his cool. Pepe should be benched for a few matches to regain and improve on his game. All in all a great performance. Birnley next on Sunday. Up the Gunners!

  15. am happy MA seems to trust our academy boys. my wish is to bring on-board more of our boys to the first team. some fans insist on buying world class players but as for me we should only buy the very best. remember the greatest teams have been built that way…it will take time and i wish the owners and the ever demanding arsenal fans would give him time to do so.

  16. MA have a big job in front of him:what to do with Pepe?.Because of his value, MA have to dedicate a lot of time with this player,I think he needs a mental engineering work;maybe not a job for Arteta .He has a lot of qualities but something is not working with his attitude and decision makings on the field.

  17. Saka and Gendouzi were the best yesterday. Ceballos should start games now. Good game for the rest. Xhaka still making silly mistakes and Holding is way off his best. We need to wait until next season to see the real Pepe.

  18. This game demonstrates in 2 halfs that to play 1DM Gendouzi was great, allowing other 2 midfield Saka and Willock to play forward. Xhaka as LB covered Saka who was able to threat.

    We had 5 players defending and 5 playing forward & attacking. Perfect balance and mainly allows us to play Arsenal way which is fast & attacking football, controlling game; done perfectly in 1st half.

    On second half, Arteta moved Xhaka in middle, defending to keep 2-0 score, Saka at LB obliged to defend, not free as he was in first half, had to cover more ground to attack ,& defend, he became average as Gendouzi who had to defend on one flank not able to run middle of pitch free, with Xhaka there as a DM too.

    It killed our all game and clearly highlighted the PB we have; balance in Formation! Xhaka & Saka defending had us 6 doing so, leaving 4 to attack; changed our balance and game leaning towards defending and not able to attack as we did, losing control.

    Players could be all rated 8 in first half, 5 in second, but not fare, they just can’t play our football if Arteta formation’s is defensive, no balance!

    We almost got a draw and should be concerned, not all hype for winning against a lower team…

    If Arteta doesn’t get that we need to play Gendouzi as DM only in order to let other 2 play forward Arsenal’s way; he must get da hell outa here.

    Means he didn’t mean 1st half formation nor got why 2nd half was opposite!

    He deserve a 5, and players 8 to 9 as he should be getting without this retarded move in second half.

    I can get that he wanted to keep result being more defensive, but not as first minute of first half but take it where we left it, attack which doesn’t give them many chances to do so.

    Our defense had not much to do in first half, because we were attacking, in their half!

    Score could have been 3 to 5-0 if we kept same formation a 4-1-2-3 with. 5 defending & 5 attacking; balanced. Not 6 & 4; we then lean on our half & defending all game long!

    He deserve a 5 at best, a 2 with a draw! We must be defending & not accept any mistake at this level. We were close to a draw, scared and panic at the end!

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