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Arsenal 3-0 Bournemouth: Five things we noticed

Thomas Partey, Martin Odegaard, Kai Havertz and Bukayo Saka celebrate against Bournemouth

We made it four consecutive wins in the Premier League thanks to a dominant performance against Bournemouth on Saturday. 

In the process, we equalled a couple of club records and earned a Premier League award. Here are some of the talking points from another dramatic afternoon at Emirates Stadium.

The pressure pays off

We had 11 attempts on goal in the opening 20 minutes – the joint most of any Premier League side this season – forcing three smart saves from Mark Travers and plenty of other desperate blocks from defenders. We were overloading on the right-hand side especially, even William Saliba worked the keeper, chopping into his left foot after overlapping a Bukayo Saka run. Saka’s penalty conversion was our 16th shot of the half. 

It was a marked contrast to last weekend’s game, when we were 3-0 up at the break despite only having two shots on target against Tottenham!

We hadn’t had more shots in an opening half all season, and we continued to pile on the pressure in the second half to extend our record of being the only side in the division to convert 100 per cent of our half-time leads (17) into wins. 

By the end of the game, all 10 starting outfield players had at least one attempt on goal, and Declan Rice’s late third underlined the difference between the sides on the day. The expected goals stats told a tale: 3.98 to us, 0.37 to the visitors.

Raya’s Golden Gloves

With his 15th clean sheet of the season, David Raya has now confirmed he will win this season’s Golden Glove award outright. The keeper was a virtual spectator in the opening 45 minutes, but was called into action a couple of times in the second half. 

Most notably he made a good stop at his near post to deny Dominic Solanke in the 53rd minute, and after that he once again demonstrated his exceptional handling and commandment of his penalty area, coming for every cross swung into his territory. 

Only Petr Cech (16) has kept more clean sheets for us in his debut season at the club, and with Aaron Ramsdale’s two shutouts as well, we have stopped the opposition scoring in 17 of our 36 league games so far. 

Read more about David’s award

Club records

This was our 26th league win of the season, which equals our club record for victories in a 38-game campaign. 

We have reached that tally three times in the past – in the title-winning campaigns of 2001/02 and 2003/04, then again last term. We won 29 times when winning the title in 1970/71, and 28 times in the 1930/31 title success – but they were both in 42-game seasons. 

Our record with two games remaining is now P36 W26 D5 L5 F88 A28 with 83 points. That’s just one fewer point than we managed in the whole of last season, and already more than when we won the league in 1988/89 and 1997/98. In fact it’s already enough to have ensured the title in eight previous Premier League seasons. 

We’ve also equalled our club record for most goals in the Premier League, matching the 88 we racked up last season. Our goal difference now sits at a very healthy +60 – ten goals better than Manchester City before their game with Wolves at home later on Saturday. 

VAR prominent

Ten minutes into the game Bournemouth were incredibly lucky not to be reduced to 10 men when Ryan Christie caught Saka high and late, resulting in a nasty-looking gash on our winger’s leg. The referee David Coote clearly missed it – no booking was forthcoming and play even started with a drop ball – but the big surprise was VAR didn’t intervene.

They were called upon to check our penalty decision though, when Kai Havertz was brought down by Travers. After several replays the decision was upheld.

There was an even longer review when Antoine Semenyo had the ball in the net for Bournemouth shortly after Leandro Trossard’s goal. The on-field decision was a foul on Raya, and eventually that was upheld too, but the wait was interminable. 

Gabriel lashed in a superb shot with five minutes to go, but was flagged for offside, and this time the VAR intervention was swift, even though it looked like a marginal decision.  

Mikel Arteta would not be drawn on the decisions in his post-match media work, having not watched the replays himself, but on another day VAR could well have been the main talking point from the afternoon.

20-goal a season man

Bukayo Saka’s penalty at the end of the first half was his sixth successful spot-kick out of six this term, and his 20th goal in all competitions from another stellar season. 

He’s the first player to reach that landmark for us since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in 2019/20, and the first Englishman to do it since Theo Walcott seven years earlier.  

He was a constant menace in the first half especially, and could have had a second, striking straight at the keeper when all alone in the box soon after the interval. Indeed it was only the second time in his Premier League career that Bukayo had registered at least five shots and created at least five chances in the same game. 

Still 100 days short of his 23rd birthday, the England man is steadily climbing the all-time scoring charts for the club. He’s on 58 now in all competitions, our 42nd top scorer overall. Next in his sights are two other famous No. 7s from our academy - Liam Brady and Kevin Campbell, both of whom netted 59 for the first-team. 

Video

In Focus: Saka's dazzling display v Bournemouth

Bukayo Saka gave us the lead from the penalty spot in Saturday’s 3-0 win over AFC Bournemouth, and you can now take a closer look at his performance with In Focus!

The penalty was Bukayo’s third direct goal contribution in the last three games, having also scored against Tottenham Hotspur and registered an assist in our 5-0 win over Chelsea.

Watch his tireless display against the Cherries by pressing play on the video above.

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