Analysis

Arsenal Analysed | The keys to our Bournemouth win

Arsenal celebrate scoring against Bournemouth

We clinched a fourth-straight win to stay at the top of the Premier League table with a 3-0 success against Bournemouth on Saturday, with a tremendous display at Emirates Stadium.

To reveal why were so successful against the Cherries, Adrian Clarke has gone through the footage and delved into the stats to find five reasons why we were so dominant.

Front foot dominance

Across the previous 10 Premier League matches, Bournemouth ranked third in the form table so ahead of kick-off they were rightly viewed as dangerous opponents. Would this add an element of caution to our approach? No.

Right from the first whistle, we swarmed all over the Cherries in one of our most assertive and buccaneering displays of the entire campaign. Showing guile, imagination, and skill aplenty, we forced Andoni Iraola’s men to make six desperate blocks from inside their own box during a thrilling opening 15-minute spell.

Never allowing them to settle, by the time the final whistle blew all 10 outfield starters had attempted at least one shot, with not a single effort from further than 20 yards out:

Arsenal's shot map against Bournemouth

The timeline is also fascinating. A forceful 0–58-minute period saw us pin the visitors back, producing 22 shots, scoring just once. The final 32 minutes plus injury time was a lot more stretched, and relatively even in terms of territory. However, with extra space to run into on the break we scored twice from only three more efforts.

At the other end, we kept the in-form Cherries very well contained. Aside from a weak flick header in the opening minute that harmlessly bounced into David Raya’s arms, Bournemouth only managed to produce shots between the 53rd and 65th minute.

Dynamic Declan

Supplying a goal and assist, this was another barnstorming performance from Declan Rice, and the trademark of this display was his desire to make telling forward runs.

Early on he regularly surged into advanced areas, often taking up positions ahead of roaming centre forward Kai Havertz, just like we see in this example below:

Declan Rice's passes against Bournemouth

He broke into the box regularly, and almost scored when running onto a lovely cushioned Havertz knockdown inside the danger zone. Even into the final 20 minutes, Rice was still full of running and ultimately, he crushed his markers’ hearts with a pair of lung-busting runs for the final two goals.

Leandro Trossard’s crucial second would not have happened without him. Sprinting away from Antoine Semenyo just in case a loose ball fell his way, Rice latched onto Odegaard’s deflected pass before right-back Adam Smith could react inside the ‘D’, before squaring it perfectly to the Belgian:

Declan Rice's movement against Bournemouth

Deep into injury time our rampaging number 41 made another unstoppable sprint from deep, to collect Gabriel Jesus’ pass before driving home our third:

Declan Rice's movement against Bournemouth

Rice ran 11.2km, the furthest of anyone on the pitch, but he was still the one individual who looked freshest in the closing stages. The England international’s amazing engine, coupled with high technical quality, make him ideal for a box-to-box role.

Mixing up our distribution

One of the key elements of progress this side has made across the last two seasons is their incisive, progressive passing. Full of confidence, we now play a succession of forward passes through the lines, but crucially we also hurt rival teams with balls played in beyond the last man.

Havertz, our two wide forwards, Rice and Ben White are all constantly looking for opportunities to run past the last defender:

Arsenal passes beyond offside line
Martin Odegaard 22
David Raya 10
Declan Rice 9
Kai Havertz 7
Ben White 7

Odegaard is our standout creator in this department. Whenever he takes up possession the Norwegian is rarely short of teammates willing to make sprints that offer him the option of a through ball.

In the second half when play became more stretched, his passing quality really came to the fore. During spells when we push back the opposition, his skill in tight spaces is pivotal, but when the pattern of a game changes he is equally impactful.

Martin Odegaard's passes during the Bournemouth game
Martin Odegaard's passes during the Bournemouth game

A word on William

While this was a largely dominant victory, the Cherries' searing pace on the break remained a constant tactical concern. Our concentration was largely excellent, but on a couple of occasions we did get pulled open.

Each time it was fantastic to see William Saliba sense danger quickly and make excellent interventions on the recovery. Following a rare first-half lapse by Gabriel, dangerman Dominic Solanke was in on goal, but look how rapidly Saliba responded to the danger:

William Saliba's positioning during a key moment in the game against Bournemouth
William Saliba's positioning during a key moment in the game against Bournemouth

Semenyo also raced clear down the left in the second half, but his threat was snuffed out when Saliba got back to make a timely block.

This was an afternoon where our forwards caught the eye, but Saliba’s defending should not be overlooked. His efforts helped Raya claim the Golden Glove award for the most clean sheets (15) this season.

Super Saka

It was Bukayo Saka’s ice-cool penalty kick that paved the way for another three-point haul, but the winger’s overall display was just as impressive as his temperament in that key moment.

He had a match-high seven shots on goal, made five key passes too and by half-time had touched the ball 40 times, as wave after wave of attacks were fed through him down our right flank. Saka tormented his marker throughout the first period, but despite seeing far less of the ball from half-time onwards (18 touches) he was still involved in many of our brightest moments.

He could have scored from Havertz’s lay-off just after the break, and he set up Odegaard brilliantly for an opportunity (below) that was deemed our best (0.46xG) chance in open play all game.

Bukayo Saka's pass to Martin Odegaard during the Bournemouth game

Our five most attacking players, Saka, Havertz, Odegaard, Trossard and Rice, all delivered outstanding individual displays. With just two matches left to play of a gruelling campaign they look fresh, which will be a source of great encouragement to Mikel Arteta.

Brushing aside an in-form opponent with ease, covering 4.76km more ground with their running, including an extra 237 intensive runs, this was another outstanding team effort. Technically and physically, the side is in great shape. 

Have a go at your analysis by digging deeper into the numbers or building your own chalkboard with our revamped Stats Centre.

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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