Arsenal cruised to a comfortable 4-0 victory over Bournemouth with goals from Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Ben White and a first for Kai Havertz.
It was an easy afternoon for the Gunners, who never really kicked into fifth gear but never needed to. Bournemouth have had a very poor start to the season, albeit with difficult games, but they were apathetic and erratic on Saturday.
Saka kicked off the rout by heading the ball into an open net from a few yards out after a Gabriel Jesus header ricocheted off the post. Eddie Nketiah was then brought down in the area and Odegaard slotted away a slow but very well-placed penalty.
It was then the captain’s turn to be brought down in the area from a very rash challenge and it was unclear who was going to take the next penalty. Jesus wanted it but Odegaard opted to give it to Kai Havertz, and the German stroked the ball into the net. The celebrations from players and fans alike were rapturous and wholesome: that is club culture.
Ben White added another by diverting in a free-kick with his head to make the score line as convincing as the performance.
It was a very solid display without being incredible, but it was great to see the Gunners win with a comfortable scoreline and never be in doubt.
4 standout performers from Arsenal’s emphatic win at Bournemouth
Almost any player could have been picked for a standout performance. In fact, it was probably Gabriel Jesus who had the quietest day, relegated to the wing to make space for Nketiah down the middle. Hopefully, the Brazilian will be back in the middle with Saka and Reiss Nelson on either side of him come Tuesday.
In any case, let’s get into the four standout performers from the Premier League victory over Bournemouth.
1. Gabriel Magalhaes
The big Brazilian was impeccable against the Cherries and it’s astounding how much he has improved in a year. This time last year, there were big question marks over the defender but since then, something has changed and he is now far more composed, shrewder positionally, and no longer leaping into rash challenges.
He won 3 out of 3 ground duels, put in 3 tackles, 2 interceptions and 2 blocks, including a crucial block against Philip Billing at the stroke of half-time. William Saliba also put in a similarly important block and those two interventions steadied the team massively and potentially kept a clean sheet.
Gabriel is a huge presence in that Arsenal defence and has the frame to easily win physical duels. The pairing of him and Saliba is so consistent and solid and I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing them take on Erling Haaland next week.
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