What a game we witnessed on Sunday evening! It was an incredible performance from all eleven of the players on the pitch and the five substitutes that followed, who all dominated the game and demonstrated total control and composure with very few mistakes. This game saw Saka marking his 100th senior appearance for the Gunners, the second youngest player to reach this milestone after Cesc Fabregas. We also saw the team pick up nine points from nine in the first three games for the first time since the 04/05 season. The team scored three exceptional Premier League goals, taking the tally to three Premier League wins this season, more than any other team.
Two goals from Martin Ødegaard, our Man of the Match, inside the opening ten minutes led the way to a brilliant 3 – 0 win for Arsenal over AFC Bournemouth, although we saw an incredible four goals with the final being ruled offside, including an absolute beauty of a goal from our very own William Saliba. Ødegaard scored a brace for the first time since October 2014, when he was playing for Lillestrom against Stromsgodset. Ødegaard’s first goal was a tap in after some incredible footwork from Gabriel Jesus, who slotted it into the feet of Martinelli who’s shot was blocked by the keeper but tapped in by Ødegaard. The second, another steal from Jesus, who himself wanted to have a crack at goal, only narrowly missing out to Ødegaard who got to the ball before him. It is hard not to feel as though Jesus was robbed this match, after his third attempt at goal was ruled narrowly offside.
One player we have to talk about is William Saliba. In the first half, he had 100% pass accuracy, long ball accuracy and won 100% of all duels, as well as making the most touches (65) and the most passes (63). Not only did he put in an impeccable defensive display, but he also curled the ball into the top right corner from a short Xhaka cut-back, taking the score to 3 – 0. This was Saliba’s first Premier League goal, and only his second senior goal. Zinchenko’s reaction says it all, with him saying “Oh my gosh, this guy is incredible, honestly he’s unbelievable.” in his post-match interview. Mikel Arteta also said “No, we’ve been practicing that all week.” When asked if Saliba’s goal surprised him, before adding that the players have been singing the Saliba song in the dressing room.
On the topic of Oleksandr Zinchenko, he also had an amazing game. Particularly in this match, we have seen the Zinchenko/Xhaka pairing work outstandingly, with them both creating space for each other and bouncing off of each other to move the ball down the pitch and create goal scoring opportunities. This pairing is key to helping Arsenal keep control of the game and continue to move the ball forward. Zinchenko also has the highest win rate in the Premier League with 82%, winning 65 games out of 79 appearances. At half time, Zinchenko was the best man on the pitch for winning possession on 9 occasions, followed by his teammates Saliba and Partey with 5.
Yet again, a dominant Arsenal performance, including Ramsdale’s second clean sheet of the season which will provide much needed confidence for Arteta’s young team; 15 players in the squad were under 25, emphasising the incredible potential Arteta is working with. Our summer signings have already proven their importance to our team, with us finally having a striker capable of scoring goals and creating opportunities. I also think it’s safe to say Ødegaard has beaten the fear of the captain’s curse, with an exceptional individual performance that he and his team mates can be proud of. It was also nice to see Tomiyasu make an appearance, albeit from the bench, to help see out the match and secure the clean sheet; this is definitely a good sign and will create some competition with Ben White; pushing both players to perform at their best. Looking forward to our next 5 games, Fulham and Brentford appear to be the most difficult games given Manchester United’s current form. Following our last three performances, would it be too much to expect 15pts/15pts?
Written by: Abby Goodson @_abbygoodson