Bournemouth 0-4 Arsenal: Havertz gets his first goal for the Gunners
Bournemouth 0-4 Arsenal: Kai Havertz gets his first goal for the Gunners with a penalty as Mikel Arteta’s side close the gap on leaders Manchester City to one point
- Kai Havertz scored his first goal for Arsenal in their victory over Bournemouth
- Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and Ben White also scored for the Gunners
- The victory sees Arsenal close the gap on Manchester City to just one point
As Kai Havertz staggered his run-up upon approaching the penalty spot, time itself had frozen.
Martin Odegaard had been hacked to the ground by Ryan Christie, referee Michael Salisbury pointing to the spot. Bukayo Saka was readying himself to take the penalty, before Havertz emerged from the background.
Arsenal were already 2-0 up by this point, the game tightly wrapped up. Yet, as Havertz stepped up to coolly slot the ball into the bottom-left corner, one could see the relief drain from the German’s body as he jogged towards the away end swamped by team-mates.
They knew, too, the significance was far wider than going three goals up against Bournemouth. The gesture signified what this Gunners side have become: a totality of all its parts.
Unbeknown to them, Manchester City were being beaten by Wolves. That ended 2-1, meaning Arsenal can go top of the league if they were to overcome their foes next weekend. A significant afternoon so early in the season, which may be looked back upon in months to come.
Kai Havertz scored his first goal for Arsenal with a penalty in a victory against Bournemouth
Havertz is joined by his team-mates as he celebrates his goal, which made it 3-0 to Arsenal
Bukayo Saka celebrates after his goal put Arsenal ahead against Bournemouth
A goal for Havertz and Man City losing on the same day would have been a dream Mikel Arteta could only have wished for in the morning, the betting odds surely off the charts.
Havertz’s struggles since moving to the Gunners have been well-noted, the zero goals and assists in nine games adding to that. It was this goal that could prove to be the turning point.
In both the first two goals Eddie Nketiah was involved, his pace and confidence to drive at the Bournemouth backline bearing fruits for his side. A further reminder to those who have doubted the striker’s place in a side with title ambition.
Prior to the match, many had assumed Arteta would have no choice but to field a side dissimilar to the prior league games.
In Friday’s press conference, Arteta had alluded to injuries to a number of first-team starters, including Declan Rice, Saka and William Saliba.
Yet they all started. Not the first time, nor the last, Arteta will seek to confuse with team news.
The starting line-up was, though, stronger than expected with fixtures against Champions League opponents Lens and Man City coming up next week.
It is the latter game which is already so crucial to their league campaign. An unbeaten start from their 10 matches thus far.
Saka found the net with a header in the 17th minute to put Arsenal in the ascendancy
Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard doubled his side’s lead as he scored a penalty
Odegaard celebrates his goal, which was scored in the closing stages of the first half
For Bournemouth, they remain winless in 10 Premier League matches — the longest ongoing run of any current top-flight side. A rather concerning start for Andoni Iraola.
Bournemouth: Neto, Aarons, Zabarnyi, Sensei, Kerkez (Semenyo 83), Christie (Smith 83), L. Cook, Tavernier (Sinisterra 59), Billing (Rothwell 75), Kluivert (Ouattara 59), Solanke
Subs: Radu, Moore, Brooks, Traore
Arsenal: Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko (Tomiyasu 69), Rice (Jorginho 81), Odegaard, Havertz (Smith Rowe 81), Saka (Vieira 76), Nketiah (Nelson 69), Jesus
Subs: Ramsdale, Kiwior, Elneny, Trossard
Goals: Saka 17, Odegaard 44 (pen.), Havertz 53 (pen.), White 90
Arsenal’s opener came in an unorthodox fashion. Odegaard’s cross fell to Gabriel Jesus, his header from the box’s edge rebounding off the bar to Saka. He nodded the ball into the ground, into an open net.
A third consecutive game in which Saka has scored, in his 87th consecutive Premier League appearance. A truly remarkable feat in a career going in only one direction.
From the sheer number of challenges which clatter into the winger’s legs week after week, it is no wonder some joke his body must be reinforced by metal.
The Gunners notched another before half-time. Oleksandr Zinchenko’s through ball on the left wing reached Nketiah, the striker sprinting towards goal and felled by Max Aarons.
Aarons was nowhere near the ball. Odegaard stepped up and sent goalkeeper Neto the wrong way.
It spoiled an otherwise solid first-half showing by Aarons, who had made headway towards goal with incisive runs down the right flank.
Earlier in the half, William Saliba was required for a last-ditch tackle on an onrushing Dominic Solanke after Kai Havertz ceded possession.
Ben White celebrates after his goal in the closing stages made it 4-0 to Arsenal
Bournemouth’s Philip Billing attempts to push forward while under pressure from Havertz
The challenge was timed to perfection. Gabriel pulled one of his own out in just before the break, blocking Solanke’s goalbound shot in the box.
Within eight minutes of the second half, Arsenal scored their third after an awful challenge by Christie on Odegaard.
Nketiah had a shot whistle past the post minutes later, while for the Cherries Luis Sinisterra’s introduction from the bench added a renewed attacking threat for the home side.
Both he and fellow substitute Dango Ouattra willed their team forward.
Jesus had a shot go wide, and Emile Smith Rowe should have scored when one-on-one with goalkeeper Neto soon after his introduction in the 81st minute.
But Odegaard notched another assist in injury-time, Ben White scoring a header. A clean-sheet, three goals and City losing. A perfect day for those of an Arsenal disposition.
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