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Arsenal 3-2 Bournemouth: Inspired Subs Send Arsenal to Euphoria

Nelson sends Arsenal into euphoria with last-gasp winner

Arsenal celebrating Nelson’s last-gasp winner

Match Report – Match Highlights – Post-Match Press Conference

Final Result: Arsenal 3-2 Bournemouth (Partey 63′, White 70′, Nelson 96′ | Billing 1′, Senesi 57′)

Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale; Tomiyasu (White 46′), Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Partey, F. Vieira (Xhaka 84′); Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Trossard (Smith-Rowe 22′ – Nelson 69′)

In my match preview of the Bournemouth game, the only change I expected was Thomas Partey coming on for Jorginho, as he was fully fit and the Italian midfielder still recovering from an illness, but the manager shuffled his pack further with Takehiro Tomiyasu coming on for Ben White and Fabio Vieira making a rare start ahead of Granit Xhaka. 

However, Arsenal had a nightmare start to the game when Bournemouth got in on the scoring act right from kickoff, as Dominic Solanke worked the ball to Ouattara Dango and swung in a deep cross that was missed by Gabriel, and with William Saliba unaware of Philip Billings presence, the lanky midfielder drifted into the box and smashed it past Aaron Ramsdale. That goal was scored in the frigging 10th second of the game, and has been recorded as the second fastest strike in Premier League history, behind Shane Long’s 7.69 second goal against Watford in Vicarage Road four years ago.

That wasn’t the start anyone at the Emirates expected, but that’s football for you. Arsenal responded swiftly when Martin Odegaard won possession further up the pitch, shimmied past his marker and drilled a low drive that was going to Neto’s far corner, but the experienced Bournemouth keeper dived to make a smart stop. Bukayo Saka was quick to pounce on the rebound but Neto was on hand to make another save. 

With Arsenal on the ascendancy, there was always the potential of leaving things open at the back, and this was exploited by a swift Bournemouth counter attack. Billing cushioned a ball at the edge of the area for Solanke and Ouattara, with the latter blasting the shot at goal, but Ramsdale made himself big to execute a huge important save. Arsenal’s misery was compounded when Emile Smith-Rowe came onto the pitch to replace Leandro Trossard that was clearly in some discomfort. One can only hope it’s not a long term injury, with the games coming thick and fast, and Arsenal not really stacked in that position – Gabriel Jesus isn’t close to full fitness and Eddie Nketiah suffered a knock. 

Following a poor clearance from Saliba, Billing, who was in the heart of every good from an attacking perspective for Bournemouth, showed quick thinking to tee up Solanke on the break, but the forward’s attempt on goal was poor to say the least. At half time, there was some form of disbelief at the Emirates, as the Gunners were losing to the team in 19th place on the table, and the visitors had the better chances, while Arsenal had all the possession and didn’t do anything meaningful with the ball. There was also the added pressure that Manchester City had won Newcastle at the lunch time kickoff, reducing the gap to two points before the game against Bournemouth started. 

At the start of the second half, Arteta summoned Ben White to replace Tomiyasu, to add some impetus to the Arsenal attack. Things got from bad to worse for Arsenal when Marco Senesi evaded Partey to head home Joe Rothwell’s corner to make it 2-0 to Bournemouth. The Emirates crowd did what they could to support the team, while Arteta called for calm. This was not a good situation to be in.

Saka worked well with White on the right flank and drilled a cross towards Martinelli, but Stephens was on hand to send the ball to Row Z. He also had the element of luck with him, because it could easily have been an own goal. Saka swung in the ball from the resulting corner and it was punched by Neto. Smith-Rowe showed good awareness and nodded the ball back to the danger area, and it was attacked by Partey to make it 2-1. The Ghanaian had a tribute on his shirt to his compatriot, Christian Atsu, that sadly lost his life in the Syria – Turkey earthquakes. 

At 2-1, a comeback seemed to be on the cards, but Arsenal had their excellent goalie to thank again for keeping the score line intact, as Rothwell found Solanke on the edge of the box and his low drive to the near post was saved by Ramsdale. Arteta noticed that Smith-Rowe was still struggling, and replaced him with Reiss Nelson, which turned out to be a masterclass from the Arsenal gaffer. Within moments of Nelson’s arrival, the winger latched onto the ball on the left hand side and scooped a cross that was smashed in by White but Neto made a save, however, all of the ball had passed the ball, so the goal line technology did its thing and the goal was awarded. In a game were VAR failed to work with Bournemouth getting away with murder in their box with all Arsenal penalty attempts refuted, GLT came through.

The turnaround was almost complete when Saka showed good movement on the byline and blasted a cross that ricocheted off Stephens to the post, and Bournemouth got away with that, much to the despair of the Arsenal crowd. Martinelli was sent clean on goal and used his pace to evade his marker but his shot was launched into orbit. It was looking like that kind of day. 2-2 was a good comeback, but everyone associated with Arsenal knew that it was a deflating result.

Right at the death, Oleksandr Zinchenko blasted a goal-bound shot that was deflected for a corner. Saka swung in Arsenal’s 17th corner on the day and it was cleared away by a Bournemouth defender and fell kindly to Nelson, who didn’t need a second invitation to blast the ball with his left boot. Time stood still as his shot went past Stephens, then past Neto in the Bournemouth goal, to send the entire Emirates Stadium into rapture. The entire substitutes stormed into the pitch to celebrate the massive goal, Mikel Arteta went into bonkers, the collective screams at the Emirates could be heard on the dark side of the Moon. It was truly magical. 

To be part of what this season has produced, and write about it regularly has been one of the best things of my life. You can’t imagine the emotions I’m going through, knowing that the potential really exists for my love, Arsenal, to bring back home the Premier League after 19 years. This season, we have seen the goals come in with regularity from the likes of Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli while forwards like Nketiah and Jesus aren’t far behind, but today, Partey scored his first goal since that stunner at the North London Derby, White scored his first ever Arsenal goal since his 50 million quid move from Brighton, and the forgotten Nelson pops up after a long injury layoff to win the game for his club. You can’t make this shit up.

We can bask in the euphoria of this win, then settle and prepare for Europa League business against Sporting Lisbon. 

Congratulations to all the Arsenal fans that have been part of this adventure. I must say, it’s been a ride!


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Bournemouth Preview: More of the Same, Please!

Martin Ødegaard marshals Arsenal to slick victory over Bournemouth |  Premier League | The Guardian

Odegaard had an outstanding game against Bournemouth

Bournemouth visit the Emirates Stadium at the worst possible time for the Cherries, as they are currently languishing in the relegation spots and are overwhelming favorites to lose today’s game. Following Arsenal’s comfortable win against Everton, the Gunners are five points clear at the top of the Premier League table, but Manchester City plays Newcastle in the lunch time fixture, and the potential exists for the gap to be cut to two points before Mikel Arteta’s men take to the pitch. Newcastle will still be licking their wounds from the Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester United, and you’d expect a hangover performance from them today. 

Arsenal has enjoyed a very good record against Bournemouth, with the Gunners smashing five past them in the previous home encounter in the 2018/19 season. Bournemouth’s record at the Emirates is so bad, that they have failed to even pick a draw in their six visits to the Arsenal stadium – all defeats, with an aggregate scoreline of 17-2. Despite spending £75 million on attacking and defensive talent post-World Cup, Bournemouth still remains in the trenches of relegation, and they seem destined for the drop unless their fortunes change soon.

To team news, Arteta has provided updates on the fitness status of Jorginho, Eddie Nketiah and most importantly, Gabriel Jesus,

 “I don’t want to give a timeline but he’s doing certain things with the team and certain things outside the team. He’s not very close but he’s not far at all. He’s feeling better every day and the doctors are confident with the way the injury is evolving.

“We need to see when he’s back what level he is, how we’re going to fit him in and how we’re going to load him with minutes and in which games. Like everybody else, he’ll have to earn his place but we know what Gaby can give to the team.

The gaffer confirmed that Jorginho is fit after his bout of illness, while Nketiah is on the 50/50 mark following his knock, meaning that Thomas Partey should be in line to start the game, with Jorginho featuring against Sporting Lisbon on Thursday, and Leandro Trossard would be in line for his third straight start as a center forward. We know that Trossard presence spearheading the attack has been hugely beneficial to Gabriel Martinelli, and we can only hope the great form, especially in front of goal, continues. 

Bournemouth on the other hand, are riddled with injuries, with as much as seven players currently on the treatment table. The club’s form is quite shocking, with just one win against fellow strugglers, Wolves, in their last 11 games. They have also suffered eight defeats in this same run. Following their last home defeat to Manchester City, Bournemouth are currently in 19th place, but the margins at the bottom are so low, with 17th placed Leeds just a solitary point ahead of the Cherries. 

Arsenal are favorites to win the game and the fans will expect no less from their heroes that managed to come out of that slump in February to win three Premier League games on the trot. Arteta hardly shuffles his pack, and I expect to see a very similar lineup from the team that sent Everton to the cleaners, with Partey drafted back into the side after his injury struggles. 

Arsenal vs Bournemouth Predicted Lineups

Arsenal: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard; Martinelli, Trossard, Saka.

Bournemouth: Neto; Smith, Mepham, Senesi, Stephens, Zemura; Ouattara, Billing, Lerma, Traore; Solanke

Injury / Suspension Updates

Arsenal: Mohamed Elneny (knee), Gabriel Jesus (knee), Eddie Nketiah (knock)

Bournemouth: Lloyd Kelly (calf), Matias Vina (knee), Illya Zabarniyi (ankle), Marcus Tavanier (hamstring), Junior Stanislas (knock), David Brooks (hamstring)

Form Guide

Arsenal Form

  • Last Five Games: D L W W W
  • Last Result: Arsenal 4-0 Everton (Saka 40′, Martinelli 46′, 80′, Odegaard 71′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli (11)

Bournemouth Form

  • Last Five Games:  D L D W L
  • Last Result: Bournemouth 1-4 Manchester City (Lerma 83′ | Alvarez 15′, Haaland 29′, Foden 45′, Mepham OG 51′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Jadon Anthony, Dominic Solanke, Philip Billing, Kieffer Moore (4)

Gooner Daily predicts a 3 – 0 victory.

Kick Off – 4.00pm (GMT +1) at Emirates Stadium.

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Bournemouth 1-2 Arsenal: Youngsters Lead the Way

Bournemouth Arsenal

Saka celebrates goal against Bournemouth

Match Report  Post-Match Press Conference 

Final ResultBournemouth 1-2 Arsenal

Goal Scorers: Bournemouth (Surridge 90+4′), Arsenal (Saka 5′, Nketiah 26′)

Arsenal XI (subs) (4-2-3-1): Martinez; Bellerin (c), Mustafi (Holding 62′), Sokratis, Saka; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Martinelli, Willock (Maitland-Niles 90′), Pepe (Ceballos 69′); Nketiah

Bournemouth hosted Arsenal on a cold Monday night with the lineup I predicted not far off from what Mikel Arteta selected. Eddie Howe’s side is in a poor vein of form going into this game and Bournemouth is currently languishing in 18th, flirting with relegation. Arsenal has problems of their own but when it comes to Cup football, form goes out of the window because it’s the result on the night that matters.

It was good to see the Gunners firing from the kickoff with Bukayo Saka receiving a carefully threaded ball from Gabriel Martinelli and unleashing a surface-to-goal piledriver that smashed the underside of the bar and into the net. That was Saka’s third goal of the season, and to see him score such a brilliant goal while playing as a left back was a pleasurable sight. Arsenal head coach, Mikel Arteta, had some good words about Saka in his post-match press conference.

Arsenal continued to pummel the Bournemouth defense with Hector Bellerin feeding Joe Willock on the edge of the area. The young midfielder used his upper body strength to shove off his marker and managed to release a shot but the angle was too tight, allowing Travers to make a decent save. That didn’t matter to the Gunners as they went two goals up thanks to Eddie Nketiah. After some intricate passing play in midfield, Saka drilled a cross into the heart of the Bournemouth defense and the ball evaded Martinelli, but Nketiah was on hand to side foot the ball home, sending Travers the wrong. It’s moments like this that shows the manager’s vision for his team as he made it clear that Nketiah was not going anywhere else following the torrid spell at Leeds.

Bournemouth was losing quite alright but they were not going to sleep over and play dead, as Liverpool loanee, Harry Wilson, was unmarked at the far post and showed off his good technique in firing the ball at the Arsenal goal first time, but Emi Martinez reacted well to make a good save. Martinez wasn’t too impressive for one of the corners as he found himself in No Man’s Land but the Bournemouth’s defenders header went wide off the mark. 

Dan Gosling tried an attempt from quite some distance with the ball deflecting off Holding and over the bar. Speaking of Holding, I had expected him to start the game but Arteta opted for Skhodran Mustafi instead. Sadly, Mustafi got injured and had to be stretched out of the field, which was not a good sight. This injury adds more pressure on the club to sign a defender as the ones we have are just dropping like flies. But with reports of the Pablo Mari deal is on the brink of collapsing, it makes you wonder.

Bournemouth finally got what their efforts deserved when Simon Francis’ cross into the Arsenal box reached Sam Surridge’s feet and the young forward passed the ball into the net with Martinez flat footed. However, it was too little, too late for Bournemouth. 

Arsenal’s reward for the victory against Bournemouth is a trip to Fratton Park to play League One outfit, Portsmouth in the Round of 16.


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