Ødegaard marshals Arsenal to slick victory over Bournemouth


Unrecognisable. A 12-month transformation, the desk flipped on its head. Then: three video games, no objectives and backside. Now: three video games, objectives flowing and high. True, the fixture checklist has been a lot kinder than this time final yr, however it’s the nature, the model of this Arsenal facet that has heads turning. A confidence, a pazzaz lacking for years.

Their new captain, Martin Ødegaard, set them on their manner with a brace inside a dozen minutes, William Saliba including second-half gloss. Bournemouth have been merely dismantled, a south-coast battering that they didn’t have the defences for.

‘Belief the method,” Mikel Arteta mentioned. He stored saying it. First they laughed, then they obtained offended. Not any extra.

Look, nobody is saying Arsenal will win the title. They aren’t going to win the title. There can be blips, embarrassing moments. However implosions are unlikely. And there’s a sturdy bond between gamers and supporters, maybe aided additional by permitting digicam entry to soccer’s intimate areas final season. Yep, belief the method.

Having began with a pair of victories, there was not even an urge for Arteta to tinker. And so, for the primary time for the reason that “Invincibles” of 2003-04, Arsenal fielded the identical beginning XI for his or her opening three leaguegames.

This floor hosted Arteta’s first match as Arsenal supervisor again in December 2019. He has since slowly sucked the gold-plated poison out of the membership, that means simply Bukayo Saka and Granit Xhaka stay as starters.

Within the Bournemouth facet that day was Aaron Ramsdale. A lot scoffing accompanied his Arsenal arrival, by way of a spell at, and a second consecutive relegation with, Sheffield United. Whereas Ramsdale nonetheless refers back to the Vitality Stadium as “dwelling”, and acquired a heat reception from all sides of the bottom, he’s indispensable to his present membership.

Scott Parker made three modifications from final week’s don’t-read-too-much-into-it defeat at Manchester Metropolis. Jordan Zemura – who missed that sport with Covid – Philip Billing and Marcos Senesi all got here in, the latter, a summer season arrival from Feyenoord, making his full-debut. Dominic Solanke, the membership’s top-scorer throughout their promotion from the Championship, once more missed out.

Regardless of the prepare strikes, the Arsenal followers have been buoyant even earlier than kick-off. An away day by the coast within the sunshine. What might go mistaken? Effectively, they’ve been stung earlier than.

Bournemouth have been compliant hosts, blasting out Rockin’ All Over the World minutes earlier than kick off. That allowed a warming of the vocal cords, Standing Quo’s hit having been tailored final season anthemically.

Quickly the visiting followers have been euphoric. Ødegaard was the scorer nevertheless it was all about Gabriel Jesus. Senesi’s consideration was dismissed with pure energy – welcome to the Premier League – and Jesus’s contact was good.

Martin Ødegaard opens the scoring. {Photograph}: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

He jinked previous Jefferson Lerma earlier than a intelligent reverse go set Gabriel Martinelli in down the left. Mark Travers made a sensible save along with his legs, however Ødegaard was left with a easy end. The celebrations, although, have been telling; Jesus was the person who was mobbed.

It took six minutes for the result in double. Ben White’s overlap on the suitable was noticed by Saka, and the pull-back managed by Jesus close to the penalty spot. Along with his foot poised to strike, Ødegaard and his vivid yellow footwear arrived to fireside dwelling emphatically.

VAR double-checked White had not mistimed his run; it already felt like match-point for Bournemouth. The aim stood and Arsenal settled right into a rhythmic dominance. Ødegaard was tempo setter, Martinelli and Jesus electrically charged.

When Bournemouth confirmed a glimpse of journey – or certainly have been allowed to – it was snuffed out. A lot has been manufactured from Oleksandr Zinchenko’s position as an inverted full-back. It has allowed Xhaka a brand new freedom.

However Zinchenko can also be a superb defender. Marcus Tavernier’s try to interrupt was stopped with such ease, it might have been no shock if Zinchenko had shrugged his shoulders afterwards. When he misstepped briefly, briefly dropping possession on the sting of the field, he and Xhaka rapidly sandwiched the hazard.

Bournemouth began slightly extra brightly after the break – although they may hardly have dimmed it down – Lerma placing over from vary. Jesus even put a foot mistaken, booked for fouling Lewis Cook dinner who had changed Senesi on the break.

However then any remaining air was vacuumed utterly from the hosts. A brief free-kick noticed Martinelli dance down the suitable. His deep cross discovered Xhaka who teed up Saliba. An excellent first-time, left-footed hit from the sting of the realm flew previous Travers.

Arsenal followers had spent 20 minutes of the opening interval serenading Saliba along with his title inserted into 1950’s hit Tequila, and once more they bellowed it out.

Martinelli was a stunning presence and had an opportunity for the aim he deserved shortly afterwards. Set racing down the center by Saka, he blazed over.

Jesus thought he had an beautiful fourth, Ødegaard the would-be present, however the Brazilian had moved simply too early. Then Kieffer Moore lastly known as Ramsdale into motion, a towering header tipped extensive. It had taken 79 minutes.

Basking within the sunshine, the visiting followers merrily breezed via their again catalogue. There have been even some new ones; Xhaka in all probability by no means thought he would hear the day his title would ring out from his personal supporters.

Arteta could not smile outwardly. He continued to persuade his gamers from the technical space till the ultimate whistle. However inwardly he should be beaming. Maybe he’ll categorical it on an easel.

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