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  • By Charlie Stong at Emirates Stadium

Gunners move four clear again after 3-0 win against Bournemouth - over to City

Arsenal 3 (Saka 44 (pen), Trossard 70, Rice 90+7)

AFC Bournemouth 0

Arsenal put the pressure back on to Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title after a 3-0 win over AFC Bournemouth at the Emirates this lunchtime.

A penalty from Bukayo Saka just before the break, a fine sweeping shot from Leandro Trossard midway through the second period and a strike from Declan Rice in stoppage time mean Arsenal's advantage at the summit is now four points. City have two games in hand, starting later today at home against Wolves.

You would have to go a long way to see a more one-sided first half than here today. The Gunners had managed 12 shots on target after just 25 minutes - and every outfield player in a red shirt bar Gabriel had gone close.

Arsenal were on their game immediately, swarming forward with wave after wave of attack - sucked towards the Clock End goal by the beating drum of the Ashburton Army.

Trossard and skipper Martin Odegaard saw shots blocked, while Rice chose to pass to Saka down the right when a shot from a central position appeared the better option.

Kai Havertz's clever back-flick then set Ben White away down the right. His cross found Trossard who again was thwarted by a block, this time Marcos Senesi there for the Cherries.

Havertz drew the first save from Mark Travers, twisting his defender down the left and hitting a shot on the turn across the goalkeeper, which he palmed to safety.

Next it was William Saliba's turn. Played in down the right by Saka, the Frenchman cut inside his defender and drew another stop from Travers at the near post. Seconds later action replay, in exactly the same part of the pitch - Travers thwarting Saka this time. 

It was relentless stuff - but still 0-0.

Takehiro Tomiyasu, in again at left-back, had a header from a corner which was cleared, before Thomas Partey blazed over.

Partey then did get one on target, again saved by Travers.

But probably the best chance of the lot thus far fell to Rice. A bouncing ball in the penalty came the way of the former West Ham man, who took his time and fired just wide of the right-hand post.

But Arsenal finally did break the deadlock after 44 minutes. Havertz was brought down by Travers. Bournemouth's defenders felt Havertz had left his leg in, drawing the contact from the goalkeeper, but after a lengthy VAR check the spot-kick was awarded - and Saka stroked it home.

The start of the second half followed the same pattern, with the Gunners looking for more.

Rice nicked the ball in a dangerous position for the Cherries, found Havertz, who in turn found Saka, whose first-time sweeping left-foot shot was well saved by Travers.

Then Havertz's shot on the turn was saved.

It took Bournemouth until 53 minutes to have a shot on goal. Arsenal fans were screaming for a foul on Odegaard in the middle of the park, but referee David Coote waved play on. The ball broke to Dominic Solanke in the area but his shot was well saved by David Raya.

The Cherries began to frighten the home side for the first time all afternoon. Alex Scott soon had an effort from outside the box which was easily saved by Raya, before Justin Kluivert's fierce shot whistled past the goalkeeper's right-hand post.

The Gunners began to appear slightly anxious. Gabriel gave a needless free-kick away just outside the box, which Kluivert curled over the bar.

But the Gunners' nerves were settled with 20 minutes left. Odegaard was challenged just outside the box, the ball fell to Rice, whose deft flick played in Trossard, who swept home for 2-0.

The Cherries thought they were back in it shortly afterwards. David Raya punched a ball as far as Ryan Christie on the edge of the area, Christie's shot cannoned back off the bar and was put in by Antoine Semenyo. But Coote immediately disallowed it for a pull on Raya by Solanke in the build-up and, after another long VAR stoppage, Coote's decision was rubber-stamped.

And Rice had the final say at the very last. Three nil. The Gunners are not going away this year. Over to City.


Arsenal: Raya, Saliba, White, Partey, Gabriel, Saka (Jesus 85), Odegaard, Tomiyasu, Trossard (Martinelli 81), Havertz, Rice

Bournemouth: Travers, Cook, Solanke, Christie, Ouattara, Scott (Billing 71), Smith (Aarons 89), Kluivert (Faivre 89), Semenyo, Senesi (Unal 80), Zabarnyi

Referee: David Coote

Picture: Charlie Stong


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