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  • By Charlie Stong at the Vitality Stadium

Havertz scores first Arsenal goal as Gunners thump Bournemouth 4-0 - and move within a point of top

AFC Bournemouth 0

Arsenal 4 (Saka 17, Odegaard 44 pen, Havertz 53 pen, White 90+3)

Kai Havertz scored his first goal in an Arsenal shirt as the Gunners enjoyed their day out at the seaside – thumping Bournemouth 4-0.

A header from Bukayo Saka and a penalty from the sublime Martin Odegaard gave the visitors a 2-0 lead at the break, and when they were awarded a second-spot kick shortly after half-time, Havertz stepped up to open his account – and make the points safe.

Ben White’s towering header in stoppage time – from Odegaard’s free-kick – put the icing on the cake.

It was the perfect result for the Gunners ahead of next weekend’s visit to the Emirates of champions Manchester City – who Arsenal are now just one point behind after City’s defeat at Wolves this afternoon.

Bournemouth actually started the better of the two sides. A through ball found Dominic Solanke with a clear run at the Arsenal goal early on, but just as Solanke was about to shoot, William Saliba made a superb last-ditch tackle, preventing him from getting the shot away.

But it was all one-way traffic after the Gunners took the lead – which they did after 17 minutes. Odegaard’s cross from the right was headed against the post by Gabriel Jesus, and looped up kindly for Saka, who had the simplest of tasks in nodding in the rebound.

Arsenal began to play with a greater confidence, Oleksandr Zinchenko stinging the palms of Neto in the Bournemouth goal with a fierce shot from the edge of the box.

And they doubled their lead just before the break from the spot. Eddie Nketiah was slipped in down the left, and brought down by Max Aaarons. Up stepped Odegaard, who sent Neto the wrong way, and the travelling Gooners were celebrating once again.

Ryan Christie could have made it 2-1 deep into first-half stoppage time, but his shot across David Raya, whose distribution hadn’t been great in the first period, was well saved.

But shortly after the break the game was safe for Arsenal when they were awarded their second penalty, Odegaard brought down by Christie.

There had obviously been a message at half-time that should the Gunners have been awarded a second spot-kick, then Havertz, who has struggled so far for the north Londoners, and who hadn’t scored for them before today, would be the man to take it.

That second spot kick did come – and Havertz made no mistake for 3-0.

It was an extremely popular goal among both players and fans, with the travelling support singing Havertz’s name for much of the rest of the game.

Jesus had a chance to make it 4-0, as did substitute Emile Smith Rowe, but both shot wide, before White scored.

The Gunners will travel back up the M3 with three points and a spring in their step, breathing down the necks of City.

Teams: AFC Bournemouth: Neto, Kerkez (Semenyo 83), Cook, Solanke, Christie (Smith 83), Tavernier (Sinisterra 59), Kluivert (Ouattara 59), Senesi, Zabarnyi, Billing (Rothwell 75), Aarons

Arsenal: Raya, Saliba, White, Gabriel, Saka (Vieira 76), Odegaard, Jesus, Nketiah (Nelson 69), Havertz (Smith Rowe 81), Zinchenko (Tomiyasu 69), Rice (Jorginho 81).

Referee: Michael Salisbury


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