Bournemouth, England – Martin Odegaard scored twice and William Saliba attacked with a superb effort as Mikel Arteta’s side won their third consecutive game to open the 2022-23 season. The 3-0 win saw them top the Premier League with their first three perfect matches of the season since 2004-05.
Report: Arsenal crush Bournemouth | Premier League table | Upcoming matches
Here is our reaction to Saturday’s Premier League game on the South Coast.
jump to: Player ratings | Best/Worst Performer | Highlights and Highlights | Post-match quotes | Key stats | Upcoming matches
1. Arsenal go from rock bottom to top of the league
Last year, Arsenal lost their first three matches to sit at the bottom of the standings with no goals and no points, raising serious questions about Mikel Arteta’s management. A year later, they took the lead on Saturday night with a resounding 3-0 win over Bournemouth, suggesting that Arteta has Arsenal in a place where they can seriously challenge for the top four spot.
Contrasts are welcome everywhere. Arteta’s first match was against Bournemouth in December 2019, a 1-1 draw as Arsenal raced to save a point. This time, they were 2-0 up the South Coast within 11 minutes through a Martin Odegaard brace, before William Saliba continued their lead nine minutes into the first half. Their dominance was complete: Bournemouth had no touches in the Arsenal box in the first 45 minutes and finished with an xG of 0.29. The cheerful back-up sang Arteta’s name and revisited a music group that emphasized reconnecting with their band — even Granite Chaka, who was stripped of the captaincy less than three years ago, was among those who sang.
Tougher tests to come – Bournemouth will clearly struggle to stay awake this season if reinforcements don’t arrive before the window closes – but Arteta has Arsenal in a very different place now than the dark days of yesteryear.
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2. Jesus sets the tone
Record records will show that Odegaard scored the opening goal here and assisted Gabriel Martinelli, but it was Gabriel Jesus’ contribution that did the most to turn the game in Arsenal’s favor early on. Five minutes later, Jesus outmaneuvered Marcos Senese before making a great first touch to help him spin into space, dodging Jefferson Lerma, and bogeying behind Marcus Tavernier before slipping a reverse pass away from Chris Mipham to unleash Martinelli for a shot on goal.
Regardless of the impressive quality of this clip of gameplay, it was the kind of tough moment that set the tone for the entire team. Arsenal’s previous incarnations would start away matches like this with doubts about their hunger to fight, allowing opponents to grow in the game as they sensed an opportunity.
Not this time.
Arteta has already described how he witnessed the impact of Jesus’ winning mentality behind the scenes, and here he epitomized that on the pitch: he drove from the front with determination and authority to help give Arsenal the lead they never seemed to concede. It’s still early days, but the promotion to Jesus by Alexandre Lacazette looks stark in this guide. In another sign of his growing influence, Jesus finished the match here as captain in only his third appearance for the club.
3. Saliba’s transformation continues
Arsenal fans spent most of the first half playing a new song for their £27m center back – “Saliba” to the tunes of “Tequila” for Champions – long before he scored his first goal for the club. A great left-footed finish nine minutes into the second half. The 21-year-old received Xhaka’s pass for the first time inside the penalty area, and lifted a fine finish on Mark Travers to score his first goal for Arsenal. Well, his first goal is at the right end.
Last week, Saliba netted in Arsenal’s 4-2 win over Leicester City, but was supported during that difficult moment by a fan base desperate to see him succeed after waiting three years to see him represent the club. And as a cross was running to celebrate, Oleksandr Zinchenko simply sank to his knees, hands on his head, overwhelmed by the grandeur of it all.
Saliba’s composure is undoubtedly impressive for someone so young, and he finished here with a 100% pass completion rate: 75 out of 75. The hype around this promising young defender will only grow.
Bournemouth (3-5-2): Mark Travers 6; Chris Mepham 6, Marco Senese 4, Lloyd Kelly 6; Jefferson Lerma 6; Adam Smith 6, Marcus Tavernier 6, Ben Pearson 5, Jordan Zemora 6; Philip Billing 5, Kiefer Moore 6.
Subs: Lewis Cook 6, Jaydon Anthony 6, Ryan Christie 6.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Aaron Ramsdale 6; Ben White 7, William Saliba 9, Gabriel 7, Oleksandr Zinchenko 8; Thomas Partey 7, Granit Shaka 8; Bukayo Saka 7, Martin Odegaard 8, Gabriel Martinelli 8; Gabriel Jesus 8.
Subs: Emil Smith Rowe 7, Eddie Nketiah 6, Takehiro Tomiyasu 6, Kieran Tierney 6, Albert Sambi Lukonga 6.
Best and worst performer
Best: William Saliba
Marked another screen guaranteed with a brilliantly shot target and a 100% success rate.
Worst: Marcos Senese
Jesus beat him desperately in preparation for the opening goal and was sent off in the first half as Bournemouth made a double change in an attempt to revive their fortunes.
Highlights and Highlights
Arsenal got off to an exciting start to the season and Odegaard was one player at his heart.
82.3% – Oleksandr Zinchenko finished in winning position in 82.3% of his Premier League appearances (65/79), the best number for any player with more than 50 appearances in the competition.
82.3% – Oleksandr Zinchenko
82.1% – Argin Robben
81.5% – Aymeric Laporte
79.8% – Phil Foden
– OptaJoe (OptaJoe) August 20 2022
Did anyone think Arsenal would be a perfect three-on-three to open the campaign? We do not.
This feeling is full time 🤩# burs pic.twitter.com/5oRn7ttCre
Arsenal August 20 2022
After the match: What the managers said, the players said
“The quality of their level was clearly visible. I was disappointed with our general behaviour, our body language and at times not understanding what we needed to be against a higher team.
“We were lacking in pursuit and a real desire to understand what the match looked like. The most important thing in the first half was to make the players understand what we really wanted from the game. We need to show certain elements of what we showed in the second half.
“We came out strong right from the start and totally controlled the game. We scored some good goals and controlled the game, so we felt good. Maybe the second half was a little different. We gave them some momentum and a lot of the set pieces but William [Saliba] He scored our third goal so it was a strong match.” – Martin Odegaard, Arsenal midfielder
“Still far [from perfect]. We had some strong periods. In the second half, we missed a lot of chances for Bournemouth. I’m proud, it’s not easy to come here and win 3-0, but there are still things to prove.
“In life, difficult experiences make you stronger and make you learn more from the good moments. That moment was painful and we don’t want to go through it again. We will try until the end [to sign more players]. The transfer market is tough. We’d like to do something else. Let’s see what we can do. – Mikel Arteta, Arsenal manager.
Key Statistics (Provided by ESPN Statistics and Information)
This is the first time that Martin Odegaard has scored multiple goals in the same match in his football career.
Arsenal have 87 games unbeaten in a row when they lead by at least two goals in the first half. Their recent defeat in such a game? November 20, 2010, in the north London derby (lost 3-2 to Tottenham).
This is a good run for Arsenal worth mentioning: it is the first time they have won their first three Premier League games since 2004-05.
Bournemouth: It’s a big week for Cherries as they travel to Norwich for the Carabao Cup second round match (23 August) before hosting Liverpool in the Premier League (27 August).
Arsenal: The high-flying Arsenal face two opponents in the Premier League, Fulham at home (August 27) and Aston Villa (August 30).