Thursday, May 23, 2024

Arsenal 3-0 Bournemouth: Gunners put pressure back on Man City in title race

SoccerNews in English Premier League 4 May 2024

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Arsenal put the pressure back onto Manchester City in the Premier League title race after their comprehensive 3-0 triumph over Bournemouth at Emirates Stadium.

Mikel Arteta’s side moved four points clear at the league summit with this victory but Man City have two games in hand, the first of which comes at home to Wolves later on Saturday.

Bukayo Saka opened the scoring from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time, with Arsenal securing a deserved reward for their first-half dominance.

Leandro Trossard and Declan Rice made sure of three points with late finishes as defeat left Bournemouth – who had an Antoine Semenyo strike ruled out in the closing stages – 10th in the table.

A flowing Arsenal move almost ended in Trossard converting Ben White’s 10th-minute cross, only for a last-gasp Marcos Senesi block to thwart the Belgium forward.

Bournemouth had Mark Travers to thank soon after as the goalkeeper denied fizzing efforts from Kai Havertz and Saka, as well as a one-on-one with William Saliba.

Travers’ one-man resistance continued when pushing away Thomas Partey’s low left-footed curling attempt before Rice fired narrowly wide following Havertz’s delicate header.

Yet Arsenal finally got their breakthrough as Travers felled the marauding Havertz – with the VAR confirming the spot-kick decision – before Saka coolly swept into the bottom-left corner from 12 yards.

Saka should have doubled his tally after the interval but arrowed a glorious opportunity straight at Travers following a smart offload from Havertz, who went close minutes later.

The otherwise unneeded David Raya was forced into action at the other end to deny Dominic Solanke after 53 minutes, while Justin Kluivert whipped a free-kick just over.

That spell of Bournemouth pressure came to an abrupt end with 20 minutes to go when Rice twisted to play through for Trossard, who slotted a smart right-footed finish into the bottom-right corner.

The Cherries thought they had snatched a goal back just three minutes later but Semenyo’s rebounded strike after Ryan Christie hit the crossbar was ruled out for a Solanke foul on Raya, with the VAR confirming the on-field decision.

Arsenal then suffered a similar fate with the officials as Gabriel Magalhaes’ rocketed volley was disallowed for offside, but Rice was not to be denied in stoppage-time as he fired Gabriel Jesus’ throughball under the helpless Travers.

Advantage Arsenal thanks to super Saka

Arsenal have won 14 of their 16 Premier League games so far in 2024, dropping points only against Man City (0-0) and Aston Villa (0-2) this year.

That incredible run of form ensures a tantalising title race will continue towards the final two games of the season, when Arsenal travel to Manchester United and then host Everton on the last day.

Their success this term can be somewhat apportioned to star winger Saka, who became the first player to score 20 goals for Arsenal in a season across all competitions since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in 2019-20 (29 goals).

Saka is also the first Englishman to do so for the club since Theo Walcott in 2012-13 (21 goals) as the England international continues to deliver in key moments for the Gunners.

Cherries blunted by dominant Gunners

Bournemouth had won 1-0 at Wolves and 3-0 against Brighton in their last two Premier League games before this – but they have never triumphed in three consecutive top-flight games without conceding.

A wait for three straight such victories will go on into next season, though Andoni Iraola will look back on this campaign with fond memories.

They have never won more matches in a top-flight season than their 13 in 2023-24 (also 13 in 2018-19) and – despite this underwhelming performance – will have another chance to set an outright club record when they host Brentford before visiting Chelsea on the final day, with a top-half finish still possible.

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