Hits and Misses: Bournemouth (a)

On Saturday, Arsenal traveled down south to take on newly-promoted Bournemouth. After a relatively muted start to the season, captain Martin Odegaard finished the match with a double. Meanwhile, William Saliba curled home a beautiful finish to make it 3-0 to the Arsenal. The result, and others throughout the league, leave the Gunners in pole position to end the weekend. Below are four Hits and one Miss from yet another great performance.


Martin Odegaard

Entering the match, Odegaard had received a fair amount of stick from his doubters. This was down to a rather subdued first two matches of the season, in which his contributions were not eye-catching. But within 11 minutes, those critics were quieted as Odegaard snatched a quick brace. The captain remembered he can shoot at goal too, and was rewarded for doing so. He was also unlucky not to walk away with an assist after a blurry replay screen apparently showed Gabriel Jesus offside. Hopefully the skipper can kick on from here.

William Saliba

What more can be said about Saliba? He has convinced us all that he is the real deal. On top of another commanding defensive performance in which he nullified Kieffer Moore, he finished the match with 73 passes completed out of 73. And on top of that, he fired home a terrific goal to seal the points for Arsenal. During the match, the young Frenchman inspired a chant based on the song “Tequila” by The Champs. The away end continued the chant for the better part of 15 minutes, but Saliba’s performance definitely deserved the full 90.

Gabriel Jesus

It seems all things truly are possible through Jesus. The Brazilian phenom displayed his wide array of talents on Saturday, first hip checking a Bournemouth player out of the way to bring the ball under control from the air before then completing a mazy run that took him past three more opponents. He then slipped in Gabriel Martinelli, whose saved shot was eventually slotted home by Odegaard. For Odegaard’s second, Jesus popped up in acres of space in the penalty area, unintentionally setting up his teammate. Jesus was unfortunately ruled offside when the Norwegian found his intelligent run into the box and the Brazilian clipped the ball home. But even without a goal, Jesus has found a way to run the show in attack.

Oleksandr Zinchenko

It’s hard to really know what the Ukrainian’s position is at this point. On the team sheet, he lines up as a left-back, but on the pitch he is anything but, consistently tucking into the heart of midfield and pulling the strings from there. One thing is for sure: Zinchenko’s technical quality is otherworldly. While he cannot claim any goal contributions on the day, he has raised the level in Mikel Arteta’s side. Additionally, Zinchenko’s defense in transition certainly was an improvement from the previous week. He is probably one of the most important players in the side currently.


The rest of the top six

It’s quite apparent that Arteta’s men are firing on all cylinders. In the meantime, United are a disaster. Chelsea appear out of sorts and Spurs don’t look too convincing either despite better results. Liverpool have had a slow start. And even City were made to look mortal away to Newcastle. Yes, the season is only three matchweeks old. Arsenal’s opening schedule is rather charitable. The other teams will likely get it together in some form and things will return to something resembling the status quo. But right now, Arsenal are clicking and further up the table than the rest of the top six. So enjoy it while it lasts. It’s not every day you get to laugh at all those teams at once.

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