Three talking points from Arsenal’s stunning win over Bournemouth

Arsenal started the weekend with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Bournemouth, but Manchester City’s subsequent win means they remain just one point clear of the Premier League table.

Considered likely to be the trickiest game on Arsenal’s schedule given the Cherries’ form in 2024, the Gunners quickly began to ease the tension inside the Emirates Stadium with a superb first half performance that, despite being in front of goal, There are no cruel advantages.

Despite a tense start to the second half that raised fears of a repeat for Aston Villa, Arsenal’s victory was never really in doubt. After Bukayo Saka opened the scoring from the penalty spot, Leandro Trossard and Declan Rice scored after the restart to take all three points.

The victory extended Arsenal’s winning streak to four games but Manchester City still retain control of the title race.

Here are three talking points from Saturday’s win over Bournemouth.

Declan Rice

Rice’s brilliant debut campaign seemed to be fading away during eight scorching days at Arsenal in April, with the midfielder failing to prove his quality in the club’s Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich.

The England international has played a lot of games this season and fatigue seems to be creeping in.

However, Rice found a second ray of light after the game, with the midfielder having played an important role in Arsenal’s last four wins. His performance on Saturday was the best of the bunch, as he played a key role in the home side’s second-half advantage.

He has been given enough freedom to influence the course of the advanced field, and this game showed Rice’s ceiling in the eighth role – just days after he revealed his preference to play deeper.

His assist for Leandro Trossard’s strike was a smart one, while his killer goal showcased his superb running ability and ever-improving feel in and around the opposition penalty area. This goal was the perfect ending to the game and he was considered by many to be the man of the match.

David Raya

The signing of David Raya last summer certainly raised the eyebrows of many, as did the Spaniard’s meteoric rise to number one status.

However, to be fair, Mikel Arteta’s decision to essentially replace Aaron Ramsdale has been confirmed. On Saturday, Raya kept a record 15th Premier League clean sheet of the season and won the Golden Glove award. He is the first Arsenal goalkeeper to win this honor since Petr Cech in the 2015/16 season.

Raya has certainly had an impressive season and is proving to be an upgrade over Ramsdale, but there is certainly room for further improvement for the Spaniard. His save numbers this season are poor – he ranks 25th among Premier League goalkeepers in terms of expected goals after shots minus goals allowed (essentially the number of shots a goalkeeper is expected to save).

Arteta’s imperious defensive structure meant Raya was rarely called upon, and the Spaniard made some high-profile mistakes that needed to be corrected. However, Arsenal’s top star has also shown remarkable resilience and impressive lofty prowess in his first year.

There’s a foundation to build on, that’s for sure.

Erling Haaland

Arsenal have an advantage over title rivals Manchester City in the break-in period and the Gunners have done an excellent job of keeping the pressure on the champions.

Arteta’s side have only lost once in 2024, but a miss at home to Aston Villa will play a vital role in the title race. City have not lost in the Premier League since December 6 and they have dropped just six points in 2024.

There’s not much Arsenal can do.

This Manchester City team is chasing an unprecedented fourth consecutive title, but they are feeling nothing. They’ve been here before. Arsenal’s run of wins has only inspired them, rather than inhibited them. Exit from the Champions League has significantly boosted their title hopes, and Arsenal are likely to rely on arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur to do them a favor in Manchester City’s penultimate game of the season.

Pep Guardiola’s Sky Blues were a ruthless juggernaut and they once again came into their own when it mattered most. They barely broke a sweat in their 5-1 win over Wolves on Saturday night.

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