"Perfect day!" - National media reacts as Arsenal close the gap to Man City with Bournemouth win


Arsenal closed the gap to Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table with a convincing 4-0 win against Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon. The Gunners have moved to within a point of City ahead of their huge Premier League clash at the Emirates Stadium next weekend.

Bukayo Saka and Declan Rice were both passed fit and started against the Cherries - with the former scoring the opening goal of the game. Martin Odegaard added a second from the penalty spot just before half-time to give Arsenal a comfortable lead.

Kai Havertz netted his first goal for the Gunners after Saka elected to give the German the responsibility of scoring the second penalty of the game. Ben White ended the rout with a late goal as Arsenal cruised to victory and head into the game against City full of confidence.

football.london has taken a look at how the national media reacted to a brilliant day for Arsenal on Saturday...

The Mirror

Arsenal extended their unbeaten start to the season as they cruised to a comfortable 4-0 victory against winless Bournemouth on Saturday.

Bukayo Saka opened the scoring with 17 minutes on the clock as he nodded home from yards out after Gabriel Jesus had hit the post. Max Aarons gave Arsenal the chance to double the lead at the end of the first-half as he brought down Eddie Nketiah in the penalty area.

Martin Odegaard assumed responsibility and stroked home with aplomb. Kai Havertz then netted his first goal for the Gunners, also from the penalty spot. There was time for Ben White to get in on the action late in the day as he planted home a header from a free-kick to round-off a perfect afternoon from Mikel Arteta's side

READ MORE: Why Mikel Arteta shouted at Eddie Nketiah as Arsenal run riot and Jesus winds up Bournemouth

READ MORE: Arsenal player ratings vs Bournemouth as Odegaard and Rice star while Havertz gets first goal

The Guardian

There had been times, even at such an early point in his Arsenal career, when the unrelenting scrutiny that accompanies a £65m price tag was a visible millstone around Kai Havertz’s neck. His teammates knew it and, on an afternoon that could hardly have gone more smoothly from their perspective, decided to lighten the load. A one-sided match was already half-won when Ryan Christie lunged messily at Martin Ødegaard eight minutes after half-time, giving them their second penalty and a chance to move out of sight. Bukayo Saka placed the ball but, to cheers from the away support, promptly elected to step aside.

Up walked Havertz and, even if the day’s stakes were relatively low by this point, a neutral might have felt a flutter of anxiety on his behalf. He has not played badly since making the inherently risky move from Chelsea, primarily to operate in midfield, but even a cod body language analyst would have been justified in observing a lack of confidence around opposition 18-yard boxes. Fluffing his lines here could have opened a fresh can of worms but he sent Neto the wrong way unfussily and, with Gabriel Magalhães as chief cheerleader, was encouraged to milk the faithful’s acclaim.

The goal put Arsenal three up and helped ensure that, with additional thanks to events at Molineux, they sit on Manchester City’s tails before their meeting next Sunday. Bournemouth offered little resistance, making a game of it only until Saka nodded a 17th-minute opener. He showed a poacher’s instinct sits within his vast suite of skills after Gabriel Jesus, who had perhaps meant to locate a colleague, headed against the near post from a tight angle. The outcome was all but assured from there.

Arsenal’s only scare came early on when Dominic Solanke appeared to have got away only for William Saliba, one of several pre-match doubts who pulled through in time to start, to thwart him with a cocktail of recovery and timing. They repelled Bournemouth’s probings and struck again before half-time when Eddie Nketiah, sent down the left by a one-two with the excellent Oleksandr Zinchenko, lured Max Aarons into a mistimed sliding challenge. Ødegaard assumed spot-kick duties in the first instance, converting calmly, and it meant Arsenal were comfortable enough for Havertz to have his day later on.

Arsenal kept up the pace for the remainder, the substitute Emile Smith Rowe coming close twice and a garnish arriving in added time when Ben White headed in an Ødegaard free-kick. The only note of concern for Arteta was a familiar one, Saka limping off in clear pain 14 minutes from time. Arteta referred to a “stamp”, seemingly on the same foot that took a blow against Spurs the previous week. Saka will, like Arsenal, doubtless go again. “It’s a long marathon,” Arteta said, dampening title talk, but he could openly rejoice that Havertz is building momentum at last.

The Daily Mail

As Kai Havertz staggered his run-up upon approaching the penalty spot, time itself had frozen. Martin Odegaard had been hacked to the ground by Ryan Christie, referee Michael Salisbury pointing to the spot. Bukayo Saka was readying himself to take the penalty, before Havertz emerged from the background.

Both Saka, and Odegaard, Arsenal’s other penalty-kick taker, had decided this one was for the German. The away side were already 2-0 up by this point, the game tightly wrapped up. Yet, as Havertz stepped up to coolly slot the ball into the bottom-left corner, one could see the relief drain from his body as he jogged towards the away end swamped by team-mates.

They knew, too, the significance was far wider than going three goals up against Bournemouth. The gesture signified what this Gunners side have become: a totality of all its parts.

Unbeknown to them, Manchester City were being beaten by Wolves. That ended 2-1, meaning depending on how Liverpool fare, Arsenal could go top of the league if they are to overcome their foes next weekend. A significant afternoon so early in the season, which may be looked back upon in months to come.

A goal for Havertz and Man City losing on the same day would have been a dream Mikel Arteta could only have wished for in the morning, the betting odds surely off the charts.

Havertz’s struggles since moving to the Gunners have been well-noted, the zero goals and assists in nine games adding to that. It was this goal that could prove to be the turning point. Arteta certainly thinks so.

In both the first two goals, Eddie Nketiah was involved, his pace and confidence to drive at the Cherries’ backline bearing fruits for his side. A further reminder to those who have doubted the striker’s place in a side with title ambition.

Prior to the match, many had assumed Arteta would have no choice but to field a side dissimilar to the prior league games. In Friday’s press conference, he had alluded to injuries to a number of first-team starters, including Declan Rice, Saka and William Saliba.

Yet they all started. Not the first time, nor the last, Arteta will seek to confuse with team news. The starting line-up was, though, stronger than expected with fixtures against Champions League opponents Lens and Man City coming up next week. A clean-sheet, four goals and City losing. A perfect day for those of an Arsenal disposition.

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