A great, dominant and cool-blooded first half was followed by a less dominant second half, but Arsenal totally deserved the win and are now in the last 16 of the FA. A trip to Portsmouth will follow in February and the Arsenal are on course for a record 14th FA CUP win!
The first half we were that good that it seemed Arsenal were playing a second division team at home at times. That was all down to Arteta’s game plan and instructions. Very, very impressive.
Martinez: 6.5 – not that much to do in the first half but quite involved after the break. He tried hard to make up for the lack of height/ aerial power of the defenders but was not very convincing with his one fisted clearances.
Saka: 9 – what can you say? Bukayo has it all and was clearly the man of the match with a superb goal and quality assist. He is so strong, fast, calm and intelligent. Love him.
Big Sok: 7.5 – what a warrior and seemed to enjoy playing next to Mustafi and (when he sat deep-left) Xhaka. He was our leader today.
Mustafi: 7.5 – worked his socks off and his interceptions and reading of the game were good. Also some quality distribution from the back. Shame he got injured; it does not look good I am sorry to say.
Captain Hector: 7.5 – this was a big battle for him and he seemed to have enjoyed himself. The Pepe/Bellerin combo is a work in progress, but at the back Hector put in a good shift. I bet he feels great after coming through the Cherries’ physical onslaught.
Xhaka: 7 – very effective in this hybrid role of half DM/ half LB but a few poor passes for which he was not solely to blame. Battled hard in the end with some good interceptions.
Guendouzi: 8 – possibly his best game in an Arsenal shirt. Played much more with his back towards our goal when helping out defence and his reading of the game and interceptions were good. Guendo also moved the ball forward well and was a thorn among the Cherries all game long.
Willock: 7 – Strong first half (8) but seemed to struggle with Bournemouth when they upped the tempo and intensity in the second half (6). I wanted him to support Guendouzi and Xhaka more in midfield, but some of his attacking play in and around the hole was very promising. Good to have him back on the pitch.
Martinelli: 7.5 – Good assist for Saka’s roof-of-the-net-screamer and worked very hard both in attack and defence. Marti and Saka – Sakarti – are developing a very fine relationship and this time it is Saka who gets the goal. Martinelli has such a pressence on the pitch and every opponent will suffer by him; that’s a guarantee.
Eddie: 7 – Good first half and finished his chance well. Loved his play and anticipation in the box and general involvement in the game. But just like Willock and Pepe, I felt he eased off too much in the second half.
Pepe: 6.5 – Had his moments and was effective in the first half but I wanted more from him in the second half. He remains a work in progress (and is lucky that Nelson is not fit to play imho).
Ceballos: 6.5 – Helped with taking the game back to the Bournemouth half and a few good interventions in our box. But still looks like a duck out of water on the pitch at times. Really needs more game time but competition is big…