Arsenal made it eight games unbeaten in all competitions as they edged past Bournemouth with a 1-0 win at the Emirates. David Luiz headed in the early winner from a nice Nicolas Pepe corner and, while they came under pressure, the result never seemed to be in much doubt.
The hosts had a high-pressing stance from the word go and didn’t allow Bournemouth to breathe on the ball for large portions of the game. They weren’t bullied off the ball so easily from a defensive standpoint and they picked their passes well with a real attacking intent.
A lot of the Gunners’ clearances and passes at the back felt rushed; in the second half it felt like their structure began to deteriorate. They were unable to carve out quite as many opportunities as the game went on, leading to some panicked passages of play on both sides of the ball.
Manager rating (out of 10)
6 — Unai Emery’s starting XI drew some criticism from fans and, as the minutes ticked by, it was clear to see that there was a certain spark lacking within the team that could have been found on the bench. The Spaniard was slow in making changes which caused a lot of anxiety amongst the home faithful at the Emirates.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Bernd Leno, 6 — Was largely quiet in the first half due to a lack of pressure from the visitors. Made a strong save from a tight angle in the 55th minute.
DF Calum Chambers, 8 — Had the confidence to drift forward into strong positions but was still the biggest force at the back for Arsenal. Made a string of integral challenges and interceptions.
DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 6 — Had a few lapses in judgement which required Chambers’ assistance. Was fortunate not to cause more problems.
DF David Luiz, 7 — Scored the opener with a nice header in the ninth minute. The Brazilian was much more assured at the back than he has been in recent weeks.
DF Sead Kolasinac, 7 — Remained composed in difficult situations and stepped up as and when was required. Eager to attack, but not to the point where it was a detriment.
MF Dani Ceballos, 7 — Always looked stable at the heart of Arsenal’s midfield and was able to contribute from box to box. Was substituted off in the 75th minute.
MF Granit Xhaka, 6 — Made a handful of tackles that could have really cost Arsenal. Didn’t lose the ball too often but still wasn’t the strongest figure in the middle of the park.
MF Matteo Guendouzi, 6 — Maintained his composure under a series of challenges from Bournemouth. Confident in running past players and looked assured throughout.
FW Nicolas Pepe, 7 — Assisted Arsenal’s winner with a lovely whipped cross from a corner. Cut through the Cherries at will but was substituted off in the 63rd minute.
FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 6 — Made a number of clever and creative runs and opened up a lot of opportunities for Arsenal. Struck the woodwork late in the game.
FW Bukayo Saka, 7 — Continually showcases the maturity of a player far beyond his 18 years. Fought for every single ball and initiated some fluid movement from the front before he was taken off.
MF Joe Willock, N/A — Fairly inconsequential in the last 15 minutes, but also didn’t harm the Gunners.
MF Lucas Torreira, N/A — Maintained the status quo in the final 10 minutes and brought stability back to Arsenal’s midfield.
FW Gabriel Martinelli, 6 — Looked bright when he came on and was constantly looking to surge into the box even with Arsenal already having the lead.