Saka, Nketiah strikes edge Arsenal into fifth round

The Gunners are now unbeaten in six matches in all competitions under Mikel Arteta; Bournemouth’s attention now switches to securing Premier League survival

Last Updated: 27/01/20 11:58pm

Arsenal players celebrate Bukayo Saka's early goal at Bournemouth
Arsenal players celebrate Bukayo Saka’s early goal at Bournemouth

Arsenal set up an FA Cup fifth-round tie at League One Portsmouth after holding on for a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Bournemouth.

The Gunners did not waste any time getting into their stride at the Vitality Stadium as Bukayo Saka (5) finished an excellent team move to give his side the lead before Eddie Nketiah (26), making his first start since returning from a loan spell at Leeds, doubled Mikel Arteta’s side’s advantage.

After the break, Bournemouth searched for a way back into the game with Jack Simpson and Dan Gosling both going close, and they were eventually handed a lifeline when substitute Sam Surridge scored in the fourth minute of eight additional minutes.

Eddie Howe’s side did have one final opportunity to force a replay, but Lewis Cook’s drive failed to test goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez as the Gunners held on to extend their unbeaten run to six matches in all competitions.

The Gunners now have a trip to Fratton Park to look forward to next month, while Bournemouth, who are 18th in the Premier League, must turn their attention to securing their top-flight status.

Mustafi an injury concern for Arsenal

Shkodran Mustafi’s ankle injury tainted an otherwise good night for the Gunners. The German, who was stretchered off, landed awkwardly on his right ankle after colliding with his onrushing goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

Shkodran Mustafi's injury was the only downside for Arsenal at Bournemouth
Shkodran Mustafi’s injury was the only downside for Arsenal at Bournemouth

How the Gunners booked their place in the fifth round…

Arteta’s side flew out of the traps, taking the lead inside six minutes through Saka’s powerful drive.

Player ratings

Bournemouth: Travers (6), Smith (6), S Cook (5), Ake (6), Simpson (5), Fraser (5), L Cook (6), Gosling (6), Surman (6), H Wilson (6), Solanke (5).

Subs: Francis (6), C Wilson (6), Surridge (6).

Arsenal: Martinez (6), Bellerin (7), Mustafi (6), Sokratis (7), Saka (8), Guendouzi (7), Xhaka (7), Pepe (6), Willock (8), Martinelli (7), Nketiah (8).

Subs: Holding (6), Ceballos (6), Maitland-Niles (n/a).

Man of the match: Bukayo Saka.

The Gunners worked their way up field with a 22-pass move as Joe Willock picked out Gabriel Martinelli in the Bournemouth penalty area before the Brazilian laid the ball off to the overlapping full-back. Saka looked as though he was going square the ball across the face of Mark Travers’ goal but hammered the ball home off the underside of the crossbar.

Arsenal weren’t letting Bournemouth find any rhythm and they deservedly doubled their advantage in the 26th minute.

Saka turned provider as a well-worked Arsenal move ended with the full-back crossing for Nketiah to convert from eight yards out. VAR was asked to look at a potential offside against Martinelli in the build-up, but the Arsenal fans were soon celebrating again as the goal was given.

Bournemouth finally grabbed a foothold in the game right at the end of the first half and they almost pulled a goal back when Harry Wilson thumped a volley towards goal, but Martinez stood firm at his near post to send his side in at the break two goals to the good.

Arsenal continued to dominate without any great exertion after the break, but suffered a blow when Shkodran Mustafi was carried off just shy of the hour.

Eddie Nketiah started up front in an Arsenal side showing four changes for their FA Cup fourth-round clash at Bournemouth. Teenager Gabriel Martinelli kept his place after scoring in Tuesday’s 2-2 Premier League draw at Chelsea, while Papa Sokratis replaced the suspended David Luiz in defence.

Bournemouth made six changes from their 3-1 league win over Brighton, with academy right-back Brooklyn Genesini taking a seat on the bench.

Bournemouth capitalised on the defensive readjustment to cause mayhem at a corner, but Jack Simpson headed wide with the goal at his mercy after Martinez unwisely stepped off his line.

As Arsenal looked to play out the win, Surridge popped up with a smart finish after a neat piece of control.

Eight minutes of added time even allowed Bournemouth to hunt an equaliser, but Cook blasted over from 18 yards as the Gunners held on.

There were 22 passes in the build-up to Arsenal's first goal
There were 22 passes in the build-up to Arsenal’s first goal

What the managers said…

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe: “The start was hugely disappointing. Maybe the early goal rocked us psychologically, but we really struggled to deal with Arsenal in that first half-an-hour. It was all the basics really.

“Once we recovered, I thought we were fine, and the better team in the second half, but it was too late. I don’t think we learned too much tonight because our mentality wasn’t right in the first half hour. And we’ll kick ourselves now because that game was there for us.”

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Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta insists an injury to Shkodran Mustafi won’t affect his transfer plans before Deadline Day.
Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta insists an injury to Shkodran Mustafi won’t affect his transfer plans before Deadline Day.

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta: “Very pleased. It’s always tough to come here and win, and we’ve done it with a young team as well.

“I have a lot of faith in them. I think they are developing really well. They are willing and hungry and will only get better. We analyse opponents and try to generate situations that are favourable for our players.

“I was worried with their history in the last few weeks we would concede in the last few minutes. Our history with this cup is massive for the club. We need to take it step by step.”

Mikel Arteta on Mustafi injury and transfers – read more

Man of the match – Bukayo Saka

Bukayo Saka celebrates opening the scoring at Bournemouth
Bukayo Saka celebrates opening the scoring at Bournemouth

Arsenal have been linked with PSG left-back Layvin Kurzawa during the January transfer window with Sead Kolasinac and Kieran Tierney out injured, but the performances of Saka in recent weeks may have prompted a rethink from Arteta.

The 18-year-old produced another mature performance at the Vitality Stadium and he showed all of his prowess going forward, scoring Arsenal’s opener before setting up Nketiah for what proved to be the winning goal.

Saka has now both scored and assisted in three separate games for Arsenal this season (vs Eintracht Frankfurt, Standard Liege and today against Bournemouth) – no other player has done so more than once for the Gunners in 2019-20.

He has also been directly involved in ten goals in all competitions for Arsenal this season (3 goals & 7 assists) with only Gabriel Martinelli (13) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (17) have been involved in more for the Gunners this season.

Saka fires the ball past goalkeeper Mark Travers
Saka fires the ball past goalkeeper Mark Travers

Opta stats – Arsenal’s unbeaten run continues

  • Arsenal have lost just one of their 12 games against Bournemouth in all competitions (W9 D2 L1), winning four of the last five (D1) since a 2-1 defeat in the Premier League in January 2018.
  • The Gunners have gone eight games without defeat away from home in all competitions (W2 D6 L0), their longest unbeaten run on the road since September – December 2018 (a run of nine).
  • Bournemouth have won just one of their last 19 games against top-flight opposition in the FA Cup (D4 L14), a 2-0 victory against Manchester United in January 1984 as a third-tier side.
  • Arsenal have won nine of their last 10 away games in the FA Cup (L1), with the only exception being a 4-2 defeat at Nottingham Forest in the third round of the 2017-18 competition.
  • Howe’s side have lost 11 of their last 15 games across all competitions (W3 D1).

What’s next?

Bournemouth are back in action on Saturday when they host Aston Villa in the Premier League; Kick-off 3pm.

Burnley vs Arsenal

February 2, 2020, 1:00pm

Live on

Arsenal play next Sunday when they travel to Burnley in the Premier League, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 1pm. Kick-off at Turf Moor is at 2pm.

Source : Sky Sports