First half goals from Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah sealed a 2-1 win for Arsenal against Bournemouth in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Monday.
Arsenal started the game on a strong note and were up and running just five minutes in as Bukayo Saka thundered the ball into the roof of the net after being played in by Gabriel Martinelli. Twenty minutes later, Eddie Nketiah tapped home Saka’s cut-back to double the Gunners lead.
Bournemouth turned up the pressure in the second period and set up a nervy finish when substitute Sam Surridge pulled a goal back in the fourth of the eleven minutes in stoppage time. However, Arsenal held off their opponents to secure a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup, where they will be facing Portsmouth.
✅ Next round? You bet.
🍒 1-2 🟡 (FT)
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 27, 2020
Here’s how we rated the performances of the Arsenal superstars on Monday night at the Vitality Stadium.
Emiliano Martinez: 6/10
The Argentine had a fairly quiet outing as Bournemouth did not test his goal a lot. Showed good awareness to make a decent stop at his near post from a Harry Wilson effort, while there were a couple of shaky moments in the second half when he flapped weakly at the ball. Left wrong-footed for Surridge’s late goal.
Hector Bellerin: 7/10
Another good game for the Spaniard as he works his way back to peak fitness. May not have been as big a presence going forward as he was against Chelsea in the last game, but was solid and reliable throughout the game. A controlled display from Arsenal’s captain on the night.
Shkodran Mustafi: 7/10
Out for redemption after a disastrous performance against Chelsea, the German international had a solid game for most of the night, apart from one or two nervy moments. Was resolute and assured defensively, while being positive with his use of the ball when in possession. Unfortunately for him, picked up a serious-looking injury in the second half and had to be stretchered off.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos: 6/10
Back into the starting XI after missing the last two matches with illness, the Greek international played with typical gusto on the night, as he dealt comfortably with the aerial balls that Bournemouth pumped in. Wasn’t troubled a great deal by Dominic Solanke, but should have done better in the lead-up to the Cherries’ late goal.
Bukayo Saka: 9/10
An exceptional display from the youngster against Bournemouth. May have started as a left-back, but played most of the game as an auxiliary winger, linking up brilliantly with Gabriel Martinelli, running incessantly at a vulnerable Cherries defence. Opened the scoring with a ferocious drive just five minutes in, before setting up Nketiah for the second with a smart cut-back.
Matteo Guendouzi: 8/10
Starting ahead of Lucas Torreira, the Frenchman offered great industry and energy in the middle of the park. Shielded the defence effectively, going toe-to-toe with the Bournemouth players and getting stuck into challenges, while he used the ball effectively as well. One of his better performances of the season and he will be hoping to build on it moving forward.
Granit Xhaka: 8/10
Granit Xhaka v Bournemouth (A):
•74 Acc Passes (90%)
•5 Long Balls
•4 Duels Won
•1 Blocked Shot
Controlled and managed another FA Cup success ✅ pic.twitter.com/HrHsVxirPO
— ً (@afcprimm) January 27, 2020
Started in the middle of the park, but dropped in at left-back when Arsenal were in possession, allowing Saka the freedom to charge up the field, which was key for the Gunners. Was solid in his duties both on and off the ball, showing his defensive nous while putting on display his range of distribution. Seems to have adapted to this new role under Arteta brilliantly.
Nicolas Pepe: 6.5/10
Was a threat on the right side with his pace and dribbling, as he caused Jack Simpson a handful of problems. However, the Ivorian’s final ball lacked the cutting edge to create any meaningful opportunities. Had a decent opportunity to score in the first period, but hit his effort into the side-netting. Dangerous, but ineffective.
Joe Willock: 8/10
Preferred over Mesut Ozil for the cup tie, Willock showed why he deserves more regular playing time with a fine performance. Drove at the Bournemouth defence with purpose each time he was on the ball.
Played a key role in the lead-up to Arsenal’s opener, while he forced an important save from Martin Travers with a shot from a tight angle soon after. Was handy without the ball as well, making tackles and winning back possession.
Gabriel Martinelli: 7/10
The Brazilian showed good understanding with Bukayo Saka down the left-hand side throughout the game, even setting up the makeshift left-back for the opening goal. His pace was an asset for Arsenal as he gave Bournemouth right-back Adam Smith a hard time, running at him with purpose. May not have scored, but this was another encouraging display from Martinelli.
Eddie Nketiah: 7.5/10
Starting for the first time since returning from his loan spell at Leeds United, the Arsenal striker had a good game. Pressed the Bournemouth players high up the pitch forcing some errors from them, while showing intelligence in the positions he took up and the runs he made. Scored the Gunners’ second goal with a composed finish, which will have done his confidence a world of good.
Rob Holding: 6/10
Replaced the injured Mustafi at the hour mark. Held things together well at the back as Bournemouth turned up the pressure in search of goals, although he could have done better to prevent the Cherries’ late strike.
Dani Ceballos: 5/10
Came on to replace Pepe in the 69th minute to mark his return from injury. Tidy in possession, but his positioning was off at times.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: N/A
Late substitute for Willock.