A Martin Odegaard brace within the opening 11 minutes set us on our way to the top of the fledgling Premier League table as we convincingly beat Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.
The Norwegian’s flying start put us in firm control of proceedings throughout, and our lead was trebled six minutes after the restart thanks to a fine William Saliba strike.
The result ensures we continue our 100% start with nine points out of nine, and leapfrog Manchester City at the division’s summit for the time being.
Skipper secures sensational start
The opening goal came after five minutes, courtesy of a piece of Brazilian magic. Gabriel Jesus showed impeccable control and skill to take the ball high out of the south coast sky, beat two players and slip in Gabriel Martinelli, who saw his shot saved by Mark Travers but Odegaard was perfectly placed to tuck home the rebound.
And six minutes later, the dream start for us and our captain continued as he grabbed a second to put us in firm control. The overlapping Ben White just managed to beat the offside trap to fizz the ball low into the area for Jesus to again stop dead, and when it looked like he was about to pull the trigger, Odegaard whipped the ball off his toes and into the net.
The rest of the first half continued to be one-way traffic, with Aaron Ramsdale enjoying a quiet half on his return to his old stomping ground - indeed the Cherries failed to even have a touch inside our box in the first half, let alone a shot at goal.
However, we struggled to carve out another clear chance ourselves, with Granit Xhaka having the best opportunity when he found himself in space following an Odegaard free–kick, but stumbled at the crucial moment.
A shot of Saliba seals it
Despite our first-half dominance, the hosts knew that a goal for themselves would be a huge momentum shifter, and Jefferson Lerma rashly blazed over with their first attempt of the game not long after the restart, but he was quickly shown how it was done by Saliba.
On 51 minutes we won a free-kick on and Martinelli drove down the right before firing a cross over to Xhaka at the back post to lay the ball off to the Frenchman, who promptly curled it into the top corner to register his first goal in our colours and clinch the win.
As it had been all evening, confidence was oozing through the team and Martinelli had a couple of chances to net his third of the season but screwed wide when being put through, before neatly juggling in the area and flashing a shot inches past Travers’ far post.
With 19 minutes to go, Jesus thought he’d got in on the act when he latched onto a delicious Odegaard pass and fired into the net, but after a VAR review he was deemed fractions offside, and Ramsdale was finally called into action to make a flying stop to deny a Kieffer Moore header spoiling his clear sheet.
Scott Parker’s team continued their late flurry and James Tavernier saw a low free-kick ripple the side-netting, but Bournemouth were indebted to Travers to keep it at 3-0 as he made good stops to deny Jesus and Eddie Nketiah late on.
However, the win had long-been secured, and with the clean sheet also in the bag, it meant we won our first two away league games without conceding a goal for the first time since 1993/94, and in the process moving us up to the Premier League summit.
What they said
Arteta on Saliba: "That is individual talent and a moment of quality that he showed today but I am really pleased with his performance.
“What he is doing at 21 years old is rare. He remains really humble. He wants to learn, he wants to train every day and he is really demanding of himself and he is giving a lot to the team." - read every word from his post-match press conference
Zinchenko on our fast start: “It’s always important to score in the beginning of the game because this first goal can give you some confidence to control the game and that’s what we did. We did well, especially in the first half, the opponent didn’t create anything - they had zero shots on target.
“In the second half they started to play with three at the back and we were suffering at some points, but in the end we didn’t concede, that’s the most important thing. There are still a lot of things to improve, but I think we are on the right way.”
Facts and stats
We have won our last 12 Premier League games when scoring first, since losing 2-1 to Manchester City on New Year's Day.
This was Martin Odegaard's first top-flight brace since October 2014 for Stromsgodset vs Lillestrom, when he was 15 years old.
Odegaard is the third Arsenal player to score twice in the first 11 minutes of a Premier League match, after Kanu in October 2002 vs Sunderland and Eddie Nketiah vs Leeds in May.
Since the start of last season, only Mohamed Salah (13) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (12) have more Premier League assists than Gabriel Jesus (11).
We both faced no shots or allowed our opponent a single touch in their box in the first half of a Premier League match for the first time since January 2009 against Bolton Wanderers.
At 20 years and 349 days, Bukayo Saka became the youngest player to reach 100 Premier League appearances since Raheem Sterling in September 2015 (20 years 285 days).
Aged 21 years and 149 days old, William Saliba became the youngest Frenchman to score a Premier League goal for us since Samir Nasri in November 2008 vs Manchester United (21 years 135 days).
Saliba is the 22nd Frenchman to score a Premier League goal in our colours, the most of any Premier League side.
We take on Fulham next Saturday in another 5.30pm kick-off, before returning to action at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, August 31, against Aston Villa.
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