Wednesday, 5 October, 2022
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Odegaard leads Arsenal to top of the Premier League

Mikel Arteta said Arsenal are determined to make amends from a painful end to last season after climbing top of the Premier League with a 3-0 win at Bournemouth.

Newly-appointed captain Martin Odegaard struck twice inside 11 minutes and William Saliba's stunning strike in the second half continued Arsenal's perfect start to the new campaign after three games.

At the same stage last season, Arsenal were without a single point and off to their worst start in 67 years.

However, it was a run of five defeats in their final 10 games that ultimately cost them a return to the Champions League as north London rivals Tottenham snatched a place in the top four.

"In life difficult experiences make you stronger and make you learn more than good moments," said Arteta. "That moment was painful and we don't want to go through that again."

The arrivals of Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City have so far helped Arsenal reach a new level, while Saliba has settled seamlessly into the rigours of the Premier League after spending three seasons out on loan in France.

"Winning makes life completely different," added Arteta. "The atmosphere is good and the unity is incredible."

Jesus was again at the heart of Arsenal's best attacking play, even if the former Manchester City forward failed to add to his two goals in his first two appearances for the club.

The Brazilian showed his strength to outmuscle Marcos Senesi and play in Gabriel Martinelli in the move that led to the opening goal.

Mark Travers was equal to Martinelli's low shot, but the rebound fell kindly for Odegaard to tap into an empty net.

The Norwegian was also in the right place to round off another flowing team move for the second as Bukayo Saka and Ben White combined down the right and Jesus' touch teed up Odegaard to fire powerfully into the far corner.

Arsenal went on to dominate the rest of the first half as Bournemouth chased shadows in the sun on the English south coast.

The league leaders had to wait until the second period to make their control show on the scoreboard but did so in spectacular style thanks to Saliba's first goal for the club.

The Frenchman swept Granit Xhaka's pass into the top corner from just outside the area to kill off any threat of a Bournemouth fightback.

Only the tightest of offside calls on a VAR review denied Jesus the goal his performance deserved after he slotted in from Odegaard's wonderful pass.

"We knew he was a great player," said Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale on Jesus' influence. "But he has to win and that's feeding into our team."

Travers kept the score down in the closing stages with impressive saves from Jesus and Eddie Nketiah, but after a 4-0 defeat to defending champions City last weekend, this was another lesson in the step up to the top flight for the Cherries.