Arsenal are into the fifth round of the FA Cup after a 2-1 win over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium this evening.

First half goals from Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah put the Gunners into a comfortable position, but the second half was much more difficult.

A goal for the home side in the fifth minute of 11 minutes of injury time made the last part of the game more nervy than it ought to have been – but Mikel Arteta’s men hung on and will face Portsmouth in the next round.

Read the Bournemouth 1-2 Arsenal report and see the goal here

Here’s how the players rated today.

Ratings

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Jack

Xhaka dropping back into left back so that Saka can get forward works SO well. It’s benefitting both players. Mikel is a genius

GraeB

I liked it. With both full backs moving forward it was like a fluid 3 at the back in the first half. Second half was more standard formation as Saka stayed back more.

Santori

This is only being employed against teams that sit deep to absorb and counter.

It gives us more control.

goonshow

Yep – and with Mustafi’s pinpoint long crossfield balls (never thought I say that!!) it becomes a real threat and consistently stretched the across the back.

goonshow

stretched ‘them’ across the back

HelderHughes

Really starting to worry that the Pepe to Pires first season comparison is like the Emery to Klopp first season comparison.

Santori

Don’t know who would give you thumbs down. Pepe is a worry. Brought in at 72m same time as Martinelli but look at how the Brazilian has kicked on. Off ball work by the Ivorian poor. Loses take ons and prefers to complain instead of trying to regain it. We don’t have any effect coming down the right still. This was an issue when Alexis was at the club with main threat coming from left side which made it predictable and easier of opponents to contain. Too many people prefer to invent excuses for certain players whilst pointing faults in… Read more »

Rich

The main reason we are more of a threat on the left side is because Martinelli and Saka are working in tandem, and Saka is given more license to push forward to overlap. On the right side, Bellerin, and AMN before him, have been tasked with keeping it steady defensively first and foremost, and have not had the same attacking impact. This means Pepe is our sole attacking threat on the right side, and is often up against 2 or 3 defenders. I’m not saying he is not guilty of over complicating things at times, or slowing down the play,… Read more »

HelderHughes

I think people just don’t want to accept that this may not have been the greatest bit of scouting. Which is fine. I get that. But I feel like we’ve had a big enough sample size now and, for me, I don’t see how buying Bournemouth’s Frazer for a fraction of the price would have had any less of an impact this season. Apart from the goal against United, we’ve had nothing but a flick here or a back heel there. I hope it turns around. But something in his expression of indifference tells me he might not have the… Read more »

Gervinho

Also worry about Pepe. His dribbling iz a blessing and a curse. It’swhat makes him special and dangerous, but it’s also what breaks up our play and makes us lose posession.

Maybe Arsenal doesnt fit Pepe?

jon

Pepe job is to dribble and pull defenders towards him. This is risky, so he is allowed to lose the ball from time to time. He was better on passing it on Monday than on previous occasions, but there is still a need for more coordination and mojo on the right He opened spaces that his teammates did not run into.

Gervinho

his main job is to score goals and get assists, and so far he hasn’t delivered. Saka has proven way more succesful in that sense, and it just pains me to see how he keeps losing the ball time and time again because of dribbling instead of passing. It does indeed look good when he manages to dribble past opponents, but statistically he’s more unsuccesful than succesful.

And at this point I just feel way more excited when we go through the left side than the right side which is way less productive.

goonshow

Saka has our new Brazilian Duracell bunny (Duracelli?) as a perfect foil for him on the left. Pepe has no-one – still think he will show us what he’s worth over the coming months.

Joe Starkey

Why have I got a nagging feeling we’re gonna win this cup?

Jai

Because we’re the famous Arsenal and we’ve won it 13 times before

Drewkernster

We’re gonna win the fa cup and Europa league. Thats how we’ll qualify for champions league. Mark my words and we’ll close the gap to top 4

canon fodder

I’m really happy that Mustafi is getting his mojo back after some very trying months; it is just a shame that he got injured tonight.

iDag

That’s Mari deal seems like down and dusted now then…

Public Elneny

Saka is our left back for the next 10-15 years if he wants it

Martin

As much as I like him As a back he is not as good as Tierney. However he has a great future as an attacking midfielder

SB Still

With Saka, Martinelli, Tierney, we have a terrific left side. I hope not to see Auba on that left despite his work rate there, as it’s not his natural game and hasn’t been as effective as through the middle.

A terrific CB and CM in the mould of Cazorla, would very nearly complete this team.

Public Elneny

I think he has a much higher ceiling than Tierney Not saying he doesn’t have what it takes to make it as a winger/attacking midfielder, but those positions pretty much require a mastery of at least one of flair/technique, vision/creativity and goalscoring instinct to make it at the very top level. I don’t believe he is at that level yet in any of those aspects and it would be a gamble to put his eggs in that basket. But he’s a very well rounded player in terms of athleticism, intelligence and technique, pretty much guaranteeing he’ll be a great full… Read more »

Reality check

“but those positions pretty much require a mastery of at least one of flair/technique, vision/creativity”

Have you not noticed magic coming out of his left foot, where have you been this season? He’s got all 4 qualities you mentioned along with on point attitude and bottle. He’s 18, playing like in his prime in his debut season and he’s only going to get better..

Public Elneny

It’s one thing displaying those qualities starting from a deeper position (with have more time and space), or vs low quality opponents in the EL, and doing the same as a winger/AM in the PL.It’s why Eboue was a great attacking asset as a right back, but a shite winger. And why Welbeck could steamroll EL teams but was a carthorse in the PL. The movements and touches have to be incredibly efficient at the highest level as a winger. Again, not saying Saka doesn’t have what it takes. But he was ineffective in his couple of PL starts at… Read more »

Alex Davis

Do you realized his ineffectiveness was as a result of Unai messing with the team and all the attackers bar auba suffer because of that, especially the youngsters.
I think saka have all the attributes to make it in either position. Its all up to him.

goonshow

Agreed – we cannot underestimate (nor yet fully grasp) the many and varied negative effects Emery had on these players, both individually and as a group,

humblepie

i don’t see why Tierney is better than Saka at left back?

Thierrys_Tears

When Tierney returns Saka will be a terror on the wing.

Santori

NO he’s not.

When Tierney returns (and Kolasinac) it will likely be those two.

Saka is better higher up in Lwing.

jon

Saka had a near perfect game. Hugely impressive. He was good defensively too, and could probably play anywhere but in central defense.

Will

That Saka Martinelli combo down the left side just running over people. Great to see Joe’s progression continue too, been a bit since we’ve seen him for more than 10-15 minutes

Amusa

I’d say when Tierny’s back it might be time to try to move Saka forward and Martenelli in the centre.
We have to try to find an alternative to Auba and Ithink Martenelli will be great as a CF.

Gervinho

easy now. Auba in the center iz deadly. Laca on the other band not so much. Maybe Saka, Auba, Martinelli up front?

Santori

Not quite. Effective mainly first half not so much second half.

We are still not using our width enough. Hardly enough from Pepe.

We will do well to consider bringing one more in even when we get Nelson back.

Boe Sharkey

Why have I got a nagging feeling we’re gonna win this thing?

GraeB

Is it because Joe Starkey said that further up the page? 😊

Laca New Signing

Or is it because Boe Sharkley has a right to have his own feelings and not have to read all comments on the blog?

Randy

Gotta love it. Transformation from the man in charge. I always get excited for any arsenal game because I’ll love them no matter what, but it’s somehow different when you feel it might entertain you and we have an actual chance of winning. I enjoy watching the change of tactics, the fresh desire from some players I thought weren’t good enough for the club; and the progressive change of results. This club in a sense is growing in it’s new style and I can only be excited by it.. This season I would be delighted with a simple build up… Read more »

tim

3 times tonight that fucking ref let play go on as players were down with bad injuries (two head saka and papa and one leg mustafi) mustafi in real pain lying feet away from that fuck . Should never ref a game again

GraeB

The Dean-Atkinson duo tried hard to stop us. How it took minutes to confirm our second goal was ridiculous when you looked at video. Same pairing who stopped Pepe getting penalty last weekend.

goonshow

How many bloody times did Dean the Dick replay that ‘offside’ call – and when he brought out the red compass-point geo-tag thingy? Pathetic – he was determined to find a way to disallow!!! AN utter fuckwit.

StockholmGooner

Wembley Wembley Wembley, I’m not sure if we’re going to Wembley because I’m not a jinxing kind of man but Wembley! Great performance by martinelli managing to keep the tip of his thumb onside enough so the cnt Mike Riley couldn’t rule it offside!

Arsemusic

That meg from guendouzi absolute classic.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

I was seriously impressed with how calm and skillful he was on the ball tonight. Haven’t really seen that particular aspect of his game before tonight. Bravo young man.

Samgunz

2nd half he was the most composed player on the pitch… Probably motm

Samgunz

Also really happy to see Willock back on form, he actually looked pretty dangerous when moved to the wing too, great feet all game.

Venga bus

We are improving.

Santori

We made heavy weather of the game second half as only we can but onwards. 1) Martinez – A bit nervy today. Came out several time to punch out but not entirely convincing. Not sure he needed to come get the ball that sent Mustafi out injured but perhaps he was (somewhat justifiably) nervous the German would not make the right decision. 2) Bellerin – Again good to see him fit for us. Thought he got forward well but needed better support from Pepe. Also felt we could have protected him a little and subbed him off 70 minutes in.… Read more »

A Different George

Holding may be physically fit, but it is ridiculous to ignore the effects of such a long period of not playing. I’m not inventing excuses, I’m recognizing them. (If you care, I’m someone who thinks Holding got far too much praise for the FA Cup final against Chelsea–great spirit, combativeness, and courage against Diego Costa, but beaten by him several times and saved by a suburb Mertesacker.)

A Different George

supurb, not sure where Mertesacker lives.

Ya Gooner

A bonus -100/10 for var trying tonfind anybwaybl possible to disallow our goals.

Public Elneny

VAR is really laying bare just how incompetent and biased most referees are. Remove the benefit of doubt that they didn’t quite see it correctly in real time and you get a real insight into their understanding of the game and thought process

Oscandwarf

Including 2 minutes trying to prove that a player who might have had a thumb offside had touched the ball prior to it being put in the net. And who was responsible for VAR last night?

You can always rely on Dean to try to to be a prick. And it seems you can rely on the football authorities to make rules up that have never been in the game.

How ‘lucky’ we are to be so professionally represented.

Santori

As mentioned, no Mustafi on the pitch and we still leaked a goal.

But hey, Holding not at fault bc some people prefer to invent excuses for him or say Pepe who was again poor.

What’s his excuse? Martinelli is also new this season doesn’t get paid 72m.

YoungFabregas

Ball movement is looking better and better under Arteta – well in boys!

Only negative of that game is that now it will be even harder to ship off Mustafi – couldn’t he survive 4 more days….

Dadi

Were all the players wearing short sleeves with the long sleeved compression shirts underneath? Wondering whether we are back to all wearing the same length sleeves for matches after Arteta came back…

Santori

6.5 for Pepe waaay generous.

onenil

Thought everyone did well apart from Martinez and Pepe, where I think the ratings are generous.
Guendouzi was my man of the match. He bossed midfield on his own for much of the match.

Rich

There was a lack of control at times, but I suppose that’s to be expected with so many young players. I’d like to see Willock given a steady run behind Lacazette, he’s raw, but he gives us drive, energy, a direct route to goal, and a midfielder who actually gets into the opponents penalty box. Controversial…. but I’d sell Aubameyang providing Barca or PSG put £60mill on the table. He’s 30, at some point he’s going to dip physically, and I prefer Lacazette as a No9. Alexis’s fall from grace was fairly rapid, Ozil’s has been a much more a… Read more »

Bobby

Let’s sell our top goal scorer…….what a great idea lol. Lacazette is 28 you do know this right? he’s not exactly a spring chicken. We need to keep both of them around.

Ausdrexler

I think Pepe is well marked every game. Teams know how his pace can really hurt them so they take that risk out of the game. The good thing is it should open the left up a bit, and thats exactly what happened today. Again, he isnt necessarily scoring goals and setting the world on fire, but his presence down that right is having a big impact on space over on the left. Sometimes one can have a big positive impact ona game without even being too involved. True story.

CoNr

Really wish when the Bournemouth fans started chanting same old Arsenal always cheating our fans start chanting back same old Bournemouth always losing.

Anyways it was a fun game, with a good mix of youth and experience… so much promise with the younger players, its really quite exciting.

Shame about Musti, he was playing well, and we are short at the back as it is… hopefully it looked worse than it is.

A Different George

The only two sides never relegated from the top flight. They for about 5 years, us for a little over a hundred.

Huss

I’m learning to not even bother wishcasting where I want these boys to play. I just want to see these lads play, because they just lift up our level of spirit and physicality out there. I want to see Saka, Martinelli, Willock, Nketiah, and all those boys on loan to come back and build a homegrown powerhouse at Arsenal. The youngsters have been such a bright spot this season. Arteta has made me eat so much crow about how I perceived certain experienced players in our squad. I just love seeing all this improvement and clear direction – the wins… Read more »

Gandalf

10/10 to the away fans tonight, could hear all the chants from my armchair

Clock-End Mike

When I see Saka playing so well at left back, I’m reminded of the young Ashley Cole who also found himself playing left back to get into the first team.

He became probably the best LB in the premiership of his era.

Kismayo

Reading some of the comments here ,I hope arteta should not take their advice

Samgunz

Gosling DID touch it, VAR needs to watch that back, it took me one look, ball changes spin and direction.

Samgunz

I’m really pleased Laca and Mezut had to watch that game on the bench, if that doesn’t make you wanna go out and impress/compete next game I don’t know what will… Mikel is improving every single player already… Remove Pepe’s price tag, and he’s doing absolutely fine, he didn’t ask for the price tag, none of us paid for him, so lets just let the guy get used to a new country and league ae?

jon

Martinez might be a problem. He intervened when he should have stayed on the line. In the penalty shootout against Liverpool, he moved far to early. How is Macey?

George

The good (the first half), the bad (the second half), and the ugly (Stewart Robson).

A Different George

By the way, how old is Martin Tyler? Wasn’t he on the BBC when that great Hungary team beat England? In 1953.

Radford9

Good win boys! Saka is a real find Willock was excellent ditto Martinelli Nketiah and our very own Mustaphi! Into the next round and Arteta has me feeling optimistic again! Anyhow fans ratings just in 1/ Santori… Ineffectual offering no real insight into the match Too negative in his outlook and loses the support of fellow fans far too easily! Bombed up and down the comments all evening but with no end result other than driving real fans further away from their job of supporting our glorious team. Positives??? Excellent use of words commas and full stops Negatives??? Ask the… Read more »

goonshow

Looks like we may have gotten our Guendouzi back – great shift from the lad. Now if he can just learn to play to the whistle and stop flapping his arms and trying to also ref the game…. !

Dave

favorite blog and podcast.

Dickson

Thank you sir. I am impressed with their performance.The boys should keep improving.