Arsenal progressed to the fifth round of the Emirates FA Cup, thanks to an exciting display by the youngsters at Bournemouth.
Mikel Arteta made five changes to the team that drew 2-2 at Stamford Bridge. Martinez, Sokratis, Joe Willock, Matteo Guendouzi and Eddie Nketiah were the changes.
Arsenal XI (subs) (4-2-3-1): Martinez; Bellerin (c), Mustafi (Holding 62′), Sokratis, Saka; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Martinelli, Willock (Maitland-Niles 90′), Pepe (Ceballos 69′); Nketiah
Two first half goals from Bukayo Sako and Eddie Nketiah set the tone for Arsenal’s progress to the last 16.
Saka opened the scoring in the 5th minute after Joe Willock drove throw midfield, fed Martinelli who laid the ball for the overlapping goal scorer. It was a goal that involved the 10 outfield players in 22 passes. Wenger 2.0.
20 minutes later, Saka turned provider with Joe Willock at the fulcrum. Willock’s long pass found Saka on the left, the 18-year old Nigerian sent a low cross which was tucked in by Eddie Nketiah from six yards.
Nketiah almost left for another loan but Arteta changes his mind, opting to keep the lad for the remainder of the season after seeing him train. The young English forward has rewarded the faith of the manager.
In the second half, Bournemouth came at the Gunners. Mustafi got injured and had to be subbed off for Rob Holding. The Cherries missed chances to pull one back but got their goal in added time.
It was a nervy finish for the Gunners who held on to the 2-1 victory. Arsenal will face Portsmouth away in the first week of March.
Impressive displays by Guendouzi, Saka, Willock, Martinelli indicated that the future is bright for the Gunners. Arteta provided more information on their display, Mustafi’s injury and the new center back in the press conference.
Up next – Burnley away in the Premier League. The Top Four chase is on.