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Declan Rice is football’s first £105m bargain and central to Arsenal’s bid for title glory

Arsenal vs Bournemouth live: Score and latest updates from Premier League

The match was into the 97th minute, victory was already assured, plenty of fans were already making their way to the exit, and a fair few players were probably also contemplating a warm shower. But in one single action, there was still time for Declan Rice to sum up why he looks more like football’s first £105 million bargain by the week.

With Gabriel Jesus jinking this way and that but not quite going anywhere, Rice sensed an opportunity and suddenly appeared, bullet-like, into the penalty area while pointing urgently towards the space behind Bournemouth’s increasingly ragged defence.

Jesus obliged and, with two quick touches to bring the ball under control, Rice steered Arsenal’s third past Bournemouth goalkeeper Mark Travers to ensure a deceptively hard-won victory would end with an uplifting flourish.

It was no more than Rice had personally deserved after constantly driving his team forward and earlier delivering a wonderfully improvised assist for Leandro Trossard to double Arsenal’s lead. It was noticeable also after the final whistle that Rice should linger longest, basking not just in the acclaim but reinforcing that critical connection between Arsenal’s fans and its players.

It had been an individual performance to again prompt comparison with some of the great all-round Premier League midfielders – men like Roy Keane, Frank Lampard, Patrick Vieira and Steven Gerrard – not just for the purely technical influence, but the obvious on-field leadership.

Rice’s versatility to play either in a screening role in front of the defence or with more freedom in search of goals also becomes more striking by the game, especially with Thomas Partey back alongside him over recent weeks at the heart of Arsenal’s midfield.

Manager Mikel Arteta admitted that, even after personally encouraging Arsenal to make Rice their club record signing last summer, he has been taken aback by the subsequent impact. Arteta also confirmed that he would keep trying to maximise the luxury of employing Rice in slightly different roles, depending on the opponent, the state of the match and the wider squad availability.

“It’s something else to do it in this league but he has, even when we’ve changed him from position to position,” said Arteta.

“If we spend money, we must do it wisely. We’re really happy with the recruitment last summer. It has raised not only the level of the team but the level of the rest of the players as well.”

An ultimately comfortable 3-0 scoreline, said Arteta, simply represented one further step towards “hopefully” ending a 20-year wait for the Premier League title and he was planning to later watch Manchester City’s match against Wolves surrounded by his family “in comfy pyjamas”.

However the title race now plays out, Arteta is entitled to feel rather differently to last season when a runners up place came with a distinct feeling of missed opportunity. Victory here ensured that Arsenal will end the season with a Premier League record number of wins (26 and counting) following a streak of 15 out of 17 league victories in 2024 and a ‘golden glove’ for David Raya as the goalkeeper behind the team with most clean sheets.

Rice has clearly been utterly central to that improvement and his outlook also feels infectious.

“I can sense that we’re just embracing it,” he said. “Obviously, Man City are a machine [but] we’ve had an unbelievable 2024. Anything can happen in football, surprises happen, miracles happen.”

Rice did also admit that he was among those culpable for Arsenal only being reliant on a controversial 45th minute penalty for their half-time lead after earlier producing what Arteta rated as their best team performance of the season. “It should have been four or five and I missed a sitter,” said Rice.

Arsenal had indeed been utterly dominant in possession but for all the blurring variety and speed of their attacking play, the finishing did not keep pace with the chances that were being created. Bournemouth’s resilience and defensive organisation was another undoubted additional factor, with goalkeeper Travers making a series of saves before being judged to have fouled Kai Havertz.

Kai Havertz (R) –
Kai Havertz (right) went down under the challenge of goalkeeper Mark Travers in the first half - Getty Images/Mark Leech

It was a hugely disputed decision, with Havertz seeming to drag his trailing left leg to maximise the possibility of a penalty. There was certainly also contact, however, and so little prospect of referee David Coote’s decision being overturned by VAR before Bukayo Saka calmly put Arsenal ahead.

Bournemouth, and especially Dominic Solanke, carried far more second-half threat but, after Martin Odegaard had briefly lost control of the ball, Rice underlined his creative influence by teeing up Leandro Trossard to finally put clear daylight between the teams.

Bournemouth would then feel further aggrieved when Antoine Semenyo put the ball into the goal after Raya fluffed his attempted punch but Coote judged that the Arsenal goalkeeper was first impeded by Solanke.

It was another marginal call but again sufficiently nuanced for the VAR to uphold Coote’s original decision. Bournemouth’s threat would recede thereafter, but there was still no chance of Rice allowing the match simply to fade out and his goal ensured that Arsenal had the result which their first-half performance had at least merited.


Arsenal 3 Bournemouth 0: As it happened


03:21 PM BST

Iraola unhappy with decisions

First of all, I have to say Arsenal deserved to win today - but I don’t think the game should have gone the way it should, with the penalty decisions - but I want to repeat they should have won.

For me, Kai Havertz is the one trying to find the contact. If we are giving penalties for this, then as a coach I have to say it, look for the contact.

AFC Bournemouth manager Andoni Iraola
AFC Bournemouth manager Andoni Iraola

03:18 PM BST

Arteta channelling Wenger on the VAR decisions

The honest answer is I haven’t seen any of the incidents because I knew you were going to ask me. They said do you want to see it and I said no so I can give you an honest answer!

Arsenal's Spanish manager Mikel Arteta applauds the fans following the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Bournemouth
Arsenal's Spanish manager Mikel Arteta applauds the fans following the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Bournemouth

03:17 PM BST

Arteta on Arsenal’s performance

We played probably the best first have we’ve played all season. We could have gone three, four, five easily. We scored one. Then credit to Bournemouth they changed things and the game became more open which we wanted to avoid.


03:05 PM BST

Havertz on the penalty incident

I haven’t seen the replay but I think he touches me.

I felt the contact and went down. For me it’s a penalty. I said to the goalkeeper ‘you touched me’.

Bournemouth goalkeeper Mark Travers fouls Kai Havertz of Arsenal
Bournemouth goalkeeper Mark Travers fouls Kai Havertz of Arsenal

02:48 PM BST

Rice on the title race

I wasn’t here last year but this year I can sense that we’re just embracing it. Obviously, Man City are a machine. They win most of their games. We can only focus on us and we’ve had an unbelievable 2024. Anything can happen in football, surprises happen, miracles happen.


02:45 PM BST

Rice’s thoughts on the game after getting man of the match

The first half, It’s domination. It should have been 4 or 5 and I missed a sitter. I was fuming. I couldn’t let it go and and I knew there was an opportunity today to score or assist. Even for my goal, I just sensed it with the Bournemouth players out on their feet. Goal, assist and 3 points. It’s what we needed.

You look back at the Villa game we had four or five big chances in the first half. Think we can improve on the second half - it became a bit of a basketball match and that’s not our game. Could have been a bit more composed and they caused a bit of chaos.

It leads into another big one next week and we’re fully focused.

Arsenal's Declan Rice celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the English Premier League soccer match
Arsenal's Declan Rice celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the English Premier League soccer match

02:32 PM BST

FT: Arsenal 3 Bournemouth 0

In many ways, that scoreline is an entirely fair reflection of the run of play, even if Arsenal got the rub of the green today with some key incidents. Kai Havertz’s penalty was fairly soft, as was the supposed push from Solanke on Raya that saw a Bournemouth goal disallowed which could have made things interesting at 2-1.

Yet Arsenal could easily have been 3-0 up by the half-hour mark, and Ryan Christie could have seen red for a challenge on Saka or for two yellow cards after a series of fouls.

A game which ebbed and flowed, but Arsenal were the better over the course. They stay in the title race.

Arsenal's Belgian midfielder #19 Leandro Trossard (L) celebrates with Arsenal's English midfielder #41 Declan Rice after scoring the team's second goal during the English
Arsenal's Belgian midfielder #19 Leandro Trossard (L) celebrates with Arsenal's English midfielder #41 Declan Rice after scoring the team's second goal during the English

02:28 PM BST

GOOOAAALL! Rice gets the goal his performance deserves

Rice has his seventh goal of the season, and Arsenal have the points. Jesus was on the ball at the corner of the box, and Rice made another run forward to receive the pass. He took a touch to push the ball beyond the defender, before blasting the ball low under Travers. A goal and an assist from Rice in a high-pressure half for Arsenal.


02:26 PM BST

95 minutes: Arsenal 2 Bournemouth 0

Raya comes to the edge of his box to claim a cross and slightly spilled it, but Arsenal deal with. Christie then clears out Odegaard and Christie finally picks up his first booking for the day.


02:23 PM BST

94 minutes: Arsenal 2 Bournemouth 0

Better spell of keepball from Arsenal, and it finishes with a foul on Jesus by Billing. Arsenal getting closer to the finish line now.


02:22 PM BST

92 minutes: Arsenal 2 Bournemouth 0

Tomiyasu with a brave header clear from the corner, and Arsenal can establish possession higher up the pitch. Jesus should have done better when he had Odegaard waiting for the cut-back.


02:21 PM BST

90 minutes: Arsenal 2 Bournemouth 0

Bournemouth have a free-kick in a dangerous crossing position, and there will be EIGHT minutes of stoppage time to play. Maybe not quite the end of the story.

Bournemouth now have a corner after White glances behind.


02:18 PM BST

87 minutes: Arsenal 2 Bournemouth 0

The big centre-half Gabriel has just scored a screamer on the volley, arrowed into the top corner, but the flag was up for offside. One of the less contentious decisions this afternoon, Havertz was offside from the free-kick and nodded the ball down. Gabriel denied what would surely have been the best goal he will ever score.


02:14 PM BST

84 minutes: Arsenal 2 Bournemouth 0

Smith shown a yellow card for a late challenge on Havertz, who has been excellent yet again for Arsenal. So much more assured in his touches. Gabriel Jesus is about to replace Bukayo Saka for the closing stages. Arsenal have a free-kick in the Bournemouth half after a foul on Tomiyasu.


02:12 PM BST

82 minutes: Arsenal 2 Bournemouth 0

Arsenal have made a change with Martinelli on for Trossard, and the Arsenal winger was in behind almost immediately. He lost his balance in the box when he had the chance to get the ball out of his feet and shoot.


02:10 PM BST

79 minutes: Arsenal 2 Bournemouth 0

Bournemouth making a change, and an attacking one: Unal on for Senesi. The Bournemouth bench were unhappy that VAR did not allow that goal to stand. Havertz has just missed a sitter, but he was offside anyway.


02:07 PM BST

NO GOAL! Arsenal remain two up

I think Bournemouth were unfortunate there, and once again it is one of those situations where the on-field decision going against them boxed VAR in. It was a light nudge on Raya, but once Coote has blown for a foul...you know the rest. A let off for Arsenal.


02:04 PM BST

74 minutes: Arsenal 2 Bournemouth 0

Bournemouth have the ball in the net, and believe this goal should stand. David Coote ruled it out for a push on Raya from Solanke, but Saliba also looked to have pulled Billing. Anything could happen here.....


02:01 PM BST

GOOOAAALL! Trossard finishes after great work from Rice

That is a big, big goal for Arsenal. Odegaard looked for the run of Havertz after Saka held the ball up well, and the ball deflected off a pair of Bournemouth heels. Rice was there to gobble up the loose ball and stab the ball to left, and Trossard curled the ball with his right foot beyond Travers.

Arsenal have been challenged for much of the second half by Bournemouth’s tenacity. But when you have Declan Rice in your team, there is always a chance of success. Rice’s contribution to Arsenal’s second goal was typical of his lung-busting effort. Bournemouth had just had an attack. Rice was back in his own area, acting as cover for the left back. As the ball broke, out to Saka on the right wing, he began to make his way forward. His timing was perfect. He was there in the perfect spot on the edge of the Bournemouth area to control the ball, turn and flick it on to Leandro Trossard to score. What a player Rice is.


02:00 PM BST

68 minutes: Arsenal 1 Bournemouth 0

Superb defending from Saliba after another smart Bournemouth move to release Semenyo behind White. Bournemouth are making Arsenal suffer and sweat for this.


01:58 PM BST

66 minutes: Arsenal 1 Bournemouth 0

The game continues to see-saw as Arsenal sprint back to snuff out a promising Bournemouth attack after a magnificent pass to Kluivert in the left channel. Then Arsenal countered well, and Rice whipped a low cross across the six-yard box which was begging for a tap-in. Trossard did not gamble.

Bournemouth are refusing to be cowed here. Antoine Semenyo and Dominic Solanke are offering a far more resilient challenge to Arsenal’s title prospects than Tottenham managed last week. Such is the intensity of their opposition, the suspicion is growing among the home support that Andoni Iraolo must be a secret Manchester City fan.


01:53 PM BST

63 minutes: Arsenal 1 Bournemouth 0

Gabriel has been a bit edgy at the back for Arsenal, too eager to make challenges. He has conceded a foul around 25 to 30 yards from goal. Decent shooting position for Bournemouth, left of centre. Kluivert is over it, who has shown he can shoot with considerable power. Very good attempt, but it just drifted wide of the post.


01:50 PM BST

61 minutes: Arsenal 1 Bournemouth 0

Partey now booked for sliding in late in midfield, before Kluivert dragged a decent effort wide of the near post. This half has been more uncomfortable for Arsenal, Arteta might be considering changes. Havertz has now been booked for a flailing arm on Senesi.


01:48 PM BST

59 minutes: Arsenal 1 Bournemouth 0

Arsenal’s corner flicked off Gabriel and then behind for a goal kick, before Arsenal force Travers into kicking the ball out for a throw. Taken quickly, but Odegaard scooped over the bar from distance. Never got the ball out of his feet.


01:47 PM BST

57 minutes: Arsenal 1 Bournemouth 0

Bournemouth carrying a threat now, squeezing Arsenal higher up the pitch. The likes of Partey and Trossard taking too many touches. A deflected shot loops into the arms of Raya.

Then Arsenal go on the attack, and win a corner. With the game opening up, I wonder if Arteta will be tempted to use the pace of Martinelli.


01:44 PM BST

55 minutes: Arsenal 1 Bournemouth 0

First proper chance of the game for Bournemouth! That is what they do, harrying teams in central areas, though Arsenal wanted a foul on Odgeaard before Partey dallied. Bournemouth found Solanke in the left channel but Raya was equal to the shot from a tight angle. Then Bournemouth produce another cracking challenge to deny Saka. End to end stuff. Not sure which team that suits.

AFC Bournemouth's Dominic Solanke in action with Arsenal's William Saliba
AFC Bournemouth's Dominic Solanke in action with Arsenal's William Saliba

01:42 PM BST

51 minutes: Arsenal 1 Bournemouth 0

Definitely more cut and thrust to the contest after half time, rather than one-way traffic from Arsenal. The home team are still finding space to attack though, and Travers is forced into another diving save from a Havertz shot on the swivel.


01:40 PM BST

49 minutes: Arsenal 1 Bournemouth 0

Bournemouth making an effort to trying and keep the ball, but that makes them potentially vulnerable to the Arsenal press. Rice nicked it high, Havertz showed his strength to hold off Bournemouth defenders and tee up Saka, but his shot was comfortably saved by Travers. He had time to take it on further.


01:37 PM BST

47 minutes: Arsenal 1 Bournemouth 0

Arsenal have started the second 45 minutes on the front foot again, but Gabriel catches Solanke late to give away a free-kick in the Bournemouth half. Christie looks to swing a cross into the box, but it drifts behind for an Arsenal goal kick.


01:35 PM BST

We’re back under way

No changes for either side at the break.


01:35 PM BST

The players are back out for the second half

Easy to see how Arsenal could make this game comfortable, but Bournemouth will surely improve on their first half showing.


01:28 PM BST

A measure of Arsenal’s dominance

They have had 16 shots to Bournemouth’s one, and 2.22 expected goals to Bournemouth’s 0.04. One of Arsenal’s best halves of the season but they probably left a goal on the pitch.


01:26 PM BST

Jeremy Wilson’s half-time verdict

Impressive in so many ways from Arsenal - high tempo, variation in their attacking, total commitment and little sign of nerves…but, if we are being picky, just one disputed goal hardly did justice to their dominance. And Bournemouth do remain very much in the game.

So was it a penalty? It is probably easiest just to say that, once referee David Coote had pointed to the spot, there was not much chance of it being overturned by VAR.

Kai Havertz had rounded Bournemouth goalkeeper Mark Travers and, while the Arsenal striker certainly dragged his trailing left leg in a way that initiated contact, that contact did duly arrive. Bournemouth had earlier also been fortunate to see VAR overlook a potential red card challenge by Ryan Christie on Bukayo Saka.

Doubts do persist about some of Arsenal’s finishing, even in the face of Bournemouth’s resilience and organisation, but there is little that Mikel Arteta will want to immediately change. Saka’s goal will ease some of the tension and, with the same application over the next 45 minutes, Arsenal should now run out comfortable winners.

Arsenal's Kai Havertz goes down in the box for a penalty appeal during the Premier League match
Arsenal's Kai Havertz goes down in the box for a penalty appeal during the Premier League match

01:21 PM BST

HT: Arsenal 1 Bournemouth 0

Arsenal peppered the Bournemouth goal in the opening half hour without reward, but Bukayo Saka’s penalty close to half-time has settled the nerves. Mikel Arteta’s team have been dominant against an upwardly mobile Bournemouth, but the visitors have produced some magnificent blocks in their own box. Bournemouth also have outlets in Kluivert and Solanke, so Arsenal need another goal I fancy.

Arsenal's English midfielder #07 Bukayo Saka (R) celebrates scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot
Arsenal's English midfielder #07 Bukayo Saka (R) celebrates scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot

01:17 PM BST

45 minutes: Arsenal 1 Bournemouth 0

There is no question that a one-goal lead is the least Arsenal deserved for their efforts, but it will still be a relief to find that opening goal by hook or by crook. There are four minutes of stoppage time to play.

It took a long time to decide, but from the moment Kai Havertz fell over Mark Travers’s leg, that looked a clear and obvious penalty. And to the relief of the Arsenal faithful, when David Coote finally had his decision ratified by VAR, Bukayo Saka wasn’t going to miss. That really has lifted the mood.


01:16 PM BST

GOOOAALL! Saka converts a penalty

Just as I tuned back into the game, Saka was standing over an Arsenal penalty. He waited for Travers to dive and placed the ball successfully the other way. Havertz was fouled by the goalkeeper to win the penalty in the first place.


01:15 PM BST

Sorry about the delay

There was a fire alarm at Telegraph Sport HQ, so answers on a postcard please for what has happened in the last 10 minutes.


01:03 PM BST

33 minutes: Arsenal 0 Bournemouth 0

Bournemouth with a better spell of possession now, the atmosphere has gone a little quieter at the Emirates. It was a high-octane start from Arsenal, but you can never sustain that throughout a 90-minute game. Saliba covers around well to defend against Kluivert.

The Arsenal fans in front of the press box are getting increasingly agitated. Not by their own side, but seemingly by Bournemouth’s smothering defensive tactics. They are not happy with the length of time Mark Travers is taking before he addresses a goal kick. “Cheat cheat cheat” is now the cry as Travers goes down under a challenge. They need a goal to ease their anger..


01:00 PM BST

30 minutes: Arsenal 0 Bournemouth 0

Saka’s cross from the free-kick is overhit and Bournemouth get a chance to breathe. This is a mental challenge as much as anything for Arsenal, missing this many chances can make you fearful about what might be around the corner.


12:58 PM BST

27 minutes: Arsenal 0 Bournemouth 0

Bournemouth hanging on by their fingertips, Travers pushing the ball around the post from Partey’s side-foot effort with his left. Once again, it was Arsenal finding Saka down the right that created the chance. Bournemouth clear the corner, but Arsenal win a free-kick in a dangerous cross position for a foul on Gabriel.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta reacts REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta reacts REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

12:54 PM BST

24 minutes: Arsenal 0 Bournemouth 0

Arsenal with yet another spurned opportunity, this time it was Partey who blasted over after a cute knockdown from Tomyasu. Bournemouth cannot defend their left-back area at all where Outtara is playing. I think Iraolo might need to think about putting a more defensive player there.


12:51 PM BST

20 minutes: Arsenal 0 Bournemouth 0

Now Saliba is involved going forward, breaking into the Bournemouth penalty box after a one-two. He chops inside but shoots straight at Travers. The Arsenal get more joy down their right side with Saka shooting at Travers from a narrow angle. From the resulting corner, Tomiyasu had a header cleared off the line! Miraculous that Arsenal have not scored, but that can make you nervous unless the goal comes.


12:49 PM BST

17 minutes: Arsenal 0 Bournemouth 0

Arsenal making inroads into Bournemouth penalty box again, but Tomiyasu could not pick out Odegaard or Trossard with the cut-back.

Then Bournemouth produce their first moment of danger at the other end. Solanke chased a channel ball for which Gabriel looked favourite, but the Arsenal defender stumbled and let Solanke in. Thankfully for Arsenal fans, Saliba was covering around and pounced on a loose touch.


12:45 PM BST

14 minutes: Arsenal 0 Bournemouth 0

Play is back under way and Saka is back on the pitch. No punishment for Christie’s challenge, feels like there is a lower bar for VAR interventions at this time of the season. Havertz swivels on a shot and tests Travers before another blocked shot from Trossard. It feels a matter of time for Arsenal.

There is currently a minute’s applause for 14-year-old Daniel Anjorin, the Arsenal fan killed in the Hainault sword attack.

Kai Havertz of Arsenal shoots whilst under pressure from Marcos Senesi of AFC Bournemouth during the Premier League match
Kai Havertz of Arsenal shoots whilst under pressure from Marcos Senesi of AFC Bournemouth during the Premier League match

12:43 PM BST

Arsenal fans know their threat from set-pieces

When Arsenal won their first corner, Bournemouth’s defence was alert to what might happen. They put a man between Ben White and Mark Travers, the goalkeeper, to ensure he got up to no subterfuge. “Benny White White White,” sang the home fans, keen for him to do something subversive. He didn’t. That time.


12:41 PM BST

11 minutes: Arsenal 0 Bournemouth 0

Havertz slips Ben White in on the overlap again and the right-back picks out Trossard with the cut-back, but Bournemouth produce yet another block in their own box. Arsenal have had everything put the finishing touch so far, but will know that Bournemouth have a counter-attacking threat.

There is going to be a stoppage in play now after a clash between Saka and Christie. The Bournemouth midfielder caught him on the shin, high enough for VAR to show an interest you would think.

Tackle on Bukayo Saka
Tackle on Bukayo Saka

12:38 PM BST

9 minutes: Arsenal 0 Bournemouth 0

Lovely interplay from Arsenal down their trust right side with Odegaard, White and Saka, but once again a Bournemouth defender got himself in the way of Saka’s shot. Arsenal are smothering Bournemouth at the moment, the away team hanging on in there.


12:37 PM BST

7 minutes: Arsenal 0 Bournemouth 0

Arsenal strong in the challenge again with Havertz, which created a four on three on the break in the home team’s favour. Rice maybe slowed things down and missed the optimal choice of pass, but Saka wriggled away and won a corner. Travers did well to punch, before Trossard and then Odegaard had shots blocked from clear openings in the box. Another Arsenal corner and the crowd on their feet.


12:35 PM BST

4 minutes: Arsenal 0 Bournemouth 0

Decent spell of Arsenal pressure, penning Bournemouth deep in their own half. Tomiyasu snuffs out any potential counter with defending that has the crowd applauding. No shots in anger just yet though.


12:32 PM BST

2 minutes: Arsenal 0 Bournemouth 0

Arsenal defended that early set-piece quite comfortable before Raya set them on their way forward down the right. Havertz with a stretching run behind the defence form a throw, but Odegaard’s pass towards Saka was a little off. Then Bournemouth win a free-kick on halfway for a White foul on Kluivert.


12:30 PM BST

KICK OFF!

Mikel Arteta’s assistant Albert Stuivenberg was singing North London Forever before hand. Bournemouth get the game started and have an early free-kick in Arsenal territory.


12:27 PM BST

The teams are out of the tunnel

Sometimes these early kick-offs can be flat, but the stakes for Arsenal should ensure an engaged crowd. Bournemouth scored inside 10 seconds in this fixture last season so take your seats nice and early.


12:24 PM BST

The sun shining at the Emirates during the warm-ups

Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White and Kai Havertz of Arsenal warm up
Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White and Kai Havertz of Arsenal warm up
Bournemouth's Alex Scott warming up before the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium
Bournemouth's Alex Scott warming up before the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium

12:12 PM BST

Iraolo on Lloyd Kelly’s absence

He is out. He has been ill. We have had a lot of illness in the squad in the past few weeks and now it is his turn. I hope it is nothing big but he is not ready for today.


12:08 PM BST

Iraolo on the challenge of facing Arsenal

It’s a team that don’t concede you anything, every chance you have to really earn it, they don’t make mistakes. Their work rate is top level and every player in their team knows what they have to do. They cover lots of ground and are very physical. It’s difficult but we will try.


11:58 AM BST

Ryan Christie on Iraola’s methods

I think one of the great things about him is that the messages are very clear and you go onto the pitch knowing exactly what is expected of you.

Lewis [Cook] has made my job a lot easier. Big thanks to him.

Bournemouth's Ryan Christie, Adam Smith and goalkeeper Mark Travers celebrate after the final whistle
Bournemouth's Ryan Christie, Adam Smith and goalkeeper Mark Travers celebrate after the final whistle

11:43 AM BST

Arteta speaking before the game about Iraola

[He’s done a] fantastic job. To come into the Premier League & do what he’s done, huge credit to him, the coaching staff & the players obviously. They had a difficult start, they kept going with what they believed in & huge credit to him.” “It’s unbelievable what they’ve done, in the manner that they’ve done it as well, which is, in my opinion, very important as well. Congratulations because it’s a fantastic achievement.


11:41 AM BST

Mikel Arteta on Arsenal’s mindset

We are enjoying this, it is where we want to be as a club fighting for major trophies at this stage of the season.

A team has to be able to compete, to take the game where you want and finish games off. We have matured a lot on that and have had the right experiences as well.

They have to find clarity on what we are trying to do and then belief that we are going to make it.

Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal, arrives at the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and AFC Bournemouth
Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal, arrives at the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and AFC Bournemouth

11:39 AM BST

The team news analysed

Mikel Arteta sticks with the team that did the job against Chelsea and Spurs, though Arsenal were a little more vulnerable than usual in those games. He could have gone for the secure passing of Jorginho in midfield, but sticks with the higher-tariff Thomas Partey.

Bournemouth will be buoyed that Semenyo is fit to line up on the right, and an interesting call is Outtara playing at left-back in place of the suspended Milos Kerkez. Outtara is an attacking player and could have his hands full against Saka. Boyhood Tottenham fan Alex Scott is in an attacking midfield role, and will surely be up for this one.


11:34 AM BST

The two teams in order

Arsenal XI: Raya, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu, Odegaard, Partey, Rice, Saka, Havertz, Trossard

Subs: Ramsdale, Gabriel Jesus, Smith Rowe, Martinelli, Nketiah, Kiwior, Jorginho, Vieira, Zinchenko

Bournemouth XI: Travers, Smith, Zabarnyi, Senesi, Ouattara, Cook, Christie, Semenyo, Scott, Kluivert, Solanke

Subs: Neto, Faivre, Hill, Unal, Billing, Aarons, McKenna, Kinsey-Wellings, Sadi


11:31 AM BST

Bournemouth team news: Semenyo fit enough to start


11:30 AM BST

Arsenal team news: No changes from derby wins over Chelsea and Spurs


11:21 AM BST

Arsenal hoping for a less stressful game than last season vs Bournemouth

Arsenal look primed to push the Premier League title race to the final game but also know they are a bad 90 minutes away from their chances being extinguished.

Most people have Mikel Arteta’s team pencilled in for victories against Bournemouth, Manchester United and Everton, which would take them to a tally of 89 points. That would be their highest since the Invincibles season, and leave them waiting on any form of Manchester City dropped points to be champions.

Arsenal still need to earn those wins though, and there is an argument that Bournemouth at home this lunchtime is the trickiest of the three. A trip to Old Trafford, where Arsenal have a poor record, looms large, but a fixture of that stature is an event in its own right. Facing already safe Everton on the final day should cause few alarms. Bournemouth have won the fifth-most points in the Premier League since November 1st, press well in central areas and have speed on the counter-attack.

There is also a psychological challenge for Arsenal to meet after the exuberance of London derby wins against Chelsea and Spurs. With United next, they cannot afford to take their eye off a home game for which they are heavy favourites, as they did against Southampton in last year’s run-in. They almost did the same against Bournemouth of course, requiring a last-gasp Reiss Nelson winner after falling 2-0 behind. All felt lost after the defeat to Aston Villa last month, but there is now a sense of expectancy that Arsenal have to handle.

Bournemouth are boosted by the news that Antoine Semenyo has recovered from a knee knock, but Luis Sinisterra and Marcus Tavernier are absent as well as suspended left-back Milos Kerkez. Arsenal have a fully fit squad to choose from, and Jurrien Timber could make his first Premier League squad since sustaining a cruciate ligament injury on the opening weekend.

Full team news on the way shortly.

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