Bournemouth 0-3 Arsenal: Three things we learned as Gunners go top

Things can change pretty quickly in the space of the year, something a lot of dubious Arsenal fans, pundits and domestic rivals are beginning to learn.

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We all know what went down last season and if you had forgotten, Amazon Prime went to the extent of filming a multi-million pound documentary to allow us all to watch it back.

But following that dismal opening a year ago where Mikel Arteta’s side suffered three consecutive defeats with no goals scored, things are already a bit different.

The Gunners put in a performance as comfortable as the South Coast breeze as they ran out 3-0 winners against Premier League new boys, Bournemouth.

A brace from Martin Odegaard and wonder goal from William Saliba ensured they’d be getting back on the bus with another three points and clean sheet to shout about.

And whilst the narrative from Arteta will always be around focusing on the next game, you have to say that top four qualification is now an expectation rather than a distant dream.

I took a look back at three key talking points from Saturday’s victory.

1 – Zinchenko has raised everyone’s game

Say it quietly but following his £32m move, Zinchenko is quickly becoming one of the most important cogs in how this Arsenal machine can operate forwards and backwards.

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Whilst a lot of our analysis around player performance is based on stats, numbers and head-to-head records, it’s what Zinchenko brings off the ball that interests me.

He already looks like a player who’s been training with Granit Xhaka for years let alone a number of weeks, with the two forming a comprehensive partnership.

When Zinchenko drifts in, Xhaka will immediately fill in allowing us to have a lot more unpredictability when moving forward and give Zinchenko a chance to run at defenders.

His 85.6% pass success rate was yet again as consistent as the opening two games of the season, all of which are keeping fan favourite Kieran Tierney out of the team.

Arteta said after the game that Zinchenko is a midfielder playing as a defender, something that made him such a key signing to be able to slot in and work as a versatile option.

Reports in mid-week have already eluded to how much of an influence he’s had on the younger members of the squad, who now look up to him following his experience at City.

So long as he keeps up performances like these there can be no justification to drop him other than fatigue issues, which will come into play when the Europa League group stages start on September 8th.

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