Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta felt his young brigade showed “courage” to beat struggling Bournemouth 2-1 at Vitality Stadium and earned an FA Cup fifth-round trip to Portsmouth. Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah ensured victory for the London club in the first half itself.
“I’m very pleased. I knew it was going to be a tough game, and we played a young squad,” said Arteta. “I wanted to see the reaction, and I was glad because I saw a lot of things I liked.
“In the first half, we were good. They executed everything we planned in a really good way and showed the courage to make big decisions. “We played with that accountability, making decisions, and I liked it. They were terrific with their work-rate, showed the courage to make those big decisions and not to play safe.
Eighteen-year-old Saka lashed at top of finish past Bournemouth keeper Mark Travers after only five minutes, based on the good work from the outstanding Joe Willock and Gabriel Martinelli, Bkayo Saka became provider to set up Nketiah for a dull finish in the 26th minute.
Arteta praised Nketiah, whose season-long loan move to Leeds was cut short at the start of January as the 20-year-old was not getting enough first-team action.
“Eddie Nketiah was terrific,” mentioned Arteta. “He was on the wing then three seconds later he was in the middle and scoring a goal. This shows me he will score goals, and the way he worked without the ball was excellent.”
Bournemouth substitute Sam Surridge scored at 82nd minute of the match, to give the scoreline a look of respectability and give Arsenal some late anxious moments. Still, the Gunners looked like the superior team.
The only negative that the evening brought for Arsenal, was the second-half ankle injury of defender Shkodran Mustafi, who was taken off on a stretcher.
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