AFC Bournemouth exited the FA Cup in the fourth round after losing 2-1 at home to Arsenal. The away side scored two first half goals to put them in control for the majority of the tie, though the Cherries did look good in the second half. After trailing 2-0 for most the game, substitute Sam Surridge’s late goal was not enough to keep cup hopes alive.
Despite conceding first in eight of their twelve away league games this season, The Gunners took the lead just four minutes in through 18 year old Bukayo Saka. The ball found its way from Martinelli to the youngster on the left hand side of the box. From the tight angle Saka blasted the ball into the the roof of Mark Travers’ goal. It is the englishman’s third goal of the 19/20 season.
Arsenal threatened the most out of the two sides across the first half hour, and the Londoners doubled their lead on 25 minutes. Saka turned from scorer to assister as he received a precise ping from from Joe Willock. From the wide position the first goalscorer directed a pinpoint cross into the area to find an unmarked Nketiah. With just one touch, the former Chelsea youth player easily slotted the ball home from close range. Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe would have been disappointed at how easily centre-forward had converted the chance.
The Cherries did get better towards the end of the half. Both Harry Wilson and Dan Gosling came close within a couple of minutes of each other. Wilson received the ball from the right hand side of the area after the ball deflected off the top of an Arsenal head. He struck a half volley only for it to be denied by Argentine Arsenal keeper Emiliano Martinez. Moments after, a Gosling header looked to be dipping into the goal, however the effort landed on top of the Arsenal goal.
Bournemouth started the second half the brighter of the two teams, but fifteen minutes in play was stopped for a lengthy stoppage. After German centre-back Shkodran Mustafi collided with his own keeper, the 27 year old was stretched off for what seemed to be a bad head injury. Rob Holding replaced the Arsenal number 20.
Not long after, Bournemouth came the closest they had all evening, as Jack Simpson sent a cross into Bellerin to win the Cherries a corner. The set piece found the head of Simpson who nodded the ball past Martinez but also narrowly wide of the left hand post.
Dan Gosling was next to come close for the Cherries as he struck a long range effort that looked to be heading for the top left corner. But Granit Xhaka was in the right place at the right time and his crucial deflection kept the 13 time FA Cup winners ahead.
Before tonight Eddie Howe had only beaten Arsenal once in his ten previous matches managing against them. His team did however come close to improving that poor record when substitute Sam Surridge received a cross from fellow substitute Simno Francis. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta would have been frustrated that the 21 year old was completely unmarked. The 21 year old easily converted the chance to score his first goal for the first team, and give them some hope.
Lewis Cook had a chance to grab the draw with virtually the last kick of the game. His long range effort flew over however. Despite a good second half performance from the Cherries, Arsenal saw the game over the line.
The North Londoners travel to Fratton Park to face Portsmouth in the fifth round.