BOURNEMOUTH, England (Reuters) – Martin Odegaard scored twice in the opening 11 minutes as Arsenal outclassed newly-promoted Bournemouth for a 3-0 victory to move top of the Premier League on Saturday.
The former Real Madrid player, Arsenal’s captain, opened the scoring after five minutes following good work by Gabriel Jesus and doubled their lead from Ben White’s pull back.
Bournemouth failed to have a shot or touch in Arsenal’s penalty area in a one-sided first half and they were only marginally better in the second period.
French defender William Saliba curled an unstoppable effort into the top corner to make it 3-0 in the 54th minute and put Arsenal in to cruise control in the south coast sunshine.
Jesus, outstanding again for Arsenal, had a goal ruled out for offside as the visitors made it three successive wins — a contrast to last season when they lost their opening three.
It is the first time they have won their first three Premier League games in 18 years.
Arsenal are top with nine points, two more than north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, although champions Manchester City can dislodge them with a win at Newcastle United on Sunday.
Bournemouth have suffered back-to-back defeats after beating Aston Villa on the opening day of the season.
While Arsenal will face sterner tests than a below-par Bournemouth, the ruthless way they tore Scott Parker’s side apart showed how far they have come from last season.
The signings of Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City appear to have galvanised Arsenal while French youngster Saliba, back from loan spells, looks the part.
“Winning makes life completely different. The atmosphere is good. The unity is incredible,” Arteta said.
Arsenal were clearly in the mood from the first minute and they needed only five minutes to go ahead.
Jesus made a jinking run into the heart of the Bournemouth area and when fellow Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli’s shot was saved the ball came out to Odegaard who steered it home.
Odegaard made it 2-0 when he buried Ben White’s pull back in style — the goal standing after a VAR check for offside.
Arsenal were streets ahead of Bournemouth and made it 3-0 nine minutes after the interval when Saliba picked out the top corner with a stylish finish from Granit Xhaka’s set up.
Jesus thought he had made it 4-0 but a VAR check ruled it out for offside and Arsenal had several more chances late on to emphasise the gulf in class.
“The first half was really unacceptable from us in many ways. We needed to have humility in terms of understanding the dynamics of the game and what we were up against,” Parker said.
“There’s no disgrace losing to Arsenal but what is not acceptable is how we went about it in the first half.”
(Reporting by Martyn HermanEditing by Christian Radnedge)