BOURNEMOUTH, England (AP) – Arsenal’s youngsters turned on the style in scoring two flowing team goals in a 2-1 win over Bournemouth that secured a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday.
The methods of recently hired manager Mikel Arteta looked to be taking hold as 18-year-old left back Bukayo Saka finished off a sweeping move with a thunderous shot in off the crossbar in the fifth minute.
More great passing and movement ended with 20-year-old striker Eddie Nketiah, who recently returned to the club after a loan spell at second-tier Leeds, stroking in a close-range finish in the 26th.
Sam Surridge set up a tense finish with a goal for Bournemouth in the fourth minute of second-half injury time, but Arsenal held on to book a last-16 match against third-tier Portsmouth in early March.
It is a month since Arteta took charge of his first game as Arsenal manager - in a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth on Dec. 26 - and a return to Vitality Stadium gave an indication of the team’s progress under the Spaniard.
The evidence suggests things are looking up for the north London club, which didn’t even need its two star strikers - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (suspended) and Alexandre Lacazette (unused substitute) - to get past its fellow Premier League side.
Arteta also rested important first-teamers such as midfielder Lucas Torreira and goalkeeper Bernd Leno, choosing to field a young side that especially impressed in the first half.
Bournemouth came back into the game after halftime but didn’t seriously test Arsenal backup goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez until Surridge's goal, even after Arsenal center back Shkodran Mustafi was carried off on a stretcher in the 62nd minute with an ankle injury.
Arsenal ended a run of three straight draws under Arteta, and is unbeaten in its last six games.
The loss means Bournemouth can focus on staying in the Premier League. Eddie Howe’s team is in the relegation zone with 14 games left.