Arsenal are back in the Premier League where they face Bournemouth at the Emirates as Unai Emery looks to build on their midweek win.
Arsenal return to Premier League action after an impressive 4-0 win over Standard Liege in the Europa League. The Gunners will face Bournemouth as Unai Emery looks to arrest an inconsistent league form so far. The Gunners battled to a 1-1 draw against Manchester United in the last matchday, but find themselves sixth in the table after Burnley and Crystal Palace picked up wins on Saturday.
Emery fielded a second-string side against Standard Liege in midweek, meaning all of his stars that started against United remain fresh. Despite all the complaints about Arsenal’s inconsistency this season, the Gunners have put together a 7-game unbeaten run since their only loss this term to Liverpool at Anfield. Will they be able to continue this trend and wrestle back their place in the top-four?
Their opponents, Bournemouth have had a good start to the season so far. Eddie Howe’s men have collected 11 points from their opening 7 games, but the intensity of the league places them in the tenth spot in the table. In their last league game, Bournemouth could have won against West Ham; instead, they squandered their lead to allow the Hammers to level the match.
Their inconsistencies have been at the back, as the Cherries have shipped 12 goals already. Only Watford, Norwich, Newcastle, Everton and Chelsea have conceded more. Manager Howe has looked at his attack more than once this season to bail them out and will be hoping to do so again when they visit the Emirates to face the Gunners.
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Emile Smith-Rowe and Alexandre Lacazette remain the only injury concerns for Arsenal at the moment, with Emery having a near full squad at his disposal. This prowess was visible during the Standard Liege clash when Emery rested his entire starting lineup against Man Utd to field a different team. That midweek game did see three of their long-term absentees play the entire 90-mins.
Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney and Rob Holding all played the game, but Emery will be cautious about including them in the starting lineup just yet against Bournemouth. The idea, as it looks, will be to let them start games after the international break. Meaning, Sokratis and David Luiz could return in central defence, while Sead Kolasinac will play left-back. At right-back, Calum Chambers is likely to start.
Emery is also likely to place Lucas Torreira on the bench. This could let Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi continue their midfield roles, with Dani Ceballos expected to play No.10 as Mesut Ozil is seemingly out-of-favour. Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe will continue in their wing roles, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expected to start upfront.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Leno; Chambers, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Pepe, Ceballos, Saka; Aubameyang
Unlike Arsenal, Bournemouth have a rather lengthy injury list to contend with. The likes of David Brooks, Dan Gosling, Adam Smith, Charlie Daniels, Junior Stanislas and Chris Mepham all remain out of this clash. Additionally, Harry Wilson is significant doubt, along with Ryan Fraser. Illness is the reason for Fraser’s reported absence.
It’s unlikely that Howe will make wholesale changes to his side after the 2-2 draw with West Ham and could continue with the 4-4-2, he has so often deployed this season. Nathan Ake and Steve Cook will slot in as the central defenders for the Cherries, while Jack Stacey and Diego Rico could continue as full-backs.
Joshua King is expected to feature from the right side, with Philip Billing and Jefferson Lerma providing midfield cover. Arnaut Groeneveld is likely to start from the left side of midfield. Callum Wilson and Dominic Solanke are set to spearhead the Cherries attack against Arsenal.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Ramsdale; Stacey, Cook, Ake, Rico; King, Billing, Lerma, Groeneveld; Wilson, Solanke
- Arsenal have won all five of their home matches against Bournemouth in all competitions (four in the Premier League, one in the League Cup).
- Bournemouth have taken only four points from eight Premier League matches against Arsenal (W1 D1 L6).
- The only teams to play more away Premier League games at Arsenal than Bournemouth without winning a point (P4 W0 D0 L4) are Stoke City (10 games) and Burnley (6).
- Bournemouth have lost their last three Premier League matches in London, conceding five goals in every game.
- Arsenal have lost just one of their last 21 Premier League home games (W16 D4), losing 2-3 against Crystal Palace in April.
1. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score anytime @ 1.57
1. Bournemouth Draw No Bet @ 5.00
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The pressure on the Ivorian is truly on. Since joining Arsenal in a club-record deal, Pepe has not been prominent with his performances so far. He has managed to show flashes of his talent in each of the games he’s played. The part where he contributes significantly to the attack has been missing. With only a goal (penalty) and an assist to show so far, his hefty price tag may turn on the pressure.
Against Bournemouth, he has the chance to put the wrongs on one side and showcase what he could bring to this Arsenal attack. When Alexandre Lacazette returns, it could spell trouble for Pepe, as the Frenchman is certain to get back in the side.
The problem for Pepe is the form of youngster Bukayo Saka, as he might usurp Pepe’s place in the team when Lacazette returns. So, it becomes imperative for the Ivorian to step it up a notch and make a significant contribution against the Cherries on Sunday.
Arsenal 3-1 Bournemouth
Both teams have the same kind of problem, defence. Leaky, shaky and all other adjectives put together, their defence have been shambles this season. However, both sides have been bailed out by their attack, and in this case, Arsenal’s offensive line looks much better than Bournemouth’s.
Expect a high scoring game at the Emirates, with Arsenal, as has been the trend this season look set to concede a goal or two against the Cherries. But again, it will be the Gunners’ attack that will help the side take all three points. Expect Bournemouth, with all their injury problems, to lose against Arsenal, who will be full of confidence after their Europa League thumping of Standard Liege.