Arsenal are looking to get back to winning ways against Bournemouth at the Emirates on Sunday, and Cherries boss Eddie Howe admits Arsenal have been an inspiration to him. Howe has been linked with the Gunners as Arsene Wenger’s pre placement, and there are similarities between the two coaches in terms of their dedication and preferred style of play. Arsenal’s performances have deteriorated in recent week, as they tend to in the month of November, but they remain unbeaten in 18 games since the opening weekend of the season. Bournemouth have avoided an hint of ‘second season syndrome’, and sit comfortably in 10th and have tightened up significantly at the back this term. Howe said of Arsenal:
“There’s a lot to admire about Arsenal. They always stick to their philosophies and are very loyal to their style of play.
“Arsenal have certainly had a big influence on the way I try to manage here. They are a few similarities in the way both sides play.
“Arsenal have quality and pace off the bench. It shows a lot about their attitude given that they have scored a lot of late goals.
“We know we’ll need a little bit of luck and for our players to be at their maximum, but we believe we can get a result.”
This fixture might look like a routine home game for Arsenal, but is actually quite a big game in the course of their season. Draws against Spurs and United are not disastrous results in isolation, but the quality of their play is a shadow of their early season form. They have lacked creativity, and without Santi Cazorla their midfield is not finding their main men in the final third. Wenger’s 4-2-3-1 works best with Coquelin and Cazorla as a midfield pair, and he hasn’t found another functioning partnership. Perhaps a solution to this problem could be switch to 4-3-3; Ramsey, Xhaka and Elneny will all enjoy playing in a trio. The issue there though, is the system forces Mesut Ozil into a wide role.
Jack Wilshere is another player who would enjoy that system, but he is on-loan at Bournemouth though is unavailable for Sunday’s game. Wilshere though, has said he will be cheering on his Bournemouth teammates. That is the sort of attitude you would expect from a professional, but one wonders if Wilshere is slightly regretting his decision to force a temporary move from Arsenal. Cazorla is struggling with his achilles, and Wilshere wouldn’t be too far from the first-team currently.
Finally, Laurent Koscielny has said he will finish his career either at Arsenal or his old club Lorient. The France international is expected to sign a new deal to keep him at the Emirates until 2020, and has developed into a superb defender since joining the club in 2010. Koscielny is past the age of 30 now, but is now the more conservative defensive partner with Shkodran Mustafi doing his running. Koscielny said:
“It was Arsene Wenger who had the courage to buy me from Lorient when I was nobody.
“I’d had one year at an average club in Ligue 1 and he took a big punt in bringing me to one of the 10 biggest clubs in Europe.
“I am in the French national team thanks to the boss and I will be grateful to him my entire career.
“I will finish my career in England or at my old club Lorient but I love living in London.”
Featured image: All rights reserved by Dan Westwell