Arsenal vs Bournemouth - Match preview; likely line-ups and score prediction
Arsenal need to get back to winning ways this weekend if they are going to assert themselves as a Premier League force once again. They have a tricky home match against Bournemouth. Although the Cherries have yet to pick up a point, they have a good squad and they will take the game to the home side on Saturday. That said, the Gunners have won three of the last four meetings and will be confident of taking the three points on Saturday.
Arsene Wenger is already in focus after two defeats in his first three matches this season. His decision to stay was met with a mixed response and it looks like the players are struggling to motivate themselves to play for the Frenchman. Their activity on deadline day was uninspiring and their squad now has less depth than it did last season.
Bournemouth are one of three teams that have yet to pick up a point this season and that will be a concern heading into this one. Losing can become a habit and Eddie Howe will realise the importance of getting on the board, even if only with a point. They have been slow starters in their previous two Premier League campaigns and they won’t be panicking yet, but a couple of good results would go a long way to improving the mood.
The Gunners have had a poor start to the new season and need to improve significantly if they are to challenge for the top four. They will be desperate to get back into the Champions League, but they are facing an uphill battle, even at this early stage. They have conceded eight, which is more than any other team outside of West Ham. That is a concerning statistic.
As mentioned above, Bournemouth have lost all three of their opening fixtures. The loss to Manchester City wasn’t the end of the world, as they did deliver a good performance. However, the two defeats to West Brom and Watford were a blow, as they would expect to be competing with both of them.
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It would be a surprise if Arsenal don’t make wholesale changes to the team that lost to Liverpool. Sead Kolasinac, Shkodran Mustafi and Alexandre Lacazette are all likely starters.
The problem for Arsenal this season has been pace, which is why Bournemouth could opt to field Ryan Fraser, Jordon Ibe and Josh King in the same starting eleven. The home side are there to be got at and expect the Cherries to deploy an attacking line-up.
Calum Chambers is a doubt with a groin strain, but it is unlikely that he would have featured anyway. The only other injury concern is Santi Cazorla, who will be missing for the foreseeable future.
Bournemouth have a few injury concerns heading into this weekend. Nathan Ake, Simon Francis and Junior Stanislas are all major doubts with various knocks. Callum Wilson remains on the long-term injury list.
Score prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Bournemouth
The home side may not be in the best place, but they will surely beat Bournemouth this weekend. Anything other than a win would be a disaster for the club and they should have just enough to overcome Bournemouth. They have a long way to go before becoming top four challengers again under Wenger, but they will make the first step this weekend and take the three points.
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