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Arsenal vs Bournemouth – Match preview; likely line-ups and score prediction

Jake Jackman

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Arsenal

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.

Recent form

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.

Predicted line-ups

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.

Team news

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.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Arsenal

Criticism of Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson unfair? stats suggest he’s England’s best option

The midfielder came under scrutiny for his latest performance.

Jamie Watts

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England put an end to the World Cup opener curse after Harry Kane’s stoppage time header ensured England started the tournament with maximum points, with Tunisia looking more than likely to take their share of points in Volograd.

A promising opening 20 minutes was encored by ponderous and slow football in the second half, after the team began looking seemingly affected by Tunisia’s equaliser.

The additions of Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek added impetus and purpose to the attack late on.

But prior to that, England struggled in pursuit of a second, and Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson came under fire for what was deemed to be a lack of creativity.

Photo: Getty Images

Many fans were questioning the omission of Jack Wilshere from England duties, as Gareth Southgate opted for the Liverpool man as the regular in central midfield. But last season’s statistics show some maybe being preemptive in wanting to replace the 28-year-old this World Cup.

Squawka stats (below) show that the Liverpool man was superior to both Eric Dier and Jack Wilshere in all aspects of midfield play in the Premier League last term, suggesting he could very well be the right man to continue starting for the Three Lions.

The former Sunderland man bested his two counterparts for number of forward passes, average pass length, key passes, tackles won, aerial duels won and chances created (all per 90 minutes), which sheds some light on why he’s a regular in Southgate’s team.

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Arsenal

Fans criticise Jack Wilshere omission after Jordan Henderson’s ‘toothless’ England performance

Gareth Southgate’s bold decision is already being questioned.

Jamie Watts

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England put an end to the World Cup opener curse after Harry Kane’s stoppage time winner ensured England started the tournament with a victory, with Tunisia looking more than likely to take their share of the points in Volgograd.

After a promising opening 20 minutes, England’s shortcomings in front of goal were punished as Tunisia were awarded a penalty – using VAR – and Ferjani Sassi equalised from the spot, heaping pressure on Gareth Southgate’s outfit to score a second.

But creativity was scarce from the Three Lions, in what was a stressful and frustrating half to watch for the nation.

Photo: Getty Images

And Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson has come under fire for his performance in the heart of the midfield, with many believing that Arsenal‘s Jack Wilshere would have been more creative and imaginative in central midfield, if he wasn’t omitted from international duties this earlier this summer.

Henderson frequently opted for possession over creativity and was guilty of taking too many touches in the midfield yesterday, particularly in the second half and the speed of play was directly affected as a result.

Here’s the Twitter reaction:

By no means did the 28-year-old have an awful game, but his choice of pass was often safe and as a result England lacked impetus and drive in the second-half, until the additions of Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek added a spark in the final third.

Gareth Southgate will often opt for control in central midfield against tougher opposition – with Belgium on the horizon – but against the likes of Tunisia and Panama, the side can afford to take more risks and be more inventive, and the decision to leave Wilshere at home is already being questioned after just one game.

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Crystal Palace fans thrilled with reports of Jack Wilshere interest

Crystal Palace fans are keen on the reported deal.

Jamie Watts

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Crystal Palace are keen on landing long-serving Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, if the 26-year-old leaves the Emirates this summer, according to reports from Evening Standard.

A move to Selhurst Park would reunite Wilshere with Roy Hodgson, his former England manager and a coach, whose belief in the Gunner is undeniable.

Hodgson displayed his admiration for the midfielder, after taking him the 2016 Euros despite him barely playing all season and he believes he could add the perfect balance to the Eagles’ midfield alongside enforcer Luka Milivojevic.

Photo: Getty Images

Wilshere was left out of the England squad for the World Cup this summer due to his diminished role with Arsenal, and revealed his “disappointment” on the day through his official Twitter account.

It now appears he will prioritise making himself essential at both club and international level next season, and that is unlikely with Arsenal.

Having improved his fitness, which has widely been considered his primary weakness, making 38 appearances in all competitions last season, Wilshere could become a serious asset at Selhurst Park, and fans have taken to Twitter to discuss the reports.

Here’s the reaction:

Yohan Cabaye’s situation is currently unresolved at Selhurst Park, with reports suggesting that the 32-year-old could potentially move to Ligue 1 giants Marseille this summer, and the Frenchman would need replacing.

Having joined in 2015 for £10 million from French champions Paris Saint Germain, the veteran midfielder played a key role in the Eagles relegation survival, acting as the catalyst for control and mobility in the centre of the park.

Photo: Getty Images

And Wilshere would play a similar role. His agility and vision are reminiscent of Cabaye, but he has far more left in the tank.

It is safe to say the Englishman would be a real coup for Hodgson at Palace this summer and the fans agree its a deal the club should make happen.

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