After capturing victory on opening day, the Gunners have lost twice in quick succession. Following the close of the international break, they return to Premier League action against Bournemouth.
In the wake of Ox Chamberlain leaving for Anfield, and want-away Alexis Sanchez still in North London, Arsenal’s team spirit looks weak leading up to the match.
On the other hand, Eddie Howe’s men recently started their third consecutive campaign in the EPL, and will hope to build on two positive years in the league. Much like the last time the teams met, Saturday’s game looks like it will be very competitive.
The Stateside Gooner’s Bournemouth Preview
Head to Head
The Cherries are relative new-comers to the top flight compared to Arsenal. Bournemouth have only played two seasons in the Premier League before this current campaign.
In the four matches contested between these teams, the Gunners came out victorious three times.
During the 15/16 season, Arsenal won both home and away by a score of 2-0. Last year Bournemouth lost the first meeting at the Emirates 3-1 but jumped out to a spectacular three-goal lead at the Vitality Stadium.
The visitors on that day managed to level the score with three late goals to preserve the point, and assure Arsenal have not lost to the Cherries in the Premier League.
The only other clash between these two sides came all the way back in 1987 in the League Cup. The home team at Highbury won that match 3-0.
So, overall Arsenal are 4-1-0 versus Bournemouth, scoring 13 goals while conceding only 4.
Jack Wilshere impressed on loan last season with Bournemouth before suffering a broken leg near the end of the year. With Arsenal’s midfield seemingly in crisis, speculation has it that the Englishman may make his season debut this weekend.
Our man Arsene is coy on the idea, as speaking to the media he said,
“I don’t know yet (if he will play), I haven’t decided who will be in the squad or not. He still needs some fitness work, I think. But what I mean is he is in a positive trend. He is getting better and better.”
The boss also confirmed there are no new injuries in the squad from international duty.
Alexis Sanchez is also the topic of much discussion, as he always seems to be, as some in the media are questioning his commitment to Arsenal this year. His body language against Liverpool revealed his continued frustration, and Wenger was asked about this,
“I have no doubt about Alexis’ mind and mentality that people question. He needs to come back to full fitness, which he was not at Liverpool. It was his first game. He suffered, he had a negative experience now with Chile but he is strong mentally and hopefully he will be back very quickly to his best.”
Last year it was mostly Mesut Ozil who looked distraught on the field, but now its the Chilean’s turn. No doubt that if Ozil was not dropped a year ago for the same type of body language, neither will Sanchez.
It seems that even if such players don’t shoulder their share of the burden on the field, they are in absolutely no danger of being dropped. You can count on seeing Sanchez against Bournemouth.
With the Ox now gone, Arsenal’s youngsters may get a chance in the first team. Also in his pre-match conference, Wenger mentioned a few of the kids by name,
“…it (Ox’s transfer) opens the door for some younger players like Reiss Nelson or Joe Willock, or players who are in behind and get an opportunity that they wouldn’t get.”
Perhaps this is a small hint that the Gunners will get an injection of youth this weekend?
Predicted Starting XI
Cech, Koscielny, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Bellerin, Monreal, Xhaka, Coquelin, Alexis, Ozil, Lacazette
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