On November 27th, Arsenal host AFC Bouremouth at the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners come into this off the back of three consecutive draws in all competitions. Arsene Wenger’s side still finds themselves near the top of the table, but they find themselves in desperate need of a win. With so many good teams in this title race, no one can afford to drop points at home to bottom half teams.
Bournemouth, while they want to get something out of every game, aren’t in desperate need of points here. They’re solidly midtable, sitting in 10th with 15 points from 12 matches. Midtable is more than good enough for the Cherries this season, so they’ll go out against Arsenal with a certain level of freedom afforded to them after their solid start to the season.
Wenger said there’s not much change for the team news this week. Danny Welbeck and Per Mertesacker are both out with their long term injuries, while Hector Bellerin and Santi Cazorla remain out without specific return dates. Lucas Perez will be short for this match, but Wenger said he has returned to training and could be fit for their midweek clash against Southampton.
Eddie Howe will obviously be without the services of Arsenal owned Jack Wilshere. He’ll also be without Lewis Cook as he continues to recover from his long term injury. Howe has said that he expects Jordan Ibe to return to the team, while he is less confident about Artur Boruc and Andrew Surman saying the pair are doubtful.
Last season was the first time these two sides faced off in league play before. Both meetings last season went 2-0 to Arsenal, with Mesut Ozil scoring in both fixtures. Strangely enough, Arsenal have performed better away from home than at home this season. Their only loss this season has come at the Emirates, they’ve dropped seven points in six matches at home compared to four points in six matches away from home, and have a goal difference of only +4 at home compared to +9 on the road. To beat Bournemouth, the Gunners will have to overcome their surprising struggles at home.
Arsenal: Mesut Ozil
Arsenal have two main superstars in their team, and one of those is Ozil. The German is a match winner, as Bouremouth found out last season. He scored in the away meeting and played a part in both goals in the meeting at the Emirates notching a goal and an assist. His performance at home against Bournemouth was considered one of his best of the season, as he scored a goal, had an assist, and created eight chances. Ozil is one of the most talented players in the league and has the ability to rip open any side. If he plays well, Arsenal are a very hard team to beat.
Bouremouth: Junior Stanislas
Bournemouth are likely going to need to score if they are going to get any points out of this match. One of their key goal scorers and creators so far this season has been Junior Staislas. The Englishman is tied for the most goals scored by a Bouremouth players this season with three and has the most assists with three. All those goals and assists have come despite playing only seven of the Cherries 12 league matches so far this season. If Stanislas plays against Arsenal they have another offensive outlet to his against an Arsenal defense that is likely to be at less than full strength, especially if Carl Jenkinson plays, as he is expected to.
This is a match Arsenal really need to win. After three consecutive draws, they need a win to get the wind back in their sails and keep them in the chasing pack for the title race. They have had some questionable performances of late, but have got away with it. If their results start matching their recent performances, they’ll fall out of the title race quickly. Ultimately, they should get the job done.