Bournemouth were able to claw their way back out of the relegation zone in their last three holiday fixtures with a win and two draws. Despite their good results at the end of the period, the Bournemouth defense showed a lot of problems, conceding 14 goals in their last five matches. Only one point out of the relegation zone, if the Cherries cannot patch up their defense they could very well see themselves relegated at the end of the season.
Arsenal had a disastrous holiday period, with only one win in their four-holiday matches. While they were a bit unlucky with a poor penalty decision causing them to drop points against West Bromwich Albion, their performances were poor throughout the period, specifically defensively. They conceded eight goals in their four matches, including two against Crystal Palace and three at home to Liverpool.
Bournemouth will be without big summer signing Jermain Defoe through a broken ankle and Tyrone Mings with a back injury, according to Physioroom.com. Josh King and Junior Stanislas will both undergo late fitness tests before the match to determine.
Some of Arsenal’s struggles during the festive period could be attributed to the fact that they’re going through another injury crisis. They’ll be without Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Olivier Giroud, and Santi Cazorla, while Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, and Sead Kolasinac will all undergo late fitness tests, according to Physioroom.com.
Bournemouth: Callum Wilson
While the Cherries defense struggled, their offense showed some signs of a team that could stay up. Wilson showed signs of being the striker he’s capable of with 14 shots and two goals in his last three matches. Considering how shaky Arsenal’s defense is, he should see this as an opportunity to bolster his personal goal tally and his team’s chances of staying up this season.
Arsenal: Alexandre Lacazette
Arsenal’s record signing started the season well with four goals in his first five starts but hasn’t scored in any of his last eight appearances. Despite two assists in that time, the French striker needs a goal or two and a game against one of the league’s worst defenses could be the perfect tonic for the struggling Arsenal striker.
Arsenal’s season went downhill last year after their 3-3 draw last season at around the same time in the season. Their season is already kind of on the downhill and a negative result here could see Arsenal give up on the season and start selling some of their players that lack contract security. That said, they should be able to outscore Bournemouth, despite the Gunners shaky defence.