Arsenal travel south today to take on Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium in the Premier League’s match-week 20.
We beat the Cherries 3-1 when hosting them at the Emirates Stadium in the first half of the season, thanks to two goals from Alexis Sanchez and a third from Theo Walcott, but will have to try and win today’s match-up without the latter.
Mesut Ozil is also a strong doubt for the encounter, having picked up a sickness prior to the New Years Day win over Crystal Palace, which he also missed.
Santi Cazorla, Kieran Gibbs, Per Mertesacker and Mathieu Debuchy are also sidelined, but Danny Welbeck and Shkodran Mustafi could be in line for a return to the playing squad.
The defender has been out of action since picking up a hamstring injury on December 12, and his absence was immediately followed by two defeats, something that the German defender is yet to taste in a Gunners shirt.
Our side has turned those losses around, and now comes into today’s match with consecutive wins over Crystal Palace and West Brom, while our rivals form is very up and down.
Bournemouth have won only three matches since we beat them at the end of November, although two of those came against last year’s PL champions Leicester City and a high-flying Liverpool side. They seem to relish playing the bigger teams, but they will have to try and overcome our challenge without Jack Wilshere.
Our loanee is not allowed to feature against his parent club, and will be a big loss to their side.
Bellerin Mustafi Koscielny Monreal
Oxlade Iwobi Sanchez
Without Jack Wilshere I think they will struggle to cause us too much trouble, but there is no telling how the reason run of games will effect our players. We only played our last match two days ago, with the Cherries having had an extra days rest, which will hopefully not a play a part in the game.
I’m going to go for a 2-1 win over Eddie Howe’s side, but I can’t say that I would be shocked if tired legs led to us succumbing to a disappointing draw. Hopefully we can gain a two-goal advantage in the first-half of the match which could then lead to us controlling the game without excerpting too much energy.