The longer Arsenal go unbeaten, the more nervous I am that we are going to get our comeupance! But although Bournemouth are only just below us in the table I am certain that their bubble has burst and after losing to Newcastle in their last game they could be losing a little of their swagger. So, to set your mind at rest, let’s start by looking at the Cherrie’s home form this season……
As you can see they have only beaten Cardiff, Leicester and Palace. Hardly awe-inspiring form is it?
And now let’s look at their last six League games…..
So their away wins at Fulham and Watford, although convincing scores, are not too worrying in my mind. And two defeats in a row will have brought them back to Earth.
Unai Emery was cautious of his optimism in the pre-match conference. He said: “Now they are behind us by four points and we are playing there on Sunday. I think they are a good team, a young coach but a very good coach with his small experience but very big experience. I know Bournemouth and they are a very prepared team with tactically good movement on the pitch and with a big intensity with each player and when they are playing there, we know it is very difficult. But we need to prepare well, we need every player with a big mentality to fight strongly there against them, with our quality but above all, with a big intensity and a big mentality in the 90 minutes.”
The 90 minutes bit is what we have not been doing this season, except maybe against Liverpool, and we must hope that the Boss has the team keen to start quickly in this crucial game. If not, we could be put into trouble. With just 2 clean sheets in 12 League games we really need to tighten up at the back. We have had an awful injury record with our defenders, and Emery has told us that we are still waiting for Monreal to return. He said on Friday: “Today, we trained this morning with the players and they are okay. Only Danny Welbeck’s injury. It is a big injury and Nacho Monreal is not okay for Sunday. Laurent Koscielny is close to start with the group and start, little by little, taking minutes. That is good news. I forget also, Stephan Lichtsteiner is beginning to train with us but he is maybe not okay for Sunday.”
Mavropanos is also still out, but we should have enough choices at the back with Sokratis, Mustafi and Holding available, and Bellerin and Kolasinac (or Maitland-Niles) to cover for the wing-backs. Otherwise we have no other worries on the injury front, and the withdrawals of Aubameyang and Lacazette from international duty was just strategic and they will be back today, although I think Auba will start on the bench and may be kept fresh to be our secret weapon against Vorskla on Thursday. So this is my team prediction….
Bellerin Sokratis Holding Kolasinac
Xhaka Torreira Guendouzi
Now that to me is a very good team, and they should all be reasonably fresh and I think we will see a rejuvenated performance after all those draws.
Score? 3-1 to the Arsenal (We ALWAYS concede one!)