Whilst Arsenal have remained undefeated in the Premier League since the 2nd of December, a litany of draws (5 in 7) has seen the Gunners sink 2 places below the top 4 – a massive 23 points behind pace setters Manchester City. Plenty of goals have been scored during that time, including an epic 3-3 draw with Liverpool and a 2-2 action packed encounter with Chelsea. That’s 11 goals scored and 9 conceded in the last 7 games – hardly a ringing endorsement for an already heavily criticised back line.
As exciting as the football has been for Arsenal fans, an at continued venomous relationship with their manager, as well as the likely departure of keyman Alexis Sanchez, means it’s still very difficult to see when the good times are going to come for the club in the near future.
The season hasn’t exactly been a swiss picnic for the leagues minnows either, however, after taking a trio of spankings courtesy of Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City, Bournemouth have picked up 5 points in their last 3, one of which a superb win over a newly resurged Everton. Despite the Championship becoming a real prospect at this stage of the season, Eddie Howe’s band of over achievers still sit marginally above the relegation zone in 16th.
The early season encounter ended miserably for the seasiders, shipping 3 goals courtesy of goals via Welbeck and Lacazette. The win was much welcomed by Arsenal’s beleaguered boss after two costly defeats by Stoke and Liverpool previously.
Whilst the manager was on the back end of some spiteful words via Arsenal TV, Arsene Wenger resting of some of his key players during an embarrassing FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest may have been a forced move. The side currently have the likes of Corzola, Ramse, Giroud and Monreal still on the treatment table, whilst keyman Mesut Ozil is a sligh doubt with a Hamstring Injury.
Thrilling Arsenal fans with some recent top notch performances, it seems perennially injured Jack Wilshere is likely to miss the encounter with an ankle injury. A real shame given the players recent time with the Cherries during a steady yet unspectacular spell last season.
As for the Cherries, speedy striker Joshua King, forward J Stanislas (both Hamstring Injuries) remain a slight and major doubt, whilst Jermain Defoe is suffering from a rather nasty looking broken ankle.
As much as we can foresee a tricky banana skin-esque encounter for Wenger, Bournemouth’s lack of firepower going forward is hardly going to send shivers down the spine of the Gunners back-line, especially as an far over the hill Mertesacker has likely played his last ever game. We’re gunna put our money on a Arsenal 2-0 victory.
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