Finally! the game in hand is played and Arsenal find themselves with a 5-point lead on the table. A happy camp indeed, enjoying the run with 3 successful wins since the City loss. Well, nothing harm in stretching it further to four, as the Gunners set to host the 19th position AFC Bournemouth.
Arsenal enjoyed a dominating win against the trembling Toffees. Jordan PickFOURed, the way Arteta’s men put 4 past him. A massive 74% possession pretty much sums up the story. On the other hand, it also lays the foundation for how the weekend game would be played. The Cherries would be looking to bounce back from the defeat against City which ended in a 4-1 loss.
As the matchdays are passing by, Gary O’Neil has to find ways to help his team stay in the league. A win at the Emirates should be a great aid. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, beating this fearsome Arsenal won’t be easy. History doesn’t support them, according to data. No wins away at London, but a draw may suffice. Although a draw, ain’t what the Arsenal’s mind is on. Surely, they be thinking, it’s an easy 3 points, given the Cherries’ form. Got to capitalize on that.
Arsenal’s PL form: W W W L D
AFC Bournemouth’s PL form: L W D L D
WHEN & WHERE?
Where: Emirates Stadium, London.
When: Saturday, 4th March 2023.
Time: 8:30 PM IST / 3:00 PM GMT
Referee: Chris Kavanagh.
Assistants: Neil Davies, Constantine Hatzidakis.
Fourth official: Andre Marriner.
VAR: John Brooks.
Assistant VAR: Mark Scholes.
Elneny has been sidelined for the rest of the season. Arsenal won’t expect him to turn up anytime soon. A new update on Jesus though, he is back in training. Arteta’s optimistic that his return will be soon. Eddie Nketiah, who was seen limping after the Everton game is uncertain for the game. Arteta will assess his situation, being optimistic. Good news might be that Jorginho is available for this game, being forced out at half time, in the previous fixture due to illness. Arsenal about to miss almost no one.
For Bournemouth, midfielder Lewis Cook is back in the squad after being out due to a knee injury. But players like Illya Zabarnyi, Marcus Tavernier, David Brooks and Lloyd Kelly are out for this fixture. While Junior Stanislas and Matías Viña being doubtful ahead of the match.
Arteta usually sets up in a classical 4-3-3 formation. So, he would go for the tried and tested here as well. An inverted fullbacks’ system, allowing the compactness in defence and allowing Zinchenko to double up on his playmaking part. Trossard at the upfront seen with a slight shift on the right side and perfectly in sync with Martinelli, switching positions. Saka on the right wing with Ode operating the right half-space. Given the statistics, Arsenal shouldn’t find it all too hard to break the Bournemouth lines.
Meanwhile, Gary O’Neil tries a formation with 2 banks of four, one in defence and one in mid. Or at least that’s how it has been lately. He likes the back 3 cushion with wingbacks spreading the pitch for the opponents. Lerma, the Colombian midfielder plays a crucial role in the midfield. With former Liverpool player, Dominic Solanke at front assisted by Hamed Traorè.
Saka giving me no hard work to look up for any other Arsenal player as he has been performing week in and week out. No one is as important as him to the squad. “Numbers don’t lie” – Saka. With 10 goals and 9 assists this season, this guy seems unstoppable. A young beast in the making. I’m more sure of him assisting or scoring for Arsenal than me scoring good in my weekly tests.
The Colombian midfielder has started all 24 of the matches for the cherries, this season. This states the importance of the player for Gary O’Neil. He was on the scoresheet against City, last week. He would be responsible for pulling the strings from the midfield. Bournemouth will try to channelize their play through him. He has to step up to give some trouble to the Gunners and make it hard for the hosts to earn the 3 points.
Arsenal predicted starting lineup: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney; Xhaka, Partey, Odegaard; Saka, Trossard, Martinelli.
Bournemouth predicted starting lineup: Neto; Smith, Mepham, Senesi, Stephens, Zemura; Ouattara, Billing, Lerma, Traore; Solanke.