Bournemouth vs Arsenal Preview: Gunners aiming to return to winning ways on the South Coast 
Photo: Getty Images - Mike Hewitt

Bournemouth vs Arsenal Preview: Gunners aiming to return to winning ways on the South Coast 

The north London side face a testing away fixture against the Cherries as they look to keep up in the race for the top Four. 

pjraccas
Patrick Raccani

Arsenal will look to get back to winning ways in the Premier League, having stuttered to three straight draws before the international break.

The Gunners know the dangers of travelling to the south coast, having lost in their previous visit to Bournemouth last January. Although unbeaten in their last sixteen, Arsenal have drawn their last four in all competitions and sit fifth in the Premier League.

Bournemouth are just four points and one place behind Arsenal and have been flying high this season, with the form of their star striker Callum Wilson earning him an England call-up.

Having lost in their previous home game to Manchester United, Bournemouth will be keen to avoid defeat, having not lost consecutive home games since August 2017.  Bournemouth will look to utilise their lightning-quick counter-attack to strong effect against Arsenal, having witnessed the damage Wolves inflicted on the break against the Gunners in their previous fixture before the international break.

Team news

Arsenal could be without their lethal forward duo of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette with the latter opting out of playing for France in the international break.

Both are slim doubts for the game but have participated in training at London Colney this week, which will be a boost to Unai Emery having lost Danny Welbeck to a serious ankle injury against Sporting Lisbon.

In defence Arsenal continue to look short and will be without both of their experienced full-backs Stephen Lichtsteiner and Nacho Monreal.

The hosts will line up without Adam Smith who is injured for the game. However, Norwegian international Josh King handed Cherries boss Eddie Howe a huge injury boost by training with the squad this week and could play on Sunday when the sides meet.

The key battle

Callum Wilson vs Shkodran Mustafi

Wilson has six goals and an impressive seven assists this Premier League season and scored in this fixture last term. Wilson’s rich vein of form continued into the international break, with a goal on England debut at Wembley last Thursday night.

He will look to test Mustafi with his combination of pace and strength, a defender who constantly looks unreliable in the heart of the Arsenal defence.

Mustafi may play alongside the younger and inexperienced Rob Holding, allowing Wilson a chance to test an uncertain centre-back pairing. 

Prediction

It could be a flowing end to end game which will be an exciting watch for any football fan.  Bournemouth’s pace will test the Arsenal backline, whilst the Gunners will need to be more clinical than in recent weeks.

Reducing Wilson’s influence will be paramount to Arsenal’s game plan if they desire to pick up all three points at the Vitality on Sunday. 

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