Bournemouth host Arsenal on Saturday evening at the Vitality Stadium. The Cherries got a draw the last time they hosted the Gunners in the top flight and got a win on an opening day under Scott Parker. Arsenal looks like a well-oiled machine and will see this as an ideal fixture to start the season with three consecutive victories.
AFC Bournemouth finished second in the Championship last season to secure promotion. They lost the fewest matches (eight) and had the best defensive record in the division (39 conceded) under Scott Parker. After a very disrupted preseason in which they lost their last three friendly matches (two at home), a very difficult season looks in store.
On an opening day, the Cherries beat Aston Villa 2-0 at home. They scored in the second and 80th minutes and had to defend resolutely with 34% possession and being outshot 15-7. Bournemouth were beaten 4-0 at champions Man City last week in a match where they could only muster three shots.
Bournemouth Team News
Scott Parker has some injuries ahead of this fixture. Last season’s top scorer Dominic Solanke missed the City defeat with an ankle problem and remains a doubt. Ryan Christie would replace him on the left of the front three. New signing at fullback Ryan Fredericks is not yet ready to feature but is nearing a return to training. Goalkeeper Neto came in from Barcelona and will hope to make the starting XI.
Jordan Zemura started the opening fixture but missed the City match due to COVID-19 so Jack Stacey came into the side at left wingback. David Brooks is still making his way back after suffering with Cancer. Argentina international defender Marcos Senesi signed from Feyenoord could make his debut after joining a week or ago.
With a vocal crowd behind them, the Cherries will play at a high intensity and try to get in the faces of Arsenal. They will play to get a win but Scott Parker will still have his side in a back five out of possession.
A draw would be seen as a very good result too and one they could be happy to settle for come the final 30 minutes.
The Gunners had a good preseason and have started this season really, beating Crystal Palace 2-0 away and Leicester 4-2 at home. The latter performance was really impressive with 2.90 Expected Goals created with the Foxes allowed just 0.5 xG.
Mikel Arteta has put to bed the side’s disappointing finish to last season with they lost six of their final 11 league matches and lost out of fourth spot. A 4-2 win at Chelsea and 3-1 home victory against Man Utd gave renewed hope but losing 3-0 at Tottenham and 2-0 at Newcastle ended those hopes of Champions League qualification. They beat an Everton side 5-1 at with both sides having nothing to play for on the final day.
Arsenal Team News
The Gunners have practically a clean bill of health for this match. New signing Fabio Vieira has a good period of training and could make it onto the bench. Fringe winger Reiss Nelson is the only other injury concern.
Emile Smith Rowe and Takehiro Tomiyasu both appeared as substitutes against Leicester but neither is expected to start this match. The lineup looks almost certain to be unchanged from the opening two fixtures with Ben White at right back once again.
Arsenal will expect to win this match and will play on the front foot from the start. Expect them to look to press high against Bournemouth’s back three and look to dominate the ball themselves.
A draw would be seen as a poor result and Mikel Arteta will chase the win with his changes from the bench if the scores are level in the second half.
Bournemouth have lost 10 of their last 15 PL matches
Bournemouth have won just 1 of their last 11 matches against Arsenal
Arsenal have lost 4 of their last 7 away PL matches
The Gunners have won their last 3 PL matches
Arsenal have scored at least 2+ goals in their last 3 PL matches
The Cherries won’t make life easy for Arsenal and will be backed by a passionate crowd. However, the Gunners look very solid this season with William Saliba back at the club. I am backing the Gunners to absorb any early pressure and get a victory, possibly with a clean sheet and a Gabriel Jesus goal.
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