Monday, 28 December 2015

Arsenal v Bournemouth Preview

There's barely time for Arsenal to draw breath after Saturday night's horror show at Southampton as rhey face Bournemouth at home today. They missed the chance to go the top of the table at Southampton, but they have another chance to do so today with Leicester not playing City until tomorrow. On paper a home game against Premier League new boys Bournemouth is one Arsenal should win and win well.

It's never that easy in football though and Bournemouth have proven themselves to be a good team who have to be taken very seriously. They're unbeaten in six games and that run includes a win at Chelsea and a home victory over United. They play an attacking brand of football and have managed to overcome injuries to key players to look ever part a Premier League team.

Arsenal have their own injury problems and Arsene Wenger has very few options available to him if he wants to change the team which performed so ineptly on Saturday night. With less than 48 hours to recover from that 4-0 mauling fatigue will play a part for both teams and he could really do with having some of those injured players in the squad. Realistically his only options are to bring in the likes of Gabriel Paulista, Kieran Gibbs, Calum Chambers, Mathieu Debuchey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Alex Iwobi, but it's hard to see any of them having the impact that's needed to freshen up the team. 

Of course Bournemouth are in the same boat and their players have only had a few hours more to rest than the Arsenal players which isn't going to make a real difference at this stage. The real problem for the boss is his lack of attacking options from the bench. Arsenal may have defended badly against Southampton, but at least he can make changes in the back four if he desires. He has no such luxury in attack with Chamberlain and Iwobi the only possibilities and Chamberlain is going through a very rough patch while Iwobi has virtually no experience at this level. 

The transfer window can't open quickly enough and the rumours already abound of possible purchases. There is no cover for Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini and I can't see any alternative other than to spend as soon as possible while the team are still in the title hunt. At least Alexis Sanchez will be back before too long to bolster the attacking options and hopefully his break will have done him some good even if it was enforced by injury.

For today it's a case of putting Saturday behind us and moving on and the team have been far better at doing just that this year than in previous years. They certainly have the players to beat Bournemouth and those players owe us a far better performance than we got on Saturday. We all know the team are capable of performances like Saturday and we know exactly how good they can be when they're at their best too.

They haven't lost at home in the league since the opening day defeat to West Ham and while the performances haven't always been convincing the results have been. They haven't scored too many goals at home so far and it would be great if they could bang a few in today. I'll settle for any sort of win though and the satisfaction of seeing Arsenal sitting pretty on top of the pile.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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