By Walter Broeckx
With Tony away to foreign parts and our Bulldog seemingly not barking today it is up to me to write anything that can be regarded as a match preview.
A quick look at the league tables shows that Bourmenouth is sitting in 10th position in the league after having gathered 15 points so far. I think most Bournemouth supporters would have signed for that before a ball was kicked this season to be in this rather comfortable mid-table position. They have 3 points more than last seasons champions Leicester. Who on the other hand are doing rather nice in their CL group.
Back to Bournemouth. Of their 12 matches they have won 4, drawn 3 and lost the other 5. That usually brings you 12 points. They scored 14 goals and let in 16. In the last 6 matches they have won 2, had 2 draws and lost 2. In that sequence they had a draw with Tottenham at home and a win at Stoke. That was their last game by the way.
Arsenal have had two draws in their last two PL matches against Tottenham and Manchester United. After we had 6 wins in a row we have struggled a bit since our win at Sunderland. Time to turn this around and go back to winning ways. No better moment to do so in front of my own eyes.
Who can play? For Bournemouth Jack Wilshere cannot play against the club that owns him. I just read today that Arsenal will offer Jack a new contract. So that could mean that Wenger is satisfied with what he has seen from Jack so far and with him being out of the Arsenal spotlight he might have more protection finally from the refs and thus less chance to get injured again? One can but hope that he keeps injury free this season and will be back stronger next season.
For Arsenal we are sure to be without Bellerin and Santi Cazorla. Two top players that are much missed. Bellerin because he offers so much attacking wise to our game. And Santi because he can do all and everything with both feet. As Wenger said he is the link between attack and defence. And it is Santi who is at the start of much of our attacks. I do hope that both will be back soon. Last year our title challenge ended with Santi being out till the last match of the season. Lets hope he will be back earlier this time and help us in our challenge.
Another Spanish player Lucas Perez is back in training but will take no part in this match. Maybe in the League cup match next week. Apart from those 3 we also miss the long term injured players like Per, Welbeck and Akpom. All of them are scheduled for a come back in January.
But for the rest all our players should be fit enough to start in this match.
Who would start? I think the starting line up will be something like:
Jenkinson – Mustafi – Koscielny – Monreal
Coquelin – Xhaka
Walcott – Giroud – Alexis
With on the beach players like Ospina, Gabriel, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi, Ramsey, Elneny
Of course this will probably be very wrong but I think that with the words of Wenger about having to find our speed again the inclusion of both Walcott and Alexis seems to be on his mind.
I hesitated a long time between picking Xhaka and Ramsey but with Ramsey still not at his best after his injury (well my opinion anyway) I can imagine that Wenger would go for Xhaka this time.
We have to pay attention to the set pieces as Bournemouth scored 6 of their 14 goals from a set piece. Arsenal can also be dangerous from a set piece as we scored 7 of our 25 goals from set pieces so far. So a goal from a set piece could be possible.
Bournemouth have 3 players with 3 goals. Gosling, Smith and Arter are those who have done the scoring for them most of the time.
Arsenal top 3 scorers are Alexis and Walcott with 8 and Özil with 7. Özil has scored against Bournemouth in both matches last season. Let us hope he can keep up with this good tradition.
Our run of draws now reaches 3. Some not so bright performances in that run. Maybe it is time to go back to where we were in our run of 6 consecutive wins. More speed (we miss Hector so much to bring this) and better passing. As I noticed in the PSG match report too many Arsenal players kept on running with the ball for too long and thus took the speed out of our attacks and then lost the ball as we ended up being outnumbered by PSG defenders. More and quicker passing please is what we should be seeing tomorrow.
Each bad run comes to an end and drawing 3 matches in a row feels like a bad run. I will be in the Emirates shouting the players on to deliver what they can deliver. We know they can do better than what they showed in the last weeks. Time to show the real Arsenal we know and love.
The Arsenal Belgium flag will be in the stadium tomorrow and if that isn’t enough to spur the players on… then what can spur them on?
As a result of me also being away from any computers I fear that you will have to wait a long time before we get up anything new. Sorry for that.
Come on you Gunners!