Bournemouth travel to the Emirates on Saturday afternoon after being on the receiving end of 4-1 Manchester City win. Arsenal go into the tie as heavy favourites and Mikel Arteta will be confident that his side can win for the 10th time at home this season. When the two sides met in August, Martin Odegaard produced a player-of-the-match performance which helped the Gunners secure a 3-0 victory.
Arsenal sit five points clear at the top of the Premier League table and their performances have oozed pure class in pretty much every game so far. When playing at the Emirates, the home side tends to dominate in almost every attacking and possession-based statistic each game. The Gunners sustained pressure against their opponent has led to them having the second-highest goals scored per match at home, with an average of 2.58. Although Arsenal are defensively solid overall, they do concede more goals at home compared to on the road, potentially due to the increased risks taken in possession.
Last time out, Arteta’s men faced Everton and arguably put in their most complete performance of the campaign, completely dominating from the first whistle to the last. The tie ended 4-0 to Arsenal with two goals in each half. The creative trio of Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka all got on the scoresheet, with the Brazilian winger scoring twice (his third in two games).
The goals from the 21-year-old due didn’t only secure a convincing victory for Arsenal, it also made them the first team to have two players reach double figures for goals in the Premier League this season. Confidence is evidently flowing through the Arsenal squad and their incredible run isn’t showing any signs of coming to a halt.
On the road this season, Bournemouth have been poor, losing eight of their twelve games. However, the Cherries did pick up three points in their last away game versus Wolves, where they were lucky to win 1-0 given the amount of chances the hosts had. Bournemouth’s main problem away from home stems from their leaky defence and the fact that they average less than one goal per game, which means if they do concede, it is an extremely difficult task to turn around the deficit.
Bournemouth’s last game was against Manchester City and they were 3-0 down within the first half. The gameplan which Gary O’Neil created to nullify City’s attacking threat clearly didn’t play out how he had wished and if the Cherries travel to Arsenal with the same set up then we should see a similar result.
The only positive that can be taken from their previous game, is that they were able to put the ball in the back of the net, thanks to Jefferson Lerma. Bournemouth’s approach to the game will most likely be a low block, with the aim to frustrate their high-flying opponent. This means that their frontmen will have the hardest role on the field, by attempting to balance defensive support with attacking threat, which will be via counter-attacks.
Arsenal will comfortably win this game and I don’t see Bournemouth providing much of a threat or a challenge. After scoring four goals against a better defensive side in Everton, I predict that Arsenal will score at least three goals. The only way Bournemouth do get a result is with a heap of luck and by preventing Arsenal from getting into any sort of rhythm.
Bournemouth will attempt to stop Arsenal in any way they can, which will lead to bookings and considering they had 1 shot on target versus Wolves in their last away game, Arsenal should be confident that they can increase their clean sheet tally.
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