Emirates Stadium - Premier League
Arsenal will look to banish the memory of the humiliation at Anfield in their last game, as they host Bournemouth at the Emirates. After a haphazard transfer window and poor start to the season, failure to beat the Cherries would be a disaster for Arsene Wenger.
Since Bournemouth returned to the Premier League, they’ve failed to beat Arsenal in each of their four meetings with the Gunners. Arsenal won the first three fixtures between the sides, but it took an injury time equaliser from Oliver Giroud to secure a dramatic point at the Vitality last season after the North Londoners had trailed 3-0.
After losing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool on transfer deadline day, Wenger will have to shuffle his pack on Saturday. Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac are likely to return to their natural right and left wing-back spots if Arsenal continue with a three man defence. Santi Cazorla’s a long-term absentee, while Calum Chambers is a slight doubt with a groin strain.
For the visitors, record signing Nathan Ake’s also a slight doubt after picking up an ankle injury. Captain Simon Francis is expected to miss out with his hamstring problem, although Benik Afobe should be available after a knock.
Arsenal v Bournemouth Preview and Predictions
Arsenal are only ever a game away from crisis these days, and after Liverpool ripped them apart in their last outing, there’s not much margin for error for Wenger. If Bournemouth can capitalise on the air of discontent surrounding the Gunners, they could inflict a third defeat of the season on the hosts.
Only one of Arsenal’s contract rebels was shipped out during the summer transfer window, meaning Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil stay for now. Sanchez in particular seemed on the edge of a move to Manchester City, and both his and the Emirates faithful’s reaction to the breakdown of this transfer will be key. Bang in a couple of goals on Saturday, and all will be forgiven. But even with a trip to Chile in his legs, a lacklustre display from the talismanic forward would be viewed as a sign of things to come.
After losing all three of their opening games, this game’s far from ideal for Bournemouth boss Howe. Charlie Daniels’ stunning strike against City was the Cherries’ only Premier League goal of the season, with Jermain Defoe yet to hit the target on his return to the club. The visitors start as huge 17/2 underdogs in the betting, while Arsenal are priced at 2/5. The draw’s available at 5/1.
Arsenal to win to nil at 17/11
Back Wenger’s men to silence a few critics as Bournemouth’s shocking start and poor goalscoring form continues.
Bournemouth to win 1-0 at 33/1
Or bet on the Cherries to heap further misery on the beleaguered Wenger as they kick-start their Premier League season with a bang. If you think Defoe will get the all-important goal, it’s 125/1.