This time of the year for Arsenal is usually the time when it all goes wrong. Can the North London side sign off this month with a much-needed win?
Arsenal welcome Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth side to the Emirates and they know that only a win will keep them in touching distance of the Premier League title, they currently six points behind leaders Chelsea. The home side are still unbeaten (in the league) since the start of the season but haven’t won since beating Sunderland away at the end of October.
Jack Wilshere will miss this match (one he would’ve loved to play in) due to rules which state loan players cannot feature against their parent clubs. His current club sit in 10th position so far, following their away win over Stoke City last time out, which is rather impressive for a side currently in only their second ever season in the top flight. (so much for the fabled “second season syndrome).
Olivier Giroud will be raring to start after coming off the bench to secure his side a precious point at Old Trafford last weekend. However, Spanish duo Santi Cazorla, and Hector Bellerin are still out with injuries and Lucas Perez has only just returned to training following an ankle problem.
The away side are yet to beat Arsenal, having lost both times last season, and having returned to winning ways last week, they’ll be looking to continue by registering their first ever win against Arséne Wenger’s side. Wenger has said that its important his side find their game again and that they’ll have to create a lot more. Howe bemoaned the ineligibility of Wilshere, adding that he was the key link in attack and midfield against Stoke. Speaking of the loanee, I’d like to see loan players coming up against their parent clubs. I’d also like to see the reactions of the fans if Wilshere scores (had he been allowed to play). That’s just me. You might think otherwise. Wenger also spoke about the reasons of not starting Granit Xhaka, with him saying that he [Xhaka] needs to get used to the tactical pace of the game.
This game is difficult to predict as teams such as Bournemouth could come up with something unpredictable (they’re not exactly a bogey team like Southampton and Swansea City), but I’m sure they’ll try their utmost best to thwart Arsenal. I’m going for a 2-1 win to Arsenal as getting back to winning ways having not won a single league game this month. (Typical November). As for Bournemouth, they’ll want to prove that they’re not a one-trick pony. They haven’t taken any big scalps this season like they did last season when they beat Chelsea and Manchester United. I expect them to put up a good fight.