Arsenal’s 2017 got off to a rather easy start for Arsenal as they sailed through to a relatively easy 2-0 win over Crystal Palace, the highlight being Olivier Giroud’s awe-inspiring scorpion kick – there’s your goal of the year contender. The Gunners now travel to the Vitality Stadium for a vital mid-week fixture against Bournemouth, whom they beat 3-1 earlier in the season, but not before Eddie Howe’s side caused the hosts a lot of trouble with a brand of football that’s strikingly similar to Arsene Wenger’s.
There’s no suggestion whatsoever that Chelsea-chasing Arsenal, might not struggle again, not just because of Bournemouth’s ability but also because of the fatigued legs that one would expect from a side playing its second game in just three days. The memories of the Goodison Park nightmare are still alive.
Since Arsenal don’t play a Premier League game until the next week, Arsene Wenger would, in all probability name his strongest XI to ensure there’s no stuttering and his side are comfortably back to third in the Premier League table – a point behind Liverpool and six behind Chelsea, who face Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday. The question here is: What would the best XI be?
One would say it’s time Aaron Ramsey started alongside Granit Xhaka, so we do get an idea as to how do the both do when lined up together. Francis Coquelin is an obvious choice to throw into the mix, though in a game that’ll most certainly see ‘goals’, an attacking change to the side would do a lot of good. Elsewhere, the only change would (and should) be Shkodran Mustafi coming back for Gabriel.
‘They are comfortable up front so we have just to hang on and try to win our next game and hope that at some stage the results turn in our favour.’
‘Yes [there is extra pressure on the team at Bournemouth], but in 20 years it is the most uneven Christmas period I have seen on the fixture front. The difference of rest periods compared to the other teams is unbelievable.’
‘Every game is so difficult in this Premier League that we go now into a game in 48 hours with a big handicap on the fixtures. I have to try to find some fresh legs, so let’s just focus on Bournemouth and try to get a good result there.’
- Bournemouth have conceded two or more goals in three of their last four at the Vitality Stadium (W2,L2).
- The Cherries have won five of their last eight Premier League home games – the same tally that they managed in their first 20 games at home in the competition.
- Arsenal have won all four of their previous meetings with Bournemouth in all competitions, scoring 10 goals and conceding just one.
- Mesut Ozil has scored twice and assisted another in his three Premier League games against Bournemouth.
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