Gunners look to dispose of Cherries to boost top four claim


Arsenal and AFC Bournemouth meet with both sides in promising positions. The home side sit in fourth, a place they hope to occupy come May, but face opposition from Manchester United and Chelsea whilst the Cherries are sitting comfortably in tenth before this midweek round of fixtures.

Eddie Howe will be hoping to get only his second ever win against the Gunners, running out 2-1 winners back in mid-January over a side then managed by Arsene Wenger.

The London based side scored first through right-back Hector Bellerin but Callum Wilson and Jordan Ibe ensured they win all three points.

When the two last met earlier on in the season Unai Emery’s side won 2-1 thanks to a winner from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after Jefferson Lerma’s own goal had been cancelled out by Josh King scoring for Bournemouth.

The last six matches have been quite productive for the Spaniard’s side as they before they kicked off against Cardiff City, they were fifth. Since then, they beat Cardiff and Huddersfield 2-1, BATE Borisov 3-0 which saw them progress to the last 16 of the Europa League and most recently beat Southampton 2-0.

As for the away side, losses to Liverpool and Cardiff as well as a draw with Wolves when leading reads poorly for Howe’s side. This run tarnished their two wins before that, winning 4-0 against Chelsea and 2-0 when they faced West Ham, both were at home. Bournemouth’s away form has been notoriously bad this season with the Cherries faithful desperate for that run to end on Wednesday night.

Emery on whether finishing in the top four is over-achieving:

“Enjoy the moment but only thinking game-by-game. Tomorrow we can continue in this position, but only if we win. We need to be consistent in 38 matches. Tomorrow is one more.”

“It’s very important because three points is not coming back after you play this match. You need to play against Bournemouth thinking that we need and we wish to take these three points.”

Howe spoke to the media about what whether the club will be dragged into a relegation battle or whether they could finish seventh:

“It is very dangerous to make those assumptions, either way, we have to get more points otherwise we will get dragged into the bottom end of the table and if we do get more points then we do get the chance looking upwards so it is very much in our hands. Every game whether it is Arsenal or Manchester City we have to try and maximise those chances to get points.”

The Gunners have Ainsley Maitland-Niles back in training after recovering from an illness while Alex Iwobi (knock) and Stephan Lichtsteiner (back) will have to be assessed before they are judged fit to play.

Hector Bellerin (knee), Rob Holding (knee) and Danny Welbeck (ankle) have all had surgery and are still recovering from their long-term injuries.

There is no good news for Howe’s side as two players were added to the injury list after their last game at Wolves. Junior Stanislas (hip flexor strain) and Steve Cook both missed the Wolves game with their injuries.

The other four injured players are David Brooks (ankle), top scorer Callum Wilson (knee), Simon Francis and Lewis Cook, the latter two out due to an ACL injury.

Midfielder Jefferson Lerma will also be missing from Howe’s plans as the Colombian international starts a two-match suspension for getting 10 bookings.

Aubameyang is Arsenal’s leading scorer with 18 goals in 34 games so far this season, the 29-year-old contributing to 26% of the Gunners goals this campaign.

The Gabon international is currently on somewhat of a scoring drought however, last scoring against Cardiff City six matches ago.

Striker Alexandre Lacazette is the London club’s top assister with eight in 34, he’s also been handy in the goalscoring department netting 13.

Englishman Callum Wilson has already scored two more than he did last season and is Bournemouth’s top scorer with 11. Josh King will likely feature with Wilson out, his scoring record is nine in 27.

Winger Ryan Fraser has so far had an incredible season which has seen his side soaring in the league, the Scotsman has provided the most assists for the Cherries this season, ten in 31 games.


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