Four games. Three points earned from twelve available. Form is missing, and can any Gooner actually recall the last time their side played well?
Progress in the FA Cup has been maintained, but after flirting so intimately with the League trophy, fans will not be happy with a mere dalliance. We want the real thing. This is meant to be our season and there is no reason other than abject failure as to why we should not win the Premier League.
First thing on the agenda – get back to winning ways and the next opponent is Bournemouth.
Injuries cannot really be used as an excuse, as the main players in the side are back and raring to go. Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Francis Coquelin, et al are part of a team that should be expected to see off the South Coast side – but this season is far from regular.
It would seem the only thing missing from Arsene Wenger’s team is form. German playmaker Ozil has been quiet on the assist front – although he cannot be blamed for some of the aawful finishing of the chances he has laid on and he has laid on more chances than any other player in 2016 bar Christian Eriksen – whilst Theo Walcott has been positively woeful in front of goal. Aaron Ramsey has been off colour and with Mathieu Flamini offering little or no protection to the back four, Arsenal have struggled.
With Bournemouth being the next to line up against the Gunners though, this means that Arsenal will at least have space to attack and spread play. Eddie Howe has his side play expansive football no matter the circumstance and has won over critics and doubters with their own brand of play. They are without two of their most potent players in Max Gradel and Calum Wilson but seeing as they are long term they have adapted and bought sensibly, they have a team that fit perfectly into their ideal.
Junior Stanislas is the only other injury worry for the Cherries, but Arsene Wenger – whilst not having to contend with the huge amount of injuries of a couple of months ago – has a few missing from his ranks.
Tomas Rosicky, who only just made his comeback in last weekends cup win over Burnley, injured his thigh muscle in his cameo and is now ruled out for up to three months. The Czech schemer has had the worst luck through injuries and the fan favourite can only hope he gets another opportunity to pull on the Arsenal jersey. Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla remain sidelined, and from the last few displays they are sorely miseed – but the lesser-spotted Danny Welbeck is approaching full fitness and may be only weeks away. These words may be carried lightly by Gooners as the England striker has had many setbacks and his original diagnosis was for weeks rather than nearly a year, but a fit Welbeck would add another dynamic to Arsenal’s play.
Talking of strikers though, the main focus will be on former Arsenal youth product Benik Afobe. Moving to Bournemouth for a large fee after scoring twenty six goals in fifty two games for Wolves, he faces his old side for the first time, eager to prove that players such as Nicklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh shouldn’t have played before him. It adds another spin to the first ever competitive fixture between these two sides played at the Cherries home ground.
The Gunners have one win from their last six away games and that was against bottom side Aston Villa – not the form of title contenders. The Gunners have dropped more points from winning positions away from home than any other side and simply must begin their assault from this game.
The epitome of a must win game. Three points or the gap at the top will be approaching insurmountable and more importantly, Gooners may just burst with frustration. The recent furore over a surcharge on top of existing season ticket prices will not just fizzle out ( the link takes you to an article that spells it out perfectly ) and a performing team may not quell the uprising.