Kickoff – 1500hrs, Saturday 09/09/17
Arsenal welcome Bournemouth to The Emirates tomorrow, and the return to our home is more than a welcome one.
Two consecutive defeats on the road – at Stoke and Liverpool – have resulted in questions and furore levelled at the players and Arsene Wenger. Team selection has been puzzling, the team’s motivations on the pitch has been seemingly bereft, and the bottom line is that three games into the season – we have been well below what is expected.
Arsene Wenger has said that he had questioned himself before signing his two year extension, but now that the ink has dried on his contract, the questions marks from Gooners still remains.
Wenger himself states that the only way to answer questions is by results on the pitch, so a good – and mandatory start – would be three points against the Cherries.
Us fans did have some good news to latch onto, as Arsene revealed that we have a fully fit squad – aside from Santi Cazorla – to pick from. The international break did not blight our players with injury, and team changes may well occur after the horror show of our 4-0 hammering at Liverpool.
Jack Wilshere may well be included in the squad for this game, and his return could not have been timed better. With Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey struggling for a dynamic, the diminutive England man could be offered a chance to come straight into the side in the near future, especially if the Swiss star and the Welshman continue to leave gaping holes in our setup.
Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez were obviously dominating questions levelled at Wenger during his Presser on Thursday. Alexis has taken to social media to offer cryptic messages regarding his state of mind since his broken-down transfer to Man City. The good news is that he has a chance to play in this game, but faces a fitness test.
Ozil was on fire for Germany during the international games, and it was yet another stick used to bash the German playmaker. why can’t he replicate his Die Mannschaft form for The Arsenal?
Maybe it could be that Joachim Low has a midfield that works in perfect harmony to the demands of the game, rather than abandoning their posts?
Either way, Ozil will be fit and could do with a performance that shows his critics what he is capable of.
Alexandre Lacazette will duke it out with Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud for the striking berth, but it would be great to see the running of our record signing combining with the vision of Ozil.
The Cherries will be a motivated opponent. Pointless so far, but far from toothless, Eddie Howe can count himself unlucky to not grab at least a point in their last game versus Man City. A ridiculously late goal saw all three points go to Guardiola’s men, but Bournemouth were worthy of a share of the spoils.
Goals look likely in this game. Both teams like to play open football, and if their last game against each other is anything to go by, spectators could be in for a show. Last season’s 3-3 draw was both dramatic and awful to watch, and our defence will have to be on their guard with the likes of Jermain Defoe, Josh King and Benik Afobe on the prowl.
Three points, no matter how we achieve it, is the cornerstone of our recovery. A Europa League game is up next at home against FC Koln, which is then followed by a tough game at The Bridge against Chelsea. Rotation will be obvious, and our kids will get a run out in midweek to protect our players for the battle against the Blues.
Already, every match is looking to have huge ramifications. A few wins on the trot could well see us go on a run.
Predicted Lineup – Cech, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac, Welbeck, Ozil, Lacazette.
Predicted Scoreline – a tight 2-0 win. I hope.