AFC Bournemouth will host Arsenal at Vitality Stadium on Saturday, with Mikel Arteta keen on maintaining his side’s 100 per cent record this season.
The new Premier League season will be three matchdays old when the weekend’s action kicks off. Newly-promoted Bournemouth will play hosts to an on-fire Arsenal side on Saturday, and the Cherries will hope to do what Brentford did to the Gunners last season, although the circumstances have changed for the away side.
Scott Parker will hope his players learned a valuable lesson from last weekend, as Manchester City ran riot at the Etihad. The Cherries found themselves three goals down at half-time, and the three points were only heading one way. The Bournemouth manager will hope to take lessons from that defeat and use it against Mikel Arteta’s side.
The main aim for Parker and his men would be to sustain the strong challenge of the Premier League, although the current list of fixtures may not offer too much hope. After Manchester City and Arsenal, the Cherries next face Liverpool, although there is some level of reprieve in store after that.
Arteta will be pleased with how his team has begun the season. Arsenal and Manchester City are the only remaining teams with a 100 per cent record after two matchdays. The Gunners followed up on their opening night victory over Crystal Palace with a star showing against Leicester City last weekend.
The fixture also marked a sensational home debut for new arrival Gabriel Jesus, who ended the game with a brace and two assists. Arteta could not have asked for a better display from his star attacker, although he will be keen on motivating Arsenal to maintain momentum and put themselves in a strong position before taking on Manchester United in Gameweek 6. For Saturday, Arteta will be eager to avoid any surprises from Bournemouth, as he targets three points again.
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— AFC Bournemouth ? (@afcbournemouth) August 18, 2022
Scott Parker used his press conference to relay some updates on his team. While David Brooks remains absent indefinitely, the Bournemouth manager mentioned the player will soon join group training. Meanwhile, summer arrivals Joe Rothwell and Ryan Fredericks are unavailable through their respective injuries.
On the positive side, Jordan Zemura is back in training after recovering from COVID-19. There was also an update on striker Dominic Solanke, and Parker insisted on making a late call on picking him for the Arsenal clash.
Parker could tweak his starting lineup based on some player availabilities. The Bournemouth manager will likely maintain his team’s shape and keep the defensive back three intact, with Jefferson Lerma, Chris Mepham and Lloyd Kelly starting again. Adam Smith will keep his place at right wing-back, but Zemura could come on the opposite flank by replacing Jack Stacey.
Parker could also bring Philip Billing back into the team in place of Ben Pearson. Lewis Cook should be his midfield partner. The front three against Arsenal could be the same as the trio that started against Manchester City. Marcus Tavernier and Ryan Christie could support the attack, with Kieffer Moore leading the line for Bournemouth against Arsenal.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Travers; Lerma, Mepham, Kelly; Smith, Cook, Billing, Zemura; Tavernier, Christie; Moore
Mikel Arteta informed the press he has a full strength squad for the Bournemouth game, except Reiss Nelson, who remains sidelined with a quad injury. From last week’s win against Leicester City, many players who were fitness doubts have improved, with the focus on Fabio Vieira.
The Portuguese attacking midfielder missed pre-season with an injury and got his first minutes of action for the Under-21s. He played 45 minutes against Swansea City, and Arteta was in attendance to watch his progress. The Arsenal manager hinted at including him in the matchday squad.
? "I know to expect the atmosphere to be hectic…"
? Mikel on #BOUARS this weekend
? Read his press conference in full ?
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 19, 2022
Takehiro Tomiyasu came on for Ben White for the last part of the game against Leicester, thus improving his fitness. The Japanese international also took part in full training throughout the week unscathed and could be declared fully fit by Arteta.
Arteta is unlikely to make any changes or tweaks to his side that has won the last two league games. Despite Tomiyasu’s availability, Ben White is the likely choice at right-back. Meanwhile, Oleksandr Zinchenko is expected to keep his place on the opposite flank ahead of a fit-again Kieran Tierney.
The current form of Gabriel Martinelli will keep Emile Smith Rowe on the bench, and the English international could be used as a quality substitute during the game. With Smith Rowe, Vieira and even Marquinhos available, the Gunners have a solid attacking depth on the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale; Ben White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Jesus
- Bournemouth have only ever beaten Arsenal once in the Premier League.
- Arsenal have scored in all 12 matches against Bournemouth in all competitions.
- Gabriel Jesus has scored in two of his last three Premier League starts against Bournemouth.
- Arsenal have opened the scoring inside the first ten minutes in three of their last four games in all competitions against Bournemouth.
- This season, Arsenal have won the highest percentage of 50/50 duels in the Premier League. (55 per cent)
Player to Watch
Two goals in as many starts is the best way to begin the season, and Gabriel Martinelli is the player to watch for Arsenal. The Brazilian youngster has shown a different level of maturity in his displays as he looks to nail down a permanent place in the side.
Martinelli’s synergy with Gabriel Jesus has been tremendous, as the 21-year-old is showing the form that makes it hard for Mikel Arteta to drop him or consider other options. The Brazilian forward will be keen to make it three goals in as many games, as he will be the player in focus against Bournemouth.
Bournemouth 1-3 Arsenal
Arsenal looked suspect in defence, as they conceded twice against Leicester City. Had the attacking players not performed at their very best, those two goals could have proved costly. However, against Bournemouth, the Gunners are expected to secure three points, although the home side may make life difficult for the visitors.
Scott Parker will be keen to make a statement after the heavy loss against Manchester City. There is no better way than a good performance against Arsenal. In the end, the team energy is vital for the manager rather than the results, as their displays against the top sides will determine their progress in the top-flight. But Arsenal should beat Bournemouth in the end on Saturday.