Relegation-threatened Bournemouth will brace themselves for a tough away trip to Arsenal, who aim to keep their five-point lead at the top.

Mikel Arteta left the Emirates pleased with his team’s performance against Everton on Wednesday. Having won the reverse leg at Goodison Park, the Toffees hoped to set up a low block and hurt Arsenal, who face Bournemouth next. Oleksandr Zinchenko was instrumental in penetrating their defence to find Bukayo Saka for the opener.

Before Saka’s goal to break the deadlock, Everton were resilient in the first 40 minutes. However, the Gunners rediscovered their rampant form and put three more goals past Sean Dyche’s side before the final whistle. Gabriel Martinelli scored twice, while Martin Odegaard also got on the scoresheet. Aaron Ramsdale kept an eleventh-clean sheet this season.

The Everton clash was Arsenal’s game in hand. And now they have full value for it, as they hae taken a legitimate five-point lead over Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s men will play before the Gunners on Saturday. Arteta will eye another three points against Bournemouth and maintain their advantage at the summit.

Gary O’Neil will not have wanted games against Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool to come quickly. Bournemouth had only found their first post-World Cup win against Wolverhampton Wanderers. They are now in the middle of their toughest fixture run this season.

Arsenal fans backed Bournemouth to pull off a shock result against Manchester City, but the difference in quality was evident right from the start. Erling Haaland, Phis Foden and Julian Alvarez got on the scoresheet, while Chris Mepham scored an own goal. Jefferson Lerma’s goal was only a consolation and reward for their valiant effort.

Bournemouth are languishing in the 19th spot, but only one point separates them from safety. Yet, considering the games they have against Arsenal and Liverpool, one can assume they could remain in the relegation zone. In contrast, rivals could have the opportunity to open up a gap on O’Neil’s men.

Team News & Tactics


Mikel Arteta will make at least one change from the midweek lineup, with Thomas Partey likely to replace Jorginho in midfield. The Italian international was ill before the game, as confirmed by the manager and was withdrawn at half-time, with the Gunners in a commanding 2-0 lead.

There are also concerns with Eddie Nketiah’s fitness, as he seemed to limp after full-time against Everton. Leandro Trossard has proven his worth in the false-nine position. Arteta might continue lining up with the Belgian for the foreseeable future until Gabriel Jesus returns.

Jesus is inching closer towards returning to first-team action and could be back later this month. While Mohamed Elneny remains a long-term absentee, Emile Smith Rowe returned as a substitute against Everton in the latter stages. His return provides a timely boost for Arteta. And the Arsenal boss could involve him more during the European games starting next week.

Other than Jorginho, Arteta is unlikely to make any changes, meaning the back four will remain intact. There is a debate around Granit Xhaka’s position, with the Swiss midfielder enduring a frustrating game against the Toffees. Arsenal have used Fabio Vieira in Xhaka’s role, but that is unlikely to happen against Bournemouth.

Probable lineup (4-3-3): Ramsdale; Ben White, Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Trossard, Martinelli


Gary O’Neil will remain wary of his side’s growing injury list. The latest key stars, Marcus Tavernier, Matias Vina and Junior Stanislas, have joined the treatment room. Illia Zabarnyi and David Brooks are already out of contention for the Arsenal trip, while Lloyd Kelly and Lewis Cook are doubtful.

The Bournemouth manager could retain all his personnel from the Manchester City defeat and name an unchanged eleven to face Arsenal. If that is their solution, a dedicated back five could take shape, with Jack Stephens marshalling the backline with a central role.

O’Neil could retain Chris Mepham and Marcos Senesi on either side of Stephen,s while Adam Smith and Jordan Zamura take up the full-back roles. Bournemouth will look to maintain a low block against the attacking threat of Arsenal.

Philip Billing and Jefferson Lerma will keep their central midfield partnership intact. Dango Ouattara and Hamed Traore will continue to provide the width. Finally, Dominic Solanke will continue to lead the line for the Cherries as they hope for a positive outcome against Arsenal.

Probable Lineup (5-4-1): Neto; Smith, Mepham, Stephens, Senesi, Zemura; Ouattara, Lerma, Billing, Traore; Solanke

Key Stats

  • Arsenal have beaten Bournemouth in all six matches at the Emirates.
  • Arsenal have seen over 2.5 goals in eight of their last ten matches against Bournemouth in all competitions.
  • Arsenal are unbeaten in 17 of their last 19 matches in the Premier League.
  • Bournemouth have the worst record of all Premier League teams since the World Cup, collecting just five points and scoring four goals.
  • Bournemouth have lost all their eight games in the Premier League against teams sitting on top of the table.

Player to Watch

Gabriel Martinelli

Martinelli continued his impressive form in midweek and took his scoring run to three games now. The Brazilian scored a brace against the Toffees and can forget his slight blip since the turn of the year. He is seemingly benefitting from the presence of Leandro Trossard, with the new style improving his overall performance.

His numbers are improving, as with Trossard, the Arsenal attack have regained some of the finesse they had when Gabriel Jesus was playing. With Eddie Nketiah, Martinelli usually stays wide, which did not help with his game. Against Bournemouth, the Brazilian has a tremendous opportunity to race away as Arsenal’s top scorer. He could further build on his momentum ahead of a crunch period.


Arsenal 3-1 Bournemouth

Aaron Ramsdale kept his eleventh clean sheet of the season against Everton, taking him closer to Nick Pope’s twelve this term. Whether he keeps another one remains the question, as Arsenal’s defence has not been exactly watertight during home games.

However, the growing partnership and form of William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes suggest that could be the case. Bournemouth could still put a goal past the Gunners. As for the result, Arsenal come into this clash as overwhelming favourites to take three points.

Mikel Arteta will aim to maintain their five-point advantage or more at the top of the table. And Arsenal should have enough quality to beat Bournemouth 3-1 at the Emirates on Saturday. So depending on the result in the game between Manchester City and Newcastle United, Arsenal will remain at least five points clear of the champions.

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