MX23RW : Tuesday, December 11 13:49:34

Preview: Bournemouth vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Sunday's Premier League clash between Bournemouth and Arsenal.

Arsenal make the trip to the Vitality Stadium to face Bournemouth this weekend looking to extend their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 11 matches.

Bournemouth play host to the Gunners having suffered defeat at Newcastle United before the international break, but the Cherries sit just four points adrift of Sunday's opponents in the top-flight standings.


Bournemouth

Eddie Howe in charge of Bournemouth on October 6, 2018© Reuters

Eddie Howe would have acknowledged at the start of the season that reaching the November international break in sixth place was unlikely, and it was an unrealistic target to set his side after last year's 12th-placed finish.

However, despite sitting above the likes of Manchester United, Everton and Leicester City, there will be a tinge of disappointment at Bournemouth having lost their momentum with back-to-back defeats against United and Newcastle.

Howe will grudgingly accept that he would have taken the club's current standing before the beginning of the campaign, but failing to build on a fast start against Man United and losing at a side who had previously claimed just one win all season will really irk the English boss.

The objective now is to rally a side who are about to enter a tough run of fixtures, with Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and the reverse encounter against Man United all to come before the end of 2018.

Bournemouth also go up against Chelsea in the EFL Cup quarter-finals, and Howe will recognise that it is imperative to get the ball rolling in terms of results and performances this weekend.

Much has been made of Bournemouth's front four, with David Brooks, Joshua King, Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson contributing 16 goals and 11 assists between them, but Howe's backline have also produced the goods in recent weeks with just five goals being conceded in six matches.

That defence will be thoroughly tested by the league's best attacks over the coming weeks, but Howe will retain a certain level of confidence in his players that they have not necessarily got to outscore the opposition.

As many as 11 points have come from their six home fixtures in the Premier League, and if they can add a point or three to that tally against Arsenal, Howe will be satisfied that his squad have got back on track ahead of the trip to Man City.

Recent form: WWDWLL
Recent form (all competitions): WDWWLL


Arsenal

Unai Emery gestures with two fingers during the Europa League group game between Arsenal and Vorskla Poltava on September 20, 2018© Reuters

Arsenal have not suffered a defeat in over three months, and the team have shown signs of quickly adapting to life under new manager Unai Emery, but the Spaniard will be eager to get another victory on the board after four draws from five matches.

A share of the spoils against Liverpool was considered a respectable result and the stalemate with Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League was enough to keep Arsenal in control of their group, but failing to defeat either Crystal Palace or Wolverhampton Wanderers has left the club's supporters wary of a season-defining poor run of form.

Arsenal were fortunate to come away with a point against Wolves in their last fixture, and while tiredness could have played its part, it was an indication that the club still have plenty of work to do in order to match the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea on a consistent basis.

The worrying signs for supporters will be that the recent form has come ahead of matches against fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, and it puts the pressure on securing a positive return from their visit to the south coast.

Emery has not been helped by having to frequently tinker with his starting lineup, with just Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka having started all 12 top-flight fixtures since the beginning of August.

There are also injury concerns ahead of this weekend, but an improved output from the likes of Mesut Ozil will go a long way to achieving better results with the playmaker only contributing three goals and one assist in 10 starts, half of which came in the same contest against Leicester City.

Emery will want to see a better strike-rate in front of goal with his side failing to net more than two goals in a game in their last six attempts, a period which has come after a free-scoring spell between the end of August and end of October.

Arsenal have put together a 16-match undefeated streak ahead of this encounter but unless they go up a gear over the coming weeks, there is the threat of all of their previous good work going to waste.

Recent form: WWWDDD
Recent form (all competitions): WDWDDD


Team News

Alexandre Lacazette in action for Arsenal on August 25, 2018© Reuters

Arsenal have doubts over the fitness of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, but the pair have been involved in work at the training ground this week.

Nacho Monreal will be absent due to a hamstring injury, while Stephan Lichtsteiner and Konstantinos Mavropanos remain on the sidelines.

However, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is in contention for his first start since August, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan could feature after making an impact against Wolves.

Bournemouth will be without defender Adam Smith for the next three months after he sustained a knee injury against Newcastle earlier this month.

However, Howe has suggested that King could play some part after recovering from the ankle problem which has kept him out since October 20.

Bournemouth possible starting lineup:
Begovic; Francis, S.Cook, Ake, Daniels; Cook, Lerma, Gosling; Brooks, Fraser, Wilson

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Leno; Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Maitland-Niles; Torreira, Xhaka; Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Aubameyang; Lacazette


Head To Head

Sunday's meeting will represent just the eighth competitive clash between the two clubs, with Arsenal registering five wins in comparison to just one victory for Bournemouth.

The only meeting not to take place in the Premier League was a League Cup tie back in 1987, and Arsenal have had the better of the games in the top flight with four wins coming from six games.

However, Bournemouth prevailed by a 2-1 scoreline in the most recent meeting back in January, with Wilson and Jordon Ibe completing a comeback win.


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We say: Bournemouth 1-2 Arsenal

Bournemouth have already shown this season that they are capable of causing problems for the best teams in the division, but it remains to be seen whether the setback at St James' Park has dented their confidence. Arsenal under-performed in their last fixture, and we expect Emery's side to bounce back on the South coast.


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Who will win Sunday's Premier League clash between Bournemouth and Arsenal?

Bournemouth
Draw
Arsenal
Bournemouth
4.5%
Draw
15.9%
Arsenal
79.5%
Unai Emery points a finger during the Premier League game between Arsenal and Manchester City on August 12, 2018
Read Next:
How Arsenal could line up against Wolves
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1613303462842
2Manchester CityMan City1613214593641
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs16120430161436
4Chelsea16104233132034
5Arsenal16104235201534
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd167542826226
7Everton166642319424
8Bournemouth167272526-123
9Leicester CityLeicester166462120122
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves166461719-222
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham166372325-221
12Watford166372023-321
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton166371922-321
14Cardiff CityCardiff1642101530-1514
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle163491322-913
16Crystal Palace1633101323-1012
17Burnley1633101532-1712
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1624101027-1710
19Southampton161691330-179
20Fulham1623111640-249

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