Good afternoon! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole
for today's Premier League clash between Arsenal and Bournemouth
at the Emirates Stadium!
Neither of these two teams have made a good start to the season, with Arsenal suffering back-to-back defeats before the international break and Bournemouth still looking for their first point of the campaign.
Both will be looking to bounce back today following the international break, but before we have a closer look at the situation for both teams let's first check out the team news...
ARSENAL STARTING XI: Cech; Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil, Lacazette, Welbeck
ARSENAL SUBS: Ospina, Mertesacker, Coquelin, Iwobi, Walcott, Sanchez, Giroud
BOURNEMOUTH STARTING XI: Begovic; Cook, Ake, Mings; A Smith, Gosling, Arter, Daniels; King, Defoe, Fraser
BOURNEMOUTH SUBS: Boruc, Francis, Surman, L Cook, Pugh, Ibe, Mousset
What can we make of those two teams, then?
Well, the headline news is that Alexis Sanchez only makes the bench for Arsenal having failed to secure a move to Manchester City on deadline day. There were some doubts over the Chilean's fitness following his time away during the international break, which saw Chile lose both of their games, but his absence from the starting lineup today is still bound to cause a stir.
Sanchez only made his first start of the season last time out against Liverpool, but today he loses his place in the side to Alexandre Lacazette.
Lacazette was something of a surprise omission from the starting XI for that match against Liverpool, but the club-record signing will lead the line tonight as he looks to make it two goals from two home league games since his summer switch from Lyon. The Frenchman will be supported up front by Danny Welbeck
and Mesut Ozil, who both retain their places from the side beaten by Liverpool.
The entire Arsenal team is under pressure to perform following the nature of their loss to Liverpool, but Ozil will have plenty of the spotlight himself having told some of the club's former players to "stop talking" during a recent Instagram post. The German undoubtedly has the ability to unlock a defence, but when the going gets tough he seems to go missing all too often and Arsenal fans will want to see a reaction from him - and the rest of the team - today.
has made three changes from the defeat to Liverpool, with Saed Kolasinac joining fellow summer signing Lacazette in returning to the starting XI. That sees Bellerin switch to his favoured right wing-back role, taking over from the departed Oxlade-Chamberlain, while also at the back Mustafi comes in for Holding. Koscielny was a minor doubt after picking up a knock during the international break, but he is deemed fit to start.
As for Bournemouth, they make just one change from the team that was beaten at the death by Manchester City last time out as Ryan Fraser returns to the starting XI.
The midfielder takes the place of Surman, who drops to the bench alongside the likes of Ibe, Pugh and captain Simon Francis, the latter of whom has failed to overcome a hamstring injury in time to start this one.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe
hands a second start to Jermain Defoe following his summer move from Sunderland, with the England international still searching for his first goal since returning to the club.
Defoe is, of course, a former Tottenham Hotspur player and has scored against Arsenal for three different clubs in the Premier League - Spurs, West Ham and Sunderland.
The only player to have scored against Arsenal for more clubs is Darren Bent, who has netted for five separate team against the Gunners.
Defoe will be supported by Josh King, who was rewarded for his fine form in 2017 with a new contract during the summer transfer window. The attacker was scoring for fun earlier this year, but he is yet to get off the mark in the Premier League this season and will be hoping that today's game against a side who have already shipped plenty of goals this season could be his chance.
There are no changes at the back for the visitors this afternoon, with summer signing Asmir Begovic
once again handed the gloves ahead of Boruc. Cook, Ake and Mings make up what is expected to be a back three, with Smith and Daniels as the wing-backs.
Gosling and Arter, meanwhile, will patrol the middle of the park.
This is a very important match for both clubs, but despite Bournemouth sitting in the relegation zone at this early stage of the season, it could perhaps be more pivotal for Arsenal. The 'Wenger Out' brigade have been handed their ammo even earlier in the season than usual this term, with the 4-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool being widely criticised by fans and ex-players alike.
Rarely have the calls for Arsene Wenger to step down been so vociferous as after that defeat - which was more flattering for Arsenal than it was for Liverpool - and the Frenchman could have a long season ahead if things don't improve significantly.
Even taken in isolation, the nature of the performance and scoreline against Liverpool would have rightly been criticised, but the fact that it came after another defeat at the hands of Stoke City only exacerbated the fans' frustrations. The Gunners have now lost two of their opening three Premier League matches - failing to score in both defeats - and even their solitary win of the campaign was not exactly convincing as they beat Leicester City 4-3 on the opening day of the season.
Another defeat today would make it three consecutive Premier League losses for the first time since January 2012, and would also be the first time that they have lost three of their opening four games since the 1982-83 season.
On that occasion they only picked up one point from the first 12 on offer, eventually finishing the campaign 10th in the table.
Arsenal have won their last six Premier League games at the Emirates Stadium, though - a run which stretches back to April 2 when they drew 2-2 with Manchester City. The Gunners are unbeaten in their last eight in front of their own fans, winning seven of those matches, while they have suffered just one home league defeat in their 19 outings since the opening day of last season - a 2-1 loss to Watford in January.
Arsenal will still be favourites to come away with all three points despite their poor form, then, and victory would make it seven in a row at home for the first time since April 2015. The statistics suggest that will be the case, with Arsenal having won each of their last 23 home Premier League games against a team in the bottom three - a run which stretches back to their 4-4 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in October 2008.
The Gunners are in desperate need for that run to continue to give them something to smile about following a pretty miserable start to the season.
In addition to the defeats to Stoke and Liverpool before the international break, there was also disappointment for Arsene Wenger's side in the transfer window as they missed out on Thomas Lemar - despite tabling a record £92 bid on deadline day. The collapse of that deal did mean that Sanchez stayed at the club, but the Chilean is out of contract next summer and the Gunners now look to have missed their chance to really cash in on him.
Defeat today would leave Arsenal with their lowest ever points tally after four games of a Premier League season, while even a draw would make for their worst start to a campaign since 2011-12. Worryingly for the Gunners they have conceded an average of 1.43 goals per league game so far in 2017, which is their highest tally in a calendar year since 1965.
Now may well be the best time to face Arsenal, then, but Bournemouth will know that they are the underdogs for this match and they arrive at the Emirates in even worse form than their hosts.
The Cherries are winless and pointless from their three Premier League games so far, leaving them in the relegation zone at this early stage of the season. There is still a long way to go, of course - and Bournemouth have lost their opening two games in both of their previous Premier League campaigns before recovering well - but Eddie Howe will wants those first points on the board as quickly as possible.
Bournemouth were just seconds away from getting that first point before the international break, and it would have been an impressive one against Manchester City too. However, Raheem Sterling denied Howe's side at the death, scoring a 97th-minute winner before being shown a red card for celebrating with the fans. Daniels had earlier given Bournemouth the lead, but they were unable to hold on to it and ultimately came away with nothing despite an encouraging display.
It is the other two defeats that Bournemouth have fallen to this season which will have irked Eddie Howe the most as the Cherries failed to pick up any points from games against West Bromwich Albion and Watford.
Bournemouth have a difficult run of fixtures ahead of them - including the Man City game they face five of last season's top seven in the space of eight games - so those losses to the Baggies and Watford could prove to be even more damaging over the coming months.
Only eight teams have ever lost their opening four games of a Premier League season, and half of those have gone on to be relegated that campaign, so defeat would not leave Bournemouth in a particularly good position today. As a club they have only ever started the season with four straight defeats on two occasions, both of which came in the third tier in 1983 and 1994.
The likelihood of them avoiding adding 2017 to that list looks fairly slim, especially considering the Cherries have only won one of their 10 Premier League away games so far this calendar year - losing five of those. The solitary win in that run came against relegated Sunderland too, while they have now lost five of their last six Premier League trips to London - drawing the other. That comes after they won three of their first four top-flight visits to the capital, so their form in the city has taken a nosedive of late.
Defeat this afternoon would be the first time that Bournemouth have lost back-to-back Premier League away games since February, though, following their 1-0 loss to West Brom at the The Hawthorns last month. If they are to avoid that fate then they will likely need to find the goal trail again having netted just once in their opening three fixtures, with only Brighton and Crystal Palace have scored fewer.
There were no late dramas for Bournemouth in the transfer window, and all in all Eddie Howe will be pleased with the business done by his side this summer.
The Cherries brought Nathan Ake back to the club from Chelsea in addition to signing a proven Premier League goalscorer in Defoe and goalkeeper in Begovic. All three have quickly become important parts of the team, and on paper certainly look to have strengthened the Bournemouth squad.
Right, we're 10 minutes away from kickoff at the Emirates Stadium, which means that it is time for a prediction!
Both sides are in desperate need of a win from this one, but Arsenal especially will be demanding a response from that Liverpool rout. The home advantage could be important, despite what may be a hostile environment if things don't go the hosts' way, and the Gunners should have enough to claims all three points here.
Sports Mole says: Arsenal 2-0 Bournemouth
These two sides have only met on five previous occasions, and Bournemouth have never won in that time, losing four and drawing one.
That solitary draw did come in the most recent meeting, but for Bournemouth it would have felt like another defeat as they let a three-goal lead slip in the final 20 minutes. Daniels, WIlson and Fraser had put Bournemouth 3-0 up before the hour mark, but Arsenal stormed back late on with goals from Sanchez, Perez and Giroud.
Sanchez was also on the scoresheet the last time Bournemouth visited the Emirates Stadium, notching a brace to help the Gunners to a 3-1 win last November. Theo Walcott got Arsenal's other goal on that occasion, while Wilson scored from the spot for Bournemouth.
The Cherries have faced Arsenal away from home on three previous occasions, and each one has ended in defeat with just one goal scored and eight conceded in that time.
This match pits the two longest-serving managers in the Premier League against each other, and despite all the criticism he has received in recent years, Arsene Wenger remains way out on his own as the longest serving. Indeed, the Frenchman has won more Premier League games at Arsenal than the other 19 managers have managed at their current clubs combined.
Right, we're just moments away from kickoff at the Emirates, so let's have a quick recap of the team news for this game:
ARSENAL STARTING XI: Cech; Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil, Lacazette, Welbeck
BOURNEMOUTH STARTING XI: Begovic; Cook, Ake, Mings; A Smith, Gosling, Arter, Daniels; King, Defoe, Fraser
KICKOFF: Here we go, then! Bournemouth get us underway at the Emirates!
Bournemouth have made quite a positive start to this match, looking to get forward with their pace down the flanks whenever possible. Arsenal's back three may need to come out of the wings quite often this afternoon is Bournemouth can get in behind Bellerin and Kolasinac.
Arsenal come forward for the first time as Ozil attempts to slide a ball through for Bellerin down the right channel. Bournemouth deal with it, but this is the first spell of pressure they have been under in today's game.
GOAL! Arsenal 1-0 Bournemouth (Danny Welbeck)
It is a perfect start for Arsenal, and exactly what they needed as Danny Welbeck opens the scoring after just six minutes!
Ramsey plays the ball down the left wing for Kolasinac to race onto, and he stands a cross up in the middle having streaked clear of his marker. The cross is too high for Lacazette, but Welbeck is waiting behind him to steer his head into the corner and past a wrong-footed Begovic.
That goal has certainly raised the mood inside the Emirates. A slow start would have undoubtedly led to some fans voicing their displeasure, but that Welbeck header has taken some of the pressure off the team now. Vital goal for the Gunners, even at this early stage!
Bournemouth are struggling to get anything going forward at the moment, with Defoe already looking a little isolated up there for the visitors. It has been a difficult start to the game for Eddie Howe's side.
SAVE! Begovic makes his first save of the afternoon as Kolasinac is stopped in his tracks during another marauding run, which sees the ball drop to Xhaka. The midfielder does not need a second invitation to shoot, but it is a relatively comfortable one for Begovic.
Arsenal are getting lots of joy down the left flank in the opening stages of this match. Kolasinac has already been involved a lot, and another pass down that side of the pitch almost sets Ozil free until Ake comes across to beat the German to the ball.
Exquisite one-touch football from Arsenal as they play around on the edge of Bournemouth's box, but referee Anthony Taylor stops the move by blowing for a foul on Lacazette.
The hosts now have a free kick in a very dangerous position...
SAVE! It is a brilliant effort from Ozil as he clips the free kick over the wall and towards the corner. It looks for all the world as if it will nestle in, but Begovic gets across to make a fine one-handed stop.
SHOT! Arsenal are queuing up to shoot at the moment. They break in behind Bournemouth again here, with Ozil leading the chance before playing the ball back for Lacazette. The striker is unable to get a shot away himself, but he tees up Xhaka who steers a first-time effort a few yards off target.
There may be more assists in this one for Kolasinac if Arsenal carry on like this too...
Cech is called into action for the first time today, but it is not a serious save from the Arsenal keeper. Ake got his head to a long throw inside the box, but his looping header was easily gathered by Cech.
Concern for Bournemouth here as Fraser goes down clutching his ankle following a challenge from Bellerin. The winger looks in some pain here, but he should be OK to carry on.
Indeed, Fraser is able to carry on as he tries to run it off.
Arsenal continue to boss possession here, keeping the pressure on Bournemouth, who have been unable to get into any sort of rhythm in this match so far.
GOAL! Arsenal 2-0 Bournemouth (Alexandre Lacazette)
That could very well be game over already.
Arsenal double their lead just before the half-hour mark, and it is a superb finish from Lacazette as he makes it two goals in as many home Premier League games. It is avoidable from Bournemouth's point of view as Ake had the chance to intercept the pass, but after he missed the ball Welbeck laid it off for Lacazette, but curls it into the top corner from around 25 yards.
It is a long way back for Bournemouth already!
There is a completely different feel to Arsenal today. The Gunners needed a response to that thrashing by Liverpool and so far they are delivering - they have been utterly dominant so far and are in complete control of the contest as things stand.
UPDATE: There is good news for the other North London outfit in the Premier League too, with Tottenham Hotspur having taken the lead against Everton at Goodison Park courtesy of Harry Kane's first league goal of the season.
Defoe has had very little to feed off in this match so far. He is trying to make the runs down the channel and behind the defence, but he is on his own up there against three central defenders and is finding it very difficult to make an impact.
Arsenal fans will be hoping that their record signing goes on to enjoy a much better Arsenal career than the other in his exclusive club.
Huge chance for Arsenal to make it three as Begovic almost gifts the Gunners another goal!
Welbeck was quick to close the keeper down and his attempted clearance hits the Arsenal striker before falling to Lacazette inside the box. The striker really should score, but Begovic redeems himself by thwarting Lacazette and making a big save - even popping the ball in the process!
BOURNEMOUTH SUB: Fraser is unable to continue after that earlier knock, and he limps off to be replaced by Jordon Ibe.
CHANCE! Another chance for Arsenal to add to their lead as Kolasinac takes on a first-time volley from the left side of the box, but Cook throws himself in the way of it and makes the block. Arsenal players want a penalty for handball, but the referee says no.
The goals have been flying in elsewhere in the Premier League, including a second for Tottenham at Goodison Park through Christian Eriksen.
Chelsea are also ahead against Leicester thanks to an Alvaro Morata strike, while Watford have taken the lead against Southampton through Doucoure.
The rain is starting to pour down in the Emirates, but this has been a very bright performance from Arsenal in the opening 45 minutes. Arsene Wenger will be delighted with his side's response.
There will be three minutes of added time at the end of this first half.
HALF TIME: Arsenal 2-0 Bournemouth
The first half comes to an end at the Emirates Stadium, and it is so far so good for the hosts.
They lead Bournemouth 2-0 at the interval, and it is a fully deserved lead too. Arsenal have dominated from start to finish and, while there haven't been a huge number of clear chances, they have kept Bournemouth under pressure throughout.
It took just six minutes for Arsenal to break the deadlock, with Danny Welbeck opening the scoring nice and early for the under-pressure hosts.
Kolasinac's cross was met by Welbeck, and while he didn't make perfect contact with his header, he did get enough on it to steer it past Begovic. It looked as though the final touch came off his shoulder, which if anything helped to take it past the keeper.
The Gunners doubled their advantage shortly before the half-hour mark, with Lacazette making it two goals in two home Premier League games. It is a brilliant finish from the striker too, collecting Welbeck's pass before curling his finish into the top corner from around 25 yards.
It could have been worse for Bournemouth too, with Lacazette missing another golden opportunity after a poor mistake from Begovic. The Bournemouth goalkeeper did redeem himself by denying the Arsenal record signing, though, thwarting him from inside the box after seeing his attempted clearance charged down by Welbeck. The two-goal deficit already looks like being beyond Bournemouth, but a third goal would completely kill the game off once and for all.
KICKOFF: Arsenal get us back underway for the second half, and the first thing to tell you is that there has been a change at the break, with Simon Francis replacing Mings for Bournemouth.
OFF THE POST!
Big chance for Bournemouth to get themselves back into this match! Ibe clips a fine cross into the box which Defoe gets his head to, but his effort hits the foot of the post and he is unable to react in time to turn the rebound into the empty net.
Better from Bournemouth, though!
GOAL! Arsenal 3-0 Bournemouth (Danny Welbeck)
Moments after Bournemouth almost hauled themselves back into this one, they are now surely out of the game as Arsenal add a third!
It is a second for Danny Welbeck as he slots his finish across goal and into the bottom corner after being played through by Aaron Ramsey. Again it is avoidable for Bournemouth, though, with Gosling having been caught in possession inside his own half at the beginning of the move.
UPDATE: It is turning into a pretty good day for all London clubs in the Premier League. Arsenal's North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur also lead 3-0 against Everton courtesy of a second for Kane, while N'Golo Kante has doubled Chelsea's lead against Leicester. Watford are also still in the lead, whilst elsewhere Brighton look to be on course for their first win of the season as they lead West Brom 2-0.
There are more goals in this one for Arsenal, and they know it. They have responded really well to that Liverpool drubbing and I would not back against them adding to this convincing lead in the final half an hour or so.
SHOT! More slick play from Arsenal as Bellerin chips a brilliant pass into the box for Ozil, but it falls to his weaker right foot and he drives his first-time half-volley wide of the near post.
CHANCE! Arsenal want that fourth goal! Another inventive pass into the box almost finds Ramsey, but he can't get enough on his shot on the turn to really trouble Begovic.
It may not be too much longer before we see Alexis Sanchez here, which is not exactly good news for Bournemouth. If fitness is the issue for the Chilean then this match could be perfect for him to come in and build that back up.
Welbeck is a whisker away from completing his hat-trick, and what a goal it would have been to do it!
The striker skips past a couple of challenges to burst into the box and then tries an audacious chip over Begovic which drifts inches past the far post. Brilliant from the England international, who deserved a goal there.
UPDATE: Hope for Leicester against champions Chelsea, perhaps? Jamie Vardy has pulled a goal back at the King Power Stadium, tucking away a penalty to make it 2-1. Brighton are also now 3-0 up against West Brom.
Less than half an hour remains in this one now, and Bournemouth would be happy to hear the final whistle now. It continues to look more likely that Arsenal will score a fourth rather than Bournemouth pulling one back.
It has been better from Bournemouth in the last couple of minutes as they begin to see more of the ball inside the Arsenal half, playing their football a little further up the field. Still nothing for Cech to do, though.
ARSENAL SUB: Arsenal make their first change of the match, but it is not Sanchez coming on. Instead, Francis Coquelin comes on in place of Ramsey.
This is Bournemouth's best spell of the game, and they have a chance to test Cech for the first time here as Ibe wins a free kick from Ozil. Ibe himself is standing over it...
SHOT! Ibe tries to bend his free kick around the wall and sneak it in at the near post, but he gets it all wrong and sends it a few yards wide.
BOURNEMOUTH SUB: Bournemouth make their third and final change of the match as Lys Mousset replaces Defoe.
SHOT! Chance for Arsenal to add a fourth, but Ake throws himself in the way of Coquelin's effort! Once again Gosling is caught in possession and Arsenal and quick to spring into attack mode, with Ozil coming forward down the right flank. He lays the ball back for Coquelin, who tries to pass the ball into the bottom corner but sees his shot deflected wide by Ake.
ARSENAL SUBS: It's time for Sanchez, who comes on as part of a double switch for Arsenal 15 minutes from time. The Chilean replaces Welbeck, while Olivier Giroud comes on in place of Lacazette. A rather mixed reaction for Sanchez...
YELLOW CARD! The first yellow card of the game is shown to Francis.
CHANCE! Those two latest Arsenal changes combine to almost add a fourth goal as Sanchez slides a pass through for Giroud, who sees his powerful effort saved in unorthodox fashion by Begovic. The angle was against Giroud there, but he seems to have settled into the game quickly.
Arsenal may have to finish this game with 10 men here. Coquelin goes down - in rather strange fashion - having seemingly tweaked his hamstring. The Gunners have made all three changes already, so they look like being a man down in the closing stages as Coquelin limps off.
Arsenal have the chance to break through again, with Cook the only defender back there against two red shirts. Xhaka looks to curl a pass around the defender for Giroud, but it is a poor attempt from the midfielder and the chance goes begging.
Just five minutes remain in this match now, and Bournemouth have done a good job of keeping the score down to three so far. Arsenal could - and perhaps should - be further ahead, but the win has been in the bag for some time now.
Sanchez looks to get in on the act, but Bournemouth make the block and a promising attacking position ultimately comes to nothing. Arsenal are still looking very dangerous despite being down to 10 men here.
SAVE! It has taken 89 minutes, but Cech finally has a save to make! Ibe's cross into the box is yet by King, whose looping header looks to be dropping under the crossbar before Cech tips it over the top.
There will be three minutes of added time at the end of this match.
CHANCE! Sanchez looks lively enough to me! The attacker almost adds a late fourth after god link-up play, but his effort is beaten away by the keeper.
FULL TIME: Arsenal 3-0 Bournemouth
Crisis? What crisis?
Arsenal come up with a convincing response to that Liverpool defeat with a 3-0 victory over Bournemouth, and it could have been more for the Gunners. They dominated from start to finish, with a brace from Welbeck either side of a Lacazette strike handing them a comfortable victory over Eddie Howe's side. The Gunners needed a response following back-to-back defeats, and they provided one today.
Right, that is all we have time for this afternoon! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole
for today's match as Arsenal return to winning ways with a 3-0 triumph
over Bournemouth at the Emirates Stadium. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction from both camps. Our coverage of the late kickoff between Stoke and Manchester United is already underway, and you can follow that live by clicking here
. From me, though, it is goodbye for now!