After what seemed like the longest international break of the season so far, Arsenal get back to work in the Premier League with an away match at Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium.
Arsenal are sitting on a sixteen-game unbeaten run—they haven’t lost a game since mid-August, although the most recent three have been draws. They would do themselves a world of good with a win tomorrow ahead of their next two league matches, a pair of toughies against Tottenham and Manchester United. The Gunners sit fifth in the league table, and after Chelsea’s loss today, they’ll have a chance to narrow their gap to the Champions League places to a single point.
The match against Bournemouth also represents an opportunity for Arsenal to fix their first-half issues. The Gunners’ slow starts are a well-established pattern now, and although they’ve been playing extremely well in their second halves, late-game scrambling isn’t the smartest or most sustainable strategy. Unai Emery has had a couple of weeks to work with the team (or most of it) and the tie against Bournemouth will be a great game to try any first-half fixes that he might have come up with. Tomorrow’s game with the Cherries won’t be quite the pressure cooker environment of a top-six game, but it won’t be a walk in the park, either—an accurate but not overly intense test case for the top half of the table.
Bournemouth are eighth in the league table, only four points behind Arsenal, and their record matches their place near the top of the midfield. They have, for the most part, beaten sides that mid-table leaders should beat, while losing matches against Chelsea and United. But the loss to United was perhaps undeserved—the Cherries held onto a 1-1 draw until two minutes into stoppage time, and they’ll be looking to repeat that sort of performance on Sunday. With a draw, they would pull level with United on points, and a win would vault them ahead of both United and Everton into sixth.
Arsenal are, unusually for this time of year, not particularly injured going into tomorrow’s match. Except for Nacho Monreal, who has tweaked a hamstring, Emery will have all of his starters available. Laurent Koscielny is back in training but not quite ready for matches yet, and as we learned couple weeks back, Danny Welbeck faces a long recovery from his broken ankle and won’t be on the pitch any time soon.
Bournemouth will play without Joshua King, who has scored four goals for the Cherries this season and has an ankle injury, and they’ll also be missing defender Adam Smith, midfielders Jefferson Lerma and Junior Stanislas, and goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
Arsenal vs. Bournemouth
Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth
Sunday, November 25, 5:30AM PT | 8:30AM ET | 1:30PM BT
NBCSN, stream here
If you aren’t in the US, check out livesoccer.tv for all of your streaming needs. As always, please don’t discuss links to illegal streams here!