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Arsenal vs. Bournemouth preview: streaking into the break

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The Gunners look to extend their unbeaten run to 8 matches.

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Arsenal Training Session
Will there be a Mesut Özil sighting on Sunday?
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Don’t look now, but Arsenal haven’t lost in seven straight matches (4-3-0). While that record is bolstered a bit by some easier opponents and soured a little bit by disappointing draws, it’s still a good run of form. The Gunners look to extend that run on Sunday against Bournemouth at the Emirates.

The Cherries come into the weekend eighth in the table, but that position might be deceptive. Their three wins came over Everton, Aston Villa, and Southampton; they drew Sheffield United and West Ham and lost to Manchester City and Leicester. Bournemouth, historically, have struggled away to bigger clubs and have had trouble with Arsenal lately. They’ve only managed 4 points from 8 Premier League matches against the Gunners and have lost all five contests away to Arsenal.

Bournemouth will almost certainly sit back and look to hit on the counter. Striker Callum Wilson is on form and enjoys a match against Arsenal — he’s scored in four straight Premier League games and in 3 of his 4 against the Gunners. Cherries manager Eddie Howe will be without defender Chris Mepham, left back Charlie Daniels, midfielder David Brooks, and winger Junior Stanislas on Sunday. Defender Adam Smith and midfielder Dan Gosling might be fit for selection, and winger Ryan Fraser should be available.

The Arsenal injury report is unchanged. Alexandre Lacazette is still rehabbing his ankle, and Emile Smith Rowe is out with a concussion. Both Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney played 90 minutes against Standard Liège on Thursday, and while there hasn’t been anything from the club about their fitness or selection for Sunday, I would be surprised if either of them started on short rest.

The $64,000 question is whether Mesut Özil will make the matchday squad and play. After leaving him out for Thursday’s Europa League match, Unai Emery said other players “deserved [to play] more” and that he needed to “continue working.” Given how Emery has deployed Özil so far this season, it’s tough to see him getting the start tomorrow. Then again, Emery’s midfield selections have often left onlookers scratching their heads and wondering — perhaps he zigs when we expect him to zag and throws Özil out there.

WHAT: Arsenal vs. Bournemouth

WHERE: The Emirates

WHEN: Sunday, October 5th 6:00 AM PT | 9:00 AM ET | 2:00 PM BST

US TV: CNBC. Stream here.

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