Even though it feels far too early in the season to be table watching, I can’t help myself. A win at the Emirates against Bournemouth takes Arsenal up to third, puts the Gunners four clear of Tottenham, and keeps them at least one ahead of Chelsea and three ahead of Manchester United. As a reminder, Arsenal missed fourth by a point last season.
Today, the Gunners start a run of nine matches in the Premier League each of which they are, at worst, 50-50 to win. Away to Leicester and away to West Ham seem tricky right now, but who knows what form will look like in a month and two months respectively. Arsenal need to rack up the points and stretch their lead over their top four competitors as much as possible.
One (or more) of Chelsea, Manchester United, and Tottenham are going to get it together at some point and stop dropping points left and right. It would be great if when that time comes, they are staring up at a significant gap in the table to Arsenal. Trying to reel a team in can be tough and tiring for a club. You play your best football and win matches, but if the team you are chasing keep winning, you get nowhere. Also, Arsenal are going to wobble at some point this season; it would be nice to have a cushion for when that happens.
Opening that lead in the table starts today against Bournemouth. Not to take anything away from the Cherries’ strong start to the season but this is a match Arsenal should win. Bournemouth haven’t won in five trips to North London and haven’t shown well away from home this season. The Emirates has been a fortress for the Gunners; they’ve lost only once in their previous 21 Premier League home games (Crystal Palace last April).
Arsenal will need to keep an eye on Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson. The Cherries’ leading man has scored in four straight matches and three of his last four against the Gunners. If they can keep him in check and limit Bournemouth’s chances to hit on the counter, it should be relatively smooth sailing.
Arsenal - Leno, Chambers, Sokratis, David Luiz, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Ceballos, Pepe, Saka, Aubameyang
Bournemouth - Ramsdale, Stacey, Cook, Ake, Rico, Wilson, Lerma, Billing, King, Wilson, Solanke
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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