Arsenal have never lost to Bournemouth in their six meetings but know they’ll have a challenge on their hands here, just like they experienced on the South Coast last year where they fought from 3-0 down to draw 3-3; the only time they’ve battled back from that deficit in a Premier League match.
The big news for Arsenal is the absence of Alexis Sanchez, who Arsene Wenger confirmed isn’t in the squad today due to the ongoing transfer speculation. His exit now seems imminent and, with Mesut Ozil carrying a knock, the Gunners are without two of their heavy hitters. Welbeck and Iwobi are the two that get the nod and both have big shoes to fill.
Bournemouth make three changes to the side that drew 2-2 with Brighton last time out in the Premier League, with Pugh, Afobe and Arter dropping to the bench. Their places are taken by Ake, Gosling and Fraser. Jermain Defoe remains unavailable due to injury and Eddie Howe seems to fancy his chances in this match, with the Cherries appearing to play with a three-man defensive line.
Arsenal subs: David Ospina, Sead Kolasinac, Mohamed Elneny, Eddie Nketiah, Per Mertesacker, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey.
Bournemouth subs: Artur Boruc, Harry Arter, Jack Simpson, Benik Afobe, Andrew Surman, Lys Mousset, Marc Pugh.
Arsenal XI: Petr Cech; Calum Chambers, Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding; Hector Bellerin, Granit Xhaka, Jack Wilshere, Ainsley Maitland-Niles; Danny Welbeck, Alex Iwobi; Alexandre Lacazette.
Bournemouth XI: Asmir Begovic; Simon Francis, Steve Cook, Nathan Ake; Adam Smith, Lewis Cook, Dan Gosling, Charlie Daniels; Jordon Ibe, Ryan Fraser; Callum Wilson.
In North London, things aren’t red and rosy for Arsenal. The Gunners enter this match five points behind the top-four and have won just one of their last six. Last weekend’s FA Cup exit at the hands of Nottingham Forest was followed by a goalless draw with Chelsea in the League Cup but the main talking points are regarding the uncertainty in the transfer window.
Bournemouth enter this match just a single point above the relegation zone, with Stoke City below them still to play. The Cherries have improved since Christmas, now unbeaten in three, but Eddie Howe’s side need to continue that form if they’re to pull away from the fierce battle at the foot of the table.
Good afternoon and welcome to our LIVE coverage of the Premier League clash between Bournemouth and Arsenal, a game that is set to have a huge impact at both ends of the table.