Back to Premier League matters for Unai Emery and his men, as we welcome high-flying Bournemouth to The Emirates.
The Cherries lie a single point behind us and are part of a group that are pushing for the top four. Eddie Howe seems to have tightened up what has always been a generous defence, while keeping the keen edge of attack that has put many teams to the sword.
They will turn up to our ground with nothing less than victory on their mind – and rightfully so. Not only are they playing well, but Arsenal have not exactly hit top gear in league games so far.
It could even be said that Emery’s team are struggling, and it is well documented the ills that our defence and playing out from the back has led us to suffer. So Bournemouth, if they retain that energy that makes them so dangerous?
They could be a real thorn in our side.
Not only that, but the young Gunners are showing that they are ready to take up the slack should the more established players continue to underperform.
Emery has plenty of choices to make, but what are the selections that will grab the points?
Alexandre Lacazette is nearing fitness, but is still not part of first team plans. The only other injury worry we have is Emile Smith-Rowe, who suffered a knock against Nottm Forest and is gradually kicking up his training.
So Emery has plenty to choose from, but does he continue with his elder statesmen when his kids are doing the business?
Has the likes of Gabriel Martinelli played himself into contention after grabbing a brace against Standard Liege?
What of Joe Willock, Bukayo Saka and Reiss Nelson, who are all impressing of late?
That would mean a drop to the bench for Nicolas Pepe, Granit Xhaka and maybe a couple more. Both aforementioned players are struggling for form and while Saka, Nelson and Willock are in form, should they keep the shirt?
In defence, Rob Holding staked his claim to start on Thursday, and if he does start, then it is likely David Luiz who will make way, although Emery will have an eye on Holding’s fitness.
Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin also played on Thursday and impressed In a big way. Could either start? Tierney seems the likelier of the two, with Calum Chambers more than likely to keep his lace on the right of our defence.
Plenty of changes possible.
Player to Watch
The boy on loan from Liverpool has been an astute move from Eddie Howe. The boy knows how to strike a football and his set plays mean real danger in our box. Silly fouls that we have been giving away recently around the box will be severely punished. A real threat.
How This Could Go
Normally, games versus Bournemouth mean goals – and this should be no different.
Both teams place less emphasis on their defence than on attack, and it could mean a real humdinger of a game for the neutral, but palpitations for home fans.
Make no mistake, with Calum and Harry Wilson, Josh King and Jefferson Lerma, they have the technique to squirm behind our defence. Play a high line and we could be chasing shadows.
Much hinges on Torreira and Guendouzi. It is unclear whether Torreira will even play, but whoever is tasked in midfield with tracking runs and keeping a lid on the opposition, they need to be on their game. No room for error, or we could be chasing the game.
We are often slow starters, but if we can employ the trickery of Nelson, Saka or Martinelli to feed Aubameyang, or the reliable crosses of Tierney, then our Gabon man has the finishing ability to make the most of chances.
This game is really in the air, very hard to call.
Predicted Lineup – Leno, Chambers, Sokratis, Holding, Tierney, Torreira, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Saka, Pepe, Aubameyang
Predicted Scoreline – 3-2 to The Arsenal