Following the disastrous 4-0 defeat against Liverpool and a long international break, Arsenal take on Bournemouth at home Saturday afternoon and will be looking to bounce back after yet another catastrophic start to the season. Bournemouth are among the few teams who has had a worse start to the season than Arsenal and have yet to record any points this season. This weekend’s match might be Arsenal best opportunity to bounce back and relieve some of the early pressure on Arsène Wenger this season.

Arsenal

Two defeats in Arsenal’s three opening matches have put manager Arsène Wenger under heavy pressure early into the season and Arsenal desperately need the three points this weekend. The 4-0 defeat against Liverpool was best described as a humiliation and Arsenal were lucky not to lose by an even bigger margin. These results along with the departure of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the uncertainty of Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil’s future at the club, has left the club in a mess and they will need to set aside these problems in order to bounce back.
Yet again Arsenal’s midfield pairing was under criticism following the defeat and it might be time to make some changes in midfield. Swiss international Granit Xhaka is yet to find his best role in Arsenal’s midfield. Xhaka lacks the necessary defensive abilities and struggles with covering ground quickly enough to play in the deep position, which does not match well with Ramsey’s adventurous forward runs. Playing Xhaka with a more defensive-minded partner in Elneny or Coquelin might be a solution to the problem, while introducing a three-man central midfield might be another. Playing Xhaka in the deepest role in a midfield three with two runners in Ramsey and Elneny complimenting him, might be the best way to get the most out of his qualities. It remains to be seen what Arsène Wenger’s solution to the problem will be.

Bournemouth

Bournemouth too have had an awful start to the season. Three defeats in three matches with the most recent being a heartbreaking defeat against Manchester City with Raheem Sterling scoring the winner in the 96th minute. Bournemouth defended valiantly and were very unlucky to concede just moments before the final whistle. Bournemouth will need to get points on the board sooner or later, but there might be reason to not panic just yet. Since Bournemouth were promoted in 2015, they’ve lost the two opening matches in both their two previous season’s in the top flight. Just as Arsenal might feel that this is an appropriate time to face Bournemouth, the visitors will fancy their chances of a big upset.

Jermaine Defoe joined the Cherries this summer and they have plenty of firepower with Defoe up front alongside Joshua King who scored 16 league goals last season and Benik Afobe, the former Arsenal graduate. Alongside Defoe, Bournemouth signed the Chelsea duo of Asmir Begovic and Nathan Aké with both expected to start this Saturday.

Previous meetings

Bournemouth are yet to beat Arsenal in four previous meetings in the Premier League with Arsenal being victorious in 3 of those and the last one being a 3-3 draw back in January. That is the most recent match between these teams, and it was a highly entertaining affair, in which Arsenal came from 3-0 behind to tie the game in injury time.

Team news

Following international duty, Alexis Sánchez is a minor doubt for Saturday’s match and is set to undergo a fitness test before the match. Sead Kolasinac will be expected to come back into the starting line-up following the departure of Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain with Hector Bellerin moving across to the right. Santi Cazorla is still out with a long-term injury.

For Bournemouth, Simon Francis is a doubt for this weekend’s match with Benik Afobe, Junior Stanislas and Nathan Aké all expected to return from injury. Callum Wilson is still absent with a long-term injury.

Expected lineups

Arsenal (3-4-3): Cech - Bellerin - Mustafi - Koscielny - Monreal - Kolasinac - Xhaka - Ramsey - Özil - Lacazette - Alexis

Bournemouth (3-5-2): Begovic - Smith - Cook - Aké - Mings - Daniels - Gosling - Surman - Arter - Defoe - King

Prediction:
3-1