Bournemouth-Arsenal Preview

It appears Arsenal still have significant work to do if they want to be Premier League champions. It starts anew Monday when the Gunners host Bournemouth at the Emirates Stadium.

Every club has its ups and downs in form during the grueling English league season, but Arsenal's 4-0 capitulation against an out-of-form Southampton side again asks questions of Arsenal's title credentials.

Arsenal (11-3-4) was out of sorts from the outset on the South Coast as Premier League debutant Cuco Martina opened the scoring for the Saints with a superb curling strike in the 19th minute. Shane Long fired home a brace and defensive anchor Jose Fonte added another tally in the 69th minute as the Gunners failed to take advantage of Leicester City's loss to Liverpool at Anfield and remained two points behind the front-running Foxes.

Saturday's result was the first time Arsenal had allowed four goals since losing 6-0 to Chelsea in March of the 2013-14 campaign.

Manager Arsene Wenger admitted in his post-match interview it was a poor day at the office, but having a match two days later could be the perfect tonic to wash away the bad result.

"We were beaten in the challenges too much, we were not sharp enough to play our usual game and on top of that I think we were unlucky on the decisions for the first three goals and that was too much for us," he told Arsenal Player.

"You could see that we relaxed a bit after Man City and didn't switch on enough here. They were, and that made the difference. I think the players have a good mentality, a strong spirit and they will respond on Monday. We have to be intelligent enough to analyse what went wrong here."

Goalkeeper Petr Cech, who again seeks his 170th Premier League shutout to supplant David James atop the all-time list, believes the English top flight is stronger than it's ever been, and the Gunners will have to be at their best Monday to take three points.

"I think in this league if you don't play well in every game you risk not winning," Cech told the club's official website. "This is why the Premier League is so special because you don't have easy games, you don't have a massive difference between teams.

"You look at the table and realise they (Bournemouth) are behind in terms of points but there are so many games where they could have got points, and they could have even won the game but they end up losing by not having a bit of luck or quality."

Bournemouth (5-5-8) extended their club-best Premier League unbeaten streak to six games (3-3-0) with Saturday's scoreless draw against Crystal Palace, and continue to ripen into form.

Currently 14th in the table on 20 points, the Cherries have thrived this season by starting fast and opening the scoring in the first 10 minutes of matches. While that did not happen Saturday, midfielders Matt Ritchie and Adam Smith were pleased with the result.

"That was a really good point against a good team," Ritchie said. "I think we had quite a few chances in the first half, and even one or two in the second. It was a positive result for the team all in all; we will look at that as a good point."

Bournemouth have played well in the English capital of late, going 4-1-1 in their last six matches in London dating back to last season in the Championship. The Cherries have taken seven points in their last three road matches after losing five of their first six in the top flight.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.