By 90Min
January 13, 2018

Premier League action returns this weekend as Bournemouth host an Arsenal side looking for their first win of the new year after holding Chelsea to a draw at the Emirates.

Both sides have had rather disappointing seasons compared to their ambitions, with Bournemouth slipping towards the wrong end of the table and Arsenal currently sitting five points outside the top four. 

It's usually about this time of year where the protests begin to emerge at the Emirates, and after the north Londoners were knocked out of the FA Cup to Championship side Nottingham Forest; the club can no longer look to the competition to salvage their season, although they're still in with a chance to grab the Europa League and the Carabao Cup. 


Classic Encounter

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These two have only met six times previous to Sunday's game with Arsenal winning five of the six. The world had to wait until 1987 to see the first battle between the two clubs in the League Cup and they wouldn't meet each other again until Bournemouth achieved promotion to the Premier League in 2015.

Bournemouth travelled to the Emirates earlier this season and were handed a 3-0 defeat where the unlikely Danny Welbeck found himself leaving the stadium with a brace, Lacazette scoring the third. 


Key Battle

Jordon Ibe vs Ainsley Maitland-Niles

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Arsène Wenger has recently hinted that Maitland-Niles will be the likely successor to Francis Coquelin after the defensive midfielder completed a move to Valencia this week. 

However, with three of Arsenal's first-team defenders out through injury, once again the young Englishman will be called upon to play in a left wing-back role which he isn't too familiar with. While he has looked rather convincing going forward, with a strong ability to remain calm under pressure, though his defensive abilities have been lacking somewhat. 

Chelsea were let into the Arsenal back line far too often through the path of Maitland-Niles and this will have been picked up by the Bournemouth coaching staff. Jordon Ibe will be aware that as long as he can keep his defensive side of the game at top level, there will be opportunities to exploit Arsenal's left with Rob Holding providing backup to Maitland-Niles, not the most experienced defensive pairing.


Prediction 

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If Arsenal had a few more of their first team players available to play, then this one would be a no-brainer. It is likely that Bournemouth will score, but Arsenal will have just a bit too much going forward with the likes of Sánchez, Özil and Lacazette.

Match Prediction: Bournemouth 1-3 Arsenal  

Potential Line-Ups 

Bournemouth: Begović, Daniels, Cook, Aké, Francis, Pugh, Surman, Gosling, Ibe, Afobe, Wilson.

Arsenal: Cech, Holding, Mustafi, Chambers, Maitland-Niles, Bellerín, Xhaka, Elneny, Sánchez, Özil, Lacazette.

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