Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Prediction: Bournemouth vs Arsenal


Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: bet365

High-flying AFC Bournemouth made a giant step towards Premier League survival as they defeated relegation rivals Swansea City at Liberty Stadium, and they now go into the Arsenal clash in excellent spirits. The Gunners climbed to third with a comfortable triumph over Crystal Palace, but they will face a much tougher task at Vitality Stadium.

Bournemouth

It is no mistake that Eddie Howe has become the usual suspect when it comes to high-profile jobs in English football, the talented manager having previously been linked with moves to Arsenal and England national team. The 39-year-old has taken AFC Bournemouth to unimagined heights by helping them gain promotion to the Premier League, but it is the Cherries’ top-flight appearances that have been making the headlines. Despite operating on a tight budget, Howe succeeded in building a squad that seem to be unfazed by the stature of clubs and players they face week in week out and they haven’t even been involved in the relegation dogfight since making it to the elite division. Midway through their second Premiership campaign, AFC Bournemouth already hold a ten-point advantage over the bottom three, with their 3-0 triumph over Swansea one of the highlights of the current campaign. Despite heading into the game low on spirits after back to back defeats to Southampton and Chelsea, the Cherries impressed to hammer their relegation rivals, climbing to top half of the standings in the process. This means that they can now face Arsenal without any pressure, which should result in another quality performance.

Team News

Eddie Howe will have to make do without star playmaker Jack Wilshere, who is ineligible to face his parent club, while Danny Pugh and Steve Cook are also out.

Arsenal

From the very start to the season, Arsenal nominated themselves as genuine title contenders in English Premier League, but they have since failed to keep up with red-hot Chelsea. Back to back losses from winning positions against Everton and Man City are likely to prove costly, although the team have since returned to the right track, mostly thanks to Olivier Giroud, who just might be one of the most underrated strikers in England’s top flight. The Frenchman first scored the winner against West Bromwich before bagging an amazing scorpion kick goal to open the scoring vs Crystal Palace, with Alex Iwobi making it 2-0 just before the hour mark. The Gunners have few more games against mid table and bottom table sides coming up, meaning they have a good chance to further improve their league position, but the clash against revived AFC Bournemouth will be no walk in the park. The good news is that Arsenal have won each of their three Premier League meetings with the Cherries by a margin of two goals, but everything suggests their fourth encounter will be a much closer affair.

Team News

Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Mustafi should be fit to play, but Per Mertesacker, Santi Cazorla and Danny Welbeck are not yet ready to return.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returned into action against Crystal Palace, whereas Francis Coquelin and Aaron Ramsey could be recalled.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Arsenal won each of three meetings with Bournemouth
  • The Cherries failed to score in one of last 12 home games in EPL
  • A total of 15 goals were scored in last four of those fixtures
  • Giroud scored in back to back wins over Wets Brom and Palace
  • Bournemouth’s last seven games produced 30 goals

Conclusion

The Swansea win will have provided a major lift for AFC Bournemouth, who can test their skills against Arsenal without worrying about the repercussions of a potential defeat. The Gunners, too, have raised their form of late, so we definitely expect to witness another entertaining affair at Vitality Stadium.

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: bet365

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