16th place Arsenal take on 18th place in Bournemouth. Is it too early to be talking about Premier League six pointers? Ok apologies to both clubs I perhaps should not be so flippant but it is fair to say that this game is a must win for albeit slightly differing reasons.
For Arsenal they need a win to simply reboot their season, after a 4-3 win over Leicester on the open evening of the season the only thing that it managed to do was paper over the cracks as since then it has been two defeats on the road.
A 1-0 defeat to Stoke was then followed by the embarrassment which was the 4-0 defeat at Liverpool, the atmosphere could be very toxic at the start of the game it could be even more so if they fail to get the better of a Bournemouth side that are still looking for their first point of the season.
For Bournemouth it has been three defeats from three, although Eddie Howe will probably fill aggrieved that his side did not manage to earn at least a point when they hosted Manchester City in the fixture prior to the international break just passed.
Firstly to concede a late goal is agonising enough but when you couple that with the circumstances which saw them lose to City it’s even more galling. Firstly the free kick which was part of the build up to the goal should not have been awarded and secondly there were almost two additional minutes played to the five which had been allocated.
That unfortunately for Bournemouth though is the fine margins in which Premier League matches are won and lost and the club will be hoping that a little bit of fortune goes their way this afternoon, that said at this level you have to make your own luck.
It was not luck that saw Arsenal lose to Liverpool just under a fortnight ago but sheer haplessness from the side that Arsene Wenger selected. Alexander Lacazette was dropped to the bench, Hector Bellerin was named at left back while the recently departed Alex Oxlade Chamberlain was named at right back.
A catalogue of errors not just in selection but then the execution as Liverpool ran riot at Anfield. It was a result that probably did not give Jurgen Klopp’s men the credit they deserved due to the fact that Arsenal were so embarrassingly bad.
In a sense the international break could probably not have come soon enough as it allows the flames currently circling the club to die down especially as there is a lot of ire directed at the Arsenal hierarchy due to the relatively poor transfer window.
They may well have managed to keep hold of Alexis Sanchez but he is no nearer signing a new contract and now looks odds on to walk away from the club at the end of the season, but in keeping the Chilean until May it means they failed to sign someone in the ilk of Thomas Lemar.
Arsenal left it too late to sign a potential replacement for Alexis Sanchez and now they are stuck in the situation where they have a player who could well end up being something of a disruptive influence over the course of the campaign.
Whether that is the case remains to be seen but it will be interesting to see what contribution he will make this afternoon with the player safe in the knowledge that he is going absolutely nowhere until January at the very earliest and even then a move would look unlikely.
What does also look unlikely is Bournemouth getting a result today, they’ve probably met Arsenal at the wrong time as they surely have to turn a performance and one that ultimately leads to all three points. I think it is going to be four defeats from four for The Cherries. Home win for me.
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— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) September 8, 2017