Bournemouth v Arsenal: Break Down

After a jittery January, Arsenal’s start to February could scarcely have been more frustrating. Arsène Wenger’s side had 22 shots - the most they have managed in the league since September - against Southampton on Tuesday night, 11 of which hit the target. Yet a combination of Fraser Forster's heroics and some errant finishing prevented the Gunners from securing a first league win since January 2.
Match Day
Image Credit: Arsenal

Four Premier League games without a win have seen Arsenal move from two points clear at the top of the division to five points behind leaders Leicester City. And Wenger’s team have failed to score in the last three of those matches.

“It is always very difficult to identify one isolated factor,” the manager told Arsenal Player. “[Against Southampton] we put the effort in - we had absolutely the workrate and the energy level but we just couldn’t finish on the night. We should have scored, normally on our model, four goals. But we didn’t score.

“I will say it’s a little bit linked with belief. We’ve practised quite well in front of goal but I think sometimes, on the night, you want to be a bit more forceful and you’re not relaxed enough.

“You must give credit to the keeper too - he made some great saves. We have to believe that if we produce games of quality, that won’t happen in every single game.”

Wenger’s men face more south-coast opposition on Sunday. Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth have adapted well to their first season in the English top flight and come into the weekend’s fixture seven points clear of the relegation zone and with only one defeat in 2016. Unsurprisingly, the manager is predicting a tricky afternoon.

“We’ve been here so many times, talking about our next opponent, and have come to the same conclusion: that it’s a difficult opponent. We know that. They have just won at Crystal Palace and that means they are a good team.”

Players To Watch

Mesut Ozil
It was even more surprising that Arsenal drew a blank on Tuesday night when taking into account that Mesut Ozil created 10 chances - a Premier League high for any player in a single match this season.
An uncharacteristically quiet January saw Ozil fail to add to the 16 league assists he provided before the turn of the year. However, on the basis of his encouraging performance against Southampton, the German looks to be on the way to recapturing his very best form.

Benik Afobe
Bournemouth’s primary threat on Sunday is likely to come from a familiar source.
Benik Afobe has wasted no time in making his mark in the Premier League, with goals in three of his first four games since arriving at Dean Court from Wolverhampton Wanderers in mid-January.

The Cherries’ record signing spent well over a decade honing his talents at Arsenal, scoring at a prolific rate for academy sides that included close friend Jack Wilshere, before moving to Wolves at the start of 2015.

Only five players across the English league pyramid scored more goals than Afobe during that calendar year, and Wenger is expecting the striker to provide his side’s back four with a thorough test on Sunday.
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Bournemouth v Arsenal: Break Down Bournemouth v Arsenal: Break Down Reviewed by Paulson Ikenna Kyrian on 12:50 Rating: 5

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