When AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal face each other this Saturday, it will be a special occasion for the two coaches, Andoni Iraola and Mikel Arteta. Both coaches share a common origin from the Gipuzkoa region in Spain’s Basque County. What makes it even more remarkable is that they were once teammates during their youth playing days at the grassroots club Antiguoko.
Form and Predicted Lineups – How do both teams measure as they come up against each other?
Arsenal Last 3 Games: W, D, W
Bournemouth Last 3 Games: D, L, W
AFC Bournemouth vs Arsenal – Predicted Lineups:
Bournemouth likely formation: 4-2-3-1
Arsenal likely formation: 4-3-3
With the details of the knock Declan Rice picked up unclear, Arsenal are expected to continue with Jorginho as the main 6 with Martin Odegaard and Kai Havertz providing support ahead as functional 8’s. As usual, Zinchenko’s duties can be expected to take shape as the 2nd pivot alongside Jorginho when needed.
AFC Bournemouth will likely go unchanged except for Neto with the same lineup that won 2-0 against Stoke City in the midweek EFL Cup fixture.
Some insights ahead of the clash between the both teams
As we glance through the data and some interesting insights the picture above can provide, we can see immediately that Bournemouth are a team that concede a lot. Whether it’s their expected metrics for goals against (xGA) or the actual ones conceded, with 11.9 and 10 as the respective values, it’s hard not to argue that if Arsenal make their chances count, it could be an easy game for them.
For the Gunners though, their defence hasn’t been bad, but it’s not the most watertight in PL either. Arsenal have conceded in 4 of the 6 games played and have twice in 2 games this season. And when you take into account that the non penalty expected goals (npxG) numbers of both teams aren’t very far off, Bournemouth would be confident to nick a goal or 2 against Arsenal and hope they keep their defence strong.
Another interesting aspect to analyze would be the areas where Bournemouth and Arsenal make the most defensive actions. Taking the Gunners’ case, their defensive actions on the right flank and within the left halfspace area of the penalty area could present a compelling argument for Bournemouth to focus their efforts on those specific areas.
For Arsenal, with Martinelli still on sidelines, it will fall on Gabriel Jesus’ shoulders to exploit Bournemouth’s right flank and halfspaces, the area all teams have targeted them so far and make the most of it. If Havertz does play as the LCM, it might be the best suited game to make movements off Jesus’ shoulder in the inside regions to hurt Bournemouth.
Interesting Players to Watch
Following a dream Premier League full debut goal against Liverpool in August, Antoine Semenyo would be vying to eye another performance against Arsenal. With the Ghanaian player capable of playing on the wings and through the middle, Iraola would look to utilize his skillset either from the start or subsequently hurt Arsenal players tried legs in more later stages of game. It can also be very much possible that Semenyo and Solanke can pair up top in a 2 striker setup to change Bournemouth’s systematic outlook if needed.
Emile Smith Rowe
There’s been continuous discussion amongst Gunners fans regarding ESR (short form loved by fans), and with Arteta seemingly dropping interesting answers to questions on his ideas to find best possible ways to accommodate Smith Rowe in important roles, describing why his verticality can be key to Arsenal’s strategies, it might not be wrong to fancy if he can play a interesting role for the Gunners irrespective of it being from the start or in the middle of proceedings.
With Arsenal’s aim to mount a title challenge again, the 3 points at Bournemouth will be hugely important to keep the momentum. For Bournemouth, Iraola has the pressure of a relegation hanging over him and even if it’s not strongly setting a tone for the future of his Job yet, a result against Arsenal will go a long way in setting a keynote for the season.
But as far as Neutrals are concerned, we will certainly enjoy a beautiful game set up by both the Basque Coaches.