When you're 16 matches unbeaten, any brief pause in proceedings can feel frustrating, but the two-week hiatus for the last international break of the year has felt interminable.
Thankfully it's at an end, and as far as these things go, it all went very well from our perspective. Importantly, there were no new knocks picked up, while our players shone for their respective national teams.
Unai Emery could be forgiven for breathing a sigh of relief, but now the hard work begins all over again as we gear up for a hectic point of the season heading into Christmas and the New Year.
An away trip to the Vitality Stadium is a tough place to begin this run, and our head coach says he expects Bournemouth to demand a lot from us due to the "joy" that they play with.
Our task is to snuff that out and leave the south coast with the three points before a testing trip to the Ukraine, followed by a north London derby then a meeting with Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Read on for a comprehensive match preview, Emery's thoughts on the game, the latest team news, stats, and analysis of the opposition.
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