The Breakdown

The Breakdown: Bournemouth v Arsenal preview

We're back in Premier League action on Sunday when we travel to the Vitality Stadium to take on Bournemouth.

Ahead of the game, tactical expert Michael Cox and former Gunner Adrian Clarke examine our opponents in more detail.


MC: Having been in charge of Bournemouth since October 2012, Eddie Howe is the Premier League’s second longest-serving manager behind Arsene Wenger, albeit not all of that spell has been in the top-flight. A former Bournemouth defender who spent almost his entire career with the club, Howe rescued the club from relegation out of the entire Football League in his first spell between 2008 and 2011, and after returning from a brief stint with Burnley, was then responsible for two further promotions.

AC: Even though I really like Eddie Howe, I think he maybe needs to reset his priorities in terms of tactics and how he takes Bournemouth forward. By playing the same way, I think they will continue to encounter the same problems. A greater focus on defence and solidity, particularly away from home, would stand them in good stead going forward.


MC: Howe has used a variety of formations this season, sometimes switching to a three-man defence - for the recent 4-0 loss at Manchester City, for example. But Bournemouth have taken five points from their last three games with a more conventional system, a rough 4-4-2/4-4-1-1. Callum Wilson has played up front with support from Josh King or former Gunner Benik Afobe - the former seems more likely this weekend.


MC: Bournemouth are good in possession, and well-organised in a spatial sense - the player in possession always has multiple passing options, and the Cherries keep width well. Much of this comes from full-backs Charlie Daniels and Adam Smith, who both overlap energetically.

AC: Bournemouth will always create chances. They’ve got good flair, particularly in the wide areas, and on their day their stars - players like Stanislas, Ibe and Fraser - can hurt a team like Arsenal. We’ve just got to hope that it’s not their day.


MC: Callum Wilson missed the first part of the season through injury, but has looked lively since his return and has scored two goals in his last four games.

AC: Josh King is a dangerman. They’ve got a lot of pace in forward areas but it’s just not clicked consistently enough for them so far this season. Make no mistake, tough, the three points are massively important to them and they’ve got a positive attitude generally. This is going to be a difficult game. Arsenal need to bring their A game.


MC: Bournemouth often seem vulnerable to crosses and don’t always defend set-pieces well - and while this isn’t Arsenal’s natural approach, the Gunners have caused Bournemouth problems in this respect over recent years.

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