We return to Premier League action against Bournemouth on Sunday and ahead of the game tactical expert Michael Cox examines our opponents.
Eddie Howe is rightly considered England’s most promising young coach, as his achievements at Bournemouth are highly impressive. Having led the club to survival in their debut Premier League campaign, they arrive at the Emirates in the top half of the table. Howe likes structured but attack-minded football, and packs his midfield with plenty of passers.
Jack Wilshere has generally played at the top of a midfield trio this season, making Bournemouth’s formation 4-2-3-1. However, with Wilshere ineligible against us, he’s likely to be replaced by Andrew Surman.
This means the midfield trio might be flipped, with Surman sitting deep and allowing the other two slightly more freedom to push forward.
Right-back Adam Smith and left-back Charlie Daniels define Bournemouth’s attacking play. They offer tremendous forward running but also technical quality and composure in the final third. Although both can whip crosses into the box, they’re equally likely to play intelligent forward balls to keep passing moves flowing, and almost act as playmakers at times.
The passing quality, meanwhile, starts from the centre-back partnership. Steve Cook and Simon Francis are both ever-presents, and excellent on the ball.
This is a cohesive, harmonious side without a defined superstar, and therefore the biggest threat is probably centre forward Callum Wilson, a nippy striker capable of making clever runs in behind the opposition, and an excellent penalty-box poacher.
AREAS TO TARGET
On their only previous trip to the Emirates, a 2-0 Arsenal victory just after Christmas last year, Bournemouth were notably poor at defending set-pieces, with Gabriel nodding in the opener from a corner. This may be another source of chances.
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