Scouting Report: Bournemouth v Arsenal

Theo Walcott scores against Bournemouth

We are back in Premier League action against Bournemouth on Tuesday, and ahead of the game Michael Cox examines our opponents in detail.



Eddie Howe is considered England’s most promising young coach, having seemingly established Bournemouth as a top-flight club. He likes possession football with plenty of structure in midfield to guard against quick counter-attacks.


Howe is capable of playing either 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3, although his midfield options are compromised because Jack Wilshere is ineligible against his parent club. In their 3-1 defeat at the Emirates in November, Howe used Joshua King just behind Callum Wilson, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him use three conventional midfielders, with Dan Gosling coming into the side in place of Wilshere, and playing alongside Harry Arter and Andrew Surman.


Bournemouth’s attacking play is characterised by the approach of their two full-backs. Left-back Charlie Daniels and either Simon Francis or Adam Smith on the right push forward regularly and are involved in passing moves as well as overlapping dangerously. 
Their centre backs are also comfortable on the ball, with Nathan Ake now regularly playing alongside Steve Cook at the heart of the defence.


Former Gunner Benik Afobe has been in and out of the side since his move to the club in January 2015, but he was excellent in the 3-0 win at Swansea on New Year’s Eve, and is a real handful in the penalty box.


Bournemouth’s strength - the technical quality of their defenders – can sometimes be their weakness. Opponents can find space in behind their full-backs to break quickly, while Alexis’ opener in the 3-1 win at the Emirates in November came from a sloppy misplaced pass from Cook, so Arsenal may look to press in advanced positions. 
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