Pre-Match Report

Preview: Bournemouth v Arsenal

Bournemouth v Arsenal

We’re back in Premier League action this weekend as we travel down south to take on AFC Bournemouth at Vitality Stadium.

Following our 1-0 victory against Brentford in the Carabao Cup during the week, we’ll be looking to return to winning ways in the league after last weekend’s north London derby draw.

The Cherries are still looking for their first Premier League win under Andoni Iraola, having lost 3-1 at Brighton & Hove Albion last time out.

On Wednesday, the Cherries managed a 2-0 win at home to Stoke City in the Carabao Cup courtesy of goals from Dominic Solanke and Joe Rothwell.

We have won 11 of our 14 encounters with Bournemouth.

Iraola’s tricky start

Brighton Bournemouth

After beginning the season with a 1-1 draw at home to West Ham United courtesy of a late Dominic Solanke equaliser, Bournemouth were beaten 3-1 at Liverpool and 2-0 at home to Tottenham Hotspur.

Solanke was again on the scoresheet, alongside David Brooks, in a 2-2 draw away to Brentford at the beginning of September, followed by a 0-0 draw at home to Chelsea and Sunday’s defeat at Brighton.

The south coast side are just above the relegation zone ahead of the weekend thanks to their three draws in the league.

What the managers say:

Arteta: “Andoni and I know each other really well. We played together, we had fantastic times together, we played in Antiguoko, it’s a team in San Sebastián that has produced a lot of players over the years. 

“I think he was better technically than everybody else. He used to play as a winger when he was younger, and then as he got a little bit older in his career, he played as a full-back. He was an incredible full-back, inverted full-back and it would have been a dream for any manager to have a player like him. Really intelligent, really skillful and I’m very happy that I was able to play with him.” - Read everything from Mikel’s pre-match press conference


Iraola: “We have to be ready to prepare for the best Arsenal. They have an incredible squad - they've shown it this season and last season - and it's going to be tough."

Talking tactics

Adrian Clarke: The Cherries are busy creating a new tactical identity under the guidance of highly rated Spanish head coach Andoni Iraola. His preferred formation is a 4-2-3-1, and their approach is now centred around creating turnovers via aggressive, coordinated pressing all over the pitch.

While this switch in style remains a work in progress, we have already seen a huge upturn in the number of times Bournemouth regain possession in advanced areas. Inside the final third they are now ranked 5th for regains compared to 19th last term. Scoring twice from high turnovers, they will press with hostility.

Iraola wants his players to get touch tight and is happy to encourage them to follow people into different areas of the pitch. At times his central defenders will track a striker into midfield, or we may see central midfielders press out wide or high up the pitch. This style can suffocate teams that want to play out from the back, but it also leaves holes which can be potentially exploited. Bournemouth’s high defensive line has been exposed on several occasions.

The Cherries are seeing slightly more of the ball than they did in 2022/23, but with an average of 42.13 per cent of possession they are very much a counter attacking outfit.

In forward areas Iraola has a vast array of talented wingers and attacking midfielders to select from, but he is still searching for the right formula.

Hungarian international left back Milos Kerkez, just 19, is someone to keep an eye on at the Vitality Stadium. Delivering 20 crosses from open play across the first six games, just three top-flight players have sent more balls into the box from wide. His 25 per cent success rate means that we must work hard to block those crosses at source.

Chasing their first Premier League win under Iroala, we can expect to face an energetic and fiercely competitive Bournemouth side.

Team news


A late call will be made on Declan Rice, who wasn’t available for Wednesday’s game at Brentford after coming off at half-time in the north London derby. The same goes for Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard.

There are question marks around the availability of Bukayo Saka, who also came off during the derby. Mikel Arteta said that William Saliba and Fabio Vieira are in the same pool after missing Wednesday’s game.

As for Bournemouth, Dominic Solanke’s ankle injury is being assessed to see if he’s in contention for Saturday. There will also be late calls on Tyler Adams and Luis Sinisterra. Lloyd Kelly is unavailable.

Chris Mepham has a small chance of playing while Emliano Marcondes, Alex Scott and Ryan Fredericks are definitely out.

Facts and stats


We have scored at least once in all 12 of our Premier League games against Bournemouth, netting 29 goals in total. 

Bournemouth are winless in 10 Premier League matches (D3 L7), the longest ongoing run of any current top-flight side.

Bukayo Saka has either scored (4) or assisted (2) in six of his last seven Premier League appearances for us, and has 17 goals and 13 assists in 41 appearances since the start of last season. However, Bournemouth are one of only three sides he’s faced without scoring against in the competition (four games), along with Burnley and Leicester City.

Bournemouth’s Dominic Solanke has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last 17 Premier League appearances (6 goals, 4 four assists). His three goals in six appearances this season is already halfway to his entire total in 2022-23 (6 in 33 games).

Match officials

Michael Salisbury

Michael Salisbury will be the man in the middle for Saturday’s game. He has been appointed for two Premier League games so far this season and two Carabao Cup matches, handing out nine yellow cards in total.

  • Referee: Michael Salisbury
  • Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, James Mainwaring
  • Fourth Official: Sam Allison
  • VAR: David Coote
  • Assistant VAR: Nick Greenhalgh

Previously at Bournemouth

We produced our best display at Vitality Stadium last season when two goals from Martin Odegaard and a William Saliba stunner secured a convincing 3-0 win against Bournemouth.

How to watch


Join Nick Bright and Adrian Clarke live from the My Arsenal Rewards box at Emirates Stadium as we look back on our cup win at Brentford and preview Saturday's game against Bournemouth, as well as the beginning of the WSL season against Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on Sunday. We’ll also bring you a round-up of the latest academy action, hear the latest from Mikel Arteta as he speaks to the press ahead of our trip to the south coast, and Adrian will break down Bournemouth’s start to the season.

Live commentary from Vitality Stadium comes from Dan Roebuck and Josh James

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