Arsenal v Bournemouth

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Press conference

Will Alexis or Jack play against Bournemouth?

There are always a few question marks over team selection when most of the squad have been away on international duty, but by the end of Thursday all of our travelling players will be back at London Colney.

So who starts against Bournemouth on Saturday? Will Alexis be fit after his exertions with Chile? Will Jack Wilshere face the club he spent last season on loan with? Here’s the latest team news from Arsene Wenger:

on whether all the international players have returned OK…
We don’t know yet because Alexis, Ospina, Ramsey… they are coming back today [Thursday]. We’ll check that all along the day.

on any other team news…
No, I think we have no injuries. Everybody is looking to come back quite well. Wilshere is getting stronger every day. Overall, we have no big injury problems.

on whether Jack could be included in the squad against Bournemouth…
I don’t know yet, I haven’t decided who will be in the squad or not.

on whether Jack is ready to be a part of a matchday squad yet…
He still needs some fitness work, I think. But what I mean is he is in a positive trend. He is getting better and better.


Pictures: Arsenal train ahead of Bournemouth match

Arsenal train ahead of the Bournemouth game

The first-team squad were in training on Friday morning ahead of this weekend's visit of Bournemouth.

Our club photographer was there too and sent back these pictures:


Check out our best goals against Bournemouth

We’re back in action this weekend as we host Bournemouth at Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

We beat the Cherries 3-1 in last season’s corresponding fixture, with Alexis and Olivier Giroud combining to finish off a sublime team move in the second half.

But the Chile international is the not the only one of our players to have scored a memorable goal at home against Bournemouth.

Click the ‘Play’ button above to check out some of our favourite goals and then don’t forget to vote in the poll below:


Ten tough questions on games against Bournemouth

Mesut Ozil celebrates at Bournemouth

We haven’t faced Bournemouth too many times in the past, but when we have there has been plenty of drama.

How well do you remember these encounters with the Cherries? Find out by taking our quiz below:


Listen LIVE to our game against Bournemouth

Matchday Show - Bournemouth (h)

We face Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon - and you can tune in to our LIVE coverage from Emirates Stadium from 2.30pm (UK time).

Make sure you visit for the following:

  • Matchday Show, with live build-up from 2.30pm (UK time) and audio commentary from 3pm (UK time)
  • Live text commentary - featuring minute-by-minute updates and insights from our fans on Twitter
  • A short goals clip, extended highlights and a full match replay will be available from midnight on Sunday

It's all free with Digital Membership - and remember, you can listen on the Arsenal App too!

The Breakdown

The Breakdown: Arsenal v Bournemouth preview

We return to Premier League action on Saturday when we host Bournemouth at Emirates Stadium.

Ahead of the game, tactical expert Michael Cox and former Gunner Adrian Clarke analyse our opponents’ strengths, danger men and areas we can target.


MC: Eddie Howe has impressed since guiding Bournemouth to promotion two years ago, creating a solid, cohesive and harmonious side that has comfortably avoided relegation in both seasons without any true star players. No points from the opening three games of the season, however, is a worrying start.

AC: They played well against Manchester City and, if they play that well against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium, they’ll give us a run for our money. They’re an excellent footballing side and I remember commentating on this fixture last season, and they took the game to Arsenal. The dominated the game for long periods and caused problems.  


MC: There’s a concern that Howe isn’t entirely sure of his best system. He’s played two strikers in all three matches, with the excellent Joshua King supporting either Benik Afobe or Jermain Defoe. But after playing a 4-4-1-1 system in the first two matches, he switched to 3-5-2 for the game against Manchester City. This was seemingly because he wanted to match City’s expected three-man defence, but then Pep Guardiola deployed a back four anyway. Still, the use of three conventional midfielders helped the Cherries compete in the centre, and that might be the system he uses this weekend too.

AC: I’m expecting the team to come back from this break fully fired up and I hope they can outmuscle Bournemouth. If they’ve got a weakness, sometimes it’s them being a little bit soft. If you can get in amongst them and be more aggressive than them, I think we’ll have no problem winning the game. This is not a side to be taking lightly, that’s for sure.  


MC: Bournemouth keep possession excellently. Andrew Surman and Harry Arter are both good all-round midfielders, comfortable on the ball and capable of covering plenty of ground too. Dan Gosling came into the side as a third central midfielder against City, and that familiar trio is likely to start again here.

AC: They’re going to score goals this season, I just hope they don’t spend too much time in Arsenal’s final third this game. Because the confidence is a bit low among the first team at the moment, we need to keep Bournemouth out of our own defensive third. Once they get there, I think they can cause Arsenal problems.



MC: Joshua King hit 16 Premier League goals last season. He’s generally been used as a second striker but might drift inside from the left flank here. Either way, he’s likely to be Bournemouth’s major threat, particularly for his counter-attacking speed.

AC: Defoe is the standout dangerman up top, if he plays. King playing just off Defoe is a really potent strike force for Bournemouth and I think they will score a lot of goals. Charlie Daniels scored a wonderful goal in the reverse fixture last season, and he scored against City last time out.  


MC: Bournemouth’s major shortcoming is their poor defending of crosses and set-pieces, which has cost them in this fixture previously, and it’s also noticeable that their own corners have been particularly disappointing, with too many deliveries not clearing the first man. There’s also been a vulnerability to through-balls played between defenders, perhaps as their full backs push forward regularly and leave huge gaps for the centre backs to cover, which might play into the hands of Arsenal’s intricate attacking.

AC: I wouldn’t take too much notice of the fact they’ve been shy of goals so far because they’re an attacking team. It’s at the other end of the pitch where I worry for them a bit. They’ve made a slight improvement bringing in Nathan Ake, though. 

Press conference

Wenger on Alexis, Lemar and transfer deadline day

"Back home. Focus."

That was Alexis’ message on his Instagram account - alongside a picture of himself in his No 7 shirt - as he returned to England from international duty.

The Chilean was one of the big stories of transfer deadline day but he remains an Arsenal player - and Arsene Wenger is convinced we’ll see the best of him this season.

Here’s the manager’s take on the Alexis/Thomas Lemar deadline day speculation:

on Alexis’ mentality…
I have no doubt about Alexis’ mind and mentality that people question. He needs to come back to full fitness, which he was not at Liverpool. It was his first game. He suffered, he had a negative experience now with Chile but he is strong mentally and hopefully he will be back very quickly to his best.

on how close Alexis was to leaving on deadline day…
I believe that the transfer market is over. There was a lot going on, on that front - so overall it’s very difficult for me to speak about that. The most important for us now is to focus on the next game.

on whether Alexis leaving depended on Thomas Lemar arriving…
That’s what I read everywhere, yes.

on what his opinion on that is…
My view is that it’s very difficult to speak about that because Lemar is now in Monaco and has to focus on Monaco. Alexis is here and focuses here. After that, I believe as well we have to keep a certain confidentiality about the transfer negotiations and the transfer market is part of that. Many things happen in the last second, and I regret that. That’s why I believe it’s important that we change that [transfer window] and close all that stuff before the championship starts. 

Even in the games, you sit there before the games and even in players’ minds they have no clarity. Are they in? Are they out? Are they half in? Are they half out? Are they tapped up in the afternoon of the game by people who want to get them out? It’s not the way to work and it’s uncomfortable. Every single manager in the league would agree that it’s time to kick that out before the season starts and not continue to have players in the dressing room who are half out and half in.

on Thomas Lemar…
He decided to stay in Monaco and you have to respect that. The player is under a three-year contract to go so overall you have to respect that.


Press conference

Ox exit opens door for Nelson and Willock

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was our most high-profile departure of the transfer window after leaving for Liverpool on deadline day.

It brought to an end a six-year spell at Emirates Stadium that saw The Ox develop from a promising youngster into a fully-fledged England international.

Arsene Wenger was hopeful that Oxlade-Chamberlain would extend his stay with us - but he feels his exit opens the door for other young talents.

“I wish him well and I wish him all the best, you know, and I am thankful for what he has done here,” said the boss.

“At the end of the day, you make decisions that you choose one or the other one. We had to sell somebody and overall I believe that we are today in a strong financial situation as always and we have a good enough squad to compete.

“That doesn’t take away any of the quality of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, I think he is a great player but sometimes it opens the door for some younger players like Reiss Nelson or Joe Willock, or players who are in behind and get an opportunity that they wouldn’t get.”

Press conference

Press conference round-up: Mbappe, Ozil and more

Arsene Wenger spoke to the media on Thursday at his first press conference since that forgettable day at Anfield.

The transfer window, Mesut Ozil’s social media posts and suggestions of a “crisis” at the club were all on the agenda. Here’s what the boss said:

on how close we were to signing Mbappe…

I believe that we were on the case last year already, he was close to join us, maybe closer last year than this year because the competition to get him was a bit smaller than it is today.

He is in a position… I personally believe that for 90 per cent of players their career depends completely on where they choose to go and for 10 per cent of the players they can go where they want, they will still make a great career. For me, he is in the 10 per cent, he could close his eyes and choose ‘I go here to Real Madrid, or here to Arsenal or Man United’, and he will have a career because he is an exceptional football player.

on how close we came…

I cannot tell you that… you should ask him. I think he was closer last year than this year.

on having self-doubts after a result like the Liverpool defeat…

If you ask me do I suffer with performances like that, that’s obvious. If it makes you happy that I suffer, I can tell you that you can be very happy, but overall I think unfortunately it’s part of your career.

You want ideally your team to perform at the top, top level and of course you question your decisions, you question your preparation and absolutely everything. But overall I believe as well we have played three games and there are 35 games to go.

on if Arsenal are in ‘crisis’…

I never could understand what a crisis is. To lose a game? Then I’m in a crisis. What’s important is that you focus on what’s in front of you in our job. For me every single defeat is a crisis, yes.

on if this is the lowest point…

Look, we had a performance like that at Liverpool a few years ago. Not long after we played them again and we beat them easily at the Emirates. Football is made of that as well and you have to expect that performances swing. Life is movement. Quality of the performance can change from one week to another. 

That doesn’t put me in any denial that our performance was not good enough. Sport is sport and I must say I love my players, I believe in my players and we have a good opportunity to show that we have the quality that people want from us. 

We are in a part of the season where we want our fans behind the team. We can come out of this game and come to a quick conclusion that we are not good enough, or they can say ‘Let’s see what is happening’ and stand behind the team. That’s what we want.

on if he will sacrifice principles for winning ugly…

That’s where I think in England you come to the wrong conclusions always. If England has not won on an international level in over 50 years, it’s maybe time at some stage to come to the right conclusions. To convince people that to win you have to play ugly is for me a wrong debate. If you take the biggest teams in the world, they all play football. Brazil has won how many World Cups? They play football. Germany play football. Real Madrid play football, Barcelona play football. Yes, we didn’t play well enough the way we want to play, I agree with you, but to come out to a conclusion that you have to kick the ball into the stand to win football games is the wrong conclusion.

on if he’s communicating that the players need to roll up their sleeves…

I believe at some stage that what is important is that you stick to your principles, even if it doesn’t go as well as you want it. Do you question yourself? Yes. But don’t question things that are absolutely not obvious because you lose one game. That’s where I believe it’s important that people around the team continue to believe in what we do.

on if a win gives him breathing space with fans being on his back…

You [the media] work very hard to get our fans on our back and you do that very well. I believe our fans are naturally with us and that they were disappointed is completely normal. Situations like that are a good opportunity as well to show that we are strong, united and decided.

on whether it’s a good time to play Bournemouth…

It’s never a good time to play anybody. It’s a good time for us to focus on our performance and show that we are united. We have played three games. We have played two away games and we have 35 games to go in the championship. We will catch back [recover] the points we lost away from home. It’s important we continue our form at home. It’s important to put things into perspective. Sometimes even the press has problems in taking a little distance in things going on. 

on Mesut Ozil versus Arsenal ‘legends’ on social media…

I always have problems understanding what a legend is and what a legend isn’t. I’ve had all the players here and we speak today, but they all had their weaknesses as well. Don’t worry about that. They had their weak games as well, and their weak behaviours as well. Nobody was perfect. 

We have to take a distance with that as well, focus on our performance and not be dragged into any animosity. We are all grateful for what they have done for the club, but what matters is always the players on the pitch who can defend the pride of the club.


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