Arsenal will be determined to get their title challenge back on track on Sunday with a win away to Bournemouth, who have lost just twice in their last 14 matches in all competitions.
It has been a fine run for the Cherries, who are doing a good job of staying clear of danger in their first top-flight season as seven points now separate them and the bottom three. The January arrival of Benik Afobe has clearly given them a major boost, with the striker having scored in his last three league games and here he will feel he has a point to prove, given the fact he was part of the Arsenal setup until a little over a year ago but never played a first-team game.
Another player who has come good of late is Marc Pugh, who was instrumental in helping Bournemouth to promotion last season but has taken time to make an impact in the Premier League. His goal at Crystal Palace in the week was a glimpse of what he is capable of, and he is part of an attacking line-up that will surely pose problems for an away defence that has looked somewhat shaky in recent times. There is very little pressure on Eddie Howe’s men here, so they could sense a chance of pulling off another famous result.
Unlike some of the performances that came before it, there was no shortage of fluency and powerful forward play from Arsenal in their last outing at home to Southampton, but their onslaught was repelled by a wonderful goalkeeping display by Fraser Forster. Some of the passing exchanges were typically exhilarating, but Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott among others were unable to apply the finishing touch and so they failed to win for a fourth successive league match.
It is a result that saw the Gunners slip five points off the pace being set by Leicester City, so it as they enter a crucial period of fixtures it would be far from ideal if they were to drop more points here. There is some frustration beginning to emerge from manager Arsene Wenger in the wake of this tricky run of form as the title credentials of his side begin to be the subject of doubt in some quarters, and they are unlikely to have it easy at the Vitality Stadium.
Bournemouth have no new injury problems to contend with, but are waiting on the fitness of Junior Stanislas as he attempts to return from a knee injury.
Tomas Rosicky has been ruled out for three months for Arsenal, who are still without fellow midfielders Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere.
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