It’s another home game, a 3pm kick-off, this time we face Bournemouth.
After the midweek romp over Everton, which hopefully cleared any cobwebs caused by some of the previous home games, confidence should be high going into this one. You take things for granted at your peril in the Premier League though, and we know that teams who are battling hard to avoid relegation are often difficult to break down. You’d expect that at a minimum from today’s opposition.
In terms of team news from our side, there’s a bit of a doubt over Eddie Nketiah who looked to aggravate an ongoing issue by the end of the match on Wednesday. Mikel Arteta said yesterday:
We are assessing him and it’s a bit uncertain what’s going to happen with him, to be honest. Let’s see and keep the options open. He’s very positive about it, so hopefully he will be fine.
His absence, if it comes to that, would be more of a bench problem than a starting XI problem, because after two good games up top, there’s no reason why Leandro Trossard should lose his place. It might just be an issue later in the game if we need or want to change something. Arteta may have to put his thinking cap on there.
I imagine we’ll see Thomas Partey back in midfield. At home, and after an influential second half display, this is the kind of game you envisage him helping us control. That said, the arrival of Jorginho looks more and more astute. If we’re leading this afternoon and Partey can come off on 70 minutes or so, it will help reduce the strain on a player who has had an injury recently and who has been a bit injury prone. Then you can use Jorginho for the midweek Europa League game, leaving Partey fresh for the trip to Fulham next weekend.
Beyond that, I don’t think anything will change with the starting line-up, and again without taking anything for granted, if we can get ourselves into a comfortable position, there might be more minutes for the likes of Emile Smith Rowe, Fabio Vieira etc. We have to get ourselves there in the first place though.
The manager was asked yesterday if his team had reached its full potential or if there was much more to come:
There’s much more to come. We can do things much better in many aspects of the game, and we still have players with immense growth potential individually and collectively, and as a club as well there are a lot of things we can do much better. That’s the aim – we have to be really seeking that excellence and professionalism and trying to recruit the best people and all the time have the right mindset to achieve that level.
Games like today’s are part of that process. There are all kinds of challenges in this league. There’s quality at the top, but such is the financial strength of most clubs, there’s quality all the way down. You have to view every opponent as dangerous, and I’m sure Arteta will be hammering home the message that there are no easy games, and that we’ll have to work hard to play to our best level today.
Let’s hope we can do that, and the fact Man City play before us might be useful. I expect them to turn Newcastle over, so the gap will be cut to just 2 points. Not that there would be any lack of focus anyway, but that will definitely sharpen everyone up before we go out on the pitch later on.
This is another game that’s not on TV in the UK (although it is here in Ireland), so if you’re struggling to find coverage, come join us on the live blog for up the second text comms, goal clips and chat. Our Patreon preview podcast is available to everyone now (on Patreon and on the main podcast feed), and there’s some useful information in there regarding streams etc too. We’ll have all the post-game coverage, player ratings, and more, on Arseblog News.
I’ll leave it there for now, catch you later for the game.
Come on Arsenal!