Say Arsenal away in your head, and then say out loud the final score. If you’re an ’expert’ the obvious answer would be Arsenal win. Probably 2-0, or 3-0 if feeling generous. Why would it be anything else.
All the signs point to Arsenal dispatching AFC Bournemouth without too much fuss. If we take a look at our last five Premier League away games we have managed to score how many goals? It’s not many. It’s more than 0 but less than 2. Yes, one measly goal. Who scored that? Defender Nathan Ake at Old Trafford back in December last year.
We won’t bother telling you how many the opposition have scored in that same period, but it’s more than one and less than 100.
So it seems the big issue is not scoring enough galls and letting in too many. Pretty obvious really. But, can it change at the Emirates tonight? Well, if we, or more to the point, Eddie and the team, didn’t believe why would they bother turning up.
IT’S NOT GOING TO BE EASY
Injuries and suspensions have removed a lot of the teams steel and flair. No Lewis Cook, no Steve Cook, no David Brooks, no Callum Wilson, no Junior Stanislas and no Jefferson Lerma. I would say Simon Francis, but I reckon Clyne is doing an excellent job and is a better right back (sorry Simon). A lack of first choices means that others need to step up to the plate and show what they can do. So, lets not dismiss what we do have.
We still have a great goalscorer in King, who will scare the Arsenal defence with his pace along with his partner in crime Ryan Fraser. Throw in new boy Solanke and there is a trio that are a more than capable of getting a goal. Solanke is slowly but surely finding his feet and fitness and he showed in glimpses against Wolves that he can create chances. It seems very much a case of when he will score not if he will score. Will the Emirates be the scene of his first goal for AFC Bournemouth? We are going to say yes.
A SOLID DEFENCE
Our defence has often been our weakness, but our back four instill me with confidence. Ake is Ake, consistently brilliant, Clyne is a top class right-back, the one we have been looking for for a long time. Sign him up Eddie. Adam Smith does his job and is great at getting forward and with no Steve Cook Chris Mepham looked assured, like he had been playing in the Premier League for a lot longer than a single game. He has height, can win a tackle, good timing and bring the ball out from the back.
It the middle of the park is where we lack. Gosling and Surman will do their job. It might be sideways from Surman, (according to his many distractors). But, rather he went sideways than give the ball away. And, this tag, in our opinion is a little too easy to apply. He is experienced and will know what to do. Gosling will hassle and harry and win the ball. Lets hope he doesn’t have one of those days when he can’t pass to someone in red and black.
This leaves Fraser and Ibe. As we mentioned Fraser has pace does what he does. Will he win a penalty or has his quota been used up for February. Ibe. What can we say. We have been critics in the past, but his recent performances are much improved, but we still don’t believe. Let’s hope he proves us wrong and produces a sublime performance that has been a long time coming.
WE’RE GONNA WIN 1-0, MAYBE
So what does this mean for the outcome? I have convinced myself that we are going to avoid the expected and produce one of those back to the wall performances that gets us more than everyone expected. Can we sneak a win? Why not.