Saturday, 09 September 2017 00:55

Arsenal – Bournemouth


Arsenal will attempt to ease some of the recent criticism with a win against Bournemouth in the 4th round of the Premier League.

The season started pretty well for Arsenal, with wins over Chelsea (at penalties) in the Community Shield and over Leicester in the opening round of the Premier League. However, consecutive defeats against Stoke and Liverpool, as well as failing to strengthen the squad by the end of the transfer window, has sent Arsenal into crisis. There has been widespread criticism directed at Arsene Wenger and the atmosphere in the club seems to be rather poor.

Bournemouth had an atrocious start to the season, losing all three Premier League games despite playing twice at home. Sandwiched between the losses was a victory over Birmingham in the League Cup, but that won`t be much of the consolation for the visitors, who need to start gaining points. On the bright side, Bournemouth put up a good fight in the last round, where only a 97th minute goal denied them a home draw against Manchester City.

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Team news & lineups:

Alexis Sanchez is doubtful for Arsenal and he will probably be left out, especially as he is unsettled and reportedly not seeing eye to eye with some teammates. Chambers, Iwobi and Wilshere are also doubtful, while Cazorla is the only definite absentee. Bournemouth won`t be able to count on Wilson and Stanislas, while Francis and Ake are questionable.

Arsenal: Cech – Mustafi, Koscielny, Montral – Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac – Welbeck, Ozil – Lacazette

Bournemouth: Begovic – Cook, Ake, Mings – Smith, Gosling, Surman, Arter, Daniels – King, Defoe

Normally you would expect Arsenal to have odds 1.20 – 1.25 to win at home against this struggling Bournemouth side, especially as the visitors have never beaten Arsenal, and convincingly lost both games they played at the Emirates.

However, we get a price of around 1.35 for Arsenal to win here, and I feel that is artificially inflated – as is much of the hysteria about Arsenal’s crisis.

When you break it down, there`s really not much wrong with this Arsenal side – or at least not more wrong than usual. They played one bad match all season, which was indeed a truly horrible showing last round at Liverpool (0-4), but they were good in the other three matches. Two rounds ago they were really unlucky to lose 0-1 against Stoke (where they always struggle), having a ton of chances both at 0-0 and at 0-1, and being robbed by the ref as well.

You can understand the fans voicing their displeasure, as they are paying high ticked prices and want big money signings and league titles, but the media has gone way overboard with the criticism – probably just saying what the fans want to hear. You would think that Arsenal are on the brink of getting relegated, which is obviously not the case.

One thing that could be worrying here is the supposed toxic atmosphere in the locker room, and that is never good news. However, I have no doubt that the situation has been highly exaggerated by the media, so I don`t think it is that bad. And even if morale is not high, that shouldn`t have a decisive effect against a team like Bournemouth.

I believe Arsenal is underrated here, they are the same team they were in the last few years, and I think we can take advantage – in the sense that odds for a bet on Arsenal are a bit higher than they should be. I expect a normal display from the Gunners and 8 times out of 10 that should translate into a comfortable home win against one of the weak teams of the Premier League. It`s true that Arsenal will be under pressure to deliver, but this is not a new situation to them.

My tip is Arsenal to cover the -1 asian handicap. Prediction: Arsenal – Bournemouth 2-0.

Pick: Arsenal (-1 Asian Handicap)
Odds: 1.56 @ 18Bet
Stake: 8
Possible profit: 4.48
Event date: 9 September