After two Premier League draws in a row, Arsenal will be looking to get back to winning ways against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday.
It’s been a mixed 10 days for Arsenal.
There was the frenetic 2-2 draw against Chelsea at the Emirates, which had us all on the edge of our seats.
Then there was the crushing disappointment of losing 4-2 to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup – a trophy we were supposed to be retaining. And then there was the tentative optimism of holding Chelsea to a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge in the League Cup.
Now, we’re back to the Premier League.
After just two wins in the last five league matches, we really need to get a wriggle on if we’re going to have any chance of finishing in the top four.
Even though most of us with a brain recognise that, let’s face it, that probably isn’t happening again this term, we still have to have something – anything – to fight for.
The Gunners are currently in sixth but only two points behind Tottenham above us, and five below Chelsea in fourth. They’re almost definitely going to win their respective games against Everton and Leicester this weekend so, if we don’t, we’re only going to fall further behind the pack.
We can’t afford to do that.
Bournemouth are currently struggling down in 16th after only winning five league matches since August. They also have four players sidelined, including Jermain Defoe, who’s netted three against us in the past.
Arsenal aren’t doing too well injury-wise themselves. We have Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Olivier Giroud (hamstring), Laurent Koscielny (Achilles), Nacho Monreal (ankle) and Sead Kolasinac (ankle) all out.
No one actually knows whether Mesut Ozil will have recovered from his ‘slight knee injury’ like he did against Liverpool, although Wenger rated him as ’50/50′. If we’re without him as well, we could be in trouble. Again.
When it comes to head-to-heads against Bournemouth, Arsenal have the upper hand. We’ve won four and drawn one in five.
When we faced the Cherries at the Emirates in September, we won 3-0 with a goal from Alexandre Lacazette and brace from Danny Welbeck.
But you and I know all too well that past records don’t seem to mean anything to this Arsene Wenger side.
We don’t discriminate, you see.
We’re equally as bad against everybody.
Remember last season when we visited Eddie Howe’s side? Just over a year ago in fact. We went 2-0 down in 20 minutes, then conceded another after the break. It took us until the 70th minute for Alexis Sanchez, followed by Olivier Giroud and then Lucas Perez to save us a point, as well as our blushes.
The concern is we don’t look any different.
We look just as – if not more – vulnerable early on in matches and our defence has mostly been shambolic.
It could very easily play out in a similar way.
Hopefully though, the lads take confidence from their draw away to Chelsea, pull up their Big Boy pants and realise who they play for.
And what they represent..
We must not leave Bournemouth without all three points.