The international break is over and the English Premier League is back. Arsenal travel to the Vitality Stadium to take on Eddie Howe's AFC Bournemouth. This game promises to be an exciting contest.
Firstly, it is more of a revenge mission for The Gunners, having lost there in January this year by 2 goals to 1. Secondly, The Gunners are winless in their last two visits to the Vitality Stadium, drawing 3-3 in the 2016-17 season, before losing in the 2017-18 season.
There are quite a number of factors which could swing the game in either of the sides' favour. Here are some of them.
#1 Arsenal must avoid a slow start in this game
The Gunners have been guilty for most games this season of slow starts, which could has caused them to lose some games in the Premier League, if not for their fighting spirit in the second half of games, as well as Unai Emery's promptness in making substitutions at the right time.
According to Skysports.com, Arsenal are one of two Premier League sides including relegation threatened Cardiff to have failed to lead a Premier League game at half-time so far.
Worse yet, based on their first half performances, their goal difference is minus 3 and they have also scored only twice in the first 45 minutes this season in the Premier League.
While it may be seen as a deliberate tactic by Unai Emery to keep it tight in the first half of games and then come out all guns blazing in the second half, they simply cannot afford to do this against a Bournemouth side whose strength has always been to be put the opposing team under pressure early in games.
In their last game against United, they did put the Red Devils under serious pressure early in the game, and it paid off as they took the lead in the first half, before Mourinho's men came back in the second half to snatch all three points , thanks to a Marcus Rashford late winner.
The Gunners must start the game on the front foot and turn the heat on The Cherries.
#2 Ryan Fraser and Junior Stanislas must be kept quiet
These are the two danger-men of The Cherries, and Arsenal will have to be on the lookout for them. They are pacy, tricky, and will prove to be vital tests for Nacho Monreal (if he is declared fit to play) or Sead Kolasinac and Hector Bellerin.
The likes of Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan would be key to tracking their mazy runs into the box, and reducing their threats to the barest minimum.
#3 Arsenal must capitalise on Simon Francis' weaknesses
This could prove to be Arsenal's most potent weapon against The Cherries. Simon Francis is Bournemouth's captain, and the veteran no longer has age on his side. Therefore opposition who play Bournemouth often take advantage of this fact.
Infact, in the last two games against The Gunners, he has received a red and a yellow card, highlighting what could be his weakness.
In the game against United, Paul Pogba was often isolated with him in one on one situations, and found joy attacking from the left, as Francis occupies the right full back position.
One of such situations resulted in United's winner scored by Marcus Rashford.
Arsenal must utilise their strength, attacking on the left to carve open this Bournemouth defence. The pace of Alex Iwobi and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang must be used to good effect in this regard.