Arsenal vs Bournemouth: 3 Things To Watch For

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02 : Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Southampton at the Emirates Stadium on February 2, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02 : Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Southampton at the Emirates Stadium on February 2, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images) /

Arsenal travel to Dean Court to take on Bournemouth, and although nothing is a must win, Arsenal need to show they aren’t satisfied with a 4th Place finish again. The season starts now!

Venue: Dean Court

Date: Sunday, Feb 7 (EST)

I begin this Match Preview by summarizing my  analysis of the season to date for all of you. I began the season with immense joy and excitement looking for Arsenal wins every time they play. Things were not always pretty early on, but the team did it’s job and we held on for dear life.

Related Story: 5 Reasons Arsenal Need Mark Arnautovic

Then Francis Coquelin got injured followed by Alexis Sanchez and I became quite depressed. I openly stated that I would not predict an Arsenal win until further notice, only to be surprised by Arsenal’s ability to hang in there and at one point sit atop of everyone else in the Premier League.

I slowly grew confident in Ozil’s break out season and took back all I had to say about Giroud earlier in the season. Then came January and now we are one week in to February with Arsenal taking three points out of a possible 12 in their past four league games.

After that Southampton game, a lot of my colleagues here at Pain in the Arsenal were disgusted and maybe frustrated as most of us watched a potential league winning season turn into yet another quest for top 4. However, this weekend’s game is at Bournemouth and it is the perfect game for Arsenal to tighten things up and flip the story on their season.

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Prediction: Bournemouth 0-2 Arsenal

1) Arsenal create a ton of chances

One of the most fascinating things about statistics is they can illustrate the frustration of fans in numbers. According to, Arsenal have created a league leading 300 chances and have turned just 10% of them into assists.

Against Southampton, Arsenal constantly shot the ball only to see it miss or saved. People praised Fraser Forster but too often are people praising the opposing keeper of teams against Arsenal. I think the common problem there lies in Arsenal, not the opposing keeper.

Arsenal have hit the cross bar as often as they have hit the hot left corner of the goal, and I don’t know if that should impress me or worry me. What is worrying, is that Arsenal have hit the very center of the goal most often and then the far left, no where near the goal, second most often.

Look for Arsenal to again create a lot of chances, and convert maybe two or three of them.

2) Sanchez will make us forget about Ozil

Alexis Sanchez is going to reappear as our savior once more. His performance this weekend will make us forget about Ozil’s slowly disappearing form.

Sanchez will be the focal point of this game because Sanchez is aggressive enough to always be a factor. Whereas Ozil is more passive and demonstrates his amazing skills through moments, Sanchez’s style allows us to enjoy his abilities throughout the whole match. This point can only be explained by the following story:

When Ozil has a passive, “influential” game. People around the internet and TV laminate the fact that Ozil was largely an after thought throughout said game. However, detailed observation will show the small things Ozil does to help his team, such as slowing down pace when necessary and dropping deeper to help push the ball up.

Arsenal FC
Arsenal FC /

Arsenal FC

Yet Ozil does this with ease and it is second nature to him, thus his body language is reflecting a person that seems uninterested.

On the other hand, Sanchez will never be pointed as a non-factor in the game. Even when he is playing horribly, and yes it does happen, his constant movement and closing down of opponents causes most of us to look past the otherwise poor performance. Sanchez is loved and adored by all because even when he doesn’t have a good game, his effort shows he is willing to do anything to win. Ozil, not so much.

3) Improved health

The following statement is true about all team sports, “You are only as good as the worst player on the field”. Therefore, for a while, Arsenal was at a level between Flamini and and careless Oxlade-Chamberlain.

A lot of times, how a season ends up can be the result of health, and Arsenal seems to never have it during crunch time. However, this season, most of the players seem to have gotten their yearly injuries a bit earlier and that may be a blessing in disguise. As we slowly come down to crunch time, Arsenal are slowly regaining health with key players finally starting to play the full 90 minutes at full speed.

Next: Arsenal's Top 10 Prospects

Look for Arsenal to use the team’s improved health and as a result, improved depth to their advantage and score that second goal after the 70 minute mark!