Bournemouth v Arsenal Preview: Predicted Starts for Auba, Laca, M-Niles and Nigeria’s Finest


All of a sudden there is a top-4 finish talk all over the place. A few days ago, for the first time ever, Emery felt confident enough to talk about his ambition to finish top-4 in the league this season. That is a big statement. It indicates that, with basic ideas haven been put in motion, he is now better placed to focus a little less on team building and a little more on results. Expectation have consequently ramped-up but still we know that it won’t be easy. Top-4 is a tough field that harbours little space for lost points.

Our very next match is against Eddie Howe’s well organized Bournemouth FC at the Vitality Stadium. They sit 6th on the table, one position below us. Last season they were the hardest working team in the league. So far this season we are topping the table on distance covered while they are not far behind at 4th. When it comes to the number of sprints made, they are 3rd behind Liverpool and City, one position ahead of us. One thing is clear, that we are not going to swamp them in the 2nd half.

They are a dreaded counter attacking team and that might inform Emery to pick Sokratis ahead of Holding who is our best ball playing central defender. However Emery’s biggest headache in the back 7 is the left back position. Monreal had a relapse of his injury and so is not available. His cover in Kolasinac is not well suited to playing out from the back and his defensive alertness is questionable. Against Wolves he was particularly poor. I’d prefer Lichsteiner, who has resumed training but remains a doubt or versatile Maitland-Niles, to fill in at that position.

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Iwobi’s ability to carry the ball across lines pulling the opposition shapes apart might be crucial in this match. He is at his best in the attacking left position. I expect Emery to pick him ahead of Aubamayang for that role. Auba isn’t so good at build up play and incidentally 42% of our attack comes from the left side as opposed to 34% from the right (WhoScored).

Emery demands a lot of energy from his axial players so I expect him to continue with Lacazette as the striker. For the first time he might start Aubamayang in the wide right position. Auba was very effective there (inclusive of goals) at the early part of his career at Dortmund when Lewandowski was their striker. Against Bournemouth Emery would be thinking of early goals.

Expected line up:-


Bel ~~~ Musti ~~~ Sokratis ~~~ M-Niles

~~~~~Torreira~~~~~ Xhaka ~~~~~~~

~~~Auba ~~~~ Ozil ~~~~~ Iwobi~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~Laca ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bench:- Cech, Holding, Kola, Guendouzi, Ramsey, Mkhiaryan, Nketiah.

It’s time to get back to winning ways. Those 1st half hand brakes need to be yanked off.


By PE.

51 thoughts on “Bournemouth v Arsenal Preview: Predicted Starts for Auba, Laca, M-Niles and Nigeria’s Finest

  • Excellent preview, PE. This is a big one for us and, more than the Pool game, an excellent opportunity to judge where we are under Unai. It is one we need to win but it will not be easy. I go with that line up and like AMN on the left. COYGs!!

  • Fine preview, PE. This game has become a crucial game for us and the 3 points will be so sweet to win. Spurs beat Chelsea today, which means we need to claw back the points margin between us to the 3 points that it was before the games today, while coming to within 1 point of Chelsea.

    Bournemouth are hard to beat at their place and it will be no game for passengers; for me, the only way we start both Auba and Laca is in a 3-5-2 or a 4-4-2. The former will allow us play three of Mustafi, Sokratis and Holding (I don’t think Emery will drop him now, unless he has a shocker). Top 4 is the goal but seeing how strong the teams above and around us are, we do need to improve our intensity and cut out the goals concession. It won’t be easy, but it’s a task the team has to focus to achieve.

    I will go with a similar line up, as you have, but will play Kolasinac at left back; start one of Ramsey or Mkhi as No. 10, with Ozil playing in from the right side and interchanging with the the stand-in No. 10…at least until we’ve mastered their aggressive play.

  • Oh, again, I must point out I have nothing against seeing Auba and Laca start, if it works for us. It’s just that it’s not been as potent as when Auba comes on from the bench, or when it is a game in which we are totally dominant. The balance is affected no end when Auba starts in a 4-2-3-1.

  • The Spuds’ win is good for us. We need to fight for two places rather than one and now we have both teams in sight with a win tomorrow hopefully.

  • Nice, to the point preview PE. I Just wanna say happy thanksgiving to the gang here. Even if it’s not your national holiday, we all have much to be thankful for. Imagine having so much going for us in life that we can get upset or worry about sporting results and related controversies.

    Total, I hope all is going well. I’m about to watch the spuds v Chelsea I dvr’d. Even if spurs win is better for us, it still makes me literally sick to watch them succeed. I dream of their inevitable fall from grace with financial problems.

  • Eris … fair comment.

    Maybe it is not so much of the Laca/Auba conundrum as it is the Auba-on-the-bench/Auba–to-start conundrum. I wonder if a 2 game sample of him scoring 4 goals from the bench isn’t too small a sample for conclusions.

    We need goal scorers and Auba is the best particularly as Ozil, Iwobi and Mkhi don’t weigh in with enough. Auba is also the centre of the sunshine in the dressing room. Also £50m shouldn’t sit on the bench. Emery has to find a solution with Auba on the field.

    Auba’s presence on the field especially around the CD is already a huge contribution. But for his goals he has a style that goes under the radar. Who would have guessed that he tops our sprint table with 197 sprints tied with Bellerin but having played 179 minutes less. He has also banged in more goals than anybody else mostly from a role in which he tracks back to help the defence. History-wise he is in the top five goal merchants in Europe. The equation just doesn’t seem right with Auba on the bench.

  • TA … I agree with you. But it has to be a win v Bounemouth otherwise we are 5 or 6 pts behind the Spuds. I hate to admit this … they were super against the Chavs.

  • Jnyc … ahh sports is one of the spices of this wonderful life. Yesterday the spice I craved for was a goalless draw between the Spuds and the Chavs. Never got it but trouncing the Chavs was spicy (I have an amnesia of who trounced them).

  • It looks like JW1 and 17 have been lost, probably playing that silly frisbee game somewhere high up in the mountains. They are lofty characters! 😀

    J, agreed re being grateful for what we have. And remember the Spuds only can take 20 minutes at boiling point and then they get mashed again. Never win anything, always looking up to the Arse. Ooh to, Ooh to be…

  • Looks like our favourite London Cabbie and Arsenal-Bergkampesque (AB) have also been lost during the interlul. Probably too busy with their Christmas shopping. 🙂

  • Also craving for some warmth from Retsub, Kev, The Prof, Shard, Admir and the rest of em Bkers. Emery desires a strong connection with us.

  • Some good work there PE, enjoyed it.
    Busy time of year for me, I’m still reading though although there’s not a lot to chat about during internationals…

    Jordi Osei-Tutu is fit again and could save us a large wedge in the transfer market, he is ostensibly a right back but can fill in across the back four and played left back in pre season if I recall.

    Eddie Nketiah now has the opportunity to stake a claim for a place at the top table, at least until January. I’d like to see him brought on late in games where his pace and quickness of movement in the box could prove invaluable against tiring opponents.

  • Kev, is there any from the academy about ready for 1st team role at LB? I fear with these recurring injuries that age might have finally caught up with Nacho. I don’t see Kola as capable 1st choice. Or is the only real option the Jan window?

  • Osei Tutu in the short term PE, he’s a big, powerful unit with a good technique.
    But for injury, Jordi might have well impressed this season as have several of our young players already, who seem to be fully buying into the Emery project.

  • Confirmed. Ozil on the bench. Laca injured. Looks like a 3:4:3.

    Sokr, Musti, Holdn.
    Bel, Torreira, Xhaka, Kola.
    Mkhi, Auba, Iwobi

    Subs: Cech, M-Niles, Guendz, Elneny, Rambo, Ozil. Nketiah.

  • With the injuries I think it’s a good set up. Wing back suits Kola best. Bells too. If game is going against us Emery might alter to 4:2:3:1 bringing in Ozil and Rambo.

  • Lacazette has a slight groin, although he trained yesterday, so methinks that Unai has one eye on the NLD. Lots of pace on the bench to come on if we’re chasing the game or looking to hit Bournemouth on the break, hopefully the latter.

  • No Ozil to start? Mmmmm does not look like a winning team to me, and what a gap in front of Xhaka-Torreira?! Unai, you decided so now let me be wrong..

  • Great starting line up..
    We do need a change after 3 draw in a row..
    With 3-4-3 I believe we will have more balance.. And I guess we will dominate the game by more than 60%..
    Let’s hope we win more than two.. Hehehe..

  • It’s a no brainer. If Laca is injured, Auba starts, so, Mkhi, Kola, and Iwobi to supply whipped crosses for him to thrive. Hard work will be needed early on, so (hate to say that) Ozil starts from the bench.

    Only striker on the bench is Nketiah, so he may get a chance today. Let’s hope we don’t feel the lethargy of the international break and play with high energy. 3 at the back may just work unless any one of the defenders is unfit.


  • Craig Pawson is Ref for the game? Man likes some drama when it’s Arsenal about. Let’s hope this isn’t one of the days he shows his weird knack for controversy.

  • Right after we were let off the hook with a goal disallowed for offside, Torreira smashes one against their post and Iwobi couldn’t finish off the rebound. Our defending early in games still suspect. We need to be a bit tighter and more confident on the ball.

  • They seem more up for it than us so far. It shouldn’t be the case after our recent results.

  • Iwobi’s laid on the ball for Kolasinac to whip in a cross only for the sliding Lerma to slot past Bergovic in goal for Bournemouth. Oh well, we now have to worry about a player with something to set right. Hope we can hold on to have our first lead (this season) going into the break. Iwobi stings Bergovic’s palms with a rasping shot.

  • 1-1 at half time! Which keeps us with that unwanted stat. Bournemouth have been good and it was to be expected. However, Arsenal did step it up and dominated play at times. Iwobi’s unfortunate show boating (right in the opponent’s box, it must be said) and loss of possession resulted in a counter attack which we were not able to deal with. Brilliant curler from Josh King, it must be said. I expected a bit more from the defenders but the Bournemouth runners were composed in their decision making which saw King alone on their right side.

  • 1-2, Arsenal. Now, to pick them off as they play for an equalizer. Well worked goal, with Kolasinac putting it on a plate for Auba to stretch and slot in.

  • Jync, noticed that too but that’s because Kolasinac has found himself so high up and pushing back the hosts. We had a chance after that goal but I wonder what Mkhi was thinking cocking his foot and ending up tripping himself.

    We need to get an insurance goal or two.

  • Looks like it, Jync.

    We have on a team of runners and fighters (bar one), so maybe only Ramsey, Guendouzi and maybe AM-N to be considered.

  • As Kolasinac goes to ground feeling the pace, Emery brings on Guendouzi for Lucas Torreira. Shocking substitution there for me. This (and that role) isn’t the game for Guendouzi. He seems to need too much time on the ball. Is this Emery trying to play his one true (influenced) signing? 🤨☹️

  • That was close. We controlled the game at times but did have some scary moments like that last second free kick.

    We deserved to win this game and it could have been by more, had some of our lads taken their chances.

  • Well we take that every day. It is the result we badly needed and we will analyse Unai’s approach over the next few days. The battle for third and kings of London is on. Bring on the Spuddies.

  • Hard fought win. Not easy to contain such frenetic side.

    Eris, great job knowing how intently you watch these matches.

  • Agreed, Eris. Only one in five shots on target. We missed Laca but Auba delivered, so credit to him. Unai not playing Ozil today really worries me. What is going on?!

  • Maybe you are projecting that thought, PE (and Eris). Ozil thrives under pressure imo, as he makes and sees space, with and without the ball, like no other. IF Unai is going to want to play without Ozil, I can see the Spaniard last about a season with Arsenal. You heard it here first.

  • Eris I agree I would almost always like Torreira for a full 90. I think maybe there’s something to it about how much Lucas did over the past week in international play, traveling maybe?I or even something he might have picked up in today’s match that we’re not aware of.

  • Plausible, Jync. Then, there’s the NLD coming up; a factor in resting Laca for this one too. We truly can’t afford any injury to any one of our top strikers now, going into a hectic December.

    Cheers, PE and TA. Pleased with the 3 points, hard as it was to procure.

  • Kev, that’s interesting bit of information and another in the line of ‘firsts’ at the club. It helps to adjust for missing out on CL prize money flows. 🤔

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