Mikel Arteta reign as Arsenal’s head-coach gets under way with a trip to the Vitality Stadium to take on Bournemouth this Boxing Day.
Good day all. With Arteta now in charge his immediate goal will be to get the team back to winning ways, having taken over with a dismal run of just one win in the last 13 games (all competitions). This should happen concurrently with him imbuing his own philosophy on a talented side who have not played with any assertiveness all season.
However, with three matches in seven days he will have quite a job on his hands, but if he can get them to put in a committed performance against the Cherries from beginning to end, things should start falling into place from then on.
With Arteta’s arrival only made formal a day before the Everton game, Freddie Ljungberg had full control in terms of tactics and team selection. He did, however, have a chat with the players beforehand to tell what he expects regards to attitude and commitment from them.
He watched on from the stands and, despite the lack of cutting-edge up front, was fairly pleased. The defense was much better than most of what we saw all season as we registered only our third clean sheet. He made clear that he view that as the first brick to build the team back into a functioning unit, with the priority on team performance instead of a reliance on moments of individual brilliance.
While Arteta has promised players a “clean slate”, the form of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who netted just once in his last four starts, will be a concern. Alexandre Lacazette scored three goals in his last three league starts and will be hopeful of a recall after being dropped in favour of Gabriel Martinelli.
Bournemouth come into this game on the back of six defeats in their last seven league outings, of which five were on the bounce. In their last game, defeat at home to Burnley, they failed to get any shot on target. Their struggles in front of goals saw them having just one goal in their last four matches.
Eddie Howe said that his side will have a duty to entertain the Vitality faithful. So we can expect them to tune things up and play with purpose with hopes of giving Bernd Leno a busy afternoon.
The Cherries have not been our most arduous opponents though; in the 10 previous meetings between these sides the Gunners won eight times (D1, L1). On our last trip to the Vitality we beat them 5-1.
Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac are out injured. Rob Holding, Dani Ceballos and Hector Bellerìn are back in training, but there may be doubt whether they’re fully match fit. Martinelli got trouble with a tight hamstring and will be assessed before the game. In addition, Calum Chambers will be sitting this one out due to suspension.
It’s difficult to know what to expect in Mikel Arteta’s first match as head-coach, but his arrival certainly has the potential to lift some of the gloom amongst Arsenal’s supporters.
With all players getting a fresh starts, he have many options at his disposal regarding team selection. So during this coming week we may see who he thinks will give him the kind of drive and willingness he demands when stepping on the pitch.
Before defeat to the Clarets Bournemouth won away at Chelsea and if they want to give the home crowd something to cheer about, they may look at a similar dogged performance.
The next few days will be quite a test for our new coach, but today should be quite entertaining and I will be keeping my fingers crossed that he return back to London with all three points in his bag. COYG!