After starting off the season in perfect fashion, we head to Bournemouth this weekend looking to win our first three Premier League games of a campaign for the first time since 2004/05.
We may have only lost once to the Cherries in our 10 previous top-flight meetings, but Scott Parker’s side will be full of confidence after gaining promotion last term via a second-place finish in the Championship, and beat Aston Villa on the opening weekend to extend their unbeaten home run to 11 league games.
A 4-0 defeat to Manchester City last weekend won’t have caused too many alarm bells, as Bournemouth aim to beat the odds and avoid a single-season stay in the division.
Steady summer on south-coast
Parker has stood by the same players that won promotion last term, with the major arrivals being attacking midfielder Marcus Tavernier from Middlesbrough and recently-capped Argentina international centre-back Marcos Senesi from Feyenoord.
Joe Rothwell, Ryan Fredricks and experienced goalkeeper Neto have also come in to add depth, while the high-profile departures saw Gary Cahill and Robbie Brady leave for pastures new.
It remains to be seen if results between now and September 1 will prompt Parker to add more new faces before the closure of the transfer window.
What the managers say
Parker on us: “I seriously see them as a team that are going to be right up there this year, after what Mikel’s done in a short space of time at Arsenal and how that improvement’s happened.
“The progression that they’ve made in terms of the signings this year has only enhanced and improved them even more. Another year under Mikel as well can only be beneficial. We’ve got a big challenge ahead of us at the weekend, a technical team, a positional team, that have huge quality all over the pitch.”
Arteta on Bournemouth: "It will be a really tough match. I’ve been there many, many times, I know how tough it is, and I know to expect the atmosphere to be hectic.
"It’s a team that is used to winning because last year they had a really successful season, and they’ve started well this season. I know Scott Parker very, very well and I know they’re going to make it a really difficult game for us." - read every word from Arteta's pre-match press conference
Fabio Vieira made his first appearance in our colours on Wednesday night as he got 45 minutes under his belt for the under-21s, as he aims to gain fitness ahead of a first-team bow, while Emile Smith Rowe and Cedric also enjoyed runouts in the same game - hear what Arteta had to say about their dedication.
Our only other issue surrounds Reiss Nelson, who has a muscle injury.
Last season’s top scorer Dominic Solanke missed the game against Manchester City with an ankle injury, and Parker admits that he is touch-and-go to be involved on Saturday evening.
Summer signings Fredricks and Rothwell will definitely miss out, but Jordan Zemura could feature again after missing the City game with Covid.
David Brooks is back in light training after getting the all-clear after being diagnosed with cancer, but a return is still some way off.
Mikel Arteta has named the same starting XI in our opening two Premier League games. The last time we did that in our opening three fixtures was the title-winning campaign of 2003/04.
Bournemouth have had fewer shots than any other side in the division so far this season (10), while only Nottingham Forest (42) have faced more than the Cherries so far (34).
Gabriel Martinelli has been involved in six goals in his last six Premier League starts (3 goals, 3 assists). A goal in this game would make him the second youngest player to score in each of our first three Premier League games in a season, after Jose Antonio Reyes in 2004/05.
Kieffer Moore has scored in each of his last three home league games – twice in his English league career has he scored in four.
We have won nine of our 12 matches against Bournemouth (75%); among teams we've faced at least 10 times, we only have a better win ratio against Reading (100%, won 14/14) and Glossop North End (86%, won 12/14).
We could win our first two away league games without conceding a goal for the first time since 1993/94.
The Cherries have only won one of their 10 Premier League games against us (D2 L7), a 2-1 victory in January 2018.
The man in the middle will be Craig Pawson, who officiates a game of ours for the first time since the 3-1 win against Manchester United in April. In fact, we have scored three times in each of the last four of our matches he has been appointed to.
We have won 13 of the 26 games he has taken charge of, including a 2-1 win at the Cherries in November 2018.
- Referee: Craig Pawson
- Assistant Referee 1: Marc Perry
- Assistant Referee 2: Scott Ledger
- Fourth Official: Graham Scott
- Video Assistant Referee: Paul Tierney
- Additional Video Assistant Referee: Daniel Robathan
Recent trips to Bournemouth
Our last visit to the Vitality Stadium came in January 2020, when Bukayo Saka finished off an excellent 22-pass move and Eddie Nketiah struck a second to seal progress into the FA Cup fifth round.
Weeks before we had drawn 1-1 on the south coast in the Premier League when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cancelled out Dan Gosling’s opener in what was Arteta's first match in charge (read his reflections on that day), with the Gabon striker also netting what proved to be the winner in a 2-1 victory in November 2018.
For the perfect pre-match coverage for any Gooner, Nick Bright and Adrian Clarke are in the studio from 4.30pm before handing over to Dan Roebuck on commentary at the Vitality Stadium.
We’ll be showcasing our supporters from further afield this season with our International Diary, documenting how our fan clubs abroad spend their matchday, and this week we’re featuring Arsenal America.
We’ll also take a look back at how the under-21s started their Premier League Cup campaign at home to Swansea City on Wednesday, before breaking down everything you need to know about the Cherries ahead of our live radio commentary.
Our players will be wearing black armbands in tribute to our Head Groundsman Steve Braddock, who has passed away.
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